PediaSure…a source of complete and balanced nutrition for our kids?

nestle quik nesquik

When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was chocolate milk.

nestle quik nesquik

A great big glass of milk (whole milk, not skim) with a heaping tablespoon of Nestle Quik.

mmmmmmmmmmmmm good. I can almost taste it now.

True, it wasn’t the healthiest choice of beverage for a growing boy, but like I said, it was an occasional treat, and all of the good stuff in the milk helped to make up for the overdose of sugar in the chocolate milk powder.

Well, things certainly are different today.

Today, good old fashioned chocolate milk has been re-placed, re-packaged, re-formulated and re-branded as PediaSure.  And PediaSure is being marketed to parents as the pediatrician recommended choice for your child’s nutritive needs.

Ahhhh, wasn’t that adorable. The poor little kid doesn’t like broccoli or chicken or waffles. But she sure likes her PediaSure.

And that’s okay, because PediaSure is “a source of complete balanced nutrition…for healthy growth”.

And it’s pediatrician recommended.

You can trust me, I'm a doctor
You can trust me, I'm a doctor

Okay, let’s forget about the pediatrician recommended thing for a moment.

Let’s try to be objective and look at the ingredients.

Here is a little chart I put together comparing PediaSure and my childhood addiction, chocolate milk.

Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image
Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image

PediaSure vs Chocolate Milk-pdf

Note – I included a whole milk and a reduced fat chocolate milk in the comparison because I realize that no one drinks whole milk anymore because of the fear of cholesterol. And I am glad I did. It provided an interesting observation.

PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

Here are some of my observations:

  • PediaSure is higher in calories than both of the chocolate milk samples.
  • The higher calories is due primarily to a higher fat content
  • The higher fat content is a design feature of PediaSure. PediaSure is fortified with  life’sDHA by Martek Biosciences Corporation. DHA is an Omega3 fatty acid that has been shown to support brain development.

In fact, PediaSure ran another commercial highlighting the supplemental DHA in their product.

Here is some more info on life’sDHA. Feel free to scroll down if the details are too geeky for you.

LifesDHA_logolife’sDHA™ from algae is a vegetarian source of DHA. It’s produced, from start to finish, in an FDA-inspected facility with controls in place to ensure the highest quality.

Martek’s microalgae are grown in fermentors that range in size from 80,000 to 260,000 liters. The algae are then harvested and processed to extract the DHA-rich oil. The finished product is a clear, amber-colored oil rich in DHA.

And as my regular readers already know, I am a big fan of DHA and Omega3s in general. There are lots of health benefits to supplementing your kid’s diet with Omega 3s.

Back to PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

  • All 3 samples have the same amount of protein
  • The reduced fat chocolate milk has the lowest amount of fat calories (duh!)
  • And it has replaced those fat calories with sucrose

But most important….

  • PediaSure has far and away the highest amount of Omega6 fatty acids

and when we look at their Omega6 to Omega3 ratios, we see that:

  • PediaSure has a 10.6 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio, while
  • Whole milk chocolate milk has a 1.7 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio

And, as I have said before, having a diet with a high Omega6 : Omega3 ratio, is a bad, bad thing.

As well, it should also be noted that organic milk (or pre-factory farm milk) has been shown to have 71% more Omega3 fatty acids than conventional milk. Just some food for thought.

Here are a couple of studies – Study 1, Study 2

So, what does all of this mean?

  1. In my opinion, PediaSure is inferior to whole milk chocolate milk when it comes to feeding your kids.
  2. Kids don’t like broccoli. Never have, never will. But instead of giving up on feeding real, healthy food to your kids, go to your library and take out this book.
  3. Monkey see, monkey do. If you are eating junk for dinner, how are you ever going to convince your kids to eat healthy?
  4. Even if chocolate milk is healthier for your kids than PediaSure, please remember that it is not a wonder-food. It’s a treat…like dessert.

.

And please, please, please – pass this article on to anyone you know who has kids and is feeding their kids PediaSure.

