Glucerna Review: Does it Work?

Expert rating: stars-icon     By Trey Copeland (Senior Reviewer) June 21, 2023       Advertising Disclosure

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What is it? 

Glucerna is a meal replacement shake made with CARBSTEADY, a slow digesting carbohydrate source to regulate blood sugar. It comes with 27 vitamins and minerals, and it’s gluten and lactose-free.

They provide a graph showing the steady blood sugar control possible, in comparison to a “leading national beverage”. There are 3 flavors available in vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and butter pecan. There’s also a total of 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber. It claims to be the #1 doctor recommended brand, so is it truly effective for weight loss? Does it have healthy ingredients? This Glucerna review will help you determine if it’s truly an effective meal replacement.

Glucerna Ingredients and Side Effects 
Water Corn Maltodextrin Milk Protein Concentrate Fructose Glycerine
Soy Protein Isolate High Oleic Safflower Oil Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharides Canola Oil Soy Oil
Potassium Citrate Natural & Artificial Flavor Magnesium Phosphate Cellulose Gel Salt
Choline Chloride Ascorbic Acid Calcium Phosphate Cellulose Gum Monoglycerides
Soy Lecithin Sodium Citrate Carrageenan Calcium Carbonate Potassium Chloride
Potassium Hydroxide Acesulfame Potassium Ferrous Sulfate dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate Gellan Gum
Zinc Sulfate Sucralose Niacinamide Manganese Sulfate Calcium Pantothenate
Cupric Sulfate Vitamin A Palminate Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Riboflavin
Chromium Chloride Folic Acid Biotin Sodium Molybdate Potassium Iodide
Sodium Selenite Phylloquinone Vitamin D3 Cyanocobalamin

Corn Maltodextrin: Artificial sweetener and thickener extracted from corn.  This ingredient has a high rating on the blood sugar index. Live also adds:

“maltodextrin promoted the growth of unhealthy bacteria, which damaged the intestine and increased the risk for inflammatory disease” 

When unhealthy bacteria grow, this can lead to a damaged immune system, as well as several other health problems. 

It may also promote other side effects such as:

  • Weight gain.
  • Bloating, and indigestion.
  • Flatulence. 

Though this shake is meant to be a low-glycemic shake, this ingredient is known to severely raise blood sugar. Since it’s listed first in the ingredient listing, this means most of this shake is made up of corn maltodextrin.

The FDA requires companies to list ingredients that make up most of a food in descending order. So most of this shake is made up of this processed cheap corn sugar. 

Fructose: Simple sugar extracted from fruit. Multiple clinical studies have shown this ingredient to be harmful to overall health. The University of California, Davis, did one such study, they found that fructose:

“may have deleterious long-term effects on the regulation of energy intake and body adiposity” 

It showed an increase in the risk for long lasting weight gain. There were also other noted effects from the same study:

“does not appear to be the optimal choice as a source of carbohydrate” 

“potential to exacerbate the components of the insulin resistance syndrome” 

Fructose is considered a bad choice for sweetening. It can also cause blood sugar problems, and it may lead to diabetes.

Due to its many potential problems, it’s often advised to avoid this sugar as much as possible. Sugar has no nutritional value, and in this form it may promote unwanted side effects. 

Soy Protein Isolate: A defatted soybean extract that provides around 90% protein by volume.

Soy is often GMO unless otherwise stated, and it can potentially provide estrogen compounds, phytates and goitrogens.

The Nestlé Research Center found that this ingredient had detectable levels of phytates:

“phytic acid is a major inhibitory factor of iron absorption in soy-protein isolate” 

Phytates are known to reduce mineral intake, so it can potentially cause nutritional deficiencies. This may not only stall many important body functions, but it can lead to serious health problems.

Harvard also confirmed the possibility for soy to create increases in estrogen:

“handful of unsettling reports suggest that… soy proteins may actually stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells” 

This is due to the phytoestrogens, which can cause increase in the hormone estrogen. This can lead to an increased risk for cancer, as well as harm to both men and women through hormone manipulation. 

Cellulose Gel: Food thickener and emulsifier. It’s often added to things like toothpaste, detergents and paper products.

Studies into this ingredients safety have shown it to be potentially bad for overall health. One study by the International Weekly Journal of Science called Nature, found that this ingredient:

“increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory disease” 

Mice given this ingredient had a likelihood of being obese. Since it can cause metabolism disorders, it may also create many other associated health problems. 

