Why Are Instant Noodles So High In Calories?

Instant Noodles are high calorie meals that have a poor ratio of macronutrients. Most of the calories come from carbs and fats while neglecting the protein which translates to a high potential for weight gain and fat retention.

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Why Are Instant Noodles So High In Calories?

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Why Are Instant Noodles So High In Calories?

Why Are Instant Noodles So High In Calories?

They Are Low in Calories, but Also Low in Fiber and Protein

Instant noodles have 188 calories per serving, which is less than some other types of pasta (2).

A serving of pre-packaged lasagna, for example, contains 377 calories, while a serving of canned spaghetti and meatballs has 257 calories (3, 4).

Instant noodles have fewer calories than traditional noodles, so consuming them might help you lose weight.

However, many people consume the entire packet of noodles at once, which amounts to two servings.

It’s also crucial to remember that instant noodles are low in protein and fiber, so they might not be the best choice for weight loss.

Protein has been shown to increase feelings of fullness and decrease hunger, making it a useful tool in weight management (5, 6).

Fiber, on the other hand, moves slowly through the digestive tract, helping to promote feelings of fullness while enhancing weight loss (7, 8).

With only 4 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving, a serving of instant noodles likely won’t make much of a dent in your hunger or fullness levels. So despite being low in calories, it may not benefit your waistline (2).

Instant Noodles May Provide Important Micronutrients

Instant noodles contain a number of micronutrients like iron, manganese, folate, and B vitamins despite being relatively low in some nutrients like fiber and protein.

Some instant noodles are also fortified with additional nutrients.

In Indonesia, about half of instant noodles are fortified with vitamins and minerals, including iron. One study actually found that consuming iron-fortified milk and noodles can decrease the risk of anemia, a condition caused by iron deficiency (9).

Additionally, some instant noodles are made using fortified wheat flour, which has shown potential in increasing micronutrient intake without changing the taste or texture of the final product (10).

Additionally, studies have suggested that consuming instant noodles may lead to higher intakes of specific micronutrients.

A 2011 study compared the nutrient intake of 6,440 people who ate instant noodles and people who didn’t.

Those who consumed instant noodles had a 31% greater intake of thiamine and a 16% higher intake of riboflavin than those who did not eat instant noodles (11).

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common food additive used to improve flavor in processed foods, is present in the majority of instant noodles.

Though the FDA recognizes MSG as safe for consumption, its potential effects on health remain controversial (12).

Products must disclose the presence of added MSG on the ingredients label in the US (12).

MSG is also naturally present in foods like tomatoes, cheese, yeast extract, soy extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

Some studies have linked extremely high MSG consumption to weight gain and even increased blood pressure, headaches and nausea (13, 14).

However, other studies have found no association between weight and MSG when people consume it in moderate amounts (15).

Some research has also suggested MSG may negatively impact brain health. One test-tube study found that MSG could cause swelling and death of mature brain cells (16).

Nevertheless, other research has shown that dietary MSG likely has little effect on brain health, since even large amounts are not able to cross the blood-brain barrier (17).

MSG is probably safe in moderation, but some people may be sensitive to it and should keep their intake to a minimum.

This condition is known as the MSG symptom complex. Sufferers may experience symptoms such as headaches, muscle tightness, numbness and tingling (18).


How can I reduce the calories in instant noodles?

To make healthier decisions, you can: consume instant noodle A less frequently; reduce your daily intake of total and saturated fat from other foods by adopting low-fat cooking techniques like steaming and grilling; or stay away from foods that contain ingredients high in saturated fat, like butter and lard.

Where do the calories in instant noodles come from?

In fact, the majority of the calories in ramen noodles come from fat and carbohydrates. Approximately 356 calories are found in one packet of ramen (without the seasoning packet), with half coming from carbohydrates and 36% from fat, according to My Food Data.

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