We’ve been blogging recently about chocolate milk. One of our readers commented with a question about Ovaltine as an option to sweeten milk .
Ovaltine is a milk flavoring invented in Switzerland more than a hundred years ago. The original formula contained eggs, malt, and a bit of cocoa. It then reached the UK and eventually the US, with each country using a different formula adapted to national preferences.
In the US today, Ovaltine is sold in 2 flavors – Malt and Rich Chocolate. Ovaltine is owned by Nestle (makers of Nesquik) and we checked their website for product info.
Here is our analysis.
What you need to know:
Here is Ovaltine’s ingredient list:
Sugar, Alkalized Cocoa, Whey (from Milk), and 1.5% or Less of: Salt, Carrageenan, Mono- and Diglycerides, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1. Vitamins and Minerals: Magnesium Oxide, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E Acetate, High Chromium Yeast, Ferrous Orthophosphate (Iron), Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride).
Similar to Nesquik, the first ingredients are sugar and cocoa. Whey is the liquid left over from the process of turning milk to cheese. The water is then evaporated and a powder is left over. The mono and di-glycerides act as an emulsifier to keep all the elements of the powder mixed together. Artificial vanilla flavor is much cheaper than real vanilla, and who knows what’s in it and how it is created.
Then a triumvirate of artificial colors that have been show to cause hyperactivity and other issues in kids. Just lovely. Perhaps this is where the “rich” chocolaty color comes from…
The rest is a long list of added minerals and vitamins that are so much better when begotten from real foods, such as fruits and vegetables, instead of a powder added to milk in the morning.
A serving is defined as 4 tablespoons, and contains 18 grams of sugar. That’s three and a half teaspoons. Thankfully you can choose to use only 1 tablespoon or two instead.
What to do at the supermarket:
Ovaltine loses our vote of confidence due to its artificial colors. Nesquik doesn’t have any. Purists can buy pure cacao powder and mix in some sugar. But it does involve an extra 30 seconds of work.
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