One of the most vivid memories which I have about my own childhood is the fact that my brother coaxed my mother into getting Maggi based on the ‘Bas 2 Minute’ TV campaign. The funniest part was after the Maggi was made at home my brother and me did not even touch it because it tasted yuck (circa 1985-86 when Maggi Indian masala was not yet invented). After that misadventure, I almost never tastes Maggi and had a general disdain for it. Even now given a choice I would rather skip. But the Maggi(Yippee too) has now made its way into our home as a quick evening snack for the kids. Always knew that it is not healthy food but did not know how unhealthy it is until I read this. How does Maggi(& other instant noodles) impact your health?
How is instant noodle made?
As we are all aware the instant noodles are made by refined flour(a.k.a Maida) which is processed wheat. During the processing of the wheat, the most important part (endosperm and bran) of the wheat is removed and leaving only the carbohydrate. Thus the instant noodle is a big lump of carbohydrate with no nutritional value. But it gets worse, once the refined flour dough is kneaded and squeezed into the wavy shape it is steamed and then fried in Palm Oil for 1-2 mins!. Thus all instant noodles are fried snacks that too in the most unhealthy oil. Add to this the preservatives which they need to add to keep the fried food from getting spoiled. Apart from this, the flavoring agent has tons of sodium which is not good for the health(a typical packet has 76% of the daily sodium intake needed). Overall as instant noodles is a lump of carbohydrates which have been fried in unhealthy oil with added preservatives. Does not sound like healthy food for our stomach and much less for our kids.
How many times can you eat instant noodles?
Given that we have established that it is not healthy I went to Maggi Indian website and went through the FAQs which they published and found an interesting question (thanks to them being very frank). The question was about how frequently you can eat Maggi. The answer clearly is an indirect way to say that not very frequently (though sugar coated with words like it should be had as part of a diversified and healthy diet). The manufacturer of the products is saying that it should not be eaten frequently so why do we feed this to kids ?. There have been global studies which show that people eating instant noodles regularly face increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
One of the other arguments is that instant noodles can be made healthy by adding vegetables and eggs. But this argument is weak as the amount of vegetables is very low and it does not justify the long term harm which is being caused by eating instant noodles to your body. To be fair all processed foods are bad and I am not saying that instant noodles worse than the other processed food. The reason why am bringing up this is that most people think that instant noodles are healthy because it is boiled and does not have oil added.
PS: Would like to call-out Maggi.in team for providing such detailed insights into how it is made.Also, the points raised here are valid for all forms of instant noodles including Yipee, TopRamen etc. In the article, I have used Maggi as a reference because it is the most popular one.