Are you falling for the whole health drink thing?

Have a well-stocked cupboard that has  your various health drinks that will help kids grown tall, gain weight, swim like Ian Thorpe? Back up a bit. Read this and then you might want to throw the entire thing out.

What, then, is the deal with Complan, Horlicks, Bournvita, etc. Do they really benefit your child? They don’t come cheap and you have every right to  know what goes into them or if they’re actually good for your kids as they easily and loftily claim.

They taste good: Yes, drinks like Bournvita make milk taste better. But here’s the thing: they have loads of of sugar in them. Personally, even as a child I could not stand the taste of Complan, and my mum used to insist that the worse a drink tastes, the more nutritious it is! If your child hates the taste of any of these drinks, do not force them to drink it. It is true that what is absorbed by the body better is what is eaten consciously and with pleasure. There is nothing in these drinks that is worth torturing your child over on a regular basis. The most critical component of these drinks is the milk you mix into it. So, if they don’t like X, shift to A, B or C. It is more important that they enjoy their glass of milk. When kids hate milk, parents sometimes mix these powders into hot water. That is not a good substitute at all: you would be better off giving your child a banana as without milk, it is just sweet hot water.

Tall claims: All claims that say they will make your kids taller and faster is pure gibberish. Height is determined by genetics. Even children who are treated with extremely expensive growth hormones do not gain more than a couple of inches at the most. So all claims about any energy drink making your kids tall are completely false. I’d love to see a time where great numbers of us boycott these drinks because of they unethical claims.

What do they contain? Most of these mixes like are malt-based drinks. Malt is nothing but germinated and dried cereal grains. The top two ingredients of any of these beverages is, therefore, flour and of course, sugar. Then there is a whole host of emulsifiers and other processing agents that are necessary for any processed food for extended shelf life. They also supposedly contain minerals and vitamins. However, these supposed synthetic minerals and vitamins are not absorbed into the body the way nutrients are absorbed from real food like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

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Think about it… if Complan, Horlicks and such drinks were truly the elixir for raising stronger children, the world would be beating down the doors of these organisations. They really wouldn’t need the aggressive advertising that we see today.

My suggestion? Do not believe any of the claims these drinks make: boost memory, promote height or do well in academics. It is unadulterated rubbish. Sure, go ahead and buy anything that will make drinking milk pleasurable for your child. But do not consider it a substitute for regular, real food in the form of whole grains, dals, fruits and vegetables. It is important that parents are not lulled into the idea of being able to provide complete nutrition from a bottle vis-a-vis fresh food. Any day, nutrition from a fresh-food source is easily absorbed and better assimilated into the body than if it was distilled into a bottle and consumed.

 

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