Do milk powders for kids really help?
As parents, we always strive to provide the best possible nutrition to our children. In today's fast-paced world, where everyone is running short of time, many parents rely on health drinks to fulfil the nutritional requirements of their kids. But are these health drinks as healthy as they are marketed to be? In this article, we will explore the truth about health drinks and why focussing on a kid's diet would be a better option than relying on health drinks.
The Truth About Malt-Based Health Drinks
Malt-based health drinks such as Horlicks, Bournvita,Pediasure, Complan and Boost are marketed as healthy drinks for kids. But are they as healthy as they claim to be? The primary ingredient in these milk powders is malt, and the subsequent ingredient is always sugar, which can add up to consuming sugar above the prescribed limit. For instance, 100g of Bournvita contains 7g protein, 1.8g fat, and 85.2g carbohydrates of which 32g is sugar. 100g of pediasure contains 11g protein, 0.50g fat, 77.50g carbohydrates,12g of sugar. Pediasure contains many nutrients wherein it should contain only essential nutrients that are required for the growth and development of children. While these drinks do provide some micronutrients, they cannot replace the essential nutrients present in foods, fruits, and vegetables.
Understanding Malt and Its Benefits
Malt is the product obtained from germinating barley. The germinated grain then undergoes the stages of drying, grinding, extracting, filtering, and evaporating to produce malt extract, with 78% to 80% solid content. Malting allows the starches in the grains to change into sugars, such as glucose and fructose. While malt does have some health benefits, consuming it in large quantities can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.
Tips for Choosing the Right Health Drink
When it comes to choosing the right health drink for your child, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips that will help you make an informed decision:
- Check the Nutritional Value: The nutritional value of the health drink is the key to its effectiveness. The main source of protein in Horlicks and Bournvita is wheat, which means grain is the main source of protein. But in Complan, the main source of protein is milk, and they use 52% milk solids. Milk protein is better than wheat protein, which means you get essential amino acids from Complan, but not from Horlicks or Bournvita. Also, Complan uses less sugar compared to Horlicks and Bournvita. All of them provide an equal value of vitamins and minerals.
- Check the Label: Before buying any health drink, check its label to see if it's suitable for your kid. If a child is lactose or wheat intolerant, then choose the ones that are free from these ingredients. Also, ignore the glossy font and focus on the information given in small font at the backside of the package.
- Look for Hidden Sugars: Spot the hidden sugar like maltodextrin, glucose syrup solid, liquid glucose, sucrose, corn solids. Count the number of ingredients and choose something that has fewer preservatives and other chemicals.
- Sweeten with Natural Ingredients: As per studies, consumption of food containing preservatives and too much sugar may affect a child's behaviour. So, sweeten your child's drink with natural ingredients such as fresh fruits, dry fruits like figs, dates, and raisins. Also, Sattu flour could be added for a protein boost.
In conclusion, health drinks can be a convenient option for parents to ensure their children are getting the essential nutrients they need. However, it's important to choose the right product and be aware of the potential downsides. Malt-based drinks like Horlicks and Bournvita contain high levels of sugar, which can lead to addiction and other health issues if consumed excessively.
When choosing a health drink for your child, focus on the nutritional value and check the label for hidden sugars and preservatives. It's also a good idea to sweeten your child's drink with natural ingredients like fresh fruit or dry fruits instead of relying solely on a processed drink mix. Overall, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods is the best way to ensure your child gets the essential nutrients they need for optimal health and development.
1. Can health drinks replace a healthy diet for kids?
No, health drinks should not be relied on as a sole source of nutrition for children. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods is essential for optimal health and development.
2. Are all health drinks the same?
No, health drinks vary in their nutritional content and ingredients. It's important to check the label and choose a product that fits your child's individual nutritional needs.
3. Can health drinks be harmful to children?
Consuming too much sugar or other additives found in some health drinks can be harmful to children's health. It's important to choose a product that is low in sugar and free from harmful additives.
4. What should I look for when choosing a health drink for my child?
When choosing a health drink for your child, look for one that is low in sugar and contains essential vitamins and minerals. Also, consider the main source of protein and choose a product that is suitable for your child's individual nutritional needs.
5. Are there any natural alternatives to health drinks?
Yes, there are many natural alternatives to health drinks, such as fresh fruit or dried fruit, that can provide essential nutrients for your child. Sattu flour is also a good option for adding protein to drinks.