Are two-minute noodles
It has been 50
years since the first instant noodles were produced by Momofuku
Ando, in Ikeda, Japan.
Ando's newly invented noodles were five to six times more
expensive than the traditional Japanese udon noodles, resulting in
his products categorised as "a delicacy" of that time.
The instant noodles today have become a global food that can be
found commonly in most households.
During the past 50 years, the instant noodles have gone through
many evolutionary steps and become diverse in tastes and flavours.
The available sizes, too, are now numerous, with the smaller packs
for children, regular packs for the general consumers and the jumbo
packs for the hungry souls. There are also cup noodles to please the
modern lifestyles of the consumers.
The popularity of instant noodles consumption has caused concerns
that the noodles may not contain sufficient nutrition and that some
noodles ingredients may be harmful to the consumers. Although some
companies have begun to put the nutritional facts label on their
products, the practice has not been required by any law.
What's in instant noodles?
According to Dr
Prapaisri Sirichakwal of the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol
University, a typical pack of the instant noodles has the following
- Flour (wheat): 60 to 70 per cent
- Fat from the condiments and the noodles: 15 to 20 per cent
- Salts and monosodium glutamate: Five to six per cent
Consumers should be particularly aware of the condiments as they
tend to contain a high amount of sodium.
The human body needs about 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day,
but a pack of instant noodles contains more than 1,200 milligrams or
50 to 60 per cent of the required amount.
If the individual consumes other food with a high level of sodium
such as fish source, soya source, fermented tofu, salted fish and
various types of snack, the body may acquire more sodium. This may
lead to illnesses such as high blood pressure and kidney diseases.
Healthy consumption of instant noodles
Dr Prapaisri suggests
that consumers should not eat instant noodles as consecutive meals
as the body needs a diversity of nutrients. If they must, or want,
to eat instant noodles regularly, here are some tips for healthy
- Reduce the amount of monosodium glutamate or MSG addition,
perhaps by half. If a blander soup is not preferred, reduce the
amount of water used too.
- Add more ingredients especially proteins. Consider adding an
egg or canned fish, preferably the mineral water kind, not the fish
in tomato source or oil as it will unnecessarily add more sodium and
fat. Various vegetables are also a good addition.
- Avoid instant noodles that were produced by frying to reduce
the fat consumption. Choose the ones that used drying as the cooking
method. Typically, the instant noodles that require boiling are the
dried noodles, while the just-add-hot-water types tend to be the