We asked this question 5 years ago, and posted the answer on our blog. A reader alerted us that the product has changed since then, so we decided to compare Nesquik 2014 to its 2009 former self. We were pleasantly surprised, and here is why:
- Chocolate milk is a big hit with kids, and our main beef with Nesquik back in 2009 was the crazy-high amount of sugar added. An 8 ounce serving had 30 grams of sugar but the current version has just 24 grams.
- Instead of high fructose corn syrup, Nesquik is now using sugar.
- The calorie count has gone down from 200 to 150. Half the loss is due to less sugar, the rest is likely due to use of low-fat milk instead of “reduced fat” milk.
Here is a comparison of the Ingredient lists for reference.
2009 Ingredients: Reduced Fat Milk with Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D3 Added, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Less Than 2% of Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan.
2014 INGREDIENTS: LOWFAT MILK WITH VITAMIN A PALMITATE AND VITAMIN D3 ADDED, SUGAR, LESS THAN 2% OF COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CELLULOSE GEL, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, SALT, CARRAGEENAN, CELLULOSE GUM.
You may be wondering why 3 thickeners are added to the list (cellulose gel, carrageenan, and cellulose gum). These thickeners improve the mouth feel of the drink, likening it to the experience of drinking full fat milk, without the added calories. Skim milk tends to feel very runny and watery.
Carrageennan is a seaweed based thickener that has recently been in the news. In some animal studies, carrageenan was shown to cause intestinal lacerations and tumors. It may also cause some people to have an irritable stomach.
Bottom Line: This product is an improved version of its previous self. Still, adding the powdered cocoa version of Nesquik is the better bet if you want to control how much sugar your kids get in their milk.