Instant noodles are pre-cooked noodles, processed using flavoring powder and seasoning oil and are usually sold in individual packets or cups and bowls. Mostly they are prepared using ingredients like maida- the milled, refined and bleached version of wheat flour, salt and palm oil. The are laced with artificial color, seasoning, preservatives and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Since they are made for longer shelf life, they are highly processed. They are low on nutrition, high on fat, carbs, calories and sodium and low in calories, fiber and protein.
How they are made?
First the ingredients- wheat flour, palm oil, and salt are combined together. Then these ingredients are kneaded together to make a dough and then the dough is rolled out. After this, the rolled dough is cut into thin strips. The noodles are then steamed and packaged after the dehydration process. Dehydration plays an important role for increasing the shelf life of instant noodles.
What is dehydration?
The noodles are deep fried at high temperature. This increases their shelf life. Palm oil is generally used for dehydration as it is heat stable and is also economical.
‘Maida’ the dangerous ingredient
Maida is bad for our health because it is highly processed. It is usually high in flavour but devoid of any nutritional value. Refined flour can lead to a number of health problems such as indigestion, weight gain, and bowel problems.
How to select healthy instant noodles
– Choose instant noodles made from whole grains. At least they will have high fibre content.
– Choose low-sodium instant noodles.
They are high in sodium
A single serving of instant noodles contains 861 mg of sodium. The ailments caused by high sodium includes hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure and water retension.
Hazards related with instant noodles consumption
Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ): TBHQ is a chemical preservative which is used to extend the shelf life of noodles. Chronic exposure to this drug may lead to carcinogenity.
MSG: It acts as a flavour enhancer. It can cause side effects like nausea, headache, flushing, sweating, and heart palpitations.
Sodium: One packet of instant noodles has 1,875 milligrams of sodium, more than the recommended daily intake.
Vegeatble oil: The oils used in preparation of instant noodles are palm, cottonseed or canola oil. Palm oil is high is saturated fat and cottonseed or canola oil can be genetically modified.
Corn syrup: Corn syrup is added to preserve the texture of the noodles. Corn syrup is believed to be far more addictive than sugar.
BPA: BPA added in instant noodles can meddle with the female sex hormones.
Propylene glycol: Propylene glycol is added to keep them from drying and it preserves the texture of instant noodles. It is generally reconsied as safe but can lead to acute toxicity in some humans.