Maggi came into the market with the tagline of “two-minute noodles” and it has become a staple no-nonsense food over the years. They are an instant solution to hunger pangs and the perfect binge-watching snack for your daily Netflix dose.
And Maggi is so, so easy to make – just boil two cups of water, add Maggi and the tastemaker that comes along with the packet, and voila, you have your delicious noodles in front of you.
However, over the years the innocent Maggi noodles have come under a lot of speculation, especially in 2015 when it was found to contain harmful amounts of lead. The world gobbles down over 100 billion servings of instant maggi every year, so let us look into the fact whether Maggi in west African cuisine and Indian diet is good for health or not and whether you need to draw a line when it comes to the consumption of processed food.
Ingredient Content Of Instant Noodles
Any final product is as good as the ingredients that went into making it. So what goes into making these noodles?
It is mandatory for food companies to list out the ingredients in order of the proportion in which they are used. You need to keep in mind that these noodles are deep-fried in oil and the two main ingredients that are on top of the list are edible vegetable oil and whole-wheat flour or maida.
Not only that, Maggi contains high levels of sodium, that is, close to 45% of our daily sodium requirement, which is tremendously dangerous. It also Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), commonly known as “Ajino-Moto” which is known to cause allergic reactions or hives, weakness, headaches, and acidity.
Maggi also has around 360 calories in one serving which is nothing but empty calories as they do not provide you with any nutritional benefits.
Not to forget, Maggi cubes were found to have lead in 17 parts per million, way above the permissible limit of 0.01 parts per million during a sample testing in Uttar Pradesh, India. If you dig deeper, you will find sugar, flavor enhancers, corn syrup, and many other harmful ingredients listed on the label. Permissible limit is indeed a cause of concern.
What’s Wrong With the Content of Maggi Noodles?
Is Maggi masala good for health? This is the question that is often raised in health platforms across the country. The first content in the ingredient list that you observe is refined flour which is very low in fiber and can increase your weight.
But that is nothing compared to the presence of edible oil from vegetables that are used to flash fry the product. The presence of saturated fats has been linked to childhood obesity and even Type-2 diabetes.
Not to forget, the sodium level in a bowl of Maggi is close to 46% of the daily recommended intake which is a lot. High levels of sodium increase the chance of raised blood pressure in the future.
Maggi is nothing but empty calories which is evident when you break down the calories. There is only 8% protein in Maggi cubes but the carbohydrates content is at an astonishing 55%. You are not getting any nutrition from the Nestle good health company.
There is also the presence of Citric Acid (E 330) that enhances the activity of antioxidants, causing acidity. This compound is used as an acidity regulator and an aroma compound only.
Along with Citric Acid, Maggi cubes have high fructose corn syrup which is an industrial product that is known to cause cardiovascular attacks. Even Trans fats are a major product that boosts bad cholesterol in the body to cause nutritional deficiencies and cellular deterioration.
And How Harmful Is Monosodium Glutamate For Our Health?
The acid in MSG, glutamic acid, is known to act as a neurotransmitter in the brain that stimulates the nerve cells to relay its signal. It is also called the excitatory neurotransmitter and MSG can lead to excessive stimulation of nerve cells due to the presence of glutamate in it.
MSG is rightly called an excitotoxin as it can lead to an addiction to that one food. A study in 1969 conducted on newborn mice found that injecting large doses of MSG lead to harmful neurobiological effects. Glutamate activity in the brain can raise blood sugar levels by a whopping 556%, as proven by a study
High doses of MSG have been linked to weight gain and obesity along with a stark change in their dietary regime. It has also been seen as the cause for raised blood pressures and increased frequency of nausea and headaches. So is maggi bad?
However, a normal amount of MSG does not have much effect on the brain. But excess of anything is bad and this is why the presence of Maggi in west African cuisine and Indian diets has been detrimental for the cause of public health.
Obesity is a worldwide issue right now. In India, it is reaching epidemic proportions as nearly 5% of the population is suffering from morbid obesity, and consumption of highly processed foods is certainly aiding the issue.
A pack of Maggi contains 360 calories and 14 grams of fat which are bereft of any nutritional or health benefits. Given that obesity is directly linked to diseases like Type-2 diabetes and hypertension, heavy consumption of these instant noodles is proving to be extremely dangerous. It is also the reason of high cholesterol.
Maggi cubes contain MSG, which increases appetite and pancreatic insulin and induces obesity. To top it all of, Maggi has a horrendous 1.3 grams of sodium and the daily intake of sodium should be 5 grams, which increases blood pressure and it also has gluten, which causes bloating, excessive sweating and a twitching sensation.
The advertisements often color Maggi as nutritional and fulfilling and the product is marketed towards children which aids in childhood obesity.
Blood Pressure And Hypertension
High Sodium content. This is the main reason for Maggi inducing high blood pressure and hypertension.
Statistics say, there are 48 million Indians currently who are suffering from high blood pressure and roughly 1.6 million deaths every year due to hypertension-related issues. India stands fourth in instant Maggi consumption across the globe by consuming 5.5 billion servings every year.
There is obviously a correlation between consumption and lifestyle diseases. Add to the high sodium content and unhealthy saturated fat,
Maggi has a negligible amount of fiber which increases cardiometabolic risk factors, and given that the target market is kids and teenagers, these risks have been traced in them too which is concerning. This directly affects their immune system and metabolism.
Of all the risks associated with Maggi, this one tops the list as the riskiest.
To increase the shelf life of Maggi, a high amount of preservatives are added which weakens the internal organs of the body over a period of time and increases the probability of getting a tumor or cancer.
These are added with Propylene Glycol to maintain their texture and this makes the noodles harder to digest as compared to freshly prepared ones. This chemical is also found in tobacco and aids in cancerous tumor formation.
