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What makes instant noodles so bad?

Since instant noodles are fried in palm oil, lard or butter before packaging, they are usually high in saturated fats.

Excessive instant noodle consumption can trigger obesity and metabolic ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart problems.

Written By Longjam Dineshwori | Updated : September 30, 2020 9:10 AM IST

A hot bowl of instant noodles can make anyone drool. Instant noodles are easy to prepare, tasty and inexpensive. Most children love it. That's why instant noodles often make it to the list of our grocery list. But is it healthy to eat them on a regular basis? This article will discuss the nutritional facts about this comfort food.

Instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando of Nissin Foods in Japan and first launched in 1958 under the brand name Chikin Ramen. Today instant noodles are marketed worldwide with different brand names.

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Your favourite instant noodles are actually pre-cooked noodles that have been steamed and then air dried or fried to shorten cooking time. To bear a longer shelf life, they are processed using preservatives, additives, artificial colours, flavoring powder and/or seasoning oil. The main ingredients used in making instant noodles are usually wheat flour (maida), palm oil, and salt. The flavoring powder contains salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), seasoning, and sugar. Eating instant noodles could be harmful to your health because:

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They contain Harmful Preservatives

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) - a chemical preservative derived from the petroleum industry - are usually added in instant noodles to keep them usable longer. Regular intake of these chemicals can cause severe health issues.

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A 2005 study published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition warned that long-term constant exposure to TBHQ may prove carcinogenic. It can also cause asthma, anxiety, diarrhea and adversely affect the liver and the reproductive organs. BHA is included in the list of chemicals with possible endocrine-disrupting effects. Disruption in the endocrine system may lead to several adverse developmental, immune, neurological and reproductive effects.

They are made of maida (white flour)

Most instant noodles are made of maida or refined wheat flour. Because maida is highly processed, it is devoid of any nutrition but has plenty of calories. Excessive or regular consumption of white flour has been linked to increased risk of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol.

A South Korean study also concluded that excessive instant noodle consumption can trigger obesity and metabolic ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart problems.

They are loaded with bad fats

Since instant noodles are fried in palm oil, lard or butter before packaging, they are usually high in saturated fats. The seasoning may also contain oils high in saturated fats. Saturated fats, if consumed excessively or regularly, can raise the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or the "bad" cholesterol) in the blood. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.

They are high in sodium

Sodium is essential for the proper functioning of your body, but too much isn't good for your health. Excess sodium intake may lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease, heart failure and strokes.

They may also contain MSG

Some instant noodle brands add Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) as an ingredient in flavor packets that accompany instant noodles. This flavor enhancer is popularly used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Research has linked high MSG consumption over the years to excess weight gain. Consumption of this preservative may also cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, weakness, muscle tightness and flushing of the skin in some people.

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