In India socialising and celebrating is all about tasting and eating different types of Indian sweets without counting the calories. Jalebis, Rasgulla, Soan Papdi , Barfis, Ras Malai, Laddu, Halwa, Gulab jamun, Kheer, Cham cham etc., are some of the most popular Indian sweets.
Before you gulp down that mouth-watering gulab jamun this Diwali, read this. A survey by Dehradun-based Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS) has found that many sweet shops in the city are selling adulterated food items.
Following are the 5 reasons you should avoid consuming or gifting sweets from local shops
- Use of toxic Dye
A team of scientists from Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, conducted a study on use of illegal colors in sweets. The team detected illegal and potentially toxic colors in around 16% of sweets and savories tested. They also found that even with sweets that contained safe colors, 58% exceeded the cap of 100 mg/kg determined by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.The scientists found six banned dyes in the sweets tested: rhodamine B, orange II, metanil yellow, malachite green, quinoline yellow and auramine.
All these dyes are harmful in nature and causes diseases like cancer upon chronic consumption.
2. Toxic, synthetic milk
A significant percentage of milk sold in the unorganized sector in India is contaminated and adulterated with synthetic milk. This is a toxic concoction made with Urea and detergents. It is impossible for people to taste any difference between real milk and synthetic milk. Milk based sweets are often found to be adulterated with synthetic milk
This toxic substance can cause liver and kidney failures and much more damage.
3. Silver Coating or Vark
Silver coating (vark) used to decorate sweets is made from silver. According to Indian regulations, silver must be 99.9 per cent pure if it is used as a food ingredient. However, with silver becoming expensive many sweet shop owners use silver vark that could contain aluminium. If you like to buy sweets with silver vark then you should know how to differentiate between pure silver foil and an adulterated one. Silver vark is very fine and so it will disintegrate when rubbed between the fingers. Alloy of aluminium is not that fine and if you rub that between the fingers it will roll up into a ball. Also, the adulterated silver foil will not spread out so smoothly but tends to break.Aluminium is a hazardous metal when consumed.
Aluminium accumulates in body tissues, especially the bones. It can also enter the brain. During pregnancy it can cause damage to the placenta and foetus. It is suspected that aluminium poisoning is a major cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
4. Use of chemical Formalin in preservation
Many sweet factories in India use the chemical Formalin to mass preserve Indian sweets for long periods of time. It would shock most people to note that Formalin is used for preservation of corpses.
Consuming formalin-mixed sweets can cause damage to kidneys and liver of humans and also cause asthma attacks and cancer. If pregnant women consume sweets mixed with Formalin there are high chances that the baby they deliver will be a physically challenged baby.
5. Ghee and Vanaspati
Vanaspati is any refined edible vegetable oil that has undergone the process of hydrogenation. It can be laced with extracts from animal fat or cotton seed and palm oil.
Since oil is used to make almost every sweet and savoury product it could lead to intestine related problems. Using adulterated oil regularly can also lead to high cholesterol levels. Ghee can be adulterated if it contains animal fat which increases the risk serum cholesterol and triglycerides levels.