Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health?

Dinnerware Set Material

Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health? I often don’t think about the dinnerware material as long as we know it is durable and falls in our budget.

I Indians usually have a stainless steel dinner set in the kitchen which is often used for daily use and then we keep an additional dinner set for special occasions which can either be Bone China, Porcelain, etc.

A quality and healthy dinner set is as important as a gas stove for daily cooking, lunch box for office or a thermos flask for hydration.

Many of us may not know that our dinnerware may include lead and cadmium which are the two primary components of a toxic dinnerware set.

In today’s post, we will see Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health and which dinner set should be avoided for daily or even occasional use.

You can also check out other posts on What is Tri Ply Stainless Steel Cookware and Is Ikea Dinnerware Lead Free?

How Can Dinnerware be Unsafe or Non-Toxic?

The majority of the dinner sets contain lead or cadmium, but it does not mean every and each type of dinnerware set is unsafe for human consumption. It is only after a certain level that these elements can cause harmful effects, especially for the young kids.

Depending on the type of dinnerware material, some of the dinner sets may include a glaze or decoration on the surface of the plate, which looks attractive by the way. That glaze or decoration means lead is present in the dinnerware.

This is what it looks like:

Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health?

Again, the presence of glaze or lead in the dinnerware does not mean you should not use it, since almost all the major dinnerware brands in India ensure the amount of lead in the dinnerware should not go above the prescribed levels.

As per FDA, the amount of the amount of leachable lead cannot be above three parts per million for dinner plates and two parts per million for small bowls.

Speaking about the second harmful component, cadmium, it refers to those colourful and bright dishes such as yellow, orange, etc. Cadmium is usually present in terra cotta, ceramic, glazed dinnerware.

This is how it looks like:

Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health?

Similar to the lead, some amount of cadmium is totally safe in dinnerware and should not exceed 0.25 to 0.5 parts per million in any case.

Now that we know lead and cadmium should not exceed over a permissible limit in the dinnerware, you should also know how it gets in your body. There are 3 ways how lead and cadmium can leach in your body:

1). When you eat acidic foods in the dinnerware (tomatoes, citrus, lemon, etc).
2). When you microwave the dinnerware
3). When you throw the dinnerware in a dishwasher

Dinnerware You Should Avoid

Dinnerware You Should Avoid

While in Indian kitchens, you will usually see either stainless steel dinner sets or sets made from ceramics, but there is a category of dinnerware you should always avoid.

1). Glazed Terra Cotta: Although properly made Terra Cotta is considered food safe, however, the cheaper terra cotta dinnerware contains a large amount of lead especially if it is not baked in the right way, which is why you should avoid this dinnerware type.

2). Decorated Traditional Dinnerware: You will hardly find decorated traditional dinnerware in India, since it is more common in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Japan, China, etc.

3). Rich Shiny Colours: If you see a dinnerware which has rich colours such as red, orange, yellow, there are good chances it has a high amount of lead and cadmium, and you should avoid it.

4). Antique Dinnerware: Antique dinnerware is mostly decorated and it does contain lead and cadmium both. If it flakes or chips, there is a good chance of lead leaching into the food.

5). Glazed Decorations: If you see a dinnerware which has decorations on top of glaze, there is a good amount of lead in it. You can also feel the glaze with your fingers in this kind of dinnerware.

6). Handmade Dinnerware: The majority of the handmade dinnerware includes a lot of lead, which is why, it is not recommended unless you know the manufacturer has not used huge quantities to lead to increase the durability of the dinnerware.

In addition to these types of dinnerware, the general advise is to avoid buying colourful dinnerware sets as they have huge quantities of lead and cadmium. The best idea is to get a white dinnerware set with no glaze, as it is lead free and can be microwaved too.

A dinnerware material which is best for health is Bone China with a plain white texture, since it is free from any lead and cadmium. In absence of any glaze, you can even throw the dinnerware in a microwave. Bone China is also incredibly strong and it is very attractive too.

Types of Dinnerware Material – Which is Best for Health?

The majority of the dinner sets contain lead or cadmium, but it does not mean every and each type of dinnerware set is unsafe for human consumption. It is only after a certain level that these elements can cause harmful effects, especially for the young kids.

Types of Dinnerware Material - Which is Best for Health?

1. Bone China

Bone china dinnerware

If you had a question “Which is the strongest material for a dinnerware set”, the answer is undoubtedly Bone China. Bone China is not only the strongest material for a dinnerware set, but it is also aesthetically pleasing.

The first thing you should know about a Bone china dinnerware is that it has nothing to do with the country China. Instead, Bone china is a type of Porcelain, which is made from the combination of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin.

Bone China comes with a very high mechanical strength and it is resistant to chipping as well. While by the looks of it, Bone china may seem to be a bit fragile, but in reality, it is the strongest porcelain. Most of the high end restaurants and hotels in India use Bone china dinnerware.

To check whether a Bone china dinnerware is authentic, pick up the dinnerware and check the weight, it should be light and not very heavy. Moreover, the texture of bone china dinnerware is usually thinner, and it comes with a higher transparency.

One of the best ways to check the quality of the Bone china dinnerware is pick a plate from the dinner set and hold it up facing the light. If the Bone china dinner set is original, you will see the light coming through the wall of the plate.

You can microwave bone china unless there is a glaze on the dinner set, in that case you should not microwave it. Most of the bone china dinner sets are compatible with dishwasher too, unless the manufacturer says otherwise.

Is Bone China Healthy?

One of the main reasons a dinnerware is considered unhealthy is because it comes with large quantities of lead and cadmium. A bone china dinnerware is one of the most healthiest dinnerware materials since it comes with zero lead and cadmium content. Keeping this in mind, bone china is one of the best choices for a dinnerware set which is ideal for everyday use.

2. Porcelain

Porcelain dinnerware

Ever heard of China or Fine China dinnerware, all of it is Porcelain. Porcelain dinnerware is made from fine particle clay, which is usually kaolin. To make a porcelain dinnerware, firing is done at a very high temperature.

Due to firing at higher temperatures, the porcelain dinnerware becomes extremely durable and nonporous. In terms of the price, porcelain is a bit more affordable as compared to the bone china dinnerware.

You will find porcelain dinnerware to be a bit more heavier than bone china, which means it is not as strong and tough as bone china because of its heavy weight. In terms of the looks, bone china and porcelain are quite similar.

While looking for a porcelain dinnerware, avoid anything which is antique as it may contain high amounts of lead and cadmium. You can microwave porcelain dinnerware unless there is a glaze on it and most of these sets are dishwasher safe too.

Porcelain dinner is very attractive similar to bone china, and hence you can consider this type of dinnerware material for formal as well as daily use, thanks to its affordable pricing.

Is Porcelain Healthy?

Similar to Bone china, porcelain is made from non-toxic materials such as kaolin, quartz, etc. Porcelain is created in a way that it comes out in a translucent form, and there is no risk of harmful chemicals leaching into your food. While looking for a porcelain dinnerware, choose the one that does not have any glaze or decorations on it.

3. Ceramic

ceramic dinnerware

Ceramic dinnerware can either be stoneware or earthenware. Irrespective of the type of dinnerware material, there will always be some amount of lead or cadmium in ceramic dinner set. Stoneware and earthenware are both heavier and bulky as compared to bone china and porcelain.

Being on the heavier side, ceramic is more prone to breakage as compared to bone china and porcelain. For this reason, you should not put ceramic dinnerware in the dishwasher. If there is a glaze on the ceramic dinnerware, it should not go in the microwave.

In terms of price, ceramic dinnerware is more affordable than bone china or porcelain. Ceramic dinnerware is not recommended for daily use due to their low physical strength. If you are looking for durability, choose stoneware as compared to earthenware.

As far as the construction is concerned, ceramic dinnerware is produced by heating clay at high temperatures. Ceramic as a material is also a great choice for baking since it evenly distributes the heat.

Is Ceramic Healthy?

Ceramic dinnerware is not very strong and durable, in addition to this, ceramic dinnerware sets with glaze on it have large quantities of glaze and cadmium present. Since the dinnerware is brittle in nature, lead can easily leach into the food though holes, once the dinnerware starts chipping.

4. Melamine

Melamine dinnerware

Looking for an unbreakable dinnerware, choose melamine. Melamine dinnerware looks like ceramic sets, but they are absolutely tough and virtually indestructible. Melamine dinnerware comes in various attractive colours and designs too.

Having said this, melamine is a form of plastic, hence it is not something which is considered food grade safe, especially when it gets old with usage. You can choose a melamine dinnerware for outdoor purpose, however, be ready to replace the set every couple of years.

Melamine is also very lightweight, in fact one of the most light weight dinnerware materials. Though melamine is dishwasher safe, but it is not compatible with microwave or oven. While looking for a melamine dinnerware, check if it is BPA free.

Is Melamine Healthy?

Melamine dinnerware is safe to consume food from, but not when you put it in the microwave as the chemicals can come in contact with the food then. Although there are many conflicting theories on melamine toxicity, but the general notion is amount of lead and cadmium is relatively low in melamine dinner sets. Being plastic, melamine may not be as healthy as bone china.

5. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel

Stainless steel may not be very popular in the Istern countries, but it is certainly one of the best and commonly used dinnerware in India. Steel dinner sets are extremely durable, they can withstand rough usage, and are not expensive too.

With minimal care and attention, a stainless steel dinnerware can easily last for a decade too, which is why, you will find these dinner sets in almost every Indian household. Stainless steel dinner sets are free from corrosion and they are resistant to breakage or chipping.

With a very simple and traditional look, steel dinner sets are the best choice for every day use, but this also means steel dinnerware may not be an ideal choice for fancy dining, unless you are sitting in a South Indian restaurant.

Though you can put steel dinnerware in a dishwasher, it is not safe for microwave or oven use.

Is Stainless Steel Healthy?

Stainless steel does not contain lead, and the fact steel dinner plates don’t go in microwave, it is safe to say that stainless steel is a healthy dinnerware material choice. Having said this, steel dinnerware contains nickel, which in large quantities can affect health. Hence, while looking for a stainless steel dinnerware, go for a nickel free steel dinner set.

How to Choose a Healthy Dinnerware?

Choosing a healthy dinnerware material is not as difficult as it looks or sounds. Follow these simple and basic tips on how to choose a healthy dinnerware for your kitchen.

1). While looking for a dinnerware, read the product label and buy a dinnerware which is lead free.
2). Choose a dinnerware which is food grade safe, you will find this information on the product label.
3). If the dinnerware says “not food safe” or “decoration purpose only”, don’t buy it.
4). The more white a dinnerware is, the better it is.
5). Avoid buying any dinnerware which has glaze or an unnatural shape.
6). Don’t buy an antique dinnerware, since it may contain lead and cadmium both.
7). If the dinnerware has glaze on the border, don’t put it in microwave.
8). Avoid serving acidic foods in the dinnerware which comes with a glaze.
9). Avoid buying melamine or ceramic dinnerware, unless it’s for show off only.

More Questions on Healthy Dinnerware

No kitchen can survive without a dinnerware set, and there is more to choosing a best dinnerware set for your kitchen, such as which type of dinner set is best for daily use, what is the strongest material for dinnerware, which dinnerware is unbreakable, etc.

Which type of dinner set is best for daily use in India?

All hands down, stainless steel dinnerware is the best choice for daily use in India. Stainless steel is extremely tough, it can last for decades without needing a lot of maintenance and care. In terms of the price, stainless steel is also affordable as compared to Bone china and other types of dinnerware. The only con with steel dinnerware is that it is not microwave safe. In addition to stainless steel, Bone china is also best for daily use given the fact it is the best dinnerware material for health. Bone china can also go in microwave and dishwashers.

What is the strongest material for dinnerware?

Between Bone china, Stainless steel, Porcelain, Ceramic and Melamine, Bone china and Stainless steel are the strongest materials for dinnerware. Bone china is fired a couple of times at extremely high temperatures, which makes them very strong and durable. On the other had, stainless steel is also very strong, and their affordability makes them a very good choice for Indian kitchens. Melamine being plastic is not recommended, although it is virtually indestructible. Ceramic and Porcelain can shatter, if not taken care of.

Which dinnerware is unbreakable?

Stainless steel and melamine are two dinnerware materials that are extremely solid and pretty much unbreakable. You can damage these dinnerware materials to an extent, but breaking them will take a lot of effort. In fact, I don’t remember seeing a broken stainless steel plate, do you?

Which dinnerware is microwave safe?

Stainless steel and melamine are not microwave safe dinnerware materials, and, bone china, porcelain and ceramic is all microwave safe. You can even put glass dinnerware in a microwave. The only exception is you should not put any kind of dinnerware in a microwave if there is a gold metallic rim or a glaze on the dinnerware, as it can cause the food to contaminate. The simple logic to check if a dinnerware is microwave safe is the plates should not get hot when you put it in the microwave, it’s the food which should heat up.

Can I take dinnerware on a plane?

Yes, you can take the dinnerware on a plane unless there is anything questionable in it. Most of the airlines whether international or domestic have their own policies on what you can carry in baggage or hand luggage. As far as I know, there should not be any liquids, sharp object or substance that can pose a threat to the other passengers, as long as this is followed, you can take the dinnerware on a plane with you. Having said this, it may not be a bad idea to check the airlines policy.

Can I mix square and round dinnerware?

There is no hard and fast rule for how you should keep the dinnerware on a dining table, especially when there is no formal occasion. You can and you should mix square and round dinnerware to spice up the way you manage the dinner table. As a matter of fact, even the high end restaurants these days shuffle the dinnerware to make the dinner table look more interesting.

Is Porcelain dinnerware safe?

Porcelain is a safe dinnerware, since it is a non-toxic material which is fired at the high temperatures during the construction process. Porcelain will not react with your food contents, however, avoid buying porcelain dinnerware with a lot of glaze, since it contains lead and cadmium. This kind of dinnerware with glaze should not be used with microwaves.

Is LaOpala dinner set microwave safe?

LaOpala is a very popular choice for dinnerware in India and their dinnerware sells like hotcakes in the Indian market. La Opala dinnerware is made from Opal Glass which happens to be a toughened extra strong glass. This makes LaOpala dinnerware microwave as well as dishwasher safe.

I hope this post on “Which Dinnerware Set Material is Best for Health?” was useful and informative to you. I also encourage you to read the customer reviews of any product before buying. Should you have any questions on this, feel free to leave a comment. If you want our team to review a product you are interested in buying, you can reach out to us at askus@betterchoices.in, and we will be happy to review it.

Urvashi Singh

Urvashi Singh

Urvashi Singh, a culinary aficionado with a Ph.D. in Food Science, is renowned for her deep understanding of kitchen technologies and cooking methodologies. Her expertise is frequently showcased through her engaging online content, which not only reflects her authority in kitchen product innovation but also aligns with her active social media presence. Jane's commitment to sharing her knowledge and insights is evident in her consistently high-quality content, which has earned her a solid reputation among both home cooks and professional chefs. Her bio, linked across multiple platforms, further authenticates her identity as a trusted expert in the culinary world.

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