Best Health Drinks in India – Mishry Reviews

Malted drinks or health drinks are a good source of energy for children and active adults. We tested eight brands for their protein, energy and sugar content. Here is what we found.

As an Indian, brand slogans like ‘Tan ki shakti, man ki shakti‘ or ‘Taller, stronger, sharper’, are etched in our brains. Health drinks or malted drinks, as they are normally called, are seen as nutrition-enhancing drinks. They are used to flavor milk and help bridge the nutritional gap in daily food consumption of children. By adding extra nutrients they are supposed to help in proper growth, better immunity, recovery post-illness, and overall energy. Scientific studies have shown that children consuming these health drinks have a better micronutrient profile.

Continuing our nutrition journey, we chose to review health drinks easily available in the market. Let’s see who won.

Mishry Reviews: Best Health Drinks in India

Top Pick: For Older Children – Boost

 Best Health Drinks in India – Mishry Reviews

Boost

With the highest protein content, we think Boost is a good daily-use option to help children flavor their milk with.

MRP – Rs 230/- for a 450-gram jar

*Price at the time of review

Why Boost is our Top Pick:

Boost is our overall winner for older children. Even adults looking for something nutritious to flavor their milk with, could use this.

Even though the sugar content was marginally more than one other contender, it has the highest protein content.

Malted barley is one of the most nourishing foods to consume. Boost was the only product that is made with barley and wheat malt.

The serving size is a reasonable amount of 20 grams.

Boost will also help in post illness recovery of kids, when appetite takes a beating because of medicines.

Also Recommended: Complan

Why we also recommend Complan:

Complan is perfect for active kids and would make for a good post game drink to ensure energy, protein, mineral and vitamin ingestion.

Complan would also help post illness. In fact, plain vanilla complan in water is often used for post-surgery feeding but should so be used only under care of a registered nutritionist.

Also Recommended: Ojasvita

Ojasvita deserves a mention in spite of having a very high sugar content and very low proteins. Just for those wonderful herbs added, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use 10gm/day once or twice a week.

Mishry Reviews: Best Health Drinks in India

Top Pick: For Children Between 3-9 Years – PediaSure

PediaSure-Mishry-reviews-Best-health-drinks-in-India

PediaSure

PediaSure won hands down because of its calorific and protein content. It had the lowest sugar content too.

MRP – Rs 520/- for a 400-gram pack

*Price at the time of review

Why PediaSure is our top pick
PediaSure can also be used up till the age of 18 years. This is a stand-alone drink and doesn’t need to be added to milk.

It had the lowest sugar content.

PediaSure is a great choice for post-game nourishment.

It is also used safely during illness and during the recovery phase when food intake is poor.

Two servings of 45 grams each would provide baseline nutrition for a day.

Also Recommended: Junior Protinex

Our Review Process

Eight popular brands were chosen. All brands picked were chocolate flavored.

Rupali Datta (Consultant Nutritionist, Fortis Escorts), is a clinical nutritionist with nearly two decades of hands-on experience in the field of dietetics and nutrition. Ms. Datta helped us determine the parameters of the review and we developed the process in consultation with her. She is also the lead author of this review.

We tested all brands for energy content, protein content – the main reasons for their consumption, and for added sugars as childhood obesity is a growing reality in our society.

We bought easily available health drink brands in India and sent the sealed packets to FICCI- FRACS, a NABL accredited lab that follows very strict norms of blind testing. The brands being tested are not even known by the lab assistants conducting these tests. They maintain a chain of processes so that there is no chance of subjective or personal bias in their results. They also maintain the records of their processes which can be audited.

The Brands We Picked

To share our winners we categorized them according to nutritional value and physiological needs and age. The energy drinks were divided into two categories –

Best Health Drinks In India: mishry Reviews
Best Health Drinks In India: mishry Reviews

Category 1 – For older children (and adults)

Category 2 – For Children between 3-9 years

Who is this review for and can these health drinks replace a meal?

India has seen a spurt in the use of health drinks, especially for children which can be attributed to the rise in nuclear families, busy lifestyles and a need to invest in healthy food supplements.

While all the powders stood up to scrutiny, we would like to point out that NOTHING can replace fresh natural whole food for kids of any age. So, a badam milk, banana shake or mango lassi would be enough for providing nourishment in between meals or after a game.

These are supplements and should be used to ‘supplement’ in times of need only. These must not be thought of as substitutes for balanced meals and healthy in-between snacks for children. Daily consumption in large doses isn’t a good idea as they also contain artificial flavors and colors, vitamins and minerals in their chemical forms, like in tablets, etc. All healthcare providers would always recommend some homemade besan pinni, panjiri, a paneer/cheese slice, an egg as the first protein supplement rather than these powders.

Health drinks support the normal balanced diet by providing that little bit more to bridge the nutritional gap. Of prime importance here is the protein and micronutrients that these drinks add to the day. These drinks are there to supplement, not replace fresh meals so if your child doesn’t eat well, reaching for a supplement immediately is not the answer.

However, if you compare these health drinks to a packet of chips or a greasy burger, of course, it is better to go for a glass of milk mixed with one of these. Especially, if your child is a fussy eater.

The Parameters

As these drinks are used primarily for enhancing growth we chose to test for the energy and protein content. We also focused on their sugar content as excessive sugar intake early in life has been linked to a greater leaning for sweet foods later in life and excessive intake of sugar is also linked to obesity in childhood.

Here’s why we chose to check on the energy and sugars – Most of these drinks talk of energy provided for growth, this gave us an idea on whether the servings really made a difference to the overall energy intake of children. The sugar content, which is a part of the energy provided is not really a healthy energy source. Ideally, energy from healthy malts should be enough.

Pre-teens and teens are still growing rapidly, bone mass and muscle mass is increasing. A healthy nutritious diet is of paramount importance to not only develop a healthy body but also to consolidate a taste for healthy foods made of fresh ingredients, less sugar, and fat. Minerals like calcium and iron take center stage to support bone health and menarche in girls. The appetite of this age group is usually good and by providing healthy meals and nutritious snacks we can ensure protection against obesity, NCDs and help them develop the right eating patterns.

Protein content – Proteins are important as the rapid development of bones and organs demands raw materials in adequate amounts for a healthy body.

Calorific value – Children need higher energy per kg body weight to support growth. They have small stomachs so small frequent meals benefit more. This is where choosing the right snack becomes important. Choosing foods that provide not just empty calories but nutrients help them with their nutritional requirements and also helps them develop healthy tastes. 

The energy requirements of school-going children aged 3-9 remain high as growth and activity need to be fuelled. Till about six years of age children will need small frequent feeds. This is a phase of helping your child learning to eat like an adult, increasing fiber and gradually reducing fat, choosing healthy energy sources. Proteins, vitamins and minerals are also crucial for the healthy development of their bodies. 

Sugar content – While sugar is helpful in providing some calories, excessive sugar intake can be detrimental by proving excess of empty calories- that is calories without nutrition, and also make them more prone to choosing sweets and sugary foods throughout their life exposing them to a higher chance of obesity and non-communicable diseases.

We understand that taste is an important factor in childhood foods but it should be a reasonable amount to make the taste acceptable while not piling on extra empty calories. It also must not contribute to the kids developing a taste of very sweet foods.

Results Of Our Review Process

Best Health Drinks in India: For Older Children – Boost

 Best Health Drinks in India – Mishry Reviews

Boost

With the highest protein content, we think Boost is a good daily-use option to help children flavor their milk with.

MRP – Rs 230/- for a 450-gram jar

*Price at the time of review

Best Health Drinks in India: For Children Between 3-9 Years – PediaSure

PediaSure-Mishry-reviews-Best-health-drinks-in-India

PediaSure

PediaSure won hands down because of its calorific and protein content. It had the lowest sugar content too.

MRP – Rs 520/- for a 400-gram pack

*Price at the time of review

The nutrition needs of kids vary. No part of this article should be mistaken as a prescription or replacement for advice from a certified medical practitioner.

* If you do agree with our review, please give it a thumbs up! And, tell us which one is your favorite from this list. If you don’t, please tell us why!

* Food & Beverage is a constantly evolving segment with new products launched daily. Our endeavor here is to help shoppers buy better. If there’s a product you would like us to review tell us by clicking here.


* Our reviews are unbiased and all samples used during the reviews were paid for by us. Read our entire ethics statement here.

* No part of this review is sponsored by any brand. All expenses were borne by us.

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