Popular chocolate malt drink loses its 4.5 health star rating

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Is milo bad for you? Well, as per Health Star Ratings, it may very well be. Read on to know what the apex agency has to say about Nestle's star product.

Is Milo bad for you? Well, it turns out this popular chocolate malt drink many of us love, very well might be, if mixed with the wrong ingredients. 

Food giant Nestlé bowed down to public health advocates and downgraded Milo’s health star rating (HSR) from 4.5 to 1.5 in Australia recently. This, after some health groups targeted the conglomerate for reportedly projecting the sugar-laden chocolate malt as ‘healthy.’

Nestlé downgrades Milo after mislabeling its health benefits

Margaret Stuart, Nestlé Oceania’s head of corporate and external relations announced the change through an email shared by ABC News Australia. Sent to stakeholders, the company shared that it decided to remove the rating, “Pending the outcome of the [Australian] Government’s review of the Health Star Rating system.”

The company has only done this for Milo powder sold in Australia and New Zealand 

“In withdrawing the Health Star Rating from Milo health drink powder, we hope to avoid further confusion about how the Health Star Rating system is designed and reduce the risk of damage to a system which is fundamentally sound,” the email reportedly stated.

“We are taking the HSR off the pack”

In its press release, the company also shared that it “has chosen to remove the HSR from Milo powder.”

“We think the HSR system is basically very good, and is helping people to compare products in the same category in store. Confusion about how the HSR is calculated on Milo is a distraction from the strengths of the system, so to uphold the system, we are taking the HSR off the pack while the system is being reviewed by the government,” their statement read, answering the inevitable question: Is Milo bad for you?

So, is Milo bad for you?

Nestle labelled Milo with a 4.5 star (health) rating. The company also stated at the time of production that consumers should drink it as three teaspoons with a cup of skim milk. 

However, health advocates such as Choice Australia called out the company for mislabeling. It also shared that this is not how most consumers drink Milo.

Most take it with full cream milk, they said. Which means they drink the fat from the milk in addition to Milo’s 46 percent sugar.

Katinka Day, head of campaigns and policy, Choice told news.com.au, “To claim a health star rating by adding nutritionally superior ingredients of another product is not helpful, especially for people who eat their Milo with full cream milk, or even straight out of the can or on ice-cream.”

Nestlé admits to mislabeling and brings down the ratings

In response to the claim, while the food giant shared that the sugar is reportedly from “milk powder and malted barley ingredients,” they also agreed to respect the health star rating.

“The company remains committed to the HSR system, with the HSR currently appearing on more than 300 Nestlé packs in Australia and 180 in New Zealand,” the company announced in its release.

Health companies laud Nestlé for their quick action

George Institute for Global Health praised Nestle’s move in their release.

“We welcome this step by Nestlé to restore consumer trust,” said Alexandra Jones, a research associate in the Food Policy Division Our work suggests Health Stars work well in the vast majority of cases. It’s a good first step in strengthening the system,” they shared.

The news has once again brought the inevitable question to the table: Do you really need fortified foods in your milk? Well, the answer is “Yes and No!”

Try these 5 health options you can try with milk instead

If companies stick to HSR food and drug standards, and add ingredients that truly benefit the human body, it’s fine to consume them.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that there are many naturally occurring substances that are better than fortified ingredients, especially if your child fusses about drinking plain cow’s milk.

Here are a few options.

1. Cocoa with milk

You may be used to drinking chocolate milk, and now even your kids are addicted. But instead of opting for processed options, how about adding the real deal.
 
Adding dark cocoa powder to milk is a great health option. It not only tastes great, but is also beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart.
 Popular chocolate malt drink loses its 4.5 health star rating

Adding turmeric to milk is not just good for your tastebuds, but also your gut. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

2. Turmeric with milk

For centuries, Asians have been enjoying the health benefits of turmeric milk. It is Curcumin rich and acts as an antibiotic, and antioxidant; healing wounds, keeping your gut strong as well as fighting off colds.

It’s also an essential spice that is readily available in all homes.

3. Almonds and pistachios

Nuts such as almonds and pistachios (grind these at home) are brain boosting superfoods. They also help to strengthen bones and work wonders for hair and skin. Add the mixture to milk and voila! You have an anti-ageing and health boosting drink.

Try to grind the two at home, instead of opting for mixtures available in the market.

4. Dates with milk

If your kid loves something sweet with milk, dates are a great addition. They are a good source of fiber, energy and sugar as well as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, potassium and magnesium.

They also include vitamins such as riboflavin, vitamins A and K, all of which help provide relief from indigestion, anemia, heart problems and diarrhea.

5. Saffron with milk

This is truly a royal drink. Even though Saffron is quite an expensive spice, it does wonders for the body. It is known as an antiseptic, antioxidant, antidepressant, and anti-convulsan.

It also contains copper, zinc,  calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, selenium, and magnesium; thereby, making this exotic spice the perfect addition to milk. You don’t need much, just a pinch will work just fine.

 

Sources: Nestlé, Health Star Rating, ABC 

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Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore