Public Health Experts Appreciate Amitabh Bachchan’s Decision Not to Promote Horlicks; Ask Parents to Stay Away from Sugary ‘Nutritional’ beverages
Appreciating Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s decision not to promote Horlicks, after its high-sugar content was brought to his notices, leading public health experts such as the Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi) has listed other high-sugar beverages touted as "nutritional" that parents are encouraged to buy for their children's health. The group has listed the high sugar content in several major brands such as PediaSure, Complan, Protein X, Bournvita, Boost also Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Power Vita and Shri Ojas Vita. Most of these brands have high-power advertising touting the high nutritional benefits of these beverages for young children.
NAPI also called for both the government and private sector and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to refrain from opting for a 'product-based solution' to curb malnutrition in the country.
Last month, NAPi wrote a letter to Mr Bachchan requesting him to from Horlicks brand like he did with Pepsi. NAPi in its letter to Mr Bachchan had said, "Horlicks is a high sugar product, as 100 gram of a popularly advertised pack of Horlicks Delight, contains 78 gram of carbohydrates of which 32 grams is sucrose sugar." (Read: Public Health Experts Ask Amitabh Bachchan to dissociate from Horlicks)
The health expert's group was reacting to partnership between Horlicks and Network 18 rendered support to the Indian Government's “Rashtriya Poshan Abhiyaan" to curb undernutrition in India. Many people welcomed this step as they roped in Amitabh Bachchan as the face of this project. The name of the campaign is similar to Poshan Mission of the Government and is called "Mission Poshan".
Responding to the NAPi letter, a spokesperson of Mr Bachchan told the Hindustan Times
, the Bollywood superstar was not associated with the brand at all, and instead was endorsing the nutrition campaign on pro bono basis. “Mr Bachchan is not associated in anyway with the brand. He had been approached for Mission Poshan, a social campaign on hunger and nutrition, by a media group. He researched the subject and agreed to participate in and lead the charity campaign, without endorsing any brand involved. That too only if he is satisfied with the accuracy of the research done during the campaign,” the actor’s spokesperson was quoted in the report.
NAPi says it also received a response from Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog, assuring that the Aayog will never promote any brand and is committed to optimising use of natural resources and methods for improving nutritional levels.
"Any campaign that envisions to curb or eliminate malnutrition should not partner with any food and nutrition companies or industry with the similar logic. We are happy to note your offer to support the cause pro bono but would like that you be vigilant of such subtle linkages to nutrition products like Horlicks, and many others high sugar products such as Complan, Boost, PediaSure, Bournvita, Power Vita, OjasVita, Protein X and similar. These are mostly high sugar products," the public health expert's body had said in a letter to Mr Bachchan.
Here is a list of Sugar Content of Top Malt/Health Drinks per 100 grams provided by NAPi...
1) PediaSure: Carbohydrates 62.74 grams of which sugar is 23.77 grams
2) Complan: Carbohydrates 62 grams of which sugar is 24 grams
3) Protein X: Carbohydrates 55 grams of which sugar is 32 grams
4) Bourn vita: Carbohydrates 85.2 grams of which sugar is 32 grams
5) Patanjali Power Vita: Carbohydrates 87.07 grams of which sugar is 72.66 grams
6) Boost: Carbohydrates 83 grams of which sugar is 26.5 grams
7) Shri Ojas Vita: Sugar 41.9 grams