Pediasure is a popular health drink marketed as a nutritional supplement for kids. It comes in various flavors and is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrients to children who may not be getting the nutrients they need from their regular diet.
While Pediasure does have some benefits, it also has plenty of potential downsides.
In this blog post, I will discuss both the positives and negatives of Pediasure so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is good for kids.
What is pediasure?
Pediasure is a health and nutritional drink powder designed for children to provide them with complete and balanced nutrition. According to the brand, it is scientifically designed with 37 nutrients to support growth and immune and brain development.
It is available in three flavors:
- Premium chocolate
- Vanilla delight
- Pediasure 7+ (for children aged above 7 years)
According to the brand, pediasure has been scientifically proven to help increase height and weight in 90 days when consumed in the recommended amounts.
Ingredients in pediasure
The main ingredients that are used in pediasure are:
- Skimmed milk powder: It is a type of dairy product made from whole milk. The milk is heated to a high temperature, and then the cream is skimmed off the top. The remaining liquid is then dried into a powder.
- Sucrose: It is a type of sugar that is made from two molecules called glucose and fructose. It’s commonly known as table sugar.
- Edible vegetable oil: The two types of oils used in pediasure are soy oil and high oleic sunflower oil.
- Maltodextrin: A white, powdery, and slightly sweet-tasting substance used as a food additive. It is commonly used as a thickener, filler, and stabilizer in the food industry.
- FOS: It is a natural sweetener derived from fruits and vegetables. It comprises two molecules of fructose and one molecule of glucose.
- Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil: A type of oil that is derived from coconut oil that has benefits like weight loss, improved mental clarity, and decreased inflammation.
- Taurine: Taurine is an organic compound found in animal tissues and fluids. For this reason, many people assume that taurine found in health drinks and supplements must be derived from animals. However, this is not always the case. Most of the taurine used in health drinks is produced synthetically in a lab.
- L-carnitine: A non-essential amino acid that helps the body turn food into energy.
- Artificial flavors: These are additives added to give food a good flavor.
- Mineral and vitamins: Pediasure is fortified with minerals and vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, D, and K.
Nutrition value of pediasure
A 100 grams serving of pediasure provides you:
- Calories: 454
- Protein: 14.1 g
- Carbs: 64.7 g
- Sugar: 17.1 g
- Fat: 15 g
- Sodium: 181mg
- Calcium: 656mg
- Magnesium: 50mg
- Potassium: 512mg
- Iron: 14.3mg
Some of the other nutrients present in pediasure include manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus, niacin, iodine, selenium, chromium carnitine, arginine, etc.
Benefits of pediasure for kids
1. Packed with many nutrients
From vitamins to minerals, pediasure is packed with many essential nutrients needed for a child’s proper growth and brain development. It is specially designed for children who are picky eaters or have trouble gaining weight.
It offers neuro-nutrients like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, choline, magnesium, and biotin that helps to support brain development.
On the other hand, it has immune nutrients such as zinc, selenium, copper, and vitamin A and C to boost the child’s immune system.
Not only does pediasure have a lot of nutrients, but the levels of nutrients in it are also quite high.
2. Taste good
Pediasure not only contains a good amount of nutrients, but it also tastes delicious to children. It contains artificial flavors as well as a variety of other ingredients that give it a good taste.
3. Better alternative to other health drinks
While pediasure may not be the healthiest nutritional drink on the market, it is undoubtedly better than other drinks such as bournvita and nestle lactogrow.
Compared to these drinks, pediasure is low in sugar and has more nutrients in high amounts.
Downsides of pediasure for kids
While looking at the nutrients of pediasure, you might think for a second that it’s the best nutritional drink for your kid. However, this is not the actual case.
Here are 8 reasons why drinking pediasure is not good for kids.
1. High sugar content
One of the main reasons why pediasure is not good for kids is its high sugar content.
Sugar contributes to around 15% of Pediasure’s calories, and according to the nutrition label, a 100 grams serving of it has about 454 calories and 17 grams of sugar.
