New survey reveals
New research by Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) has revealed there is more to flavoured instant noodles than hot water. Many are dangerously high in salt i.e. greater than 5g per serving and even more surprisingly contain large amounts of hidden sugar. CASH is now urging food manufacturers of flavoured instant noodles to immediately reduce both the salt and sugar content to prevent unnecessary strokes and heart disease.
Out of the 131 products surveyed, the noodles with the highest salt content per serving is Ko-Lee Instant Noodles Chicken Flavour with a staggering 5.8g salt – that’s 97% of the maximum recommended salt intake/day in the UK (i.e. 6g per day) and more than 12 packets of salted crisps.
The second worst offender is Nissin Demae Ramen Chicken Flavour (100g) which contains 5.5g of salt per serving – that’s more than 2 McDonald’s Big Macs and equivalent to 92% of the maximum daily intake of salt. Even the Ko-Lee Instant Noodles Mixed Vegetable (90g) has 5.1g of salt which is comparable to more than 8 portions of McDonald’s fries.
Shockingly, there is a huge 5.4g difference in salt per serving when comparing the product with the highest salt content (Ko-Lee Instant Noodles Chicken Flavour, 5.8g) to the product with the lowest salt content (Morrisons BBQ Beef Flavour Noodles and Morrisons Chicken Flavour 0.4g) per serving i.e. 14 times more salt.
More than a third (37%) of products surveyed would receive a red colour for front of pack labelling (48 out of 131) for high salt levels, with a further 58% having an amber colour (76 out of 131). The findings also revealed that 15% of products provide 50% or more of the daily maximum recommended intake for salt (19 out of 131 products). Interestingly, the flavour with the highest salt content was chicken – the most popular selling flavour in the UK.
The survey also exposed hidden levels of sugar found in instant noodles with over a third (35%) of products surveyed containing more than 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving (46 out of 131 products).
The noodle brand with the highest total sugar content per serving is Sharwood’s Noodle Bowl Sweet Chilli Sauce with 17.4g sugars per serving – which is 58% of the daily-recommended maximum intake of free sugars (30g/7 tsp), followed by Kabuto Noodles Prawn Tom Yum and Kabuto noodles Chilli Chicken Ramen (15.3g sugars / serving) – all of which are equivalent to approximately 4 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Saadia Noorani, Registered Nutritionist (Public Health), World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) and Queen Mary University of London says:
“The results of our research found that the highest salt content products were from international brands whereas some of the lowest salt content products were from retailers’ own brands. With the majority of salt in our diet coming from processed foods, global food manufactures need to do much more to reduce the huge amounts of unnecessary salt in their products.”