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Pregnant or breastfeeding? Take a malt-based drink

Saturday September 4 2010


Non-alcoholic malt drinks, (which are basically fermented carbohydrates) are reported to be wholesome and highly nutritious. That is why health concious mothers are orienting their children to healthy drinking at an early age by enjoying a malt drink a few hours before breastfeeding.
Originally marketed as malt-based breakfast beverages, the Ovaltines, Milos, Bournvitas and Oats enjoyed their period of slim competition, until marketers raised the bar to enter the soft drink space with other malt-based health drinks.

With the rise of obesity and every parent trying to reduce their children’s soda consumption, malt drinks are offering a better and healthier option. Some brands have small quantities of malt.

These are the new soft drinks that are carbonated but have less sugar than the regular soda. Whole malt drinks use malt as the major ingredient and is therefore more nutritious and more filling.

Traditionally, barley malt has been used in the production of extract for making malt drinks. In recent times however, there has been an increased use of sorghum and maize for the same.

Supplementing micronutrients in the malt drinks is a commendable development which is in line with the global effort to eradicate micronutrient deficiencies in human nutrition through the wide-spread fortification of foods.

Most malt drinks also contain some protein, sugar, essential minerals and levels of vitamins A and B vitamins. A study done in Nigeria, that looked at eight different malt drinks, showed the following findings:


• Vitamin A is essential for normal growth, vision, immune response and cell differentiation which happens right from conception.

The consumption of a standard bottle of malt drink (300ml) provides the body with vitamin A.

Therefore, the malt drinks contribute substantially to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin A.

• The anti-nutrient levels of phytate, oxalate and hydrogen cyanide have been shown to be low in malt drinks and therefore their consumption does not interfere with nutrient absorption.

•Malt, though good, has minimal source of protein and thus cannot meet the daily protein requirement.

•Reducing sugar was found to abound in the malt drinks at 6-9 grams, which are equivalent to approximately 1-2 teaspoons of sugar respectively.

This is much lower than soda, which is about 8-13 teaspoons of sugar. These drinks also serve a veritable source of quick energy to a pregnant, lactating mother mothers.

However, note that alcohol is harmful during pregnancy. The malt drink must be alcohol-free.

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