Are Instant Noodles Healthy?
Sun, April 18, 2021

Are Instant Noodles Healthy?


Instant noodles were first made in Japan in 1958, 10 years after Japan’s defeat in WWII, said the World Instant Noodles Association, which was established in March 1997 as International Ramen Manufacturers Association (IRMA). This was the time when television was gaining traction among people, drastically reshaping their consumption patterns.

“Chicken Ramen” was the word’s first instant noodles invented by Momofuku Ando. It was manufactured by dehydrating the steamed and seasoned noodles in oil heat. Ando had managed to mass-produce instant noodles thanks to the following processes: noodle-making, steaming, seasoning, and dehydrating in oil heat. The term “magic ramen” was coined when noodles became ready to eat in two minutes by pouring boiling water, instantly becoming a hit.

Perceptions of On the Go Noodle Products Across England, Scotland, and Wales

On behalf of The Grocer, digital consultative custom market research agency Harris Interactive found that 53% of 2,090 respondents across England, Scotland, and Wales eat noodles on the go, with 13% eating it every week or more often (2% for 4+ plus times a week, 4% for 2-3 times a week, and 7% for once a week), reported Lucia Juliano.

Only 47% never ate noodles on the go. Gender wise, men were more likely than women to consume noodles on the go weekly (17% versus 9%). Between age groups, those 55 years and older were more likely than other age groups to never eat noodles on the go (76%). When asked the respondents’ reasons for purchasing noodles on the go, they cited convenience (56%), liking the taste (36%), an affordable meal/snack (32%), not time consuming to make (30%), and a snack for in between meals (20%). Other reasons included liking having something warm to eat on the go (18%), a treat (16%), low in calories/fat (13%), and nutritional value (6%).

Respondents aged 45 to 54 (68%) and 55+ (70%) were more likely than other age groups to buy noodles on the go for convenience. Meanwhile, men (8%) were more likely than women (3%) to consume noodles on the go for their nutritional value. Noodles were likely to be consumed as lunch (58%) or as an afternoon snack (32%). In the morning, only 5% and 12% of respondents consumed it as breakfast or as a morning snack, respectively. 17% ate noodles as dinner or as an evening snack, in the case of 18% of respondents.

Women (21%) were more likely than men (15%) to consume noodles on the go for dinner. Further, 35-44 year olds were more likely than 25-34 years and above 45 years to consume noodles on the go for lunch (67%). The most important factors when choosing noodles on the go were taste (71%), price (62%), authentic flavor (33%), brand you know (31%), calories (22%), and nutritional value (15%). Other factors included trying something new (10%), organic (7%), and gluten-free (4%).

Regarding the respondents’ perceptions of noodles to go products, they perceived them to be cheap and cheerful (63%), exciting and innovative (24%), and dull and uninspiring (9%). Those who eat noodles on the go would like to pay more for better tasting products (51%), higher quality ingredients (45%), and more of an authentic flavor (33%). The respondents would also be willing to pay more for better nutritional value (31%), lower calories (22%), added protein (20%), and gluten-free (8%).



Are Instant Noodles Healthy?

1.     Lacking In Nutrients

Instant noodles are convenient and cheap, which is appealing for consumers who are short on time or on a budget, noted Jillian Kubala, MS, RD of Healthline, an American website and provider of health information. These products are easy to prepare but is it healthy to eat them regularly? Instant noodles are packaged noodles made from flavorings, various vegetable oils, and wheat flout.

The noodles have been steamed, air dried, or fried to reduce cooking time. Instant noodles are sold packages containing a packet of seasoning or in cups, in which you have to add water and have it microwaved. Nutritional information may vary between products, with most types of products having low calories, fiber and protein, said Rachael Link, MS, RD, of Healthline.

However, instant noodle products contain higher amounts of carbs, fat, sodium, and select micronutrients. For example, one serving of chicken-flavored instant ramen noodles contains 188 calories, 27 grams of carbs, 7 grams of total fat, and 0.9 grams of fiber. One pack of instant noodles contain two servings. Note that the aforementioned amounts will double if you consume one package. There are other types of noodles that are marketed as “healthy.” However, these products may be manufactured using whole grains or have lower amounts of far or sodium.

2.     MSG

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a common food additive to enhance the flavor of processed products. Most instant noodles contain MSG, which may be associated with weight gain, increased blood pressure, headaches, and nausea, according to some studies. Other studies, however, have not associated the link between weight and MSG when people consume it moderately.

While MSG likely safe when consumed in moderation, some people may be sensitive to it and should limit their intake. This is called MSG symptom complex and you may experience symptoms like tingling, numbness, headaches, and muscle tightness.

3.     Salt

Sodium aids in our body’s proper functioning, but excess salt in our diet is not good. One of the largest contributors of dietary sodium intake is processed/packaged foods like instant noodles. When you consume a high-salt diet, you may have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and stomach cancer. Since instant noodles are easy to prepare, it is likely that many people eat these products multiple times a day, causing them to have massive amounts of sodium in their bodies.



How Do I Make Instant Noodles Healthier?

Choosing instant noodles made from whole grains can increase your fiber content, making you feel more full. Try to find lower-sodium instant noodles in the supermarket, which can help reduce your sodium intake for the day. Add fresh or cooked vegetables like mushrooms and carrots to add more nutrient content to your instant noodles. You can also ditch the product’s flavor market and create your own by mixing low-sodium chicken stock with fresh herbs and spices for a healthier cup of instant noodles.  



Although instant noodles may not be the most nutritious meal, it is the perfect meal for people who are short on time or on a budget. However, higher consumption may lead to health problems caused by excess salt in their bodies, for example. Hence, it is better to make instant noodles healthier by fresh vegetables or limiting its consumption.