Instant Noodles Send Thousands of Kids to the ER Every Year
It's not just that they're poor in nutrition...
Are instant soups healthy? What about instant noodles? Both these items are definitely not in the list of healthy foods you should give your child. But even more shocking than their lack of nutrients is the fact that these foods are responsible for sending thousands of kids to ER every year.
20% of childhood scald burns caused by microwaving instant noodles, says study
Recently, a new study conducted by scientists has revealed that 20% of childhood scald burns were caused by microwaving instant noodles and soup.
Unlike normal burns, scald burns come from exposure to hot liquids or steam. Some cases of scald burns may need hospitalization or surgery.
The study estimates that instant soups cause nearly 10,000 scald burns in kids residing in America. Furthermore, their findings showed that four- to seven-year-olds were likelier to be hurt, with the chest area of the body being the site of injury in 40% of cases.
Dr Courtney Allen is a paediatric emergency medicine fellow at Emory University in Atlanta. She suspects that parents see food coming out of a microwave as much safer than on a stove. However, the study has shown that young children eating microwave-heated instant soups do need to be overseen by an adult.
Dr Michael Cooper is the director of Staten Island University Hospital’s burn centre in New York City. He says that the study’s results confirm what happens in reality.
“We do see instant soup and noodle burns with kids in this age group,” he said.
Thankfully, these kids could return home after treatment in the emergency room. They weren’t hospitalised and needed less than 14 days to recover.
“These burns are painful, but most appear to be superficial,” he explained.
How do these burns happen?
Most of the time, according to Cooper, the parent pre-heats the instant soup and hands it over to the child in the same container. Often the child will knock over the cup, and its boiling hot contents over themselves.
Overall, the study shows that parents, grandparents and other people supervising children should be educated that these burns can happen. Authors have also suggested thinking of ways of preventing these burns, such as modifications in instant soup packaging, too.
Besides this injury risk they pose to kids, instant soups and noodles fare poorly on the nutrition front too.
Are Instant soups healthy? Not really, says science
According to nutritionist Ms Swati Kapoor, instant vegetable soups are very different to their natural counterparts. Namely, they:
- contain less than half of the nutrients you can find in natural soups because nutrients can’t be stored over long periods of time.
- are loaded with preservatives. Although preservatives can prolong the shelf life of instant soups, they do negate the antioxidant properties from the vegetables used to make the soup.
- are made from ingredients with sub-par quality. Much of the soup consists of starch, sugar and sodium.
- hardly have any vegetables at all, aside from the already depleted nutrients.
In particular there are three important ingredients in instant soups that aren’t good for your health:
1. Corn flour
Instant soups often contain a lot of cornflour so that it becomes thick. Corn flour isn’t good for your body because it increases blood sugar levels, and also causes the weight to rise and fall – or the “yo-yo effect”. The yo-yo effect isn’t healthy: it can lead to diseases like fatty liver, diabetes, heart conditions, and many more.
Instant soups also have a lot of salt. The excessive salt isn’t good for people who already have high blood pressure. Too much salt is also bad for kids.
Having too much salt may bring about a lot of other conditions other than hypertension and a heart attack, such as osteoporosis, asthma, kidney diseases and rarely, stomach cancer.
Instant soups also contain a lot of preservatives which are bad for health.
Furthermore, the