Childhood obesity is higher than ever before….and if we’re at the point where laboratory designed chocolate milk is actually being sold as a healthy option for our kids, we have really lost our way.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates

.

Related Posts

.

Reference

18 thoughts on “PediaSure…a source of complete and balanced nutrition for our kids?

  1. Another excellent article.

    I was just thinking about two health and fitness issues today that I was hoping you could blog on.

    First, what are the best post-workout activities? Aside from slamming down a post-workout protein shake what else can I do to help my body recover and build strength and muscle? Should I take a short nap, a hot shower, a brisk walk? Is it better to jump in the sauna or a cold bath?

    I’ll save the second topic for another day.

  2. I’ve not liked that commercial since I first saw it. Everytime I want to cook some typically not enjoyed (but very healthy) vegetable, like brussel sprouts or kale, and my girlfriend makes a face, I quote the little girl in that commercial…

    “I don’t think I like that!”

    Interesting blog post! I just looked at the nutrition info for Nesquik, and it seems even more superior to PediaSure because of its lower energy and comparable vitamin content.

    It’s funny because products like this are fine to consume as a supplement to an already healthy diet of an adolescent that requires a lot more energy per body weight than an adult, but the problem is most parents that buy this will be doing so to make up for a perceived inadequacy in their childs diet, rather than actually fixing the problem… which is their job as a parent.

  3. Did you see my latest post on the heavy bag exercises I’ve incorporated into my H.I.T. training and regular workout sessions. I have to be more creative now that it is summer time so I don’t have access to a gym.

  4. My 5 year old autistic son eats VERY little and only eats a very limited selection of foods (which is characteristic of his condition) – he only eats toast, sausages (which in my opinion are evil!), salmon fish fingers, pasta & ocassionally porridge. I don’t give him diary because it drives him insane & messes up his digestive system. In desperation I tried Ensure but he wouldn’t go near it. I’ve tried giving him jelly vitamins but he knows by the smell that they’re not regular jellies so won’t take them. I’ve blended veggies into his pasta sauce & tried hiding milled seeds into his porridge but again, like the jellies, he knows it’s different. He’s ridiculously sensitive to taste & smell so knows when I’m trying to ‘trick’ him by disguising healthy foods into his regular foods. I’ve tried everything but nothing works. I’m at my wits end! He’s very pale & thin. Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.

  5. Not to be rude but mixing different things in kids food is not going to make the kid want it. My daughter gets odd things mixed in her food at school, and she waits until she gets home to eat what we have. Kids just won’t eat unless they like, and feel comfortable about what they are eating. Some parents just have to learn to stop wanting things a certain way, and just feed the child what they will eat. If I didn’t do this my kid would be in the hospital he won’t eat like your son. I learned to take things slow, and find out what he will eat, but parents like us have no other option my son may also have autism because he behaves exactly like yours. No matter what you do nothing seems to work, but the kid has to eat so you and up finding things they will eat.

  6. Besides if you son is thin than why worry about health food I think it is pointless. Let kids enjoy eating what they can now, and worry about the body in later years. If you can get away with it than why not? I try my hardest to get as much fat in my kids food because it scares me that he is thin.

  7. I have a bottle of pediasure in front of me and it only has 150 calories, your other numbers are way off as well. And it was recommended by our pediatrician, our daughter isn’t even on the growth chart. So pediasure can be a good thing, especially if its the only thing the kid can tolerate, which was the case at the time. Pediasure and bananas kept her alive until the docs figured out her digestive problems. Now she is small for her age but catching up fast and it was because pediasure existed.

