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All That Glitters May Not Be Good For You If You're Eating Gold

Although used throughout history, added gold and silver garnishes are becoming more available and used with a variety of dishes from sushi to wedding cakes. But how safe are these for your body and what can you use them for? Should you avoid eating that cake with gold flakes and silver balls?

Gold and Silver Garnishes have been popular and used for decorations on foods like cakes and desserts throughout history. Recently, they have begun to surge in popularity again — especially on wedding cakes, sushi, and in fancy alcoholic drinks. But are these expensive details safe to eat? Sold by high-end culinary sites and stores, these garnishes usually are found in the shape of sprinkles, dust, or shapes like flowers and leaves. This edible gold is not as strong as the gold you find in your jewelry. Usually edible gold is around 24 carats, making if soft and easily made into shapes. The silver found in culinary cooking is around 23 carats. Most of the flakes and garnishes seemingly melt into your mouth while eating and do not have sharp edges or making the food feel crunchy.

Edible gold and silver have no nutritional value and do not add a metallic taste to foods. Lacking fats, proteins or carbohydrates, these garnishes do not add any value to your diet but neither do they add calories to your meals. Some companies sell products with gold in it and make health claims but there is limited scientific evidence to support these products.

While some of the decorations can be quite costly ($295.90 for a whole gram of edible gold!), you are able to find flakes, sprinkles and dust for more reasonable prices. You can find small containers of edible gold flakes around $20-30 dollars. Purchasing a few sheets of thin edible gold for decoration are also in a similar price range. To use the edible gold dust you will need to lightly dust your wet frosting with a brush or to paint it on you can mix a small amount with a clear alcohol, like vodka or mix with a flavoring extract. Some bakers have even suggested mixing it with lemon to enhance its luster and shine.

The reasons why you shouldn’t eat edible gold and silver are mostly economical. Although some people have reported stomach irritation from eating too much of the silver, small quantities of both gold and silver should pass through your body without issue. Safe for use in dentistry, these metals pass through the body without reacting because they are in their most pure forms biologically inert. Keep in mind that restaurants and bakeries capitalize on the extravagant appearance of foods with these details, so be prepared to pay! Always consider that there are more nutritious, delicious and beautiful foods you could spend your money on when deciding on the necessity of gold and silver garnishes.

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