Can eating instant noodles cause malnutrition?

October 12, 2023 | 03:00 pm PT
My seven-year-old daughter often eats instant noodles for her meals. Can this cause her malnutrition? (Ngoc Nguyen, Phu Yen)


Children should be provided all four nutrient groups, including carbohydrates, protein, fats, and vitamins and minerals, during their developing phase.

Because instant noodles contain a huge amount of carbohydrates and fats, and does not provide proteins, fibers, vitamins, or minerals, children may lack micronutrients if they eat too much of the dish. In your daughter's case, she is even more exposed to it when she consumes the food for her breakfast, which is a main meal.

Children who eat instant noodles frequently may look chubby, or even become overweight, thanks to calories from carbohydrates and fats in the dish. But their muscles tend to be weak, and they have high chances of lacking several necessary nutrients including vitamins, iron and zinc.

Can eating instant noodles cause malnutrition?

Instant noodles also contain condiments which are extremely harmful to children, for example salt, food coloring, and saturated fats.

Palm oil, which is used in instant noodles, has a high amount of saturated fats which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and metabolism-related problems.

Several other chemicals in instant noodles may also harm health if they are consumed too frequently.

In order for your daughter to avoid malnutrition, you should prepare meals from varied food sources for her, such as vegetables, fish, meat, or cereal.

She can sometimes eat instant noodles, but they should be served with vegetables, fish, meat, or eggs.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Duy Tung

Nutrihome Nutrition Clinic System

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