Ready-made pot noodles contain excessive amounts of salt and have an uninteresting nutritional profile Among the precooked dishes in the supermarket, “Pot noodles” are prevalent today. They come already seasoned, and you only need to add hot water and cook them for a short time, so they are ready to eat. But, are these types of products a good idea? As their advertising says, can they save us five minutes from indulging in an unhealthy dinner? So, do they make up a healthy intake? This article addresses these questions about Chinese instant noodles and proposes an alternative.


What’s in Chinese Pot Noodles?

In general, and with variations depending on the brand and the chosen flavor. These products are made up mainly (between 85% and 90%) of noodles made with refined cereals and some low-quality fat (refined vegetable fats or even hydrogenated fats) and flavorings along with more unhealthy fats that help convey the flavors and turn them into highly edible products. They can carry a small piece of vegetable or dehydrated vegetable, but in such a small quantity that it is insignificant and irrelevant at a nutritional level.

They also carry massive amounts of salt,  sugar, and other flavor enhancers. And it is expected that. Although the container has the word “chicken” or “prawn” labeled, it does not contain a trace of these foods. It is simply “flavor,” an artificial flavoring, or also that they do not have chicken but “chicken fat” or “chicken extract.” These protein foods do not appear in the ingredient lists.

Regarding salt, it is worth delving a little deeper. These preparations carry about 3 g per container. If we remember that the recommendations speak of not exceeding 5 g of salt per day. Just by consuming a serving of instant Chinese pot noodles, we would already be ingesting 60% of the recommended maximum, an excessive amount.


Monosodium Glutamate and the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

Monosodium glutamate (E601) is recurrent in this type of product. It is also common to add E635 (disodium ribonucleotides), which acts synergistically with glutamate, enhancing its effect and making the impact on taste buds and brain receptors even more powerful and addictive.

E601 is related to a series of “ Chinese restaurant syndrome symptoms.” Some of them are chest pain, burning or numb mouth, sweating, and redness, although it is not entirely clear that the flavor enhancer is the cause. However, it does seem that it is related to the appearance of the headache and the rise in blood pressure.

It is interesting to know that this compound is not only found in oriental food. Its presence is familiar in all kinds of snacks, precooked and fast food.


What Alternative is there to these Products? Pot Noodles

It is elementary to find Chinese rice, wheat, and soy pot noodles in supermarkets which are simply pasta and are not part of a pre-cooked meal. These pot noodles are a type of preparation whose cooking is very fast, just 2-3 minutes, unlike traditional pasta. Which requires between 8 and 12 minutes of cooking.

Cook these noodles at home, and add a good portion of sautéed vegetables, mushrooms, green leaves. A few strips of chicken, shrimp, tofu, or egg, and a splash of good quality soy sauce. It is a healthier alternative and with a profile Much better nutrition. You can have frozen sauces or cut vegetables at home that you have to pass through a wok quickly, add the noodles, and enjoy.