Nutritional supplements such as Ensure have been successfully used to treat patients who are underweight and suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Elderly patients with chronic diseases are often placed on these supplements.

It seems that the manufacturers of these products realized that their market was too small. They recently have heavily advertised these liquids protein drinks to others, who in all likelihood don’t need these drinks. Chief among these groups are the elderly, who often don’t have a great diet. This is because they are more likely to live alone, have difficulties going to the store or preparing meals. Their diet is often lacking in fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy options.

Yet at the same time a record 75% of elderly Americans are either overweight or obese. Drinking these supplements, which are loaded with unnecessary calories, and for the most part useless vitamins is not the answer either. You wouldn’t know this however from the ads, which make it seem like life is just not worth living without these wonderful, miraculous drinks. Vibrant, smiling gray haired couples are walking among flowered gardens or riding their bikes through lush meadows. They are holding a glass of Ensure or some other protein drink. The hidden message? If you drink this stuff you will look and act like these couples.

The minor issue is just that there is absolutely no evidence that drinking high calorie protein and vitamin supplements will do anything positive for the health of most patients, except those who suffer from serious protein and or vitamin deficiency. This by the way means most of us.

Not deterred by the facts, these companies continue to tout their products. Better than drinking wasted calories, try eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. See you doctor, who can determine whether you suffer from a significant nutritional disorder and  help connect you or you loved ones with folks, who will teach you how eat well.