Why are momos so unhealthy

Momos

Momos are currently one of the most popular and widely consumed street foods. Ranging from small stalls and eateries on the road to posh five-star restaurants, momos are everywhere. These are basically dumplings stuffed with a variety of things like chicken, cabbage, cottage cheese etc., and wrapped in dough. Momos are either steamed or pan fried or even made in a tandoor. With so many people loving them, there is a momo variety for everyone. The number of people who enjoy momos is steadily increasing all over the world. Veggie, chicken, Tandoori, Mughlai, seafood and a variety of other momos make people’s mouths water.

The majority of children and teenagers like street steamed momos on a daily basis. Momos, for the most part, are actually readily available, simple to prepare, and inexpensive. In today’s market, there are a variety of momos to choose from. Consumption of momos, on the other hand, is hazardous to our health. The eating of soft flour balls filled with veg or non-veg stuffing and eaten with a variety of spicy chutneys and sauces shows to be detrimental in the long term.

Momos or dimsums or dumplings

Momos or dimsums or dumplings are all now very common in almost all parts of Asia. Originally momos have their roots tracing back to Tibet. However, they are very similar to the Chinese dish called baozi. They both have a stuffing of pork, beef, shrimp, chicken, vegetables etc. Tibet basically has momos as its unofficial national dish. Another incredible thing that goes with momos and is everyone’s favorite is the chutney or sauce. It accompanies momos and is made of tomatoes, chilies, ginger, and garlic. 

Momos have an addicting taste and are simple and light. They go with various types of fillings, sauces and soups. They are easy and quick bites with only just a few that make you very full. These are very easily available, easy to make as well, and very cheap too. Lately, momos are easily the king of all street food.

However, there needs to be special attention paid to the other side of momos that is honestly really dangerous. Momos have a long list of reasons why they are so unhealthy for everyone. 

Stale ingredients

About 90% of the time, the stuffings inside the momos are stale. They are of poor quality and extremely ill standard.  Stake ingredients cause havoc in the stomach which is further very painful. When the sellers reheat the momos again and again,  the food comes in contact with the air and contaminates it. One of the most direct and harmful consequences of eating stale food is diarrhea. The risk of diarrhea further causes dehydration. It indicates that there is a significant amount of fluid loss, which is harmful. The feast that is left over is more filling than it was previously. This makes digestion more challenging and problematic for people. At the same time, the germs in leftover food destroy our liver. 

Due to the lack of time and attention, eating stale momos seems convenient. Even sellers find it easy and are ignorant of, the harmful effects of stale momos. Also with the number of people always in a rush at momo stalls, the sellers keep their momos pre-prepared and keep reheating them for everyone. This causes extreme damage to health.

Bleached maida dough

The primary ingredient in momos and dumplings is their outer wrap dough that is bleached maida. It tastes delicious and is very addicting. However, the maida is really one of the most dangerous foods for your bodies. There is an endless list of harmful effects of having maida on a regular basis.

Refined flour has no fiber in it, this causes severe problems with digestion. Digestive problems further cause overall damage to the body and its functioning. It even stops your body from absorbing nutrients from other nutritional foods you have.

Refined products

Refined products are majorly deprived of many nutrients. Later for the refining process several chemicals also add to the harmful train. Bleached maida commonly causes constipation and makes you gain extra unhealthy weight. It is even worse for chronic illnesses. It’s a proven fact that maida increases your  bad cholesterol along with your blood pressure and even disrupts your sugar levels. The maida in momos also slows down your metabolism. This implies that instead of burning fat for fuel, your body begins to store it. Fibres aren’t present in maida that wrap momos. Fibres aid in the removal of food detritus from the gut of humans, Carbohydrates alone will not suffice. In reality, once it enters the intestines, it clogs the system by turning to something very similar to glue.

Maida also inhibits the growth and survival of beneficial bacteria that facilitate digestion in our bodies. Maida has a highly acidic nature. When you eat too much of it, your body has to pull calcium to balance out the acid. This is essentially alkali from your bones, which causes a decrease in bone density. Excess acid in the body is another factor that contributes to inflammation and arthritis. All in all, it will ruin your health and momos pave the way for that. 