Carrageenan: Thickener and binder that’s extracted from edible seaweed.

A study by the Naylor Dana Institute for Disease Prevention found that this ingredient:

“had an enhancing effect in colorectal carcinogenesis in rats” 

When given to these rats, there was an increase in tumors. Another study published in the Cancer Letters also found the same side effect. There has been concern from a few studies that it may be a cancer-causing ingredient. 

Acesulfame Potassium: Calorie free artificial sweetener that has had controversy over its potential health risks.

A study published by PLOS One saw that this ingredient had effects that ranged from:

“altering fasting insulin and leptin levels” 

“could affect cognitive functions, potentially via altering neuro-metabolic function” 

In this study, it was found to not reduce hunger, while affecting blood sugar negatively. It could have a negative brain effect that might effect the possibility for weight loss. 

Sucralose: Non-caloric artificial sweetener that can be around 1,000 times sweeter than sucrose.

Several studies have shown side effects from this ingredient. The Washington University School of Medicine performed one such study:

“Sucralose affects the glycemic and insulin response to an oral glucose load” 

So this ingredient could affect metabolism, and it raised the blood sugar in rats. Though artificial sweeteners are meant to stabilize blood sugar, studies confirmed it had the opposite effect.

Glucerna Quality Of Ingredients

glucernaThis meal replacement is meant to help stabilize blood sugar levels. Though many of its ingredients have shown the opposite effect. Corn maltodextrin, fructose, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and carrageenan have all shown the possibility to cause metabolism, and blood sugar disorder.

Also, there’s a high amount of potentially dangerous artificial ingredients added. Some of which have clinical studies showing they promote weight gain.

There’s a high mount of calories added at 190 per serving.  All these issues might make one actually likely to be obese.

The Price and Quality of Glucerna 

The company sells direct, a case of 24, 8 fl ounce bottles sells for $45.99. The daily price at 2 shakes a day is $3.83. 

Since there’s a high amount of artificial ingredients, cheap GMO protein, and a high amount of calories, it’s possible for this to actually  increase weight.

It’s claimed that this is the number #1 doctor recommended brand, but they fail to cite any proof of this claim. Considering how many studies have shown several of these ingredients to be potentially harmful to blood sugar levels, it wouldn’t make sense that this would be a recommended brand. 

Business of Glucerna 

Abbott Laboratories owns this brand, and they can be reached via the following: 

Phone Number: (800) 227-5767 

Address: 625 Cleveland Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43215

The company is a global group that makes healthcare products.

They had to settle a over $500 million dollar settlement due to illegal marketing. This was the 2nd largest settlement from a US drug company.

Customer Opinions of Glucerna 

Several reviews are available online. Here’s what a few customers have experienced:

“not helping my dad’s blood sugar… it’s causing it to rise very quickly”

 “I hated the taste… tastes reaaaaaaly bad!”

“tasted like cold cardboard and leaves a horrible aftertaste” 

“gave me diarrhea” 

People often mentioned that the taste was much too sweet, and that when they tracked their blood sugar levels, they noticed a spike increase.

There were also some people who experienced digestive related side effects.

Many were concerned with how artificial it tasted, and the lack of weight loss or blood sugar control benefits.

How Does Glucerna Compare?
  • Product Name
  • User Rating
  • Has Good Appetite Suppressant
  • Has Only Natural Components
  • Good Taste
  • Glucerna
  • 43 /100
Conclusion – Does Glucerna Work?

When looking for a meal replacement, it’s important to look at a the science of how a brand works. In Glucerna there’s a high amount of artificial ingredients, and most of what this shake is made up of is processed corn. Customers have also considered it much too sweet, and not beneficial for what it’s marketed towards, which is to help with blood sugar.

Meal replacement shakes that offer high quality protein, all natural ingredients, no added fillers, and that are user favorites are available. The very best option out of 2024 that meets all this criteria is 18Shake.

Not only is this meal replacement made with GMO free whey protein, but also it contains just 1 gram of sugar, 5 grams of fiber, and just 90 calories. It’s the reason why customers mention it’s effective for real weight loss results. You can read these glowing customer testimonials on their official website. People also highly rate the taste, ease of mixing, and appetite suppression.

18Shake is offered with a solid 30-day money back guarantee. So you can try this shake risk free.

One Response to Glucerna Review

Molly says:

Clayton hate it, this company pill is poor! Clayton had a bad response to this pill with problems in stomach and had a problem getting a refund.Under no circumstances drink anything unless your medico prescribe it!

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