Wendyl Wants To Know

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl wants to know: Fast noodles a cocktail of artificial additives

By Wendyl Nissen

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Shin Cup Noodle Soup.
Shin Cup Noodle Soup.

Instant noodles are the one food I would ban from the supermarkets if anyone cared to let me. They are often high in fat, high in salt and contain very little nutrition, yet children eat packets and packets of them as a filling snack. They are essentially eating noodles soaked in a cocktail of artificial flavour, colour and enhancers like MSG.

Occasionally I'll let my daughter buy a packet to avoid the "instant noodle debate" becoming a memory she plants in her childhood and produces later in life as evidence of great hardship.

This is her favourite brand because it is very spicy, which is apparently very hard to find among the plethora of instant noodles available.

When I let her buy a packet recently she threw them in the supermarket trolley and said: "You're going to really freak out when you see how much salt is in that."

I took solace in the fact that at least she can read labels.

Noodle:

Wheat flour (49%)
Potato starch This is a starch similar to cornflour except extracted from potatoes, probably in here to thicken the noodle mix.

Palm oil
Yikes, a lot of people won't be happy about this, but at least the manufacturer is honest about using it.

Salt
Yikes again. This pot when made up will deliver you a massive 1530mg of sodium. For some people that's a whole day's allowance. We are advised to consume between 920mg and 2300mg of sodium a day.

Soup Base:

Spices

Salt
This will be contributing to the massive amount of sodium in here.

Flavour enhancer (621)This is monosodium glutamate or MSG which many healthy eaters avoid and the NZ Food Standards Authority says may cause some people to experience symptoms such as burning sensations, numbness, chest pain, headache, nausea and asthma.

Sugar
Half a teaspoon of sugar in each pot.

Soy sauce powder
This is soy sauce dehydrated.

Flavour enhancer (627, 631)
These are disodium guanylate (627) which is known as GMP and is not advised for asthmatics. And disodium inosinate (631) which should also be avoided by asthmatics.

Colour (150c)
This is caramel III which is made by heating sugars with ammonia.

Additional Soup:
Dried green onion
Dried carrot
Dried mushroom
Dried red pepper

My recommendations:
Something so highly salt-laden with three flavour enhancers which should be avoided by asthmatics makes this a no-go food in my opinion.

Buy plain cake noodles - they're there in the instant noodle aisle (Highmark egg noodles fine cut are good) and keep this sauce in the fridge for your kids to add to it:

1/2 cup low salt soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp chilli sauce (or a finely chopped fresh chilli if you like it spicy)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Mix the ingredients together and keep in a bottle in the fridge.
To each cooked noodle cake pour on 2 Tbs of the sauce.
You could also add some cooked chicken or grated cheese for added protein. Grated carrot and chopped red peppers are good also.

Highlights:

* Contains MSG and two other enhancers which should be avoided by asthmatics.

* Very high in salt at 1530mg sodium per serve.

* Uses palm oil.

On the web

Read Wendyl's columns on food products at: http://tiny cc/01b9u

Do you have a food product you would like to feature in Wendyl Wants to Know? Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.

- NZ Herald

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