Are Instant Noodles Good for Diabetes?Revealing the Facts! 

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 25-Aug-2022Read Time : 5 minutes
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Be it a lazy morning, a long tiring day, late night cravings or just a hungry hour, instant noodles form the best and easiest answer to your snacking choice. But are they healthy and? Are instant noodles good for diabetes? Worry not, as we are here to answer your questions. Read to find out more about instant noodles and diabetes.

Contents:
  • Instant Noodles: Nutritional Profile
  • Instant Noodles for Diabetes: Good or Bad?
  • How to Make Instant Noodles Healthier?
  • Best Time to Consume Instant Noodles
  • Risks of Overconsumption of Instant Noodles
  • Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • FAQs

Instant Noodles: Nutritional Profile

Instant noodles are one of the most popular choices when it comes to sudden hunger pangs. A pack of instant noodles is one of the quickest things you can whip up. It is a guilty pleasure for some and a quick fix for others.

Instant noodles are precooked noodles that are made with different types of flour and contain salt and oil. Once the noodles are made, they are steamed, dried and packaged. Each packet of instant noodles comes with flavouring agents that contain salt, seasoning and monosodium glutamate (MSG). 

They are easily available in the stores near you and are often sold in individual packets, cups or bowls. Though the nutritional profile of instant noodles may vary with the choice of variant and brands, most types are low in calories but high in fats, carbohydrates and sodium.

Are instant noodles healthy? Let’s find out. The nutritional value of 1 cup (120 g) of ready-to-eat instant noodles is provided below.

Nutritional Facts

1 Cup (120 g) of instant noodles

Energy

574 kcal

Total Fat

28 g

Dietary Fibre

0.96 g

Sugar

5 g

Protein 

9 g

Carbohydrate 

72 g

Cholesterol

42 mg

Calcium 

39.6 mg

Sodium

3020 mg

Iron 

2.7 mg

Source: USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) - FoodData Central.

Instant Noodles for Diabetes: Good or Bad?

Instant noodles can be a filling snack for diabetics. But you may have a lot of questions about it. Are instant noodles good for diabetes? Are instant noodles ok for diabetics? Can instant noodles cause diabetes? Read on to know. 

Instant noodles are often considered a high glycaemic index (GI) food, with a GI score of more than 70, which means that it may cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels soon after consumption. 

Foods with a high glycaemic index should be consumed in moderation in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Generally, a packet of instant noodles contains 2 servings. Due to the high carbohydrate and sodium content in instant noodles, it is best to limit your consumption to not more than 2 to 3 servings per week. This will help balance your blood sugar levels.

Most types of instant noodles are likely to be lower in beneficial nutrients such as protein and fibre, while being higher in fats, carbohydrates, and sodium. Despite being low in some nutrients, instant noodles may contain several micronutrients such as iron and folate. Some noodles are also fortified with nutrients such as thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) as they often lose some of the essential nutrients while processing.

How to Make Instant Noodles Healthier?

Despite the high amounts of carbs and sodium present in instant noodles, you can fill up on other nutrients by making your noodle bowl a healthier one. Use the following tips:

  • You can opt for instant noodles that are made of whole grains such as whole wheat or buckwheat. Consuming whole grains foods that are rich in fibre and other beneficial nutrients such as iron and B vitamins can help diabetics in maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.
  • Try to use half the packet of flavouring powder or the tastemaker as these flavouring agents have a high sodium content. You can replace it with other spices or fresh herbs to enhance the flavour.
  • You can add freshly chopped vegetables such as carrots, bean sprouts or even spinach (only at the very end) to increase the fibre and antioxidants in your noodles.
  • You can opt for protein-rich ingredients such as boiled eggs or cubed tofu to make your noodles more healthy and satiating. This will help you control your blood sugar levels and also to avoid frequent hunger pangs.

Best Time to Consume Instant Noodles

To consume instant noodles along with maintaining ideal blood sugar levels, it is best to have them earlier in the day. Due to the high carbohydrate content, instant noodles can keep you active and fuller for a longer period of time and prevent any unwanted cravings.

Risks of Overconsumption of Instant Noodles

Overconsumption of any food can be unhealthy and the same goes for instant noodles. Some of the risks associated with overconsumption of instant noodles include:

1. High Blood Pressure

Sodium is an essential nutrient for the functioning of your body. However, excess sodium isn’t great for your health. Consumption of high sodium foods can lead to high blood pressure and may also negatively impact the functioning of your heart and kidneys

A high sodium intake can disrupt the fluid balance in your body, thus increasing your blood volume. This leads to an increased blood pressure. It can even raise the blood pressure of people without a history of hypertension.

2. High LDL or “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

Instant noodles that are fried before packaging are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats, if consumed excessively or regularly, can raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol in your blood. High cholesterol levels may promote an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and heart diseases.

3. Weight Gain

Instant noodles are often made of refined flour. Refined flour (maida) is highly processed and usually loses most of the essential nutrients during the process. Therefore, it is left with less nutrition and plenty of calories. As refined flour has no fibre content, it slows down digestion and metabolism. This can often lead to weight gain.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Instant noodles are precooked noodles that are one of the most popular snacking choices. They are made with different types of flour and contain salt and oil. Each packet comes with flavouring agents that contain salt, seasoning and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Though the nutritional profile of instant noodles may vary with the choice of variant and brands, most types are low in calories, protein and fibre but high in fats, carbs and sodium.
  • Instant noodles can be a convenient snack. However, they are often considered a high glycaemic index food (score - more than 70). which means it may cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels soon after consumption.
  • Due to the high carbohydrate and sodium content in instant noodles, it is best to limit consumption to 2 to 3 servings per week. 
  • To make your instant noodles healthier, you can opt for whole grain noodles, replace half the packet of the tastemaker with other spices or fresh herbs, add freshly chopped vegetables (such as carrots, bean sprouts, spinach, etc.) or add a protein-rich ingredient such as a boiled egg or cubed tofu.
  • The best time to consume instant noodles is earlier in the day so that it can keep you full for a longer period of time and prevent any unwanted cravings.
  • Some of the risks of overconsumption of instant noodles include high blood pressure (due to high sodium), high cholesterol levels (due to high fats and carbs), and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let's treat diabetes together.

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