Is Horlicks Good for You?

Recently updated on April 11th, 2024 at 10:36 pm

Have you ever wondered if Horlicks, the popular malted milk drink, is actually good for you? While many of us enjoy its comforting taste, it’s important to understand if Horlicks offers any real health benefits.

Despite its reputation as a nutritious drink, there are varying opinions on whether it’s actually healthy. In this article, we will explore the facts to help you determine whether Horlicks is good or bad for you.

Table of contents:

What are the Ingredients in Horlicks?

The ingredients used in Horlicks differ slightly depending on whether you are drinking the Original, Instant, Chocolate or Vegan version.

There are some ingredients that all kinds of Horlicks share. These include:

  • Wheat flour and malted wheat (except in vegan Horlicks, where they don’t use malted wheat)
  • Malted Barley (With 75% in the vegan blend and only 13% in the chocolate flavour).
  • Dried whey and dried skimmed milk (not in the vegan mix).
  • Salt and sugar
  • A mix of vitamins
  • Anti-Caking Agent (E551) is present in all but the vegan flavour
  • Ferric Pyrophosphate – used as an iron supplement
  • Zinc Oxideapproved by the FDA for use in food as an essential trace mineral responsible for metabolic reactions
  • Palm Oil

Each type of Horlicks contains an added mix of vitamins and minerals. It includes:

The chocolate version of Horlicks contains 6.6% fat reduced cocoa powder. It also contains dried glucose syrup, which sweetens the cocoa to give it that chocolatey taste.

Every version of Horlicks except the original uses stabilisers like Guar Gum. The chocolate and vegan flavours use emulsifiers to give a smooth consistency.

Ingredients in Horlicks that you ought to be concerned about are sugar and palm oil.

Palm oil is one of the biggest drivers behind deforestation and harvesting it is making several species endangered. Palm oil is also 34% saturated fat, twice as much as olive oil so it’s not very healthy.

Nutritional Information

Horlicks has different nutritional values per type of drink offered. When choosing the original flavour, the drink is made with milk instead of hot water. The portion size is 25g for this type, and 32g for the instant and chocolate types.

The original version of Horlicks has 4 g of fat per 25g serving with milk, whereas the instant and chocolate versions have 0.6g and 1.8g of fat.

Vegan Horlicks contains only 0.5g fat per 25g serving, without water or milk.

Sugar Content

Horlicks is high in sugar, with the most sugar found in the original flavour. 

Some of this sugar comes from lactose which is a natural sugar found in milk, however, most of the sugar is added.

Original Horlicks has 19.2g of sugars per 25g serving with milk, while Instant has 14.8g of sugars (32g serving with hot water).

Chocolate flavour has 15.4g of sugars per 32g mixed with hot water.

The recommended daily allowance of added sugar is 30g per adult. 30 g of sugar is 7.5 teaspoons, if one teaspoon is 4g. This means original Horlicks has almost 5 teaspoons of sugar.  That’s a large amount of your daily allowance in just one drink.


Original Horlicks is the highest in calories since it is made with milk. One serving made with semi-skimmed milk contains 182 calories.

By comparison, a cup of tea with 30 ml of milk and two teaspoons of sugar is only around 37 calories.

Instant Horlicks has 115 calories and chocolate Horlicks has 119 calories per serving.

Does Horlicks have any health benefits?

The vitamin and mineral mix added to Horlicks has several benefits for health. B vitamins are essential for healthy skin and the nervous system. They also help to convert food into energy and create new blood cells.

Vitamin C has a role to protect cells and keeping them healthy. It also helps maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage.

Vitamin E helps to strengthen your immune system and maintain healthy skin and eyes.

Vitamin D is also important for the immune system but it’s also essential for the regulation of calcium in the body.

Although Horlicks contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals, it is not a healthy drink since it contains too much sugar which is associated with weight gain and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.


In this section, we have tried to cover the FAQs we receive about whether Horlicks is healthy.

Is Horlicks good for weight loss?

Horlicks is high in sugar, which is bad for weight loss.

However, Horlicks offer a Horlicks Lite version, which is a better malted milk option for those seeking to lose weight.

A 32g serving made with water contains 118 calories, 0.9g of fat and 15.8g of sugar. This is still a significant amount of sugar so it’s better if you simply drink unsweetened tea instead of Horlicks if you want to lose weight.

Is Horlicks fattening?

Yes, Horlicks is fattening since it is high in sugar and calories.

One serving made with semi-skimmed milk contains 182 calories which is a lot of calories.

If you are trying not to gain any weight you should avoid it and rather choose unsweetened tea or coffee which contain almost no calories.

Does Horlicks help you sleep?

There is nothing in Horlicks that will make you sleepy. The manufacturer states on their website that their drink is not going to induce drowsiness.

However, their marketing campaigns have long since made it out to be a night-time drink.

Is Horlicks safe during pregnancy?

Yes, Horlicks is safe to drink when pregnant. Be mindful of any wheat allergies, though, as it does contain wheat.

Also, be aware of its high-calorie count as it may cause unwanted weight gain if consumed regularly. Extra weight gain in pregnancy may cause complications.

Is Horlicks good for diabetics?

Horlicks is a malted milk drink that is high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. For this reason, it is not a suitable beverage for diabetics, especially those with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

Horlicks Instant Vs Original: What’s the difference?

Horlicks Original has a higher fat and sugar content when made up because it is mixed with milk. Horlicks Instant has the same malted milk taste but comes without the sugars and fats found in milk.

Ovaltine Vs Horlicks: What’s the difference and which one is better?

Ovaltine Original includes fat reduced cocoa powder and has a different mix of vitamins and minerals added to the powder. It contains rapeseed oil instead of palm oil and uses barley malt extract, instead of mixed malts.

Which one is better depends entirely on your tastebuds, however, if you would like to choose a healthier drink, then Horlicks is better as it has fewer calories per serving.

Conclusion: Is Horlicks good or bad for you?

Horlicks can be enjoyed in moderation however it is not a healthy drink since it contains too much sugar which is associated with weight gain and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also contains a range of vitamins and minerals that may be beneficial for health.

Therefore, we recommend that you try to limit your intake of Horlicks or replace it with unsweetened tea or coffee. You should also opt for the Horlicks Lite version if you are trying to lose weight. Ultimately, it is best to follow a balanced diet to make sure that you get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.

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