MSG

Monosodium glutamate is a common component in Momos and other similar dishes. It’s commonly referred to as ajinomoto. Although it improves the flavour of food, there are numerous health risks that come with this seemingly harmless chemical. Large amounts of MSG or ajinomoto, according to popular belief, causes headaches and other unpleasant emotions, a condition known as ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.’ Though it is safe to take MSG in moderation, overuse of this component in food causes major side effects in humans. MSG directly leads to obesity. Other than that it also causes a huge number of other problems like nervous disorder, chest pain, sweating, nausea, stomach upsets and palpitations.  

Dog meat

There is a high chance that you have heard rumours about street momo vendors stuffing dog meat inside momos instead of regular chicken meat. These rumours have been going around for quite some time now and the worst part about it is that these might not be just rumours.

As gross as it sounds there is a possibility that it is true. There are several reports lodged by people for the issue. The report’s most shocking fact is that they discovered several dog dead bodies throughout the city, with the majority of them missing body parts. This indicates the  said problem. This horrible practice would not only expose the helpless street dogs to butchery, but it will also have an impact on the health of those who eat them with life threatening side effects.  There are no words to describe how heinous of an act this is.

It puts a lot of dogs in danger as they are all mostly stray or stolen by these vendors. Other than that it violates all consumer rights possible and is  equally violative of basic humanity. Since there is not enough proof of this activity, it is best to avoid meat momos  from vendors and small restaurants at all costs. 

Very spicy chutney

The spicy momo chutney gets all the love from people. It goes perfectly with the small and simple momos and adds the incredible spicy touch  to momos. However, as good as it tastes, it is equally bad for your health. Red chillies, in general, are healthy for your health, as long as they aren’t processed chilli powders as processed food has no nutrients. Local momo-vendors quality, on the other hand, never provide any guarantee.

Spicy foods are also the main cause of bleeding haemorrhoids or piles when consumed in excess and often. Spicy food, despite its benefits, causes stomach distress in some people as per their spice tolerance. They sometimes help you digest your meal more easily, but they  also make your digestive problems worse. Furthermore, it impairs taste buds since people  develop a desire for spicy food and find everything else bland or unpleasant as a result. Spicy food should always be consumed in moderation as it harms the stomach lining. This results in gastritis, stomach ulcers, and potentially intestinal disease like colitis.

Other than this, there is also the issue of hygiene. Like most street stalls, there is always the possibility of the chutney being prepared in dirty, unhygienic and unhealthy environments. The chilies, garlic, and ginger are not washed or are of poor quality. The tomatoes are stale and are not fit for consumption. All of it is still mixed in for the chutney making it extremely unhealthy. Therefore it is always advisable to not have a lot of the momo chutney even if it’s tempting.

Obesity

Excessive momo consumption contributes to obesity. In fact, it is proven that maida contains a significant amount of starch. More refined flour consumption raises blood cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels naturally. Sodium glutamate is also present in momos. It comes in the form of a white crystal powder. This leads to health problems such as nerve abnormalities,  an elevated heart rate, in addition to fat. A serving of momos includes 35 calories and is commonly composed of a simple flour filled with cooked vegetables and fillings. Under this, protein and carbs are responsible for three and 16 calories, respectively. Fats provide the remaining 16 calories.

Weight loss is hindered by momos cooked with all-purpose flour and bleached maida. Because momos are smaller, we often tend to eat more than we need and consume more calories than the recommended daily allowance. This results in weight gain rather than weight loss since the body will store the extra calories as fat. It is also an understood fact that momos are very tempting and addictive. So a lot of people often have them on a regular basis and many even daily. This will naturally lead to , the massive increase in weight.

