What are instant noodles made of?
The noodles are a combination of wheat flour, palm oil and salt after which they are cut into thin noodle strips. They are then steamed and deep fried (dehydrated) to increase shelf life.
The seasoning pack typically consist of salt, seasoning, spices, additives, artificial flavouring and monosodium glutamate (MSG). (1)
Instant noodles are not beneficial on it's own because...
1. Lack of nutrition
- Even though it is low in calories (about 300 Kcal / packet), It greatly lacks essential nutritional elements such as protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- High fat content
- Will make you feel hungry faster due to it mainly made up of carbohydrates.
2. High Sodium Content
- One packet of instant noodles can contain about 1900mg of sodium, that is almost the entire day’s recommend sodium intake! (2)
- High sodium intake is the leading cause to high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases.
- High monosodium glutamate (MSG) consumption can lead to weight gain, elevated blood pressure, headaches and nausea (3)
Tips to make your instant noodles healthier
1. Choosing healthier instant noodles
- Opt for those noodles that are made from whole grains
- Look at the labels and choose those that are lower in fat, sodium and calories.Look at the ingredient list and opt for those that are lesser in artificial additives and colourings.
2. Go easy on the seasoning
- Use half or less of a packet of seasoning when preparing the soup base.
- Avoid drinking the soup base
3. Add healthier sides to your noodles
- Consider adding vegetables, lean meat, egg to boost the overall nutrition profile of the noodles.
- After meal snacks like a fruit will be beneficial as well
4. Limit your instant noodle intake to 2 to 3 times a week
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)