By Tadrash Shah:
In this market economy, choices never cease. But when it comes to our child’s health and growth we become extra-cautious; we get opinions from doctors, see what the neighbour feeds his son, we keep track of whose son or daughter is the most active; refer to nutrition experts and a lot of other things. We always want to give ‘the best’ to our kid and the fact is the word ‘better’ does not really exist. I remember drinking Milo as a school going kid for energy but today when I think about it, I often wonder – Was it the taste that I liked or were the freebies that came along with it? Nowhere in my purview was the efficacy. That was the fun of boyhood.
Our lifestyle is largely responsible for the deteriorating health of the younger generations and the media is much aware of the same. It hits the nail on that head by raising health concerns which we fear the most. Parents today are busy making two ends meet and these health drinks claim to give their child everything that they need to grow to become a healthy adult. What a convenient way of attaining nutrition! Bournvita, Horlicks, Complan, Boost and others I may not know of are flooding the digital media with captivating advertisements. We tend to forget the rationale that our education gives us because of these. Bournvita asks us, “Where does the calcium of milk go?” Horlicks says, “Increase the energy of milk”, Boost is the secret of the energy of the best cricketer known to the world and Complan is supposed to be recommended by the Department of Nutrition to increase height. Your child will fail in this fiercely competitive world if you don’t give any of these to him/her; that is what the advertisers claim. Your child will be bullied in the school bus, he will not be able to play cricket matches, his mind may not be sharp enough, he may have to hang upside down in order to increase his height and his body will not absorb nutrients present in the milk – I wish we could add all of them to the milk of our child for his/her wholesome diet.
Just because our kids agree upon drinking milk if we add these flavours into it, we stop caring about everything else. This means that we understand the necessity of milk for their growth but we feel assured that these supplements will add to their health as we are convinced by the advertisements. We have never tested any of these. With this let me share with you the constituents of these four major health drinks —
Upon considering the exact composition of these ingredients, it is pretty clear that what we add to the milk is sugar and chocolate which kids love the most, and rest is entirely useless. These mainly consist of grains, sugar and literally nothing else. Is it not equivalent to giving your child a chocolate bar and few multi-vitamin tablets, it is just that the presentation has changed? We happily give our children these health drinks with a sense of contentment — “Kam se kam doodh to pi leta hai”. So which one is best? There is no point comparing them. None of them have any health benefits to offer.
Traditionally speaking, dry fruits like almonds, cardamom, saffron and some things one may add at his/her discretion and are best when used fresh. Only then can we be assured of the nutrients that go into the body of younger ones. I admit that these are usually hated by most kids. I hated it as a kid to be very honest, but then our mothers are fully capable of whipping up a wonderful recipe where they add chocolate flavour to these traditional compositions.Â Conventionally, do you think Einstein or Shivaji drank any of these? Though this argument may not seem a very valid one, but the latest advertisement does show that neither Einstein nor Jhansi Ki Rani could drink milk without Horlicks. How ridiculous is that?
I would really like to bow before the marketing gurus of these products. The way they convince people with the help of survey results, celebrities and open-ended questions is simply fantastic. It is the epitome of creativity to the extent that we are pleased with a lot of chocolate in the milk and with freebies like a Frisbee. I remember relishing my cup of milk everyday and now, here I am defying the fun element for the new generation. This generation can therefore abhor me for ruining their tasty mug of milk.