Wake up and smell the noodles: You have to be stupid to believe Maggi is healthy

If you've been on any of the food groups on Facebook, where people share recipes and whine about restaurants, you'll have noticed multiple posts about how various people are feeling duped and fooled. That too, by Maggi Noodles. Going by their shock and dismay, you'd think Maggi Noodles was the epitome of fresh, tasty food. Second only to Maa ke haath ka khana. Even Maa can't manage that much goodness in two minutes.

What has brought on this sadness?

 Wake up and smell the noodles: You have to be stupid to believe Maggi is healthy

YouTube screengrab.

A few days back, it was reported by The Times Of India that "samples collected in some parts of Uttar Pradesh were found containing added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead in excess of the permissible limit, official sources said. The Lucknow Food Safety and Drug Administration has initiated inquiry and written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in New Delhi seeking to cancel the licence for Maggi". MSG is a taste enhancer, which adds an umami taste to food and is used quite liberally in Chinese food.

In response to the news reports and finding of the Lucknow Food Safety and Drug Administration, a Nestle spokesperson told TOI, "We do not add MSG to Maggi Noodles, and glutamate, if present, may come from naturally occurring sources. We are surprised with the content supposedly found in the sample as we monitor the lead content regularly as a part of the regulatory requirements. All the tests at our own accredited laboratories as well as those by independent external accredited laboratories have consistently shown the results to be well within the permissible limit".

Maggi India also tweeted:

It's also been reported that, "FDA suggests that the MSG content in Maggi is pretty much safe, however, there are many who are sensitive to sodium salt".

Ever since the first news report was published, Facebook and Twitter has been congealed in knots of dismay at the idea that it could possibly be not so good for you, or your children. This is what surprises me. Why would you think that processed, ready-to-eat instant noodles would be packed with the goodness of organic farms? And is having MSG present in it, really the biggest issue you should have with Maggi Noodles?

Yes, I understand that Madhuri Dixt has gyrated and played football — not at the same time — and then fed her fictional son, a bowl of "healthy goodness" i.e. Maggi oats noodles.

But you really have to be slightly dim to think that instead of making three chapatis for your child or pouring him or her a bowl of oats, you can simply snip open a packet of Maggi noodles and boil it and voila, it's a nutritious meal thanks to some Madhuri Maggic.

Maggi, realising that their customers are suckers and lazy to boot, have also released two other ads which exemplify how a mother's love and care can effectively be communicated through a bowl of Maggi.

Maggi Rajkumari ad, where a mother makes a "special" meal of Maggi for her daughter:

Or the Maggi ad where a daughter makes a "special" meal of Maggi for her mother:

The people on Facebook and Twitter who are so stunned by the possibility of Maggi being unhealthy only because of the presence of MSG, would do well to read the packet and the fine print on the ads. It clearly states that "Maggi Noodles is a light meal to be enjoyed as part of a diversified balanced diet. Consume with fruits and milk."

To put things in perspective, one small 100 gms packet of Maggi has 402 (kcal). According to the European Food Information Council, "For children aged 7 to 10, the estimated average requirement of energy is 1970 kilocalories a day for boys and 1740 kcal for girls". So one packet of Maggi is giving your kids more than 25% of their daily calorie requirement - in one hot piping salty shot. Wonder why we are all so portly now? Let's face it there's less chance of dying from lead poisoning, than there is of dying from obesity thanks to eating copious quantities of Maggi.

Yes, it's quick, fast and - when you're young - tasty enough. Also, it's the easiest thing for parents to shove into their kid's school tiffin boxes because it requires the least effort to prepare, is "cooked" food, and makes your kid happy. But the last thing that this is, is nutrition in a cup.

I remember when we were in college and on shoestring budgets and didn't know how to cook to save our souls, the one thing we'd make is Maggi. And often, because we were working or bumming around, we'd cook it and then sit down to eat it after a few minutes. The wonder of Maggi noodles was that if left untouched for a while, it took on the shape of the container it was kept in and could be pulled out in one solid block. I cook normal noodles and pasta often enough nowadays, and trust me they don't congeal into a solid block if left alone. Even for hours on end. There is something very fishy about any food which becomes a congealed mass if left untouched for 5 minutes.

I've seen kids open their tiffin boxes and put a fork in their Maggi noodles and pull out the noodles in one cohesive block, like the noodles have been stuck together with Fevicol. Imagine these noodles just sitting in a congealed block in your intestines.

So when "foodies" get into a tizzy about the fact that Maggi noodles might have MSG - you can't help but wonder if they've been having the same Maggi noodles as you. MSG has side effects and lead in your food is alarming but when it comes to Maggi Noodles the bigger problem is those of us who treat it not as a snack but as a regular meal for our children.

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Updated Date: May 21, 2015 10:36:03 IST