«Howard Butworth July 21, 2008 Introduction 1. Why should I read the Introduction? 1. It’s good to know. 2. A picture speaks a thousand words. 2. ...»
July 21, 2008
1. Why should I read the Introduction?
1. It’s good to know.
2. A picture speaks a thousand words.
2. What are Noodles?
Instant noodles are dried and/or precooked noodles fused with oil, usually
eaten after being cooked or soaked in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. A
ﬂavor packet is almost always included with a packet of instant noodles. The
product may also be consumed uncooked from the packet, as the noodles are already cooked, usually by frying.
3. History of Noodles Instant noodles originate from instant versions of the Japanese dish ramen.
The idea of instant noodles can be traced back to the Chinese Qing Dynasty, when yimian noodles were deep-fried which allowed them to be stored for long periods and then prepared quickly. Similarly, “Chicken Thread Noodles” (deep-fried thin noodles served with boiling water and optionally an egg) were available in China and Taiwan since the Qing Dynasty.
Modern instant noodles were invented in Japan by Taiwanese Wu Bai Fu, Japanese name Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Foods, one of the biggest manufacturers of instant noodles today. His noodles were boiled with ﬂavoring, deep-fried with palm oil to remove moisture, and dried into a noodle cake. Other preservation methods have been tried, including preservation with salt and smoke, but Ando concluded that palm oil is the most eﬃcient.
In 1958, Nissin launched the world’s ﬁrst instant noodle product, Chikin Ramen (chicken-ﬂavored instant ramen) in Osaka. Another milestone was reached in 1971 when Nissin introduced the Cup Noodle, instant noodles in a waterproof styrofoam container that could be used to cook the noodles.
Further innovations include adding dried vegetables to the cup, creating a complete instant soup dish.
According to a Japanese poll in the year 2000, instant noodles were the most important Japanese invention of the century. Karaoke came second, with the Compact Disc only coming in ﬁfth. As of 2005, approximately 85 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten worldwide every year. China consumes 44 billion packs of instant noodles per year, or 51% of the world, Indonesia consumes 12 billion, Japan 5.4 billion. Per capita, South Korean people eat the highest number of instant noodles, 69 packs per year.
Instant noodles are not only popular with college students, they can also be an economic indicator. In 2005, the Mama Noodles Index was launched to reﬂect the sales of Mama noodles, the biggest manufacturer in Thailand.
The index was steady since the recovery from the East Asian ﬁnancial crisis, but sales jumped by around 15% in the ﬁrst seven months in 2005 on a yearto-year basis, which was regarded as a sign of recession. People could not aﬀord more expensive foods, hence the increase in the purchase of ramen, as ramen is seen as an inferior good.
4. Noodles: Health Concerns Ramen and similar products are often criticized as being unhealthy or junk food. A single serving of instant noodles is high in carbohydrates but low in ﬁber, vitamins and minerals. Noodles are typically fried as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in high levels of saturated fat and/or trans fat. Additionally, if served in an instant broth, it typically contains high amounts of sodium, usually in excess of 60% the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (1,200-1,440 mg). Some brands may have over 3,000 mg of sodium in extreme cases.
The most recent controversy concerns dioxin and other hormone-like substances that could theoretically be extracted from the packaging and glues used to pack the instant noodles. As hot water is added, it was reasoned that harmful substances could seep into the soup. After a series of studies were conducted, various organizations requested changes in the packaging.
Another major concern on the health drawback of consuming the instant noodles is that the products can be manufactured with oxidized fat and oils if the process is not better managed. Oxidized fat and oils are health hazard substances which induce neurotoxins and which make neurocells hypoactive.
5. Palm Oil: Health Concerns The use of Palm Oil for deep-frying the Noodles to remove the moisture can be harmful to health too.
Palm Oil’s heavy use in the commercial food industry can be explained by its comparatively low price, being one of the cheaper vegetable or cooking oils on the market, and by new markets in the USA, stimulated by a search for alternatives to trans fats after the Food and Drug Administration required food labels to list the amount of trans fat per serving. Identifying the exact source of an oil can be complicated by labelling, as palm oil is often described on food labels simply as “vegetable oil”.
Palm Oil is used as a cheap substitute for Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil(Dalda or Vegetable Shortening) since it is semi-solid at room temperature, unlike other vegetable oils. Many people have switched to using Palm Oil instead of Dalda because of the health ill-eﬀects of Dalda, which contains trans-fats. However, not many people know that Palm Oil is also dangerous to health since it contains a lots of saturated fats. Studies have linked intake of Saturated Fats to higher risk of heart disease.
So, for your own beneﬁt, stay away from Hydrogenated Vegetable oil, Palm oil, Margarine and Vegetable Shortening. Instead substitute them for more natural and less harmful products like butter, Olive Oil, Sunﬂower oil or Ghee(Clariﬁed Butter).
6. Fats. What are they?
The more that is said about fats, the less you think you know about them.
There are new discoveries and facts being uncovered about fats every day that it is not possible to stay abreast with every one of them. However, from my reading of the situation as of this day, I believe in what I write below.
To the layman, fats are harmful substances that we cook our food in.
To the more informed, fats are liquids.
To the even more informed, fats are compounds that are soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water.
To the chemically aﬀectionate, fats are Carbon and Hydrogen compounds which contain 3 carbon atoms in a row. Each of these carbon atoms have a fatty acid hooked on to them. Fatty acids are either long or short chains of carbon hooked to each other with hydrogen attached to many of them.
