Are you a Milo addict?

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Have you got kids (or adults) in your home that love Milo in and on everything?

The major ingredients Milo is made from are cocoa, milk, malt and sugar. However, it also contains a whole lot of synthetic vitamins and minerals plus a ‘thickener’ and an ’emulsifier’.  In addition to the vitamins and minerals being laboratory made, the thickener and emulsifier are derived from corn and soy respectively. Apart from being heavily processed, soy and corn are among the highest genetically modifed crops in the world. Not really a concoction I’m keen on myself or my children drinking.

So why do so many people think it’s healthy?

Firstly advertising. The makers of Milo would like us to believe it’s ‘healthy’ with their clever advertising. As quoted on their website: ‘Loved by many, Milo is a nutrient rich, low GI malt powder drink, which gives kids who need a boost, the nourishing energy they need to take on the day’ and ‘Milo is a wholesome source of nutrients that helps give your child the energy they need to get the best out of their day if they need a nutritional boost.’ I’m a little confused as to how it’s nutrient rich and wholesome when it’s got no real food it in?

Secondly it has got a Heart Foundation tick when it’s consumed with low fat or skim milk with the recommended ‘spoonfuls’. According to the Heart foundation website, the tick ‘is a standard, designed to help you compare similar foods and choose the healthier option’.  The issue however is that the Heart Foundation guidelines don’t look at sugar when deciding whether a food is ‘heart smart’ or not. People are taught to look for the tick and buy based on that without even looking at the ingredients list.

Thirdly it has a 4 and a 1/2 Health Star Rating when three teaspoons are added to 200mL of skim milk. According to the official website the ‘Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.’  A newly introduced concept to our food packaging, and again people are being taught to look at the stars and not the ingredients.

And come on, who actually consumes Milo in the quantities used to achieve its tick and star ratings? Many people just eat it straight out of the can with a spoon!  It’s another case of food manufacturers abusing the systems to promote nutrient-poor foods as healthier options.

I’m very skeptical of both the Heart Foundation Tick and the Health Star Rating systems as the algorithms use to determine the ‘ratings’ were and are heavily influenced by the food industry. Talk about conflict of interest but that’s a post for another day.

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to give it up! If you still want your Milo, why not try this healthy alternative. The texture is exactly like Milo, with a very fine crunch.  It is a much lighter brown colour, with a deeper chocolate flavour so you may need a little more or less than you do of Milo. Or this is another one that I’ve been told is really good!

Give one a try! You might want to put it in the Milo tin and see if the little (or big) kids actually notice the difference.


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