One of the most popular nutritional supplements on the market is Pediasure, which is designed for children and young teens. Nutritional supplements can bridge the gap between your food intake and nutritional requirements (1).

Pediasure is intended to help those who have an insufficient food intake and poor appetite. Illness, injury, surgery, or aging may cause poor appetite due to eating, chewing, and swallowing difficulties.

The inability to get good nutrition over a prolonged time may lead to weight loss and malnutrition (2).

Pediasure is renowned for helping children who are falling behind in growth. However, you may wonder whether it’s also suitable for adults.

This article focuses on Pediasure and its potential nutritional benefits for adults hoping to improve their health.

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Pediasure is a brand of nutritional supplements made for children and teens ages 2–15 who struggle to meet their nutritional and growth needs.

Pediasure was developed by Abbott, a multinational healthcare company. This popular nutritional supplement has been available in the United States since 1988 (3).

The company claims that families can expect children to start gaining weight in just 8 weeks by drinking 2 bottles of Pediasure daily (4).

Pediasure comes in several varieties, flavors, and forms. On average, the supplements have 240 calories and 7 grams of protein per serving. Most varieties also provide 27 vitamins and minerals per serving. All Pediasure products are gluten-free, kosher, and halal (5, 6).

Types of Pediasure

There are five main types of Pediasure:

  1. Pediasure Grow and Gain. Grow and Gain is the most common Pediasure supplement. It’s meant to help kids grow in height and gain weight. There’s also a Grow and Gain type made with added fiber to support healthy digestion (7).
    • It comes in both ready-to-drink and powdered forms, the latter of which requires mixing with water. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and lutein are included and may help prevent eye disease (8).
  2. Pediasure Sidekicks. This type is designed to help children catch up on growth and fill in nutritional gaps from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Compared with Grow and Gain, Sidekicks has 40% more protein and 25% fewer calories (9).
  3. Pediasure Pro. As Abbott’s newest Pediasure product, it supports nutrition in preteen and teen years from ages 9–15. The shakes provide many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for immune support, bone growth, and muscle building (10).
  4. Organic. This Pediasure line is similar to the other varieties but certified organic (11).
  5. Specialty. Specialty Pediasure products are for those who cannot eat enough food by mouth and require tube feedings to meet their needs. These specialty nutritional supplements are Pediasure Enteral, Pediasure Harvest, and Pediasure Peptide (12).

Pediasure is a nutritional supplement developed to help children who are falling behind in growth. It comes in several varieties, flavors, and forms, of which Grow and Gain is the most common.

Although it’s intended for children, Pediasure may also help adults gain weight — just not height.

Gaining weight

Studies in adults who take nutrient replacement supplements have reported increases in body weight, including one study that tested oral nutritional supplements similar to Pediasure containing 300 calories and 8 grams of protein per serving (13, 14, 15).

A review of 62 studies in 10,187 adults found small percentages of weight gain in those who took oral supplements. This review covered oral nutritional supplements containing 175–500 calories and 4–15 grams of protein per serving (16).

Weight gain occurs when the total number of calories you consume is greater than the number of calories you burn (17).

Pediasure helps adults gain weight by increasing their total calorie intake. Nutritional supplements like Pediasure also reduce weight loss, stimulate appetite, and improve protein and micronutrient intake (18).

Some research suggests that liquid meal replacements are less filling than solid foods, which may lead you to consume more calories. While Pediasure isn’t intended to be a meal replacement, it may have similar effects (19).

Drinking 3 Pediasure Grow and Gain bottles with breakfast, lunch, and dinner contributes 720 calories and 21 grams of protein to your daily intake.

Plus, Grow and Gain has the same first six ingredients as Ensure — Abbott’s nutritional drink for adults — and is vastly similar in calorie, fat, and protein content (8, 19).

Gaining height

Nutrition is a significant factor in determining height. The rate at which you grow in height slows or stops when your growth plates close. For women and men, growth plates close at the end of puberty — around age 16 for women and ages 15–19 for men (20, 21, 22).

If you’ve aged beyond late puberty, Pediasure likely won’t influence your height.

All the same, this product may help prevent height loss as a part of aging. That’s because proper nutrition can avert height loss (23).


Many studies show that oral nutritional supplements like Pediasure support weight gain in adults. Still, gaining height in adulthood is highly unlikely.