  8. http://pediasure.com/kid-nutrition-products/kids-nutritional-drink

    PediaSure Vanilla
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size1 bottle (8 fl oz)
    Servings1
    Calories240
    Calories from Fat80
    Amount Per Serving% DV*
    Total Fat: 9g14%
    Saturated Fat: 3g15%
    Trans Fat: 0g
    Cholesterol: 10mg3%
    Sodium: 90mg4%
    Amount Per Serving% DV*
    Potassium: 310mg9%
    Total Carbohydrate: 31g10%
    Dietary Fiber: 1g4%
    Sugars: 18g
    Protein: 7g14%
    Vitamin A 8% • Vitamin C 40% • Calcium 25% • Iron 20% • Vitamin D 30% • Vitamin E 20% • Vitamin K 20% • Thiamin 40% • Riboflavin 30% • Niacin 10% • Vitamin B6 30% • Folate 20% • Vitamin B12 25% • Biotin 15% • Pantothenic Acid 25% • Phosphorus 20% • Iodine 15% • Magnesium 10% • Zinc 10% • Selenium 10% • Copper 10% • Manganese 20% • Chromium 6% • Molybdenum 10% • Chloride 8% • Choline 15%*Percent Daily Values (DVs) are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet.

    Ingredients

    WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL, SOY OIL, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MEDIUM-CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SHORT-CHAIN FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CELLULOSE GEL, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), CELLULOSE GUM, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, C. COHNII OIL, ASCORBIC ACID, m-INOSITOL, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, CARRAGEENAN, TAURINE, FERROUS SULFATE, dl-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, L-CARNITINE, ZINC SULFATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, NIACINAMIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMINE CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM IODIDE, SODIUM SELENATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, PHYLLOQUINONE, CYANOCOBALAMIN, AND VITAMIN D3.
    CONTAINS SOY AND MILK INGREDIENTS.

    PediaSure SideKicks Vanilla
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size1 bottle (8 fl oz)
    Servings1
    Calories150
    Calories from Fat45

    Total Fat: 5g8%
    Saturated Fat: 1g5%
    Trans Fat: 0g
    Cholesterol: <5mg<2%
    Sodium: 90mg4%
    Amount Per Serving% DV*
    Potassium: 390mg11%Total Carbohydrate: 21g7%Dietary Fiber: 3g12%Sugars: 17g Protein: 7g14%
    Vitamin A 10% • Vitamin C 40% • Calcium 25% • Iron 15% • Vitamin D 40% • Vitamin E 20% • Vitamin K 20% • Thiamin 40% • Riboflavin 30% • Niacin 10% • Vitamin B6 30% • Folate 15% • Vitamin B12 25% • Biotin 15% • Pantothenic Acid 25% • Phosphorus 20% • Iodine 15% • Magnesium 10% • Zinc 10% • Selenium 10% • Copper 10% • Manganese 20% • Chromium 10% • Molybdenum 10% • Chloride 8% • Choline 15%*Percent Daily Values (DVs) are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet.

    Ingredients
    WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY OIL, SHORT-CHAIN FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: CELLULOSE GEL, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GUM, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, CARRAGEENAN, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, m-INOSITOL, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, TAURINE, FERROUS SULFATE, dl-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, L-CARNITINE, ZINC SULFATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, NIACINAMIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM IODIDE, SODIUM SELENATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, PHYLLOQUINONE, VITAMIN D3, AND CYANOCOBALAMIN.
    CONTAINS SOY AND MILK INGREDIENTS.

    USDA data – reduced fat chocolate milk

  9. From a nutritional standpoint, PediaSure is inferior to chocolate milk….based on the reasons I highlighted in the article

    However, if PediaSure and bananas were the only foods your daughter would tolerate, and they helped her put weight on, then I would have gone with the PediaSure and bananas as well.

    Heck, if all she would eat is pizza and coca-cola, but it helped kick start a growth spurt, I would be ordering pizza for dinner every night.

