When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was chocolate milk.

nestle quik nesquik

A great big glass of milk (whole milk, not skim) with a heaping tablespoon of Nestle Quik.

mmmmmmmmmmmmm good. I can almost taste it now.

True, it wasn’t the healthiest choice of beverage for a growing boy, but like I said, it was an occasional treat, and all of the good stuff in the milk helped to make up for the overdose of sugar in the chocolate milk powder.

Well, things certainly are different today.

Today, good old fashioned chocolate milk has been re-placed, re-packaged, re-formulated and re-branded as PediaSure.  And PediaSure is being marketed to parents as the pediatrician recommended choice for your child’s nutritive needs.

Ahhhh, wasn’t that adorable. The poor little kid doesn’t like broccoli or chicken or waffles. But she sure likes her PediaSure.

And that’s okay, because PediaSure is “a source of complete balanced nutrition…for healthy growth”.

And it’s pediatrician recommended.

You can trust me, I'm a doctor
You can trust me, I'm a doctor

Okay, let’s forget about the pediatrician recommended thing for a moment.

Let’s try to be objective and look at the ingredients.

Here is a little chart I put together comparing PediaSure and my childhood addiction, chocolate milk.

Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image
Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image

PediaSure vs Chocolate Milk-pdf

Note – I included a whole milk and a reduced fat chocolate milk in the comparison because I realize that no one drinks whole milk anymore because of the fear of cholesterol. And I am glad I did. It provided an interesting observation.

PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

Here are some of my observations:

  • PediaSure is higher in calories than both of the chocolate milk samples.
  • The higher calories is due primarily to a higher fat content
  • The higher fat content is a design feature of PediaSure. PediaSure is fortified with  life’sDHA by Martek Biosciences Corporation. DHA is an Omega3 fatty acid that has been shown to support brain development.

In fact, PediaSure ran another commercial highlighting the supplemental DHA in their product.

Here is some more info on life’sDHA. Feel free to scroll down if the details are too geeky for you.

LifesDHA_logolife’sDHA™ from algae is a vegetarian source of DHA. It’s produced, from start to finish, in an FDA-inspected facility with controls in place to ensure the highest quality.

Martek’s microalgae are grown in fermentors that range in size from 80,000 to 260,000 liters. The algae are then harvested and processed to extract the DHA-rich oil. The finished product is a clear, amber-colored oil rich in DHA.

And as my regular readers already know, I am a big fan of DHA and Omega3s in general. There are lots of health benefits to supplementing your kid’s diet with Omega 3s.

Back to PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

  • All 3 samples have the same amount of protein
  • The reduced fat chocolate milk has the lowest amount of fat calories (duh!)
  • And it has replaced those fat calories with sucrose

But most important….

  • PediaSure has far and away the highest amount of Omega6 fatty acids

and when we look at their Omega6 to Omega3 ratios, we see that:

  • PediaSure has a 10.6 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio, while
  • Whole milk chocolate milk has a 1.7 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio

And, as I have said before, having a diet with a high Omega6 : Omega3 ratio, is a bad, bad thing.

As well, it should also be noted that organic milk (or pre-factory farm milk) has been shown to have 71% more Omega3 fatty acids than conventional milk. Just some food for thought.

Here are a couple of studies – Study 1, Study 2

So, what does all of this mean?

  1. In my opinion, PediaSure is inferior to whole milk chocolate milk when it comes to feeding your kids.
  2. Kids don’t like broccoli. Never have, never will. But instead of giving up on feeding real, healthy food to your kids, go to your library and take out this book.
  3. Monkey see, monkey do. If you are eating junk for dinner, how are you ever going to convince your kids to eat healthy?
  4. Even if chocolate milk is healthier for your kids than PediaSure, please remember that it is not a wonder-food. It’s a treat…like dessert.

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And please, please, please – pass this article on to anyone you know who has kids and is feeding their kids PediaSure.

Childhood obesity is higher than ever before….and if we’re at the point where laboratory designed chocolate milk is actually being sold as a healthy option for our kids, we have really lost our way.

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