It is sad to note that most Indians are resigned to drinking milk diluted with water which not only reduces the nutritious value of the beverage but also poses risk to health. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit says: “We have a huge challenge before us. We need more laboratories to test milk. India being largely a vegetarian society relies on milk rather than meat for its nutritional needs.”
A glass (250ml) of unadulterated whole milk will give around 146 kcals; 8gms of fat and protein with 257mg of calcium. Calcium and other vitamins and minerals in milk make it an important part of a healthful diet for people of all ages. The benefits of drinking milk include strengthening bones, improved cardiovascular and oral healthand even relief from PMS.
Adulterants used in Milk:
Milk is most commonly diluted with water - this not only reduces its nutritional value, but contaminated water can also cause additional health problems.
The other adulterants used are mainly starch, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), sugar, urea, hydrated lime, sodium carbonate, formalin, and ammonium sulfate.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has reported that “milk adulterants have hazardous health effects. The detergent in milk can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal complications. Its high alkaline level can also damage body tissue and destroy proteins. Other synthetic components can cause impairments, heart problems, cancer or even death. While the immediate effect of drinking milk adulterated with urea, caustic soda and formalin is gastroenteritis, the long-term effects are far more serious.”
Urea can lead to vomiting, nausea and gastritis. Urea is particularly harmful for the kidneys, and caustic soda can be dangerous for people suffering from hypertension and heart ailments.
Formalin can cause more severe damage to the body like liver damage. The health impact of drinking milk adulterated with these chemicals is worse for children. Caustic soda harms the mucosa of the food pipe, especially in kids. The chemical which contains sodium, can act as slow poison for those suffering from hypertension and heart ailments.
To avoid these dangers, it is best to buy milk from a renowned source. For those who can, buying milk sold by reputed companies in tetra packs is also a good option.