Hot Chocolate Moon Mylks: Are They Worth the Hype?

Spruiking claims from helping to fight depression to relaxing the nervous system for a good night’s sleep, hot chocolate mylks or moon milks are the latest product claiming to be worth the small fortune they are asking customers to dole out, but do the health claims stack up and are they worth the hype?

Moon mylks fall into the category of a “functional beverage” you know, a drink that offers additional health benefits beyond the regular nutritional value such as vitamin water, energy drinks, and sports drinks. They are pricy at two dollars per serve, but it’s all worth it right for the promise of decreased stress levels and a good night’s sleep.

In addition to the many options of these beverages you can buy online or off the shelves in health food stores, there are many DIY recipes for moon mylks on the internet using a plant-based milk, a multitude of herbs and spices and some coconut oil or ghee.

So do they work?

It has long been established that a warm drink of milk before bed can promote feelings of sleepiness thought to be due to milk is packed with ingredients that make us sleepy such as amino acid tryptophan. Or are you familiar with the calming effect of a nice cup of hot tea?

So yes the presence of certain amino acids in moon mylks and the fact that it is a hot beverage may assist with promoting sleep and calming nerves, but so then can a regular drink of hot chocolate or non-caffeinated hot beverage.

But what about all those added herbs and amino acids?

While there is limited evidence backing most claims made by the ingredients of moon mylks, it is however known that the often included essential amino acid L-tryptophan assists in the production of a brain chemical called serotonin.

Serotonin plays a role in assisting with mood regulation and is often found in low levels in those with depression. However supplementing L-tryptophan will not necessarily assist with depression, as those who eating a healthy and varied diet will already be achieving their daily requirements. If supplementation is recommended to you by a health professional, the amount needed to produce benefits is different depending on the individual and likely not going to be accurate if sourced through moon mylk alone.

Are they good for us?

Drinking moon mylk is not recommended for children under 16, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For the rest of the population, they are generally safe however I would recommend to steer clear of the recipes that include added ghee or coconut oil as this added saturated fat is not great for heart health in large amounts and the additional calories are not necessary in the diets of most.

Overall, if you are struggling to feel sleepy at night, opt for any non-caffeinated warm beverage and compare the difference. If you think you may need to supplement amino acids or other supplements, speak to your health care professional about an individualised supplement for you and keep your hot chocolates in the category of pure enjoyment.

By Caitlin Mannion, Dietitian