Glucerna is a nutritional supplement meal replacement that may help provide balanced nutrition for people with diabetes. A person may be able to include it as part of a diabetes management plan.

Diabetes is a group of chronic health conditions that can occur when the body does not make enough of the hormone insulin or does not use it effectively. These conditions can make blood sugar levels difficult to regulate.

Glucerna is a nutritional product that contains slow-release carbohydrates, which may help minimize blood glucose response. Glucerna may help a person with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels as part of a diabetes management plan. However, a person should seek advice from a doctor before using Glucerna for diabetes.

In this article, we will discuss the effectiveness of Glucerna for a person living with diabetes.

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Diabetes is a group of long-term health conditions that affect the body’s regulation of blood sugar levels.

When glucose levels in the body rise, the pancreas releases insulin to help regulate a person’s blood sugar level and keep it within an appropriate range.

When a person has diabetes, their body either does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin effectively. This can make it difficult to keep blood sugar levels within target ranges, which can result in health complications.

Blood glucose response is the fluctuation of blood sugar levels in the body that can occur due to diet and exercise. The glycemic index (GI) is a rating system that describes which foods raise blood glucose levels quickly, slowly, or moderately after a person eats them.

Foods with a higher GI will raise blood glucose more quickly. Foods with a low GI will raise blood glucose more slowly and can help a person with diabetes keep their levels steady after eating.

Glucerna is a brand of meal replacement shakes and bars. These products are low in calories and sugar and high in protein. These products may be most useful for people with type 2 diabetes. Because the products have a low GI, they can help reduce blood glucose response.

According to Abbott Nutrition, Glucerna products can provide balanced nutrition for a person with diabetes as part of a diabetes management plan. Below is the nutritional information for an 8-fluid-ounce serving of Glucerna Therapeutic Nutrition Shake.

Nutritional information Amount per serving
Protein10 grams (g)
Total fat9 g
Trans fat0 g
Polyunsaturated fat3 g
Monounsaturated fat4 g
Total carbohydrate26 g
Dietary fiber4 g
Total sugars 7 g
Added sugars 7 g

Many of the ingredients in Glucerna should not have a negative effect on blood glucose levels in a person with diabetes. Some of the ingredients may help lower blood glucose levels, including:

  • Sucromalt: A 2019 study suggests that supplements made with sucromalt have a low GI and can produce a good glycemic response for a person with diabetes.
  • Milk proteins: Research suggests that the proteins found in milk may lower blood glucose response for a person with diabetes.
  • Vegetable oils: A small 2018 study suggests that vegetable oils, such as canola oil, may improve symptoms of diabetes. However, much more research is necessary to learn more about this.
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides: Animal studies suggest that this type of prebiotic fiber may help regulate blood glucose levels. Although more research is necessary, a 2019 review notes that fructo-oligosaccharides may have antidiabetic properties.

One of the ingredients in Glucerna, maltodextrin, has a very high GI of 110. This can cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly. However, because Glucerna contains a blend of ingredients that help offset that rapid rise in blood sugar, it is a low GI supplement.

Read on to learn more about diabetes-friendly foods.

A 2016 study suggests that Glucerna can reduce the glucose response in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a 2019 study found that Glucerna helped with blood sugar management in older adults with type 2 diabetes who were at risk for malnutrition.

People with diabetes can be more vulnerable to high cholesterol levels. Approximately 15–20% of the energy Glucerna products provide may come from monounsaturated fatty acids. And according to the American Diabetes Association, these fats can help lower cholesterol as part of a balanced diet.

Therefore, people with diabetes may be able to include Glucerna in their diet as part of a diabetes management plan. However, a person should consult a doctor before making any changes to their dietary patterns.

A person with diabetes may need to be aware of several risks when consuming Glucerna, including:

  • Vitamin E overconsumption: Glucerna contains vitamin E, which could be dangerous if a person with diabetes is also taking blood thinning medication for heart disease.
  • Effects of niacinamide: Glucerna contains niacinamide, which may raise blood sugar levels when a person is not eating. However, more research is necessary to confirm this.
  • Lack of variety: If a person with diabetes regularly consumes meal replacement products such as Glucerna, their diet may lack variety. This is particularly true if they do not include healthy food groups such as whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables in their diet.

There are several other meal replacement nutritional supplements on the market for people with diabetes. However, if a person consumes these, they should aim to ensure that the rest of their diet is nutrient-rich and well balanced.

Eating the right amounts of healthy foods at the right time can help a person manage their diabetes. A doctor can help a person put together a diabetes management plan.

Some of the other available meal replacement products for people with diabetes are:

  • FontActiv diaBest: This product benefits from having no added fructose or sucrose.
  • Almased: This is a meal replacement product for weight loss that can have a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
  • Boost Glucose Control: This product is low in fat and carbohydrates and high in protein. It is also a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant.
  • Extend Nutrition: These products have a low GI and are low in calories.

Glucerna is a low GI meal replacement nutritional supplement. It may help a person with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels as part of a diabetes management plan.

Glucerna contains ingredients such as sucromalt, milk proteins, and fructo-oligosaccharides, which may help regulate blood sugar levels in a person with diabetes.

A person with diabetes should consult a doctor before making any changes to their diet, including trying a diabetes-specific nutritional formula such as Glucerna.