Are instant noodles unhealthy?
Before you tuck into your next bowl of instant noodles, you may want to read this.
The New Paper checked the sodium content of five instant noodle brands and found that on average, one packet contains 1,317mg of sodium.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the recommended sodium intake per day for an adult above 18 years old is between 1,500mg and 2,300mg.
Ms Ng Hooi Lin, a nutritionist from the Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association (SNDA), said a survey by the Health Promotion Board showed that the average Singaporean consumes 3,527mg of sodium a day - that is almost 70 per cent more than what he or she should consume on a daily basis.
"A diet high in sodium increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure," she said.
The high amount of fat in instant noodles also adds to the health risk.
A regular packet of noodles can contain up to 10,300mg of fat, of which half is saturated fat.
Ms Jaclyn Reutens, a dietician from Aptima Nutrition and Sports Consultants, said that palm oil - one of the ingredients in instant noodles - is high in saturated fat.
"If saturated fat is eaten in high amounts, it can increase the risk of high cholesterol, which is the gateway to an array of cardiovascular diseases," she said..
Ms Reutens said there are healthier instant noodles available in the market. These contain a lot less fat and sodium compared to regular versions.
There are also some brands that use wholegrain noodles that contain more fibre.
"Look for labels that say 'non-fried', 'low fat', 'no MSG added' or 'reduced salt'," said Ms Reutens.
Look for the healthier choice symbol as well.
During cooking, you can also add only half of the flavouring packet, which will reduce the sodium content.
- MOHAMED FIRDAUS AL-AMIN