Because of the presence of 3 carbon atoms, fats are also called triglycerides. If one of the fatty acids breaks oﬀ and becomes free, then the resulting glyceride is called a diglyceride. Similarly, if 2 of the fatty acids break oﬀ, then the resulting glyceride is called a monoglyceride
Fats can be broadly classiﬁed into 2 types:
1. Saturated fats: Carbon has a valency of 4 since it has 4 electrons in it’s outermost orbit. Therefore, it can have 4 bonds or links. Fatty acids in which the Carbon atom is hooked on to 2 other Carbon atoms on either side, and the other 2 electrons shared with 2 Hydrogen atoms then it is called a Saturated fatty acid. These fatty acids don’t have a Carbon-Carbon double bond and are hence called saturated. Because of this, saturated fats are fairly stable and do not have a tendency to combine with anything, and have a better shelf life. It is because of the latter reason that they are liked by many food manufacturers.
These are further classiﬁed into 2 separate types depending upon the size of the fatty acid chain attached to the carbon atoms.
(a) Long chain fatty acids which are mostly animal fats can not be completely metabolized by the body and can result in blood clots and cancer.
(b) Short chain fatty acids which is found in Ghee(Clariﬁed Butter) are assimilated and metabolized by our bodies to release energy.
2. Unsaturated fats: If the Carbon atom in the fat forms a double bond with a neighbouring Carbon atom, then it is called an unsaturated fat. These fats can easily break a double bond to combine with other substances. This makes them more reactive as compared to saturated fats. These don’t have a good shelf life and go bad faster than saturated fats, which is why food manufacturers do not prefer using them.
Unsaturated fats can be further classiﬁed into 2 types:
(a) Monounsaturated fats which contain just one double bond between Carbon atoms. These are healthy, like Olive Oil and Canola Oil.
(b) Polyunsaturated fats which contain more than one double bond.
These are not healthy and become oxidized and create free radicals, like Sunﬂower Oil, Saﬄower Oil, Corn Oil, and Soy. Most vegetable oils belong to this category.
We thought that polyunsaturated fats were good for us, so we switched to using them. Then came about the revelation that monounsaturated fats were better for us. Just when we thought we had come to grip with fats, we now know that some saturated fats are good for us. You must be thinking “How to cope with these ﬁndings in the long term?”. Well, my advice to you would be to just stop using artiﬁcial products like Margarine, Shortening, and Dalda(Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil), and switch to more natural alternatives like Butter and Ghee(Clariﬁed Butter). This is because Ghee has mostly short-chained saturated fats which makes it easily digested as compared to long-chained saturated fats. Also the percentages of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in Ghee are close to what is required by the human body. Besides, Ghee’s rate of absorption by the body is 96% which is the highest among all oils and fats. This does not mean that you should consume more Ghee than is required by the human body. You should have more ﬁbrous vegetables and fruits which contain vital vitamins, minerals and ﬁbres required for a healthy bodily metabolism.
A friend of mine, Meghana Marathe suggested I look into Olive Oil as one of the healthy fats that can be used for cooking. Olive Oil, and speciﬁcally Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is good for your health. However, limit it to frying, baking and applications that don’t exceed 370◦ F (190◦ C) because that is the smoking point of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. It will burn oﬀ and give an unpleasant taste if you heat it beyond it’s smoking point. For deep-frying and high temperature cooking, you can use healthy fats such as Ghee that has a higher smoking point of 485◦F (250◦ C). But if you are using it for normal low temperature cooking, you can use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
Note: Most local bakeries and ready made products use Dalda for the fat required in their products. Please stay away from these products as they can seriously harm your health. Bakeries use Dalda instead of Ghee because it can cost upto half as much as Ghee, which results in cost savings and more sales. The health conscious eater will either avoid these products altogether or ﬁnd some that use pure Ghee or Butter for the fat requirements.
• http://www.mapi.com/en/newsletters/ghee clariﬁed butter.html
7. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils: Health Concerns Consuming partially hydrogenated oils is like inhaling cigarette smoke. They will kill you – slowly, over time, but as surely as you breathe. And in the meantime, they will make you fat!
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils(PHVO) are produced by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils in the presence of a catalyst such as Nickel, Palladium and Platinum.
Trans-fats are produced as a result of this process of partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils.
Hydrogenation of an unsaturated fatty acid refers to the addition of hydrogen atoms to the acid, causing double bonds to become single ones as carbon atoms acquire new hydrogen partners (to maintain four bonds per carbon atom). Full hydrogenation results in a molecule containing the maximum amount of hydrogen (in other words the conversion of an unsaturated fatty acid into a saturated one). Partial hydrogenation results in the addition of hydrogen atoms at some of the empty positions, with a corresponding reduction in the number of double bonds. Commercial hydrogenation is typically partial in order to obtain a malleable fat that is solid at room temperature, but melts upon baking (or consumption).
In most naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids, the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bonds of the carbon chain (cis conﬁguration – meaning “on the same side” in Latin). However, partial hydrogenation reconﬁgures most of the double bonds that do not become chemically saturated, twisting them so that the hydrogen atoms end up on diﬀerent sides of the chain. This type of conﬁguration is called trans, which means “across” in Latin. The trans conformation is the lower energy form, and is favored in the hydrogenation process.
A side eﬀect of incomplete hydrogenation having implications for human health is the isomerization of the remaining unsaturated carbon bonds. The cis conﬁguration of these double bonds predominates in the unprocessed fats in most edible fat sources, but incomplete hydrogenation partially converts these molecules to trans isomers, which have been implicated in circulatory diseases including heart disease. Trans fats are also responsible for aiding the accumulation of fat in the worst possible place in the body – the abdomen.
The catalytic hydrogenation process favors the conversion from cis to trans bonds because the trans conﬁguration has lower energy than the natural cis one. This shows that even compounds having the same chemical composition but diﬀerent physical form can have diﬀerent eﬀects on the human body.
Please be wary of labels that say 0% trans-fats on the product’s packet.