That’s about more than 4 teaspoons of sugar.
Even if you take just one serving (40 grams), it comes with 6.8 grams of sugar — that’s about one and a half teaspoons of sugar. And since most people also add a teaspoon of sugar to their kids’ milk glass, which makes the kid’s milk loaded with too much sugar.
Adding too much sugar to your kid’s diet can lead to unhealthy cravings as kids grow older.
According to studies, too much sugar has shown a negative impact on children learning and memory. Also, there is a greater risk of gaining unhealthy weight or getting diabetes in the future.
2. Use of unhealthy ingredients
Food additives have become one of the most common things in the health industry. While some food additives have little effect on children’s health, others can cause serious problems.
Despite containing sugar and unhealthy fats, pediasure also contains ingredients like artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors. This is concerning as these ingredients have been linked to a variety of health problems, such as obesity, cancer, and heart disease.
For example, Maltodextrin, which is essentially a sweetener, is considered high on the glycemic index, with a score of 80–120, indicating that it raises blood sugar quickly and may increase the risk of diabetes in the long run.
Food additives may not pose an immediate health risk for many children. However, these food additives may cause more harm to children with health issues such as skin rashes, asthma, conjunctivitis, headaches, etc.
3. Unsuitable for dairy-free diets
Skimmed milk powder is one of the main ingredients in pediasure. It’s a great way to add protein and vitamins to your diet, but it has one potential downside.
Skim Milk Powder is generally made from cow’s milk, and therefore it is not suitable for those with a milk allergy or who avoid dairy or follows a vegan diet.
4. Absorption problems of vitamins and minerals
The nutrients that you get in the pediasure or any other health drinks might not get absorbed entirely by your body. This is due to high sugar content and unnatural or unhealthy ingredients in them.
For example, pediasure is high in vitamin D and calcium, but your body may not absorb these nutrients completely due to the presence of sugar.
In addition, most kids consume nutritional health drinks with cow milk, but very few know that cow milk inhibits the absorption of iron. That means that even if your child’s health supplement contains Iron, their body will be unable to absorb it fully.
It is always best for children to consume nutrients from naturally grown food. Not only are nutrients better absorbed, but it also helps children develop a positive relationship with food and eliminates the need for supplements.
5. Risk of weight gain
While nutritional drinks like pediasure are a great way to gain weight for children who are picky eaters or at risk of malnutrition. In some children, they may cause more harm than good.
If a child is eating properly, then these supplements are not necessary. Giving these supplements to your kids will only overdose the levels of vitamins and minerals, which may cause some health complications.
Also, due to high sugar and unhealthy ingredients, the kid will be more likely to gain unhealthy weight.
6. Addiction problem
While pediasure does taste good, it can often be addictive and lead to addiction problems down the road.
According to studies, sugar has been shown to have a similar effect to an addiction to drugs in kids. The addiction to sugar or sugar-based drinks can affect children’s short term behaviour and moods.
Also, artificial sweeteners in kids’ drinks lead to addiction as artificial sweeteners are typically 200 to 600 times sweeter than sugar. They stimulate taste buds, affect your kid’s hormones and slow down metabolism. In the long run, all of this leads to chronic problems.
It is important for parents to be aware of the risks associated with kids supplements and to make sure that their children do not consume too many of them.
Final words: Is pediasure good for Kids?
While pediasure is a good way to get essential nutrients for some kids, the high sugar content, unhealthy fats and artificial sweeteners and flavors make it bad for other kids. It’s better to choose a natural source of nutrients rather than relying on pediasure.
To sum up, I only found three reasons to drink pediasure for kids.
- It has many essential nutrients
- It tastes good
- Better than many other drinks in the market
But at the same time it has many downsides that parents should keep in their mind.
So is pediasure good for kids?
Despite having 6 downsides, It may be, but only if consumed in limited amounts.
Remember that there are definitely better sources of getting all the essential nutrients without putting your child’s health at risk.
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