Instant noodles or Instant death? Instant noodles, as the name suggests, are made in an instant which makes it a go to snack for almost everyone. They are also pretty cheap and are very fulfilling to have with an incredible taste. Though there are a lot of positives to eating instant noodles, there are also a lot of side effects of instant noodles.
What is the nutritional value of instant noodles?
This is just a rough example as the actual nutritional value of the noodles varies according to the flavour and brand. The nutritional content for 1 serving (43g) of instant ramen noodles is approximately.
Calories – 385 kcal
Carbohydrate – 55.7 g
Total fat – 14.5 g
Saturated fat – 6.5 g
Protein – 7.9 g
Fibre – 2 g
Sodium – 986 mg
Thiamine – 0.6 mg
Niacin – 4.6 mg
Riboflavin – 0.4 mg
Calories, fibre, and protein are all on the lower end while fat, carbohydrate, and sodium are significantly high. The noodles lack a lot of important vitamins. This is discussed further ahead in this article so keep reading.
Why are they unhealthy for you?
There aren’t many side effects of instant noodles only if you are not consuming it on a daily basis. Consuming it on a daily basis can have some dire consequences. The reason for these side effects are
- High in MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a taste enhancer and instant noodles are filled with this stuff which gives the signature taste of an instant noodle. It is an approved product for consumption but its short and long term health issues are very much debated. Consuming this in small amounts in intervals is no issue, the issue arises when it is done on a daily basis. headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, weakness, muscle tightness and flushing of the skin have all been linked to the consumption of MSG.
- It is addictive
Any type of food is made with the intention of making it addictive so that you try the same food again. MSG and TBHQ are the additives used to give instant noodles an addictive flavour which triggers the pleasure centres of the brain because of which you keep getting attracted to instant noodles. It also makes it difficult to get rid of this addiction when you realise that instant noodles have side effects.
- Low in nutrition
Our body needs nutrition to keep the proper pace of growth for ourselves. Instant noodles severely lack those essential nutrients. Instead, they are filled with sugar and saturated fat. Without those essential nutrients your body won’t be able to have proper functioning cells and tissues making even normal bodily functions difficult.
- High in sodium
Sodium is an essential mineral for our body and its functioning. But too much of anything is bad and the same is the case with sodium. Instant noodles pack in too much sodium than is prescribed. Consuming just one packet of instant noodles can take you over the daily healthy limit of sodium intake. Too much sodium can cause stomach cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
- Contains contaminants
According to a few researches, instant noodles were tested and were found positive for containing heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, and copper in excessive traces than approved. These metals are approved for use but only in limited quantities. Consuming these metals in quantity that is being served in these instant noodles can lead to metal poisoning which can cause organ damage, behavioural changes, and deterioration of cognitive abilities.
- Made of flour
Most of the instant noodles are made up of refined white flour (maida). Its refined nature deprives it of a lot of essential nutrients but packs it with unnecessary calories. Excessive consumption of maida has been linked to risk of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol all of which are pretty serious side effects and should not be ignored.
- low in fibre and protein
Just how instant noodles lack all the essentials, it also lacks proper amounts of fibre and protein. Protein helps in decreasing hunger while fibre moves slowly through the digestive tract so keeping the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. Since they lack both of these, you are likely to eat more than you are supposed to on a regular basis and considering that instant noodles have side effects, this isn’t good practice.
How to Make Instant Noodles Healthier?
Most of the problems that instant noodles have can be easily solved by a little bit of tweaking. This is especially good for the lovers of instant noodles who don’t wanna quit even after knowing about the side effects of instant noodles. Here are some quick ways to make it healthier.
Adding fresh or cooked vegetables in your instant noodles increases your overall protein intake keeping your essentials on track. Carrots, Broccoli, onions, or any other healthy vegetable you like can be used as a topping on your instant noodle to counter its side effects.
Just like you added vegetables to increase your nutrient intake, you will also have to top your noodles with protein rich food items like egg, chicken, fish, or a variety of products whatever you like.
- Choose wisely
Choose the instant noodles which contain the lowest quantity of sodium to keep your daily salt intake under control.
- Ditch the sachet
Try to create your own mixture and ditch the one in the packet as it contains most of the addictive and unhealthy ingredients. Try mixing low-sodium chicken stock with fresh herbs and spices for a healthier alternative than the pre-packed sachet.