Long term diseases

The glycaemic index of maida and processed flour is extremely high. When you eat food made with it, a large amount of sugar is released directly into your bloodstream. This  causes your blood sugar to surge. Naturally, to compensate for this, the pancreas has to work extra hard to create enough insulin. If you consume maida occasionally, your pancreas can handle the load. But if you do so frequently, your insulin output plummets and you become diabetic. Glycation is also caused by an overabundance of glucose in the body. It indicates that the sugar molecules bind to the proteins in our cells. This can further cause heart difficulties, joint inflammation, arthritis, cataracts, and premature skin ageing.

Dead meat

Another, very shocking and disgusting fact about momos is the presence of dead meat as their fillings. There are quite a number of researches and reports that validate this issue. They show that some momos had the meat of already dead animals, mostly chicken and that of diseased animals. This is majorly only common in street and roadside vendors and stalls.

The vendors are already very poor and don’t do well financially. So in order to cut costs and save money from buying fresh meat that is expensive, they buy the meat of dead and diseased animals. They get the meat at a very cheap rate and since they finely chop it to fill inside the small momos, their quality goes unnoticed by people. It goes without saying how harmful this kind of meat can be. Food poisoning, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, etc are the mild symptoms of eating diseased or dead meat which are also likely to get severe.

Other than this infected meat of animals suffering from diseases like pneumonia, liver infection, heart infection, tumors, etc., are likely to transfer to humans. This proves how really dangerous roadside momos are. It goes especially for the smaller vendors and stalls as there cannot always be inspection and regulation of these places. So you need to take extra care and pay special attention to things like this and try to avoid it. 

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are segmented, ribbon-like worms that dwell in your intestines and have the ability to grow to between 4.5 and 9 metres long. We can catch them by eating uncooked contaminated pork, beef, or fish, cabbage or by swallowing food containing traces of contaminated faeces.

Momos contain cabbage and other veggies which, if not cooked properly, leads to tapeworm spores that enter the brain, lodge, and develop, posing a life-threatening disease. It is possible that there will be no symptoms at all, or stomach discomfort with diarrhoea and vomiting. These complications naturally get even more serious with time. This is extremely dangerous in cases of no symptoms at all as treatment gets delayed. Tapeworms cause major consequences in rare circumstances. Such as gut blockage or smaller intestine ducts (like the bile duct or pancreatic duct). Headaches, cystic masses or lumps, and allergic reactions to tapeworm larvae occur if larvae migrate out of your intestines and establish cysts in other tissues. No taste of momos is worth this type of risk. 

How to make momos healthier?

As it is now quite obvious that momos are extremely unhealthy, Delhi Deli has some tips for making momos healthier which we ourselves swear by. Every  dish you have out in restaurants, cafes and stalls is possible to prepare in your own kitchen. 

Instead of chicken momos, try to develop a liking and taste for vegetarian momos. Mix them up if you want chicken. Make three veggie momos and three chicken momos. Healthier and fresher veggies will have a positive effect rather than heavy meat. 

Always choose steaming momos over fried momos as steamed food is better than fried food. In fact, per piece, you’ll save 20 calories if you have steamed momos instead. 

Regular chilli sauce and momo chutney has a lot of salt and also has oil as a base. If at all feasible, use mint chutney instead as a side or dip.  The primary difference you can make to make healthy momos at home is by combining whole wheat atta with maida. Maida has really dangerous side effects which can be replaced by using wheat instead.  Also filling veg momos with a mixture of soybeans and chopped vegetables while cooking will help. This will increase the intake and nutritional value. Take a big plate of salads with your momos. This will help aid in the digestion of refined flour (maida) which is otherwise very problematic. 

Conclusion

If you eat enough fibre in your diet to be able to indulge in junk food once in a while, go ahead and have momos. But if it’s your go-to cuisine frequently or at least 3 times a week, it’s time to say goodbye to this habit. Despite the fact that all street snacks are unhealthy for your health, momos came out on top for all the reasons we talked about here. Make them at home in a much healthier way if you love them so much. But it’s high time for people to realise that street and roadside momo stalls are a big no. 

For more interesting and nutritional information check out more blogs by Delhi deli! 

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