| |

Ensure vs Boost: Taste, Nutrition, and Best for Weight Gain

We include links to products that we think our readers will find useful. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Learn about our process.

Ensure and Boost are two heavyweight brands of premixed and powdered nutritional supplements.

Both lines offer several products that are similar to each other, so you may wonder how exactly they differ.

This article breaks down the differences between ensure and boost, comparing their taste, nutrition, and which is best for weight gain and the elderly.

Ensure vs Boost

Ensure and Boost products

Ensure and Boost are the name brands of popular premixed nutritional drinks.

Abbott produces Ensure, and Nestle produces Boost.

Ensure and Boost have long been used in healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes to prevent unintentional weight, promote weight gain, and for more targeted reasons like surgery recovery or wound healing.

However, these products are also prescribed or recommended by doctors and dietitians to the general public for various reasons, including weight gain, and weight loss, and to promote overall complete and balanced nutrition.

There are several products in the Ensure and Boost lineups.

Many products from both brands map or match perfectly with each other while one brand may have a product for which the other doesn’t have a suitable match.

Here’s a quick mapping of the most popular Ensure and Boost products:

Ensure OriginalBoost Original
Ensure PlusBoost Plus
(No match)Boost Very High Calorie
Ensure Complete(No match)
Ensure Max Protein(No match)
Ensure High ProteinBoost High Protein
Ensure Enlive(No match)
(No match)Boost Glucose Control
(No match)Boost Optimum
Ensure ClearBoost Breeze
Ensure vs. Boost Products

Ensure also makes other products that are designed to be consumed around surgery to enhance recovery.

Ensure and Boost products are premixed, but both brands offer a powder form that is similar to the Original.

Learn more about Ensure powder here.


Ensure and Boost are two popular lines of nutritional supplements. The product lines provide similar products to each other, but each line has some products for which the other has no suitable match.

Taste comparison

Taste is subjective — not everyone likes the same things.

Certain medications, diseases, and older age can influence taste, adding further subjectivity.

So what I think tastes good, you could think the opposite, and vice versa.

To this point, don’t let the results of the taste comparison be the only factor that drives your purchasing decision.

For the taste testing, I recruited my wife, Stephanie, so that way there are two opinions rather than one.

If we disagreed on the measures that we tested, we had a mutual friend serve as the tiebreaker.

The measures we tested included:

  • Nose (smell): The scents or aromas the drinks give off.
  • Palate (taste): The overall sweetness, bitterness, body, or texture.
  • Finish (aftertaste): The sense of texture and flavor that lingers in the mouth after tasting the drink.

We started with the Original product comparison, taking sips of water and bites of cracker to cleanse the palate between products, and then moved to the Plus products.

Both brands have many flavors, but we chose chocolate and vanilla since they tend to be the most widely available and popular flavors.

We compared Ensure Original to Boost Original, and Ensure Plus to Boost Plus for both flavors.

The flavor we liked the best is noted below each table.

Milk Chocolate Ensure vs. Rich Chocolate Boost

Ensure OriginalBoost OriginalEnsure PlusBoost Plus
Nose (smell)Rich, sweetSmooth, strongRich, sweetMild
Palate (taste)Mild chocolate hintsStrong chocolate hintsCreamy chocolateDark chocolate
Finish (aftertaste)CreamyCreamy, boldCreamy, boldCocoa powder

Best tasting:

  • Milk Chocolate Ensure Original
  • Rich Chocolate Boost Plus
ensure original vs boost original

Vanilla Ensure vs. Very Vanilla Boost

Ensure OriginalBoost OriginalEnsure PlusBoost Plus
Nose (smell)SubtleSubtleSubtle, NuttyMedicinal
Palate (taste)ButterscotchMalt-likeDelicate vanillaButtery
Finish (aftertaste)Vanilla bean Vanilla beanButterscotchVanilla bean

Best tasting:

  • Vanilla Ensure Original
  • Vanilla Ensure Plus
ensure plus vs boost plus


In the opinion of my wife and me, Ensure tasted the best in 3 out of 4 comparisons, with Rich Chocolate Boost Plus tasting better than Milk Chocolate Ensure Plus.

Nutrition comparison

Here’s a nutrition comparison between the Ensure and Boost Original and Plus products:

Ensure OriginalBoost OriginalEnsure PlusBoost Plus
Size8 oz (237 mL)8 oz (237 mL)8 oz (237 mL)8 oz (237 mL)
Protein (grams)9101614
Carbs (grams)33374845
Fat (grams)661114
Fiber (grams)1011

The Plus products are the clear winner for calorie and protein content, as the term, “Plus,” would suggest.

Otherwise, there are only small but insignificant differences between Ensure and Boost Original and between Ensure and Boost Plus for calories, macronutrients — protein, carbs, and fat — or fiber.

Though you can purchase Ensure with added fiber, which provides 3 grams of fiber per bottle.

The Original and Plus products from each brand also provide similar amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Both are excellent sources of at least 24 vitamins and minerals, meaning they provide at least 20% of the daily value.

The protein source from both brands comes from soy and milk.

However, both brands contain small amounts of lactose, making them suitable for most people with lactose intolerance.

Ensure utilizes natural and artificial flavors, and depending on the flavor, artificial sweeteners and colors, while Boost utilizes only natural flavors, sweeteners, and colors.


Ensure Original and Plus share small but insignificant differences from their Boost Original and Plus competitors in terms of calories, macronutrients, fiber, and vitamin and mineral content.

Best for weight gain and the elderly

Consistently eating more calories than you need each day (calorie surplus) is how you gain weight.

You can best accomplish this by eating at least three high-calorie meals separated by high-calorie snacks daily.

If you need ideas, try these easy high-calorie meals and snacks for weight gain.

You can use Boost or Ensure to increase your calories and gain weight, but you shouldn’t use them to replace a meal since your meals should contain more calories than either can provide.

However, they make an excellent snack to drink between your meals.

The Plus products provide 50–59% more calories than the Originals, making them a better option for weight gain and the elderly.

There is no significant difference between Ensure Plus and Boost Plus in terms of calories so choose one based on factors that may be important to you like taste and cost.

Beyond their high-calorie content, either Ensure or Boost Plus can help you gain weight since liquid calories tend to fill you up less than solid calories.

This makes them great if you struggle to get enough calories each day due to a poor appetite, which is common among the elderly.

For even more calories, you can also use Ensure or Boost as the liquid base for homemade high-calorie shakes and smoothies.

Here are some good ingredients for weight gain smoothies and shakes:

  • frozen berries
  • bananas
  • avocado
  • peanut butter
  • oats
  • Greek yogurt
  • whole-fat milk
  • heavy whipping cream

Simply combine Ensure or Boost with the ingredients you want in a blender with ice and blend until smooth.

If you add oats, blend them into a fine powder first before you add other ingredients to allow a smooth, lump-free texture.

Use the flavor of Ensure or Boost to determine the ingredients you add as some pair better with certain flavors than others.

For example, vanilla pairs well with frozen blueberries and avocado, while chocolate pairs well with peanut butter and bananas.

If you need some ideas, try these high-calorie shakes and smoothies.


Compared with the Originals, Ensure and Boost Plus provide 50–99% more calories, making them a better option for weight gain and the elderly. However, because Ensure and Boost Plus provide a similar number of calories, there is no clear winner between them — both are great options to drink between meals.

Cost comparison and where to purchase

Here’s a cost comparison for Ensure and Boost Original and Plus products:

Ensure OriginalBoost OriginalEnsure PlusBoost Plus
Cost per 24 pack$38$34$49$39
Cost per bottle$1.58$1.42$2.04$1.63

These prices were pulled from Amazon for consistency but the prices can vary widely depending on plack size, sometimes the flavor, and where you live and shop.

You can purchase Ensure or Boost on sites like Amazon or in stores that sell health products like grocery stores, retail pharmacies, and big-box stores like Walmart and Target.

Regardless of whether you choose Ensure or Boost, you can save money by shopping around.

For example, I found that Ensure was less expensive at Walmart compared with a local grocery store chain, but Boost was less expensive at the local grocery store chain than Walmart.

Ensure and Boost are EBT-eligible since they are classified as conventional foods and not dietary supplements.


The cost of both brands’ products can vary significantly depending on the pack size, flavor, and where you live and shop. However, Boost — both Original and Plus — tends to cost less than Ensure.

The bottom line

Ensure and Boost are two popular brands of nutritional drinks.

Among each brand’s lineup, the Original and Plus products are the most popular and widely available.

Based on the opinion of my wife and me, Ensure tasted better than Boost in all comparisons except in the comparison between Milk Chocolate Ensure Plus and Rich Chocolate Boost Plus.

In either case, the Plus products are the best for weight gain and the elderly since they provide 50–59% more calories than the Originals.

You can find Ensure and Boost online and in most stores that sell health products.

Similar Posts