India is known as the ‘Land of Festivals’ and one of the most celebrated festivals is Krishna Janmashtami. The occasion is celebrated on the auspicious eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu.
Janmashtami is widely observed all across India but it is exclusively celebrated in Vrindavan and Mathura regions in Uttar Pradesh, where Lord Krishna is believed to have been born. The day is typically celebrated by fasting all day and worshipping the deity at midnight. Devotees break their fast after midnight – the hour of Lord Krishna’s birth – by sharing sweets and food.
Owing to cultural differences, each region of the country marks this auspicious day in a different way but one thing that unites us all is food – particularly a variety of delicious sweet dishes. Without sweets, any celebration seems incomplete.
The elders spend all morning in the kitchen preparing the ‘prasaad’ with utmost care and affection. The very thought of jalebis, laddoos, barfis and kheer makes you drool (drop saliva uncontrollably from the mouth) – and you wait eagerly for the fast to break so you can gorge on these lip-smacking traditional ‘mithai’. Besides, these sweet dishes have a feel-good factor and can lift your spirits up instantaneously – as a result, you often end up overeating.
However, over the years, several studies have stated that excessive consumption of sweets is linked with a host of health issues and complications.
The Various Harmful Effects of Overconsumption of Sweets and Dairy -
Most Indian desserts are made of condensed milk or milk, sugar, butter and ghee. Dairy products and milk are sources of concentrated calcium. Although calcium is known to build and strengthen bones, several studies have recently stated that too much dairy may pose various risks to your overall health.
Here’s a closer look at how excessive consumption of sugar can mess with your health –
You have already known this since you were a kid – too much of sweets is not good for your teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria love to eat sugar that lingers in your mouth, so the more you indulge in mithais, the more chances you have of hampering your oral health.
If you have arthritis or osteoporosis, then consuming too many sweets could worsen the condition. Overconsumption of sweets has been shown to deteriorate joint pain due to the inflammation it causes in the body. You could possibly be at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis if you continue eating more than what is desired.
A surplus of added sugar can cause the liver to become insulin-resistant. Insulin helps convert sugar into energy in your bloodstream. When your body is unable to control the blood glucose level as efficiently as it should, you could be at risk of developing diabetes mellitus Type 2.
Binging on sweets can cause surplus insulin in the bloodstream to block your arteries and put excessive stress on the heart, which can potentially increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
This probably isn’t news to you, but the more sugar you consume, the more weight you put on. Eating too many sweets can increase your likelihood of being obese. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension.
We tend to binge on sweets during the festive time, almost unconscious of its harmful effects. However, if you are a little mindful, you can prevent adverse effects and still enjoy sweets and Indian desserts.
How to Take Care of Your Health?
When consumed in excess, sweets are not good for your overall health – but eating them in moderation may be just as fine. Not all sweets are good for the body though. The ones you buy from mithai shops contain too many calories. Therefore, it is best to opt for homemade sweets, as they are low on the glycemic index – that help to keep your blood sugar levels in check – and are prepared using quality ingredients.
Opt for healthier options when it comes to preparing sweets at home. For example – instead of using refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, use natural sweetening ingredients like honey and jaggery to prepare the mithais.
Besides, it is important to keep yourself active to shed the calories, which you are likely to gain after eating too many of sweets greedily during the festive time. Exercise more often, balance your diet with the right amount of nutrients and monitor your blood glucose level regularly.
Sweets are an integral part of Indian festivals. Do not deprive yourself of the joys of sharing a delectable Mithai just because of its potential health risks. Ensure that you keep track of your diet to avoid going overboard.