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: Instant meal brimming with hefty dose of salt

9 comments
A bowl of naked noodles enhanced with your own choice of additive-free flavours is far safer to eat than off-the-shelf packs

Trident 2 Minute Noodles Laksa Flavour, Photo / Wendyl Nissen
Trident 2 Minute Noodles Laksa Flavour, Photo / Wendyl Nissen

You may not be prepared to believe this, but I do go searching in supermarkets for good food. My mission this week was to find instant noodles that my daughter could eat because, apparently, being the daughter of the "processed food lady" is boring, limiting and completely unfair.

Instant noodles have been banished from our home since I reviewed them and found that, in my opinion, they were simply a cake of noodles swimming in a cocktail of chemicals.

So it became apparent that I should put in some effort and see if I couldn't find some that were acceptable. Which is when I chanced upon these. A quick glance at the ingredients label told me that there was natural colour, lots of real spices and real food such as coconut milk and wheat.

My daughter happily cooked them, sat down to eat them and grudgingly let me taste them.

"Salt!" I yelled.

"Pretty salty, yes," she agreed, but kept on eating until they were finished.

I grabbed the packet and there it was - 2150mg sodium per serve.


Ingredients

Noodles (84 per cent wheat flour) - A standard ingredient in noodles.

Vegetable oil - This product is high in saturated fats, which are the bad fats we should avoid as they lead to high cholesterol. The two vegetable oils, which are highest in saturated fats, are palm and coconut oil, so my guess is that one or both of these are used in here.

However, before coconut oil fans get outraged, virgin coconut oil is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides, which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats.

Salt - This is a very, very, very high salt product. Per 500g serve, or one packet of these noodles, you will get a massive 2150mg of sodium. That's twice the daily recommended intake for a 1 to 3-year-old and almost the entire upper daily recommended intake for 14 to 18-year-olds and adults, which is 2300mg. In the UK, the recommended daily intake for adults is just 1600mg. I actually couldn't eat this because it was so salty but many people will.

Mineral salts (500,501) - These are baking soda and potassium carbonate.

Thickener (412) - This is guar gum, which is a natural product.


Flavour sachet

Salt - Here's our salt again, the biggest ingredient in this flavour sachet.

Sugar - Sugar content on the nutrition panel is quite low at less than 1g.

Coconut milk powder (Coconut, maltodextrin) - This is dried coconut milk with maltodextrin, which is a sugar, added.

Soy sauce powder (salt, soya, maltodextrin, wheat)

Dried soy sauce

Flavour enhancers (621,635) - Here we have MSG or monosodium glutamate (621), which can cause allergic reactions such as headaches, numbness, nausea and asthma. The other flavour enhancer is disodium 5'-ribonucleotide (635) which is a chemical that can be a problem for gout sufferers.

Shrimp powder - This is shrimps dried then ground up and will provide flavour.

Dried leek - This is dried leeks, similar to dried onion powder.

Spices

Colour (100) - Nice to see a natural colour; this is turmeric.


Oil sachet

Vegetable oil - Palm or coconut oil is my guess.

Chilli powder

Pepper powder

Curry powder - Turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper, clove


My recommendations

There's not too much wrong with the noodles or the oil sachet in this pack but I would avoid the flavour sachet as that seems to be where the massive amounts of salt lurk.

If you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease stay away from these.

If you have children bear in mind they are consuming almost twice their daily recommended intake by eating these.

Instead, and I've said it before, buy plain noodles, cook them then put your own flavourings on.

Try mixing together half a teaspoon of curry powder, pepper, one garlic clove finely chopped or crushed and a chopped tomato. If you want to be very adventurous you can buy shrimp paste at an Asian grocery and add a tiny dash with a splash of coconut oil.


Highlights

• Twice a child's sodium intake for the day
• Nearly all of an adult's sodium intake for the day
• High in saturated fat


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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