Malted Milk Health Facts

scoops of vanilla ice cream
Malted milk is added to ice cream to enhance the flavor. (Image: Maksim Koval/iStock/Getty Images)

Malted milk is a sweetener made from whole milk and other ingredients such as malted barley and wheat flour. It's added to dessert products like ice cream and candy to enhance the flavor and make them sweet-tasting. Because it contains milk, malted milk is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals. Despite these benefits, malted milk is also quite high in sugar and saturated fat, which decreases its nutritional value.

Malted Milk Basics

One cup of plain malted milk prepared with whole milk contains 233 calories and 9.6 grams of fat, of which 5.4 grams are saturated. Saturated fats are dangerous in large doses because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Limiting your intake of saturated fat to 10 percent or less of your total caloric intake is one way to help prevent these health problems. A cup of chocolate malted milk prepared with whole milk contains 225 calories and 8.7 grams of fat, of which about 5 grams are saturated. Malted milk also supplies between 9 and 10 grams of protein toward the 46 grams women need each day and the 56 grams men should have daily.

Sugar Content Isn't So Sweet

The amount of sugar in malted milk is the primary drawback to the beverage. While some of the sugar is naturally occurring sugar, which is present in all dairy foods, much of it is added sugar. One cup of plain malted milk made with whole milk contains 25.3 grams of sugar, and the same amount of chocolate malted milk made with whole milk contains 17.7 grams of sugar. Limiting your intake of added sugar is a smart way to help maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease.

It Has Its Benefits

A cup of plain malted milk made with whole milk supplies 310 milligrams of bone-building calcium, which is about one-third of the 1,000 milligrams you need each day. One cup of chocolate malted milk made with whole milk contains 260 milligrams of calcium. Plain or chocolate malted milk supplies between 35 percent and 40 percent of the 700 milligrams of phosphorus you need each day to support strong bones. That same cup of plain or chocolate malted milk delivers about half of the 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 you need each day to support a healthy central nervous system. You'll also get a small amount of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes, from plain or chocolate malted milk.

Including Malted Milk in Your Diet

Treat malted milk as you would dessert and make it an occasional treat rather than an everyday part of your diet. Regular milk contains sugar, but it's all naturally occurring, which means it's a valuable part of your diet. Malted milk has too much added sugar to be considered good for you, despite the nutrients you do get from the beverage. If you're really craving malted milk, make it with reduced-fat or skim milk, which will cut the fat content of the drink, though not the sugar content.

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