Nutrition, Benefits, Downsides, and More

Ovaltine is a popular nutrition supplement drink mix that includes many essential vitamins and minerals.

It was developed in 1904 and can be made into a hot or cold drink mixed with milk or water. It’s available in classic malt or chocolate malt flavors.

Although loaded with vitamins and minerals, you may wonder if it’s healthy and whether it should be a regular part of your diet.

This article will explore some of the key nutrients, benefits, and potential downsides of drinking Ovaltine.

Ovaltine is an excellent source of several B vitamins, including Vitamin B6, niacin, and thiamin.

Below is a closer look at the nutrition for a 2 tablespoon (11 gram) serving of chocolate malt-flavored Ovaltine (1, 2):

The nutrition value of Ovaltine can vary slightly depending on the flavor you choose and the beverage you mix it with. For example, adding the powder to milk will result in more calories, protein, vitamin D, and calcium.

Ovaltine may provide significant health benefits due to its nutrient content, especially if you’re temporarily unable to eat a well-balanced diet.

1. Good source of B vitamins

Ovaltine is an excellent source of several B vitamins.

One serving of Ovaltine (21 grams) provides 15–40% of the DV for several B-vitamins, including vitamin B6, niacin, and thiamin.

These vitamins play an essential role in the body and are especially important for gene expression, communication between cells, DNA synthesis, and turning food into usable energy (3, 4, 5).

Further, one study on similar malted milk drinks showed they could help improve sleep quality in children and older adults. Although the exact reason is unknown, it could be related to the B vitamins and their effect on melatonin and the sleep cycle (6).

2. Rich in calcium and vitamin D

One serving of Ovaltine mixed with 8 ounces of skim milk has 31% of the DV for calcium and 19% of the DV for vitamin D (1, 2).

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes thinning and weakening of bones (7).

Almost all of the calcium you have is stored in your bones. Therefore, not getting enough calcium can lead to frail bones.

People who eat a vegetarian diet or those who are lactose intolerant are at a higher risk for calcium deficiency because some of the main food sources of both calcium and vitamin D are animal-based (8).

Also, the absorption of calcium from plants is highly variable, while calcium from dairy is generally well absorbed (8).

Furthermore, you need vitamin D to absorb the calcium you eat. Your body can produce vitamin D with sun exposure, but spending too little time outdoors, sunscreen use, and wearing long-sleeved clothing can increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency (9, 10).

3. High in vitamin A

One serving of Ovaltine has 20% of the DV for vitamin A.

Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble vitamins, including retinols and carotenoids (11).

This vitamin helps your eyes adjust and see in dim light, keeps your skin and mucous membranes healthy, and helps support your immune system (12).

Vitamin A is essential for conception and healthy pregnancy. This nutrient is needed for the formation of sperm and ova as well as the brain, eye, and spinal development of the embryo and fetus (13).

The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 700 microgram retinol activity equivalents (mcg RAE) for women and 900 mcg for men (14).

4. Loaded with copper

Adults need 0.9 mg of copper a day and one serving of Ovaltine provides you with 20% of the DV (1, 15).

Copper is an essential trace element. That means you only need a small amount of it, but it’s very important for several processes in the body.

It’s needed for red and white blood cell production and the formation of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your blood.

One thing to be cautious about if you’re focusing on your copper intake is that taking zinc supplements may interfere with copper absorption and actually increase the risk of a copper deficiency, leading to copper deficiency anemia (16, 17).

Summary

Ovaltine is a good source of multiple essential nutrients, such as B-vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, and copper.

While Ovaltine can be a good way to get a concentrated source of nutrients that your diet may be lacking during times when you’re sick or otherwise unable to eat a balanced diet, it is also high in added sugars and may not help meet your protein needs.

One serving of Ovaltine provides as much as 9 grams of added sugar in the form of table sugar, maltodextrin, and molasses.

Eating too much added sugar has been linked to several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes (18).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults and children over the age of 2 get less than 10% of their calories from added sugars. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s less than 12 teaspoons or 50 grams of sugar each day (14).

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to only 5% of your calories, or 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men (15).

Further, one serving of Ovaltine mixed with water contains no protein. If you’re drinking Ovaltine to replace lost nutrients, you may not be getting enough protein unless you mix it with dairy, soy, or protein-rich plant milk.

Adult women need at least 46 grams of protein daily, while men need 56 grams per day (16).

Summary

One serving of Ovaltine may contain up to 9 grams of added sugar, which equals about half of the recommended daily intake for adults. If mixed with water or low-protein plant milk, Ovaltine won’t help meet your protein needs.

Ovaltine is a nutrition supplement that provides many essential vitamins and minerals and is a good source of vitamins A, D, and B, calcium, and copper.

However, it’s also very high in added sugar, which may have several negative health effects.

Ovaltine can help you get enough important nutrients if you’re having a hard time eating, but it doesn’t replace a well-balanced diet.