In a move to address growing health issues, Swiss food company Nestlé SA is planning to cut out sugar from its flavoured milk products under the Nesquik tag, according to an announcement made on April 12.

Launched this month, the new Nesquik flavoured powders will carry 10.6 grams of sugar per two tablespoons, reducing the sugar content in the chocolate flavour by 15% and in strawberry version by 27%. Nestlé is also not going to permit any artificial flavours or colours anymore.

However, there will be a total 22 grams of sugar contained in each eight-ounce serving of Nesquik’s ready-to-drink beverages; 10.6 grams being added sugar while the rest makes up for the naturally occurring sugar lactose.

This is 43 calories per serving or about one-third of the maximum added sugar recommended for children in the age group of 4-8, as per the US health panel advisory guidelines.

Although similar efforts are reflected at other food companies too, such as General Mills Inc., many health advocates still remain unsatisfied.

Michael Jacobson, Executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, opined: "It’s a nice step in the right direction, but it’s not a huge victory for nutrition. I would recommend water or skim milk or low-fat milk as something that is more appropriate to drink," he said, advising parents to keep away Nesquik from their children’s diet.

Rob Case, president of Nestlé’s beverage division, said: "The general consensus is that flavoured milk is an appropriate product if it’s consumed in responsible amounts."

Nestlé claims that children consume more milk because of Nesquik.

The Yale Rudd Center for food Policy and Obesity warned in its 2011 report that children of the above mentioned age group must have a maximum intake of 15 grams per day of added sugar (60 calories). The study has been based on the American Heart Association’s suggestion to limit added sugar consumption to about 50% of the total empty calories, including solid fats.

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center, now at the University of Connecticut, said: "If chocolate milk is the only sugar they consume in a day, this is positive."