Skip to main content

by Emma Groves, Obesity Policy Senior Coordinator

LiveLighter's Flavoured Milks Survey has surveyed over 90 flavoured milks available in both WA and VIC to see how they stack up when it comes to quenching your thirst.

The results are startling. In some cases, one carton of flavoured milk contained as much added sugar as half a packet of lollies. You can see Today Tonight Perth's story here.

When it comes to flavoured milks, there are three things to consider:

1. Added sugar

Cow’s milk naturally contains some sugar. In every 100mL of milk there is about 4 to 5g of naturally occurring sugar in the form of lactose which isn't a concern unless you have an intolerance to lactose. 

Flavoured milks overwhelmingly have sugar added to them. Of those surveyed, some of the worst offenders had over 10g of sugar per 100 mL, double what you would normally find in milk.  

TIP: Choose the milk that has the lowest amount of sugar per 100mL. Anything over 4 to 5g per 100mL is added sugar.  

2. Serve size  

According to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, a serve of milk is 1 cup or 250mL. The majority of flavoured milks are sold in much larger serving sizes and are often consumed as a single portion. The largest single serving of flavoured milk surveyed was 750ml in a number of flavours. This is equivalent to having 3 serves of milk, 3 times the amount recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines.  

TIP: Choose the smallest serving size, anything more than 250mL is more than you need.   

3. Marketing spin  

LiveLighter's findings showed that flavoured milks are cleverly marketed to appeal to a number of audiences and largely reliant on selling the health benefits of milk.

Its true, milk drinks do offer health benefits.

Plain milk contains nutrients for good health, such as protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine and vitamin B12. The analysis shows however that these claims are disguising what is essentially sugar, flavourings and sometimes caffeine added to plain milk.  

what's hiding in your flavoured milk

In summary...  

Overwhelmingly the majority of flavoured milks available are sold in serving sizes that are too big to be part of a healthy diet and therefore contribute far too much added sugar.  

Milk and milk products are an important part of a healthy diet and many people don’t consume enough serves for good health. Flavoured milks can be an acceptable option when struggling to get enough milk products into you or your families diet and options exist with very little added sugar as food manufacturers reformulate to address our growing concern about sugar in the diet.   

Look out for the options that have the lowest amount of sugary per 100mL, take note of those that claim ‘no added sugar’ (this is good!) and choose the smallest serving size.  

Better still, if you are home – make your own smoothies with milk, yoghurt and fruit and if you are on the go – buy a 6 pack of long life milk in 200mL packs – great options for kids on the go.  

You can find out more on the LiveLighter Flavoured Milks Survey here .

Related posts