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The popular press, as well as the the business press, has the habit of calling a set of popular beverage powders as “health drinks”. These include Horlicks, Complan, Boost and Bournvita amongst others.

I am concerned and now so is much of the pediatrician community by this very common characterisation. Whether it is the press or brand marketing, it has become a part of the thinking of mothers all over India that these drinks are good and healthy for their children.

This is false. These are NOT “health drinks”.

On the contrary, these drinks have become a huge problem for a large and fast growing number of children fighting obesity and early onset lifestyle disease.

These are sugar and simple carbohydrate heavy drinks which are made worse by the habit of mothers adding them to milk (which contains natural sugars) and even more added sugar.

Children now are eating much more sugar than ever before.

Bad enough that the sugar is coming from desserts and added to foods cooked in the home kitchen. It is made much worse by the presence of sugar in many of the processed foods that homes often feed their kids.

The worst offenders are the so called “health drinks”. These are anything but health drinks for millions of children and they are putting the current and future health of these children at risk.

Doctors and child care givers across the private and public sectors must be advised by government and the medical academies to proactively tell all mothers to avoid these drinks for their children.

Children need low sugar, nutrition rich food. They need more vegetables, some whole fruit, adequate protein and healthy fats.

They do not need these sugar bomb drinks.

Here is an article in the business press that uses the term “health drinks” for these products –

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