How Healthy Are the Dried Instant Soups?

College students and people who are always on the go find instant soups very convenient. It is cheap, easily available and easy to prepare, plus it supplies the body with nutrients, or does it? New studies have emerged showing that eating dried instant soup is unhealthy. Research by Baylor University reported that a cup of dried instant soup could potentially lead to serious health conditions, including stroke, heart diseases, and diabetes. Recently, a controversy surrounding Maggi noodles made a majority of the population think twice about consuming packaged processed foods. Experts found traces of excess lead in Maggi Noodles, and most people cleared them off their kitchen shelves.

What Makes Dried Instant Soup Unhealthy?

The long shelf life of canned dried soup means they are highly processed. For this reason, they require preservatives in order to retain their flavors and colors. They are low in nutrients, high on sodium and fat.

Dried instant soups are manufactured differently. There are those that consist of dry soup stock. Since they don’t contain water, the preparation method involves adding water and heating the mixture for a few minutes, or by adding hot water directly to the dried soup. Instant soup can also be created in a dry powder form. Then there are canned instant soups, which contain liquid. Preparation involves heating the contents before eating them. The popular packed instant ramen noodles are easily prepared by adding hot water and adding seasoning which may come separately.

Health Risks Associated with Dried Instant Soups Indigestion

Several types of research have shown that instant soups and noodles can remain intact in your gut for more than two hours. This puts your digestive system under stress since it’s incapable of holding food for long. This pressure on your stomach causes a lot of tension, hence leading to abdominal pain. Most highly processed foods have this effect on the stomach and explain why you feel uncomfortable after eating fast foods.

Loaded with Preservatives

The fact of the matter is that dried instant soups have been treated through several processes that involve adding ingredients that contribute to their consistency. Some of the preservatives used include emulsified fat powders, sugars, potato starch, guar gum, and Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). TBHQ is a petroleum by-product that has antioxidant-like qualities. However, since it’s not natural, it can have negative effects on your body. TBHQ is used to stop the oxidation of fats and oils in order to lengthen the shelf life of processed foods. According to experts, exposure to as little as five grams of TBHQ can be lethal and is known to cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, ringing in the ear, and delirium.

They Contain Too Much Salt

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the maximum daily sodium intake for adults to be between 2000mg and 2300mg. Children should not exceed 1000mg per day. Some dried instant soups come packed with more than 100 percent the daily recommended intake in one serving! Seeing as children love consuming noodles when they get home from school, you can imagine the risks you’re exposing them to. Most of the sodium is in the seasoning and you can minimize it by avoiding the sachets.

Unhealthy Carbohydrates

While we all agree that carbohydrates are a great source of energy, not all forms are healthy. Some varieties of dried instant soups and instant noodles are manufactured using potato starch, white flour, and tapioca. These ingredients are low in fiber and won’t keep you full for long compared to healthy carbohydrates.

They Contain Corn Flour

Some packaged dried instant soups contain high amounts of corn flour to give the soup a thick consistency. Several studies have shown that corn flour can have negative health effects on your body such as raising the blood sugar level. Additionally, it causes fat deposition which makes you hungrier. This could lead to overeating, hence weight gain.

Increased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors that increases your risk of developing certain health conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, arterial hypertension, and stroke. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who ate instant soups regularly had high chances of developing metabolic syndrome. In another study on more than 10,000 South Korean adults, results showed that those who ate instant soups more than twice a week tended to suffer from metabolic syndrome compared to those who didn’t. The same study pointed out that even those who mainly consumed unhealthy fast foods, but no noodles or instant soups, were less likely to develop the risk factors associated with conditions like obesity and diabetes. Women appear to suffer from the negative side effects of dried instant soups more than men because of the different hormones and metabolism.

Avoid Processed Foods

Yet again, research has confirmed that indulging in highly processed foods has adverse effects on your health. The best option is to make homemade soup from healthier ingredients, minus the additives and preservatives. If you still have packets of noodles and instant soup in your pantry, it’s high time you ditched them.

All images by Pixabay

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