Drinking Pediasure as an adult may offer several other advantages over weight-gain focused nutritional supplements made for adults.


Some studies report that, due to poor taste, adults are less likely to adhere to drinkable nutritional supplements (24, 25).

Yet, because Pediasure is designed for kids, products come in multiple scrumptious flavors.

You may prefer these flavors — vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, berry, and s’mores — over those of adult nutritional supplements. Moreover, the sweetness may benefit those with limited taste owing to aging or chemotherapy.

Easy to drink

Pediasure is easy to drink, so it may be especially useful for adults who can’t easily chew or swallow solid foods.

It pairs nicely with a meal, or you can consume it as a snack between meals.


Some adults may prefer Pediasure to other nutritional supplements because of its sweet taste and variety of flavors.

Despite its benefits, Pediasure may have several drawbacks for adults. You should keep these points in mind before buying this product.

High in sugar

Pediasure is high in added sugars, with a single 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of Grown and Gain packing 12 grams of sugar (8).

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting added sugars to just 6 teaspoons (30 grams) daily for women and 9 teaspoons (45 grams) for men (26).

You may easily exceed these recommendations if you drink multiple servings of Pediasure daily, especially if you don’t consider other sources of added sugar in your diet.

Unsuitable for dairy-free diets

All Pediasure products contain milk, so anyone who avoids dairy or follows a vegan diet should steer clear of this drink.

Nonetheless, some Pediasure products are low in lactose and can be safely consumed by people with lactose intolerance (27).

Nutritional supplements are expensive

Keep in mind that Pediasure is expensive.

A pack of 24 bottles of Pediasure costs $45.99 — about $1.92 per bottle, which is higher than several other adult nutritional supplements (28).

If you drink 2 bottles daily, you’ll spend around $115 per month.


Pediasure has several downsides, as it’s expensive, high in sugar, and unsuitable for those on dairy-free diets.

Nutritional supplements are best as a second line of treatment — only after you’ve tried to gain weight via your diet (1).

Here are a few tips for gaining weight via your eating habits.

Eat often

Try to eat three meals per day, alongside two or three snacks, to maximize your calorie and nutrient intake.

If possible, eat every 3 hours. Think of this as the 3-3-3 rule — three meals each day, three snacks each day, every 3 hours or less (17).

Choose nutrient-dense foods

Studies link consuming too many empty calories — or highly processed foods low in fiber and nutrients — to poor health outcomes (29, 30, 31).

Rather, it’s important to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods like whole grains and fruit. Plus, some whole foods are high in calories, protein, and healthy fats to support weight gain.

Nutrient-rich foods from each food group include:

  • Protein: beans, lentils, eggs, fatty fish, seeds, nuts, and nut butters
  • Dairy: whole milk, full fat yogurt, and cheese
  • Fruit: bananas, avocados, plantains, shredded coconut, and dried fruit
  • Vegetables: squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and green peas
  • Grains: rice, quinoa, pancakes, and waffles
  • Fats: olive oil, butter, and coconut oil

Make homemade shakes

Nutritional drinks are pricey. To save money, make high calorie shakes yourself at home.

All you need is a high calorie liquid like whole milk or orange juice, fruits like banana or avocado, nuts or nut butter, and some bulking ingredients like full fat yogurt or oats. Simply blend and enjoy.

A homemade shake makes a great snack, side, or dessert.


It’s vital to first attempt weight gain via your diet before turning to nutritional drinks like Pediasure. Eating often, choosing nutrient-dense foods, and making high calorie shakes at home are good methods to kickstart weight gain.

If you’re having trouble meeting your nutritional needs, you may be considering a nutritional supplement to help fill the gaps in your diet.

Pediasure may be an effective nutritional supplement to help adults gain weight. Alongside its calories and protein, it provides 27 vitamins and minerals, as well as DHA and lutein. These nutrients aid bone, immune, brain, and eye health.

However, it’s important to note that Pediasure is sugary, expensive, and unsuitable for certain diets.

Your first tactic to gain weight and increase your nutrient intake should be to eat nutrient-dense, whole foods like salmon and eggs. Making homemade shakes with high calorie ingredients is another great way to boost your calorie intake while avoiding excessive sugar.