Are you among those who often go for a burger while in a restaurant but avoid eating a samosa calling it unhealthy? Then, here is an eye-opener for you. The favourite Indian ‘chai’-time snack, samosa has won the battle against burger. In the latest report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a samosa is better for an individual’s health than a burger because it is made by using fresh ingredients and is free of additives, preservatives and flavouring. The report, released on Monday, observes that while a samosa may be calorie-dense, it is largely made of chemical-free ingredients such as refined wheat flour, cumin, boiled potatoes, peas, salt, chillies, spices, vegetable oil or ghee. A burger, on the other hand, has preservatives, acidity regulator, emulsifier, improver and antioxidant along with refined wheat flour, sugar, wheat gluten, edible vegetable oil, yeast, salt, soya flour, sesame seed, vegetables, mayonnaise, cheese or potato patty.
The report also talks up other Indian snacks which include foods such as poha that are made with natural ingredients, and fresh juices that are a mix of fruit and water are also termed better than noodles and canned juices that have thickeners, humectants, permitted synthetic food colours and added flavours in it. “Fresh food contains none of the chemicals present in ultra-processed food,” says the report titled ‘Body Burden: Lifestyle Diseases’. With respect to High in Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) packaged food and beverages, the survey conducted by CSE revealed high consumption of packaged HFSS foods. Such foods adversely affect the body and thereby, must be avoided.
It must be noted that CSE conducted a ‘Know Your Diet’ survey of over 13,000 schoolchildren (9-17 years), primarily from 15 states between September 2016 and March 2017. The study titled ‘Body Burden: Lifestyle Diseases’ investigates the new and emerging environmental triggers of NCDs in India. The study has listed seven major health problems in India, including obesity, mental health, cancer, heart disease, respiratory and hormonal disorder.
“The number of overweight and obese people in India doubled between 2005 and 2015, while 26% of all deaths happen due to cardiovascular diseases. There were an estimated 22.2 million chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients and around 35 million chronic asthma patients in 2016,” noted the study.