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Boost is a popular brand of primarily premixed nutrition drinks commonly recommended by healthcare providers to promote weight gain, primarily in older adults.
However, you may wonder whether drinking Boost is actually effective for weight gain.
This article explains whether drinking Boost can help you or a loved one gain weight, and if so, which Boost drink is best for weight gain.
What is Boost?
Boost is a brand of nutritional drinks manufactured by Nestle.
Some of the most popular Boost products include:
- Boost Original: The formula upon which other Boost drinks are based.
- Boost Plus: A higher-calorie and protein version of Boost Original.
- Boost Very High Calorie: The most calorie-dense Boost drink.
- Boost High Protein: The most protein-dense Boost drink.
- Boost Glucose Control: Provides the fewest carbohydrates, making it suitable for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Boost Breeze: A fat-free, fruit-flavored drink acceptable for clear liquid diets.
Boost drinks range between 190 and 530 calories and 10 and 22 grams of protein.
Most Boost drinks are an excellent source of multiple vitamins and minerals, providing at least 20% of the daily value.
Boost drinks contain milk but most contain small amounts of lactose, making them suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
They are also gluten-free and free of artificial colors and flavors.
You can find Boost drinks at most big-box retailers, pharmacies, and online.
Boost is a brand of nutritional drinks that range in calories and protein. They are an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals, free of gluten and artificial flavors and colors, and suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
Boost can help you gain weight
Gaining weight requires that you consistently consume more calories than your body needs.
This is known as a calorie surplus.
However, many people struggle to consume enough calories due to a poor appetite, increased calorie needs, underlying medical conditions, or certain medical treatments.
Drinking Boost can help you gain weight since they pack many calories in a relatively small volume.
And while Boost drinks are rich in protein, which tends to promote fullness, liquid calories tend to fill you up less than solid calories, allowing you to consume more before you get full (1).
To this point, several studies have shown that nutritional drinks like Boost can significantly increase calorie and protein intake without decreasing appetite, leading to gains in body weight (2, 3, 4).
However, while Boost drinks can be effective for weight gain, you shouldn’t rely on them too heavily as doing so can displace other healthy foods from your diet.
Drinking Boost can make it easier to get the calories you need to gain weight but you shouldn’t rely on them completely. Instead, drink them in addition to your regular diet.
Which Boost drink is best for weight gain?
With the variety of Boost drinks available, it can be challenging to know which is best for weight gain.
Most Boost drinks can help you gain weight, but Boost Very High Calorie is the best option.
Boost Very High Calorie — as the name suggests — provides 530 calories per carton, more than double that of Boost Original.
You can find Boost Very High Calorie on Amazon.
Because it provides a significant number of calories, you could drink Boost Very High Calorie as a meal replacement, but it would be better consumed between meals if you have high-calorie needs.
Age, gender, activity level, body size and composition, among other factors, influence your calorie needs.
For example, males generally have higher calorie needs than females and younger adults have higher calorie needs than older adults.
Times of infection or illness as well as certain diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, overactive thyroid, and heart failure can also increase your calorie needs.
Drinking one Boost Very High Calorie per day, without changing anything else in your diet, should allow a healthy weight gain rate of 0.5%–0.75% of your body weight per week, or about 0.8–1 pounds (0.4–0.5 kg) per week for a 150-pound person.
If you have lower calorie needs, Boost Plus is a good option for weight gain. It provides 360 calories and 14 grams of protein per carton.
Shop for Boost Plus on Amazon.
Providing the most calories of all the Boost products, Boost Very High Calorie is the best drink for weight gain. If you have lower calorie needs, Boost Plus is a good option for weight gain.
Boost vs. Ensure for weight gain
Ensure is another popular line of nutritional supplements.
Ensure has many products similar to Boost, most of which are direct competitors.
Due to its popularity and similarities with Boost, you may wonder whether one is better for gaining weight.
In terms of calories, Boost Very High-Calorie supplies the most calories of any Ensure or Boost product, making it the best choice for weight gain if you have higher calorie needs.
However, Boost Plus is nutritionally similar to its competitor Ensure Plus in terms of calories, protein, fats, carbs, and vitamin and mineral content.
So if you don’t require as many calories, either Boost or Ensure Plus can help you meet your weight gain goals.
Therefore, you should consider other factors that may be important to you like cost and taste.
In general, Boost Plus costs several dollars less per pack than Ensure Plus, but the cost may vary depending on where you live and shop.
In my opinion, Vanilla Ensure Plus tastes better than Vanilla Boost Plus, but I liked the taste of Rich Chocolate Boost Plus more than Milk Chocolate Ensure Plus.
Of course, with taste being subjective, you may find you like one or the other better depending on flavor.
Learn more about the differences between Boost and Ensure here.
Boost Very High Calorie provides the most calories than any Boost or Ensure product, making it the best choice for weight gain in terms of overall calories. However, Boost Plus and Ensure Plus are nutritionally similar, and either can help you reach your weight gain goals.
Other tips for weight gain
Beyond supplementing your diet with Boost, here are a few other ways to make sure you get the calories you need to gain weight.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Many people find it easier to get more calories by consuming smaller, more frequent meals rather than three square meals.
This is especially true for people with a poor appetite or who experience early satiety, meaning you’re unable to eat a full meal or feel very full after eating a small amount.
Aim to consume three small meals separated by 2–3 high-calorie snacks.
Fortify your meals
One of the most effortless ways to gain weight is to increase the calories of the foods you already eat.
You can do this by:
- top your oatmeal with mixed nuts or dried fruits
- use whole milk in replace of water when making hot cereal or cream soups
- melt butter over potatoes, rice, and pasta, or add to soups
- use extra oil when cooking meats and vegetables
- add high-calorie protein powder to oatmeals, casseroles, or soups
- add cheese to eggs, soups, sandwiches, mashed potatoes, and pasta
- spread your toast with cottage cheese, peanut butter, or honey
Fill up on fats
Increasing your intake of fats is an efficient way to increase your calories and promote weight gain since they provide more than double the calories of protein or carbs.
While fried foods, bakery products, and desserts are fine in moderation, fill up on these healthy sources of fat:
- whole-fat milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt
- nuts and seeds
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- extra-virgin olive oil
- whole eggs
In addition to supplementing your diet with Boost, try eating smaller, more frequent meals, fortifying your diet with high-calorie ingredients, and filling up on healthy fat sources to gain weight.
The bottom line
Boost is a popular line of mostly premixed nutritional drinks.
Drinking Boost is an effective way to increase your calories and gain weight, but you should drink them as a supplement to the foods you already consume — not a replacement.
Boost Very High Calorie is the best drink for weight gain since it packs the most calories, but Boost Plus is a good option too.
Ensure Plus is nutritionally similar to Boost Plus and one isn’t necessarily better than the other for weight gain.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals, fortifying your diet with high-calorie foods, and filling up on healthy fats are other ways to get more calories so you can more easily reach your weight gain goals.