Health Drinks

Consumer Voice - - Contents - A Con­sumer Voice Re­port

Is your milk richer for it?

The term ‘health drink' needs some ex­plain­ing first. Malt-based bev­er­ages are what are pop­u­larly re­ferred to as health drinks in India. These bev­er­ages en­hance the taste of milk and are po­si­tioned as en­ergy drinks with a nu­tri­tional thrust. Just as well, for the grow­ing aware­ness around health food and bev­er­ages has meant a con­sis­tent boost for prod­ucts in the ‘health and nu­tri­tion' seg­ment. It also helps that com­pa­nies keep adding to the va­ri­ety of tastes and flavours. In view of the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the ‘health drinks' seg­ment over­all, at Con­sumer Voice we took up eight brands for com­par­a­tive test­ing – four brands were malt-based food and four were pro­pri­etary food in­clud­ing one high-pro­tein pro­pri­etary food. We took par­tic­u­lar note of the la­bel dec­la­ra­tions with re­gard to nu­tri­tional con­tents and other claims.

The na­tional stan­dards in India have spelled out var­i­ous re­quire­ments for health drinks cov­er­ing qual­ity, safety and ac­cept­abil­ity as­pects. As per our stan­dard pro­ce­dure, we un­der­took mar­ket re­search to iden­tify the pop­u­lar and reg­u­larselling brands across the coun­try. While the four pro­pri­etary brands – namely En­sure, Protinex, Com­plan and Pe­di­aSure – are not stan­dard­ised un­der any reg­u­la­tions, there are safety and nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments that they need to ful­fil.

The key pa­ram­e­ters for which the health drinks were tested in­cluded en­ergy value, pro­tein, vi­ta­mins, cal­cium, iron, potas­sium, fat, mois­ture and acid- in­sol­u­ble ash. It is a mat­ter of some re­lief that none of the tested brands con­tained ei­ther trans fat or choles­terol. You may want to check your favoured brand for vi­ta­mins B3 and D, since the test re­sults showed a con­sid­er­able vari­a­tion among the brands. The tests were con­ducted at an NABLac­cred­ited lab­o­ra­tory and as per re­quire­ments spec­i­fied in Food Safety and Stan­dards (FSS) Reg­u­la­tions, 2011.

A ma­jor health-re­lated pa­ram­e­ter was mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal safety. We con­ducted tests for 10 mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

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