Complan vs Horlicks: Which One is Better Nutritional Drink?

Complan and Horlicks are two of the most popular nutritional drinks in the market.

Both brands offer a range of products formulated to provide essential nutrients and support the growth and development of children, as well as the health and well-being of adults.

But when it comes to choosing between the two, which one should you go for? Complan or Horlicks?

To answer this question, I have put both Complan and Horlicks head to head, where we will take a closer look at these nutritional drinks and compare them based on their ingredients, nutrition, health benefits, and price.

Short answer: Horlicks is generally considered a better and healthier option than Complan as it contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as its lower sugar content and availability of sugar-free options. In addition, it is available in variety of flavors and is more budget-friendly than Complan.

If you want a better overview of each drink, read the following sections.

Note: It’s important to note that I’ve compared the basic flavors of both nutrition drinks, i.e. chocolate flavor.

Also read: Bournvita Vs Horlicks: Which One Is The Better Health Drink?

What is Complan?

Complan is a British-based company that Glaxo launched in 1954.

It arrived in India in 1969 and is one of children’s favorite milk-based nutrition drinks with 100% milk protein.

It is often consumed as a supplement to a regular diet to provide additional nutrients and energy for growth.

The Complan claims to have 34 essential nutrients for the 2x children’s growth, energy, immunity and, memory & concentration.

Ingredients in Complan

The key ingredients in Complan(chocolate) include:

  • Milk solids
  • Sugar
  • Peanut oil
  • Maltodextrin
  • Caramel (INS 150c)
  • Beet red (INS 162)
  • Inositol
  • Taurine
  • L-carnitine
  • Natural & Artificial flavor

What is Horlicks?

Horlicks is another health drink that has been around for over a hundred years. It was developed in 1873 in the United States and came to India during world war I in 1918.

Horlicks dominates the Indian health drink market with a share of more than 45%.

The Horlicks claim to make you taller, stronger and sharper and is scientifically proven to support immunity.

Ingredients in Horlicks

The key ingredients in Horlicks(chocolate) include:

  • Malted cereals (Barley, wheat)
  • Partially hydrolyzed cereal solids
  • Sugar
  • Milk solids
  • Cocoa powder
  • Wheat gluten
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Emulsifiers (INS 471)
  • Liquid glucose
  • Natural color(INS 150c)
  • Nature identical flavoring substances
  • Stabilizers(INS 412)
  • Edible iodized salt
  • Acidity regulators(INS 501(ii), INS 500(ii))

Complan is a milk-based drink, while Horlicks is malt-based.

Horlicks has more ingredients than Complan, including malt, emulsifiers, stabilizers, acidity regulators, soy protein, and edible iodized salt.

Complan contains higher levels of milk solids(non-fat portion of milk) and also includes peanut oil, inositol, taurine, and L-carnitine, which are not present in Horlicks.

Complan vs Horlicks: Flavors

Complan is available in 4 flavors, while Horlicks has more than 7 flavors that cater to a wide range of needs, such as mothers, women, diabetes, and adults.

Complan comes in the following flavors:

  • Royal Chocolate
  • Kesar badam
  • Creamy classic
  • Pista badam

Horlicks come in the following flavors:

  • Classic malt
  • Chocolate
  • Junior Horlicks (For toddlers & young kids)
  • Horlicks lite (badam)
  • Women’s plus (caramel)
  • Diabetes plus (vanilla)
  • Mother’s plus (vanilla)
  • Protein plus (vanilla)

Complan vs Horlicks: Nutritional comparison

Both Complan and Horlicks claim to provide vital nutrients to support overall health, but they differ in their nutritional content.

Here is a quick comparison of the nutritional content of Complan and Horlicks.

A single serving(32g) of Complan contains:

  •     Calories: 134
  •     Protein: 5.76g
  •     Carbohydrates: 19.8g
  •     Fat: 3.5g
  •     Sugar: 6.69g
  •     Calcium: 256mg
  •     Iron: 4.3mg
  •     Phosphorus: 250mg
  •     Magnesium: 22.4mg
  •     Sodium: 128mg
  •     Potassium: 294mg

A single serving(32g) of Horlicks contains:

  •     Calories: 118
  •     Protein: 3.2g
  •     Carbohydrates: 25g
  •     Fat: 0.6g
  •     Sugar: 4.4g
  •     Calcium: 237mg
  •     Iron: 8.3mg
  •     Phosphorus: 60.8mg
  •     Magnesium: 20.8mg
  •     Sodium: 46.4mg
  •     Potassium: 96mg


Calories are essential for the body as they are a source of energy. They help with functions such as breathing, circulation and muscle movement. However, too many calories can lead to excess body fat and weight gain.

When comparing calories, Complan has slightly more calories than Horlicks. A single serving of Complan provides 134 calories, while Horlicks has 118 calories.


Complan contains 3.5g of fat per serving, while Horlicks includes 0.6g per serving.


Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the body, and eating more of them will give you more energy. However, the quality of carbohydrates you eat also matters.

When it comes to carbohydrates, Horlicks contains more per serving than Complan. Horlicks has 25g of carbohydrates per serving, while Complan has 19.8g.


When choosing a nutrition drink, sugar is one of the main factors to consider. The less sugar a nutrition drink has, the healthier it is for you.

There is no significant difference between the two nutrition drinks regarding sugar content.

A single serving of Complan comes with 6.7g of sugar, while Horlicks comes with 4.4g of sugar.