    Best wishes for you and your daughter

  10. My Sons health nutritionist,pediatrician, AND while we had WIC. till we got on our feet his  wic case worker have all hawked Pediasure  for him being naive parents we pumped out hundreds at the store so he would have three a day but noticed no improvement minus bigger bowls we had him on it for a year too no growth and he eats quite healthy for a child, even likes broccoli   , wonder if they get a bonus lol. looking at the ingredients, soy, which is known to disrupt proper balance in hormones plus may be sourced from gmo, seeing the corn dextrose another gmo round up ready franken plant, all these additives. some you can’t even pronounce and others that are not all too healthy. i agree with you. this should not be recommended by any health professional nor nutritionist . we switched doctors and nutritionist and got far better advice. and he is far less rambunctious(another thing additives are known for causing behavior problems) seems that’s what most doctors do now a days , recommend snake oil without investigating like you did so wonderfully a huge thank you btw. they just take the latest thing like its a benefit and advanced  instead of really analyzing it. We started upping his fish intake and giving him bigger platters to pick and  choose from , the new nutritionist and pediatrician said the best ingredients don’t come from a drink or a pill, they come strait from the source. he’s grown rapidly since taking their advice. great full their are those who know what they are talking about and have their heart in their job. 

  11. Especially with our kids, we all want a doctor to NOT rush through a diagnosis and just peddle the latest product being sold by Big Pharma. The value in a family doc is when they stop and THINK…like your new pediatrician and nutritionist. They spent all those years gaining knowledge…shouldn’t they put it to work instead of peddling drugs???

  12. Ovaltine. Hands down. The sugar is HALF that of Pediasure and it has a good amount of added nutrients and vitamins. ;) More Ovaltine please!

  13. Wow, Thankyou for the article. What an eye opener. You always believe you are doing the best for your children, especially when something is recommended by your paediatrician.
    I give my son two cups of pediasure as he is not too keen on food (his twin brother is the complete opposite!) and he loves it. I need to find a replacement for the pediasure and quick!

  14. Pediasure is not for normal kids. It’s for difficult kids who can’t or refuse to eat other things. OR kids who are sick and can hold down pediasure along with one or two other foods.
    Stop parent shaming people for giving their kids a product that is SUPPOSED to be high in fat. Pediasure is is designed to be able to completely replace solid foods if necessary. Go check the website. The pediasure sidekicks, are for those who have kids who will refuse to eat meals, or just graze throughout the day. 150 calories with 3 grams of fiber, and a mile long list of vitamins? I’m sold.

    If you actually do some research you will find hoards of stressed parents who had tried everything they could to get their child to eat enough to be healthy, and now sing the praises of Pediasure, even at it’s steep cost.
    8oz a bottle, at almost $2 a bottle, this stuff racks up, if you’re using it as milk, you are crazy.

    Next time stop and see what a product was really made for, before you go out and condem parents for not “doing their job” Pediasure was not ever supposed to be chocolate milk in a fancy outfit.

  15. Your assumption that I am shaming parent is incorrect. Pediasure is an grossly inferior product being sold with very questionable marketing claims. There are a number of nutritional supplement companies that have meal replacement formulations that are far superior to Pediasure. Unfortunately, they don’t have the money, marketing budget or most importantly…medical industry clout to compete against Pediasure.

    Simply adding kid-friendly omega-3 fish oils and a whole food multi vit/min powder to a home-made chocolate milk shake made with real ice cream would be a far superior nutritional choice.

    The fact that they ARE marketing this product towards ALL children is what prompted me to write this article. While these inferior meal replacements (adults & kids) were originally intended for medical applications, they are now being targeted at the general population as a way to boost overall nutrition.

    Just because the manufacturer tells us that their product is great doesn’t mean it’s true.

  16. I have to agree with Jenny, my 2 1/2 old daughter was below charts and she does not eat anything but mac and cheese, milk, pasta and she loves chocolate milk which I have been giving it to her for months now. However, she never gained weight, instead lost weight and it was below the charts. Pediasure was the only thing that made her gain weight and look healthy again. I mix with 2% milk and give her just 1/2 bottle per day. I really don’t like the fat contents and agree with your chocolate milk x pediasure, but this was my last resort and it worked.

Comments are closed.