Malnutrition: One Of The Disadvantages Of Food Products Like Maggi
In a recent controversy, Nestle India acknowledged that over 60% of its food products in the Indian markets are unhealthy and devoid of nutrition.
The Indian diaspora is obsessed with everything junk and this is why the Instant noodles phenomenon is growing at an alarming rate. Packaged food is often criticized for the lack of nutritional content and often fails to meet the minimum nutritional standards due to the severe lack of vitamin, minerals, and fibers.
Despite not meeting any of the good health company standards, Nestle continues to grow and it is evident in the growing sale of Maggi.
Apart from Maggi, Nestle is also in charge of manufacturing chocolates and dairy products, however, they haven’t made a place in the hearts of Indians like Maggi has done.
What exactly are instant noodles? These go through cooking, processing, and frozen to be later sold as Maggi cubes or cups for instant gratification for your mouth. Unlike the noodles made from scratch, these are loaded with flour, a high quantity of salt, and palm oil.
Apart from these basic ingredients, there are preservatives and flavor enhancers to bind to your taste buds. The flavorings of Maggi are versions of salt, synthetic compounds, and monosodium glutamate which is popularly known as MSG.
The deception starts from the calorie count. A bowl of Maggi roughly has 400 calories which is why it seems like an amazing healthy diet option to many people. If you continue to consume 3 bowls of Maggi a day, you can lose a substantial portion of your weight in 10 days.
Your body requires a high amount of fibers and vitamins to function which is something not present in Maggi. A report presented by a comparative study between consumers and non-consumers of such noodles showed the stark reality of the poor diet quality of these processed food items.
The study showed that the consumers of Maggi had low levels of calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and iron along with dangerous levels of sodium which can lead to elevated blood pressure and obesity. Due to lack of major nutrients, people often suffer from malnutrition due to prolonged consumption of Maggi.
Along with malnutrition, regular consumption of this product can increase the risk of developing metabolic disorders along with stroke. A study in the United States assessed the diet of more than 10,000 women and concluded that there is an elevated risk of heart disease in women who consumed maggi more than twice a week. Another study with 3,450 teenagers and young adults found decreased levels of Vitamin D in people who consumed instant noodles regularly. A study in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that frequent consumption of noodles can harm the nutritional profile, especially in women.
There is a reason why Maggi was taken off the shelves due to the lead controversy. Excessive lead content especially harms children who seem to be the prime consumer of instant maggi. Lead is not absorbed by the vitamins present in our body and dangerous levels of lead in the blood affect the liver, kidney, and heart.
However, due to taste enhancers like MSG, it is difficult to resist the taste and people end up consuming a lot of Maggi in the long run. The cells in the body slowly start dying due to which you may lose your appetite and this leads to malnutrition. The advertisements showing the fiber content of Maggi is absolute hogwash and to keep your body healthy, Maggi is something you need to stay away from.
How Much Maggi Is Good For Health?
The primary ingredient of Maggi is the milled, bleached, and refined wheat maida which is very bad for health and devoid of health benefits. Fortunately, Maggi has come up with various alternatives in the form of atta and oats noodles which reduces the intake of refined maida.
You can also add real vegetables to Maggi to increase the nutritional content. However, you need to remember that over-indulgence is never good, and therefore, reducing the intake to once or twice a month will not affect or harm your health.
Maggi instant noodles should always be consumed occasionally and should never replace your regular meal.
1. What Does The Recycle Code 7 Printed At The Back Of MAGGI Pack Mean?
The packaging used in Maggi can be recycled and the code is printed to help the processors identify the type of material used to make the packaging. The code printed on the packet will help to segregate this product to conduct efficient recycling.
2. Does MAGGI® Contain Pig Fat?
Due to the dietary restrictions of the Indian populace, Nestle refrains from using any animal product in their food, and that included instant noodle snack as well. All the variants of Maggi, except the Maggi chicken noodles, are vegetarian and do not contain any trace of pig fat.
3. Is Pork Used To Enhance The Taste Of The Tastemaker?
As a large percentage of the Indian populace is vegetarian, Nestle India has made it a point to not add any animal products to the tastemaker of Maggi instant noodles. Only Maggi chicken noodles, which is the only version of Maggi to contain traces of an animal, rest all the products do not contain any pork or meat. You can verify this by the green dot on top of the packaging.
4. Is There Any Color Added To MAGGI® Tastemaker?
Yes, and Nestlé has made it a point to clearly mention the added color in the Maggi tastemaker in their ingredients list.
You can see that in the ingredients list of the tastemaker, Colour (150D) is one of the ingredients. This is specifying the added color, however, you do not have to worry as the added color is in compliance with the Food safety norms of India.
5. Is Maggi Healthy For Eating?
Yes. After the lead controversy of 2015, Maggi instant noodles were found to be in compliance with the Indian Food Safety norms from the tests conducted in the labs regulated by FSSAI.
After the product was taken off the shelves, Nestlé had issued a statement regarding the safety. Therefore, Maggi has received a health star rating and you are safe to consume instant noodles.
However, it is recommended to eat Maggi once or twice a month because of the high sodium levels and unsaturated fats in the noodles.
6. Does MAGGI® Contain MSG?
According to Nestlé, the parent company of Maggi, the favorite instant noodles of Indians do not contain MSG or monosodium glutamate (MSG/E621).
Nestlé is focused on being a good health company that focuses on providing nutritients and safe ingredients to its consumers.
However, according to FDA and Food Safety and Standards Regulation drafted by FSSAI, glutamate is found in the core ingredients of Maggi, that is wheat, onion powder, and hydrolyzed groundnut protein, therefore, MSG is often found in Maggi after testing.