However, Horlicks offers various sugar-free options, such as Horlicks lite, diabetes plus and women’s plus, while Complan has no sugar-free option.

If you want to cut down on sugar, Horlicks is the better choice overall.


Protein is an important consideration when selecting a nutrition drink, as it helps in muscle development.   

In terms of protein content, Complan (chocolate flavor) contains approximately 80% more protein per serving than Horlicks (chocolate flavor).

However, Horlicks offers a particular variant called “Horlicks Protein Plus”, designed for individuals who require a high-protein nutrition drink.

It provides 10g of protein per serving, nearly double the amount in Complan.

So if you want more protein in your nutrition drink, check out the Horlicks protein plus variant.

Vitamins and minerals

Both Complan and Horlicks list a variety of nutrients on their nutrition labels.

Complan contains 34 nutrients, including 12 vitamins and 15 minerals, while Horlicks contains 27 nutrients, including 12 vitamins and 10 minerals.

When compared closely, Horlicks is better in terms of overall vitamins. It has higher levels of Vitamin A, C, D, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12 than Complan. However, Complan is a good source of vitamins E, K and B7.

In terms of minerals, Complan is superior, containing 5 extra minerals that are not present in Horlicks, as well as higher levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, phosphorus, and sodium. However, Horlicks does contain higher levels of iron, zinc, copper and selenium.

Ultimately, the choice between Complan and Horlicks will depend on your nutritional needs. If you’re looking for a drink with more vitamins, Horlicks is the way to go. If you want one with more minerals, Complan is your best bet.

Note: The amount of vitamins and minerals in both nutrition drinks may vary depending on the specific flavor or variety.

Complan vs Horlicks: Benefits Comparison

For muscles building

If you’re looking for a nutritional drink that will help you build muscles, Horlicks is a great option to consider.

This is because it comes with a protein plus variant, which not only has a higher protein level per serving but also contains a blend of three high-quality proteins whey, soy and casein.

For strong bones

If you want your nutrition drink to promote healthy and stronger bones, you need to consider three key nutrients: calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.

Comparing the regular flavors (e.g., chocolate), Complan has higher levels of calcium and magnesium, while Horlicks has higher levels of vitamin D.

However, for stronger bones, it is best to go with Horlicks lite flavor as it has decent levels of all three nutrients compared to Complan.

For better immunity

Complan and Horlicks claim to have plenty of nutrients to support your immune system. However, which one is better?

Horlicks has slightly higher levels of immune nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, iron and selenium, making it a better choice to support your immune system.

For brain development

Complan and Horlicks are fortified with essential brain nutrients such as iodine, iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid, making them excellent choices for supporting brain development.

However, if I had to choose one, it would be Horlicks because it has higher levels of these nutrients and is available in a no-added-sugar version.

For diabetes

If you have diabetes, the best you can do is reduce your sugar and carbs consumption.

Horlicks is a better choice for people with diabetes than Complan. 

This is because Horlicks offers a specific flavor designed for people with diabetes (Diabetes Plus), while Complan does not have any specialized flavors.

However, there is a downside to choosing Horlicks Diabetes Plus: it contains maltodextrin, an artificial sweetener linked to spikes in blood sugar levels.

Therefore, instead of choosing Diabetes Plus, it would be better to go with Horlicks Lite, which has no added sugar and does not contain maltodextrin.

Although it contains another artificial sweetener called Acesulfame potassium (950), it has minimal effect on blood sugar levels and is safe for people with diabetes.

For kids

Both the nutrition drinks come with specific flavors for kids.

Complan has Nutrigro, while Horlicks has Junior Horlicks.

However, when choosing one, it would be better to go with the junior Horlicks as it contains less sugar (5g per 100g) than Complan nutrigro (28g of sugar per 100g).

Complan vs Horlicks: Price difference

Complan is available in 3 sizes 500g, 750g and 1kg. At the same time, Horlicks is available in 8 sizes 200g, 400g, 450g, 500g, 750g, 900g, 1kg and 2kg.

If we compare prices, Horlicks is more price friendly.

The 500g box of Complan(chocolate flavor) on amazon costs around 286 Rs (excluding shipping), while the exact size of Horlicks(Chocolate flavor) costs around 225 Rs, which is a significant difference.

It is crucial to keep in mind that the prices of both nutrition drinks fluctuate and may vary based on flavor or variant.

Final words: Which one is a better health drink?

Both Complan and Horlicks are packed with many vital nutrients that can supplement your diet. 

But when choosing one for yourself, Horlicks is a better and healthier option than Complan, and there are several reasons for this, such as:

  • Horlicks is available in a variety of flavors and variants, including options specifically formulated for diabetes and mothers, making it a more versatile choice for a range of needs.
  • It offers sugar-free options, making it a good choice for those looking to limit their sugar intake.
  • It is high in minerals, which may be beneficial for overall health.
  • The protein plus variant of Horlicks may be a good choice for those looking to support muscle building.
  • It is a healthier choice for kids due to its high nutritional content and sugar-free options.
  • It is more budget-friendly than Complan.

Keep in mind that nutritional drinks, such as Complan and Horlicks, are not intended to replace a diet, but rather to supplement it.

I hope that this comparison of Complan vs Horlicks was helpful to you.

Here are a few other posts that might also be helpful for you:

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Yatender is the founder of Investohealth! He provides thoroughly researched, unbiased reviews analyzing packaged foods' ingredients, nutrition, and health impacts. Join him on a quest for healthier, more informed eating habits.

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