Don’t chose shine over health. Learn the benefits of using unpolished dal over polished dal.

In recent a lot of focus has been on shifting to healthier alternates of the food that we’re consuming. It’s no wonder pulses (aka dal) are one of the most important ingredient of an Indian meal. I have myself grown up eating dal at the dinner almost each day, and I still do. In fact, pulses are the most important source of proteins for the vegetarians. Furthermore, whether you’d agree with me or not, I’ve always found a bowl full of dal quite delicious. And, that’s not the end of it. Besides serving them as a curry, pulses can also be used to make several other delicious cuisines e.g. Dahi Vada, Dal pakodas, Puran Poli, Khasta Kachori, imarti and many more delicacies.

Before we proceed on to the comparison between unpolished dal and polished dal, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of some common pulses and lentils.

Pulses and legumes Energy (Kcal) Fibre (g) Carbohydrate (g) Protein (g)  Fat (g) Minerals (g) Calcium (mg)
 Gram  372  1.2  59.8  20.8  5.6 2.7 56
 Green gram  348  0.8  59.9  24.5  1.2 3.5 75
 Green gram whole  334  4.1  56.7  24  1.3 3.5 124
 Kidney beans  346  4.8  60.6  22.9  1.3  3.2  260
 Moth beans  330  4.5  56.5  23.6  1.1  3.5  202
 Peas  315  4.5  56.5  19.7  1.1  2.2  75
 Red gram  335  56.5  19.7  1.1  2.2  73
 Soya bean  432  1.5  57.6  22.3  1.7  4.6  2450
 Whole gram  360  3.7  20.9  43.2  19.5  3  202
 Black gram  347  0.9  59.6  24  1.4  3.2  154

Source: Diethealthclub

Now that we know how nutritious these tiny little dal grains are, it’s time we get on with the main question: Unpolished dal vs polished dal.

If you’ve been doing your kitchen shopping, you might have noticed that the grocery stores might have several varieties of pulses, some with a shining smooth surface, while other with a rough dull luster. And, unfortunately, people tend to buy the shining dal without knowing that it is inferior to its crude version in terms of the health benefits it offers.

The process

Ever wondered how those pulses got their sheen? Well, before getting to the stores these pulses undergo a multi-step process of polishing that involves processing with water, oil, marble powder and leather. The process not only smooths the surface, but also adds a shiny coating.

Also read: Superfoods: Dietary Sources and Health Benefits of Antioxidants

Polished dal versus Unpolished Dal

Polished Dal Versus Unpolished Dal, Which One Do You Buy?

  1. Having lost its outer surface polished dal is inferior to unpolished dal in their taste.
  2. For the same reason polished dal takes longer to cook, thus adding to fuel consumption in a long run.
  3. The polishing agents used can be harmful to our health. The oil coating adds additional fat to the food, the water used comes from unreliable sources thus can contain any kind of impurities, and marble and soapstone powder are undoubtedly harmful to the intestines.
  4. Through the polishing process dal loses a lot of nutrients and fibres, thus polished is not only less nutritious but also harmful.
  5. In cases where dal isn’t sold for a long time, old stocks are usually sent back for re-polishing and then resold. Imagine what such a food would do to your health.

Presently unpolished dal might be costlier than polished dal only because their availability is rare and unaware people prefer polished dal. However if enough awareness is spread among people, the demand for unpolished dal would increase and that of polished dal would decrease. As a result availability of unpolished dal would increase, and hence lower cost.

I’m hoping next time you go out to buy some dal, you’d ask the shopkeeper for unpolished dal only.

Buy Unpolished Dal on Amazon

Further Reading: Whole-grain Noodles and Pasta or The Regular Maida, What to Eat?

  • Raman

    Recently, tata released unpolished dal in india. I think its called i-shakti and sanjeev kapoor is the brand ambassador. Thanks for the post and such valuable information

    • Yes! You’re correct, Raman. They’ve recently started featuring that advertisement.

  • Balgit

    Why cant Govt of India ban such food- unpolished Dal, bleached sugar, bleached flour, which dont add any value to buyer or seller.

    • I think you mean to say that Govt should ban POLISHED dal. Unpolished dal is the healthier one

      • Balgit


  • Madhu Rao

    We 4 week-end farmers have grown Tur Dal and its in the process of Harvesting/processing. We intend to sell it in unpolished state. We would have this available for sale by 3rd week of January 2017. Those interested can contact me @ [email protected]