PediaSure Review – Is it Really a Complete, Balanced Nutrition?

PediaSure is a nutritional supplement in liquid and powder variety specially designed for kids that show signs of clinical malnutrition or for kids who are at the risk of developing any condition that could lead to undernourishment.

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility that can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly if you are new to this job. At every step of the parenting pathway, you find yourselves asking ‘if I am doing it right’. This keen sense of alertness to the needs of our child may cause an overprotective attitude and one may find them overdoing the job. The same is true for many of us when we place PediaSure among the category of milk taste enhancers, which the product is not.

What is PediaSure and what are the indications for its use? Are the ingredients of PediaSure compatible with its indications and how well they serve their purpose, let us find it out in this analysis.

Some of the misunderstandings are cleared when a referral to the manufacturer of PediaSure is acknowledged. PediaSure is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company ABBOTT that is well known for its many nutritional support products as Pedialyte, Ensure, Elecare, Similac and so on. The nutritional support products by Abbott address a range of age from infants to adults and elderly.

Hence, PediaSure is a pharmaceutical product (yes not a medicine) aimed at providing sustenance when the situation calls for it.

The product range under PediaSure

Abbott has designed its PediaSure label as 14 yields but only three of them will be mentioned here

  • PediaSure Grow and Gain
  • PediaSure Grow and Gain with Fiber
  • PediaSure Grow and Gain Shake Mix

PediaSure Grow and Gain supplements the growth and weight of children who are falling behind on growth. Similarly, the PediaSure Grow and Gain with Fiber has the same indication for use with the addition of fiber in the drink. The PediaSure Grow and Gain Shake Mix is formulated as a powder form to be mixed and consumed with milk, providing an upgrade to a normal meal.

The ingredients of PediaSure

The PediaSure Grow and Gain and its corresponding product with Fiber serve 240 calories per 8fl oz bottle. The distribution of different nutrients of both is almost the same, the details of which can be found on the official page. Nevertheless, the three main sources of nutrition are

  • Fat 9 gms
  • Carbohydrates 33 gms
  • Proteins 12 gms
  • Sugar 12 gms in the simple preparation and 18gms in the formula with the fiber
  • Dietary fiber less than one gram in the simple preparation and 3gms in the one with the fiber

All of these values are based on a 2000-calorie diet with the addition of water and fat-soluble vitamins plus many minerals.

According to WHO standards and following the recommendations from Institute Of Medicine and customer feedback, Abbott has made sure that the sugar content of their products is well within a healthy range yet, they have not made any compromise on the carbohydrate and caloric count of the drinks. The total sugars were reduced by 33%, the details of which can be accessed on the website.

PediaSure Grow and Gain Shake Mix deliver a total of 170 calories exclusively when mixed with milk. The main nutrition sources are

  • Fat 6 gms
  • Carbohydrates 23 gms
  • Proteins 6 gms
  • Sugar 9 gms

The rest of the vitamin and mineral content is same as of the PediaSure drinks.

The PediaSure Grow and Gain are available in five different flavors while the one with the fiber is available in two flavors.

The former two products are ready-to-drink products while the Shake Mix is formulated as a powder that can be mixed with milk in a proportion of 1/3 cup powder and ¾-cup milk to give a boost to the nutritional power of milk.

Indications of PediaSure products

We have come across many negative and critical reviews about the ingredients and nutritional value, that the PediaSure products carry but once the indications of PediaSure are understood, the whole lot becomes clear and patent e: g the quite high sugar content, the choice of fats.

First, PediaSure is indicated for children from 2-13 years of range. This particular indication for age has a specific meaning; the targeted age is of prime and critical importance to the mental, physical, behavioral and cognitive growth of a child. Any nutritional deficiencies in this period would hamper the development of a child often leading to long-term health repercussions in one’s life; some may follow into adulthood and old age, affecting the overall mortality and morbidity of a person.

Secondly, PediaSure is indicated for children with clinical signs and symptoms of malnutrition as linear growth retardation, decreased muscle mass, delayed milestones of development, poor focusing ability, low energy, a weak immune system with recurrent infections and so on. Children who have a hard to please attitude towards food, are fussy and particular about their meal choices are often at risk of developing an undernourished state. For such cases, PediaSure is a great help for parents to assist in the feeding rituals of their child and avoid reaching a dead on nutritional status.

Abbott has very clearly indicated that PediaSure is not a meal replacement product, not sole-source nutrition but is to be used as a supplement.

The vitamin and mineral content of PediaSure gradually brings the appetite back while compensating for the nutritional deficiencies if any, the rest is up to the parents to coax and tempt the child to have regular healthy meals.

What we like about

Apart from being an aid to parents in meeting the nutritional balance for their child, PediaSure has some add on that make it a better choice

  • Kosher
  • Gluten free
  • Suitable for lactose intolerant cases (only the Shake Mix, when added to a lactose-free preparation)
  • Halal
  • Available over the counter at pharmacies, retail stores, and grocery stores
  • Ease of use in the form of ready-to-drink products
  • Pleasant sweet taste for agreeable consumption by children
  • Different products catering for different age groups
  • 32 mg of DHA per serving, an essential fatty acid critical for the brain growth
  • No allergens in the form of nuts or fish derivatives (details on the official website)
  • Caffeine free except for the chocolate flavored drinks that contain natural caffeine
  • The powder form can be incorporated into other food and beverages to create healthy and appetizing recipes

Contraindications to the use of PediaSure

There are only two conditions when PediaSure cannot be taken up as a supplement to growth

  • Galactosemia
  • Any kind of allergy to foods containing soy or dairy yield

Any added discounts

PediaSure is easily available and if you sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, you can avail their $3-off coupon and many other savings opportunities throughout the subscription period.

PediaSure is also SNAP/EBT eligible. Except for the state of Arkansas, PediaSure is available via the WIC program for children up to the age of five years.

Conclusion

PediaSure provides supplemental relief to children who are at risk of developing a poor nutritional status.

Many parents have complaints about the product to contain too much of sugar and poor flavoring, however, it is observed that it is a personal opinion of many customers who have perceived the product as a ‘flavored milk’ or ‘milk taste enhancer’.

The vitamins and minerals are required in minute amounts by our body so any undersupplied state occurs subtly and their signs appear belatedly. At the same time, children with healthy eating routines can be fussy at times.  To avoid reaching an intervention stage, PediaSure is an occasional supplement for an otherwise healthy child with good eating habits.

Nonetheless, the status of PediaSure remains as a supplement.

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