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Old 01-24-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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Nutritional value of ramen noodles?

I just love Asian food and often have a soup made with ramen noodles, especially on weekdays when I'm in a hurry.
Usually, this consists of about a quarter of a mug filled with noodles broken into little bits, soup powder, and a trickle of sesame oil to which I add boiling water. Et voilà !

The man who invented ramen noodles just died. He had amassed a a colossal fortune.

In a story I read about him in a magazine, they described his winnning recipe, which involves flash frying in palm oil.
Well, this got me to wondering about the nutritional value of the noodles.

Do ramen noodles provide mostly "empty calories"?
What is the proportion of fat to carbohydrate and, most importantly, isn't palm oil said not to be good for you?

Best regards,
Alex R.

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Old 01-24-2007, 01:25 PM   #2
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Yes, most of the commercial ramen noodles are fried in palm oil. Aside from the undesirable nuturitious factor, vrey often you can also taste the stale oil and its slimy texture in it. Also if you use the soup packet, it is also laden with sodium.
If you look around the ethnic food section of a large supermarket or specialty shop, you should be able to find unfried oriental egg noodles (which look pretty much like ramen noodles, without loads of saturated fat), that would be a better choice for your own dishes.
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Old 01-24-2007, 01:36 PM   #3
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Alex, although not in the order you asked your questions, I would start with palm oil first. In my own opinion, it is probably one of the worst oils to fry in because it contains saturated fats alongside with unsaturated ones. This implies increase risks in elevating cholesterol levels.

Because of the convenience of preparation, I am also guilty of succumbing to the temptation of an instant meal at times. Nevertheless, I do consider the nutritional value of Ramen noodles approximately equal to that of the water added to them before serving or even somewhat less due to potential preservatives, artificial flavourings, the ever-present MSG, additives of other kinds, etc. in the powdered mix.

It may sound a bit harsh but I just don't see what ingredients could generate nutritional value in this product. Perhaps its only value is/was the pile of money it made for its creator.
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Old 01-24-2007, 01:44 PM   #4
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I enjoy ramen noodle soup quite frequently - but my mother sends me all sorts of interesting ones from her local Asian market, which are NOTHING like the ones you get in your local supermarket. I have never purchased the supermarket varieties.

I also ALWAYS add meat or seafood, fresh chopped garlic, veggies, & herbs, etc., to mine.

I also purchase plain fresh &/or dried ramen noodles for stir-fry dishes - again, with lots of good things added.

While the noodles themselves may be somewhat "empty" calories, they're like the old "stone soup" story. What you add is what makes the soup.
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Old 01-24-2007, 01:49 PM   #5
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Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Soup, NISSIN, OODLES OF NOODLES TOP RAMEN Ramen Noodle, Oriental flavor, dry form

total saturated fat : 3g for 190 calories..... that's not bad. from wikipedia
"
A study by a group of researchers in China comparing palm, soybean, peanut oils and lard showed that palm oil actually increased the levels of good cholesterol and reduced the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (Zhang, et al, 1995, 1997 cited by Koh, 2006).[6]
A study by Hornstra in 1990 also showed similar results.[7]"
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:30 PM   #6
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all I could find in my book is canned chow mein noodles, 1 cup equals 220 Kcal and 10.6 grams of fat. Another gives 11 grams of fat for the same noodle/amount.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntbsnthlrchn
Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Soup, NISSIN, OODLES OF NOODLES TOP RAMEN Ramen Noodle, Oriental flavor, dry form

total saturated fat : 3g for 190 calories..... that's not bad. from wikipedia
"
A study by a group of researchers in China comparing palm, soybean, peanut oils and lard showed that palm oil actually increased the levels of good cholesterol and reduced the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (Zhang, et al, 1995, 1997 cited by Koh, 2006).[6]
A study by Hornstra in 1990 also showed similar results.[7]"

I just looked at this and total fat was 7.2 grams, which includes 3 grams of saturated fat. So for 190 calories you get 7.2 total g. of fat.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:39 PM   #8
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In my What Food is That? book it has the following info for Wheat Noodle, Steamed and Fried which it describes as 'the modern, instant noodle'. This is without the flavouring added.

For 80g serve
Energy 1570 kJ
Protein 8g
Fat 17g
Carbohydrate 50g

Obviously this would differ between brands. It also says that the vitamin B in the product (the only nutrient they mention) is water soluble and is mostly lost when they are boiled or rinsed.
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boufa06
Alex, although not in the order you asked your questions, I would start with palm oil first. In my own opinion, it is probably one of the worst oils to fry in because it contains saturated fats alongside with unsaturated ones. This implies increase risks in elevating cholesterol levels.
The idea that saturated fats (or dietary cholesterol) are somehow linked to blood cholesterol/triglycerides is a myth. Saturated fats, because of their resistance to oxidation, are actually healthier than most of the liquid vegetable oils on the market.

What you want to avoid are artificially saturated fats like shortening and refined vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn. Those are where the nasty trans fats reside.

Tropical fats like coconut and palm oil have gotten an undeservedly bad rap because of the powerful American corn and soy lobby. If you take a look at the study ntbsnthlrchn posted above you see proof that palm oil is the healthier choice.

As far as the nutritional value of ramen noodles... I would say close to nothing. The're pretty much nothing but starch/carbs. Carbs make you fat.
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:11 AM   #10
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The noodles are loaded with fat--no two ways about it. One third of the total calorie intake is provided by FAT. And fat is fat=calories and if you are trying to lower fat intake, this is not for you. Cholesterol is a whole 'nother thing.
Campbell's used to put out non-fat ramen but I can no longer find it.
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