Do you know what is the global favourite food? Regardless of gender, age, race, religion? The winner goes to INSTANT NOODLES!
Within 3 minutes preparation, a yummy instant noodle or cup noodle is ready to be consumed has won the heart of people in which 270 million servings are eaten every day.
Even Malaysia ranked no. 13 for the top 15 demand of instant noodle! Instant noodles are so convenient and tasty, but do you know the relation of this global favourite food with our health?
1. Nutritional quality
Yes, indeed it can make your stomach full, but do you know what are the nutrients you have taken? Instant noodles are loaded with high amount of calories, fat and sodium but little amount of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. This will lead to high risk of getting metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, long term consumption of instant noodle as staple food will lead to malnutrition as it lacks of other nutrients.
2. High in sodium
According to Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) 2017, recommended daily sodium intake is 1500mg. However, one pack of instant noodle already make up around 1000mg, which takes up more than half of our daily intake. Higher sodium intake will lead to higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke and others. Studies also show that high consumption of sodium can lead to stomach cancers.
3. High in fat
Instant noodle is high in fat especially saturated fat. In the process of making instant noodle, most of the noodles will be dehydrated by either oil-frying or air drying. For oil-frying part, noodles might be prepared with palm oil, butter or lard. This is where the fat content has been added. Too much of fat will lead to obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
4. Preservatives that keep instant noodle from rancidity
The main preservatives that may be found in the instant noodle packaging are butylated hydroxyanisole (BNA) and t-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ). BHA doubles and TBHQ triples the shelf life of instant noodles, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemist’s Society. FDA approves moderate amount of TBHQ, but it may cause cancer if on long term consumption. Study also found that long term consumption in women lead to metabolic syndromes. On the other hand, BNA is included in the list of chemicals that may cause endocrine-disrupting effects which influence immune and reproductive system.
5. Instant noodle don’t digest easily
Experts at Massachusetts General Hospital used a minuscule camera to observe the effects of noodles on the digestive tract over 32 hours. From the video, they found that stomach needs to overwork (contracting backwards and forwards) in order to digest the noodles. Furthermore, the retention of instant noodles in the digestive tract for so long means you get overexposed to the toxic chemicals and preservatives, such as TBHQ and BHA, found in the noodles, which can prove carcinogenic.
6. Flavour enhancer MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
Sounds familiar to you? Yes, MSG is a flavour enhancer and additive in instant noodle and other processed food such as processed meat, sausage, nugget, dressings and junk foods. MSG is an excitotoxin compound when consume in long run might lead to brain dysfunction and damage, and may even trigger or worsen learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So now you can see what a small pack of instant noodle can do to your health. Eating instant noodles will help you to save your time and money, but it will also take away your health. However, you may enjoy this global love food occasionally by making it healthier!
Tips to make your instant noodles healthier!
- Choose instant noodle with lower calories, sodium and fat.
- Choose instant noodles made from whole grains, for example, can increase fiber content and boost feelings of fullness.
- Try not to put all seasoning in the broth and/or not to finish up the soup to reduce sodium intake. You may add garlic or onion for taste enhancement.
- Add in vegetables of your favourite to increase fiber as well as vitamins and minerals.
- Add in chicken breast, lean meat, egg, tofu etc to increase protein intake.