The ProNourish Shake by Nestle is a gluten free and lactose free nutritional shake that I first became aware of from people leaving comments on another review I wrote. Since I'd not heard of ProNourish before, I purchased a 6 pack at my local grocery store and wrote this review to help others searching for answers on this. This review will cover the ingredients and nutrition the ProNourish shake and compare it to other popular weight loss shakes. Is ProNourish good? Who is the shake for? Does it have any side effects? Let's see what we can discover. Also see the 18 Shake Review too.
Who Is ProNourish Shakes For?
When I first learned about the ProNourish drink, it was in a comment that was left in my review of the 18 Shake. The 18 Shake is a popular weight loss shake and ProNourish was thought to be a suitable alternative. But, when I called the company that makes ProNourish, I learned that, while yes, anyone can drink the shake, the product is mostly intended for people with digestion problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disorder, lactose intolerance and the like.
This is not to say that it can't be used for weight loss or for basic nutrition on the go. It can, for reasons I'll bring up below. I just wanted to highlight this first in case anyone was confused.
ProNourish Drink Nutrition Facts
One 8 oz bottle of the ProNourish shake (French Vanilla flavor) has the following Nutrition Facts:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Total Fat||4g||6% DV|
|Saturated fat||1g||5% DV|
|Cholesterol||10 mg||3% DV|
|Sodium||150 mg||3% DV|
|Potassium||470 mg||13% DV|
|Total carbs||19 g||6% DV|
|Dietary fiber||3g||12% DV|
What I noticed – and liked – in this table was that the highest percentages were for potassium and fiber. The ProNourish shake provides 13% of the daily value (DV) for potassium and 12% of ones daily value for fiber. While neither of these is technically “high” (that's reserved for ingredients having at least 20% DV), it's a good amount and worth the mention.
Potassium is such a healthy ingredient that it's finally going to get the attention it deserves and be listed on Nutrition Facts labels in the future.
As can be seen in the table below, ProNourish has more potassium that either Ensure, Boost or Glucerna shakes. Looking at the above table
more closely, it appears the ProNourish shake compares closely with Glucerna shakes. Granted, these shakes are used for different reasons but I thought it was worthwhile to show them side-by-side for those who were curious.
The only significant difference I noticed in these values (and I didn't think it was really significant for most) was that Glucerna had a tad fewer carbohydrates (14g) compared to ProNourish shake (19g). This makes sense, given that Glucerna shakes are marketed mostly to diabetics and those trying to lower blood sugar levels.
To be clear, the individual ingredients that make up these shakes is indeed different. That is why those with digestion issues like Crohn's disorder, lactose intolerance, etc., should pick shakes that are best suited to their health needs.
|ProNourish French Vanilla (8 oz)||Ensure Original Vanilla (8 oz)||Boost Vanilla (8 oz)||Glucerna Vanilla (8 oz)|
|Total Fat||4g (5%DV)||6g (9%DV)||14g (22%DV)||8g (12%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||1g (5%DV)||1g (5%DV)||2g (10%DV)||1g (5%DV)|
|Cholesterol||10mg (3%DV)||5mg (2%DV)||10g (3%DV)||10mg (3%DV)|
|Sodium||150 (65DV)||220 (8%DV)||220mg (8%DV)||300mg (13%DV)|
|Potassium||470mg (13%DV)||370 (11%DV)||360mg (10%DV)||330mg (9%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||19g (6%DV)||32g (11%DV)||45g (15%DV)||14g (5%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||3g (12%DV)||<1g (1%DV)||3g (12%DV)||3g (12%DV)|
The comparison table above also notes that ProNourish drink has less sodium that Ensure, Boost or Glucerna shakes. That's good as many already consume too much sodium.
As for the calories, an 8 oz bottle of ProNourish shake has 170 calories. While that's less than the calories in Ensure and Boost, it's still a good amount of calories for such a small volume. I say that not as a negative. For those looking for nourishment (which it sounds Nestle is marketing to) calories do matter.
ProNourish Shake Vitamins and Minerals
Each 8 oz bottle of the Nestle ProNourish Shake has these vitamins and minerals:
|Vitamin A 10% DV||Vitamin C 15% DV||Calcium 35% DV|
|Iron 25% DV||Vitamin D 60% DV||Vitamin E 25% DV|
|Vitamin K 25% DV||Thiamin 25% DV||Riboflavin 25% DV|
|Niacin 15% DV||Vitamin B6 30% DV||Folic acid 10% DV|
|Vitamin B12 10% DV||Biotin 2% DV||Pantothenic acid 15% DV|
|Phosphorus 30% DV||Iodine 25% DV||Magnesium 25% DV|
|Zinc 15% DV||Selenium 25% DV||Copper 10% DV|
|Manganese 30% DV||Chromium 10% DV||Molybdenum 15% DV|
|Chloride 6% DV|
From the vitamin and mineral table above, we can see that there is not an overabundance of anything listed. For those eating a health diet then this is fine.
ProNourish Drink Ingredients
The Nestle ProNourish shake (french Vanilla flavor) has the following ingredients:
|Water||Milk protein concentrate||Maltodextrin|
|Cane sugar||Canola oil||Vitamins & minerals|
|Soy protein isolate||Calcium caseinate||Sodium caseinate|
|Gum acacia (soluble fiber)||Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (soluble fiber)||Cellulose gel and gum|
|Soy lecithin||Natural and artifical flavor||Salt|
Read the table from left to right. This will tell you the ingredients present the most and those present the least. For example, since water is the first ingredient, the ProNourish shake is mostly water.
What Are The Sweeteners?
From the ingredients list above we can see that the ProNourish shake contains, in order, these sweeteners:
- Natural and artificial sweeteners
I don't know what the natural and artificial sweeteners are. Companies usually don't list those. Sucralose is the other name for Splenda, the sweetener you may have seen in restaurants in the yellow packet. Some people don't mind Splenda while others can't stand it. I won't pass judgement. I list it in case it matters to anyone. Sucralose (Splenda) is the last ingredient listed so this means there is likely very little of it in the ProNourish shake.
The label also says the product contains no high-fructose corn syrup. A lot of companies seem to go out of their way to make this claim these days because of the negative publicity high fructose corn syrup has gotten over the years.
You may have noticed carrageenan in the ingredients list above and wondered what it is. Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is commonly added to a variety of products ranging from ice cream and infant formulas to soy-milk and yogurts. Carrageenan is used most often as a thickening agent. It makes liquids thicker and more palatable. Is it bad for us? If you have searched online, you've seen it's quite vilified with some people saying it causes cancer.
Indeed, there have been some animal studies, dating as far back as the 1980s finding that carrageenan might raise cancer risk. In many of these studies researchers gave animals much more carrageenan than humans consume. What about people? I'm hard pressed to find human carrageenan research. That's actually kind of bad given that this stuff is in a lot of foods we eat.
Other research hints that carrageenan might promote inflammation. Chronic, long term, inflammation is implicated in many health problems, including digestion issues. This is ironic given that ProNourish is marketed to those with digestion problems. Since there is very little carrageenan in the ProNourish shake, my guess is they have already tested it and found it to not be a problem irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's and other inflammatory bowl disorders. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here.
All that said, this is indeed rather controversial stuff. Those with disorders related to chronic inflammation and inflammatory bowel problems should speak to their doctor, pharmacist or dietitian for more personalized recommendations about carrageenan.
Who Makes ProNourish?
The company is Nestle Health Science (NestleHealthScience.com), which is a subdivision of food giant Nestle (Nestle.com). Other familiar products made by Nestle include Gerber baby food, Kit-Kat bars, Boost and Optifast.
The bottle I have contains this customer service phone number: 800-558-6991. I called the number and found their customer service people to be very helpful. If you call that number you may even be able to get a free sample of the product.
What Does FODMAP mean?
The ProNourish label says it is a “low FODMAP nutritional drink”. What does “Low FODMAP” mean? The term FODMAP is sort for :
- FO: fermentable oligosaccharides
- D: disaccharides
- M: monosaccharides
- AP: and polyols
These are types of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that can make the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (and other GI issues) worse. So, anything that doesn't contain a lot of these compounds is referred to as “low FODMAP.”
The FODMAP diet for IBS was created by a university in Australia. For people with IBS, eating a low FODMAP diet is something to consider doing. See the FODMAP Wikipedia page for more insights.
Here are many Low FODMAP cookbooks and other resources for those who need help in this area.
How Does It Taste?
Taste is a personal thing but since I purchased this product, I thought I'd review its taste too. For this taste test, I used the French Vanilla version of ProNourish. I tasted it when it was cold and when it was at room temperature.
At room temperature, I thought it had a watery taste to it. After being in my refrigerator for 2 days, it was a tad thicker but it was not very thick. Given the lack of thickness in the shake, even when cold, I wonder what it would taste like if Nestle removed the controversial thickening agent carrageenan?
The ProNourish drink didn't taste bad. It was just a bit watery for me. On the plus side, I could definitely taste the vanilla flavor. I know from online comments some people really enjoy the taste. It had a little bit of an after taste but I didn't think it was significant.
One thing I did appreciate was the bottle cap felt oversized and easy to grip. The cap also had vertical groves that made twisting the cap off pretty effortless. The cap has a safety seal around it on the outside and under the cap, the bottle has an aluminum foil safety seal. The aluminum foil safety seal under the cap had an oversized tab that made removing it pretty easy.
Where To Buy ProNourish
ProNourish should be widely available at most major drug stores, Walmart and supermarket chains. I purchased the product at local Safeway grocery store. It's also on Amazon too.
ProNourish vs. 18 Shake
As I mentioned above, this product was mentioned to me as an alternative to a popular weight loss shake called the 18 Shake. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Nestle ProNourish Shake to the 18 Shake:
|ProNourish Shake (8 oz||18 Shake (1 scoop 27.27g)|
|Total Fat||4g (6%DV)||1.5g (2%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||1g (5%DV)||1g (4%DV)|
|Cholesterol||10 mg (3%DV)||30 mg (11%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||19g (6%DV)||8g (3%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||3g (12%DV)||5g (21%DV)|
|Sodium||150 mg (6%DV)||15 mg (<1%DV)|
|Potassium||470 mg (13%DV)||23 mg (<1%DV)|
As stated previously, ProNourish is not specifically intended for weight loss. The protein content in both shakes is similar however. The 18 Shake has more fiber. Also, fiber in the 18 shake comes from Fibersol-2, a man-made fiber that has some weight loss-evidence. The fiber in the ProNourish drink is different and is provided by a combination of Gum acacia, guar gum and Cellulose gel and gum.
In theory, protein and type of fiber used in the 18 Shake might help it win out over ProNourish in a weight loss competition although that is just speculation. To my knowledge, no head-to-head clinical studies of these two products has been undertaken.
Does ProNourish Shake Contain Gluten?
No. Nestle ProNourish shakes are gluten free.
Does It Contain Soy?
The ingredients list above does mention soy lecithin, which is used in products to help ingredients mix together well. Even though the name contains “soy” soy lecithin isn't always derived from soy. Soy lecithin can be made from milk for example. The Nestle drink also has soy protein isolate. So that probably means it contains soy protein.
Just to double check, I reached out to the Nestle customer support I was told that the ProNoursh shake does contain soy ingredients. Because of that the answer is yes, the ProNourish shake does contain soy.
To be fair, protein isolate is the 7th ingredient listed soy lecithin is the 13th ingredient from the bottom of the ingredients list so that it likely doesn't have much soy. There is more milk protein than soy protein in the product. Again, not passing judgement here. Just wanted to bring this up in case it matters to anyone.
Does It Have Lactose?
While the drink does contain milk protein concentrate, the label says that ProNourish is “suitable for lactose intolerance.” While that is not a very sexy endorsement, it says to me they have either removed lactose from the product or it contains very low levels. When in doubt, those with lactose intolerance who want to try ProNourish, should start with just a little bit, to see how they react.
ProNourish Drink Side Effects
I'm not personally aware of any significant side effects from drinking the ProNourish shake. While, overall, it seems to get high marks from people online, there are some people on Amazon saying they had bad reactions if they also had IBS and lactose intolerance. Some said it made their symptoms worse. While I tend view anonymous online testimonials (both good and bad) with some skepticism, many are from verified purchases.
To be fair, others said it didn't cause any problems at all. Could the bad reactions of some be due to the carrageenan in the product? I do not know. See above for more on carrageenan and IBS.
Does ProNourish Work?
The ProNourish drink provides a good amount of protein and nutrition per 8 oz serving which might suit the needs of some people who might not have time to eat real food. The same can be said about many other ready-to-drink shakes too. Even though the shake appears to be designed mostly for people with digestion issues like IBS, consumers with problems like this should start off with less than 1 bottle at first to see how they react.Here's the ProNourish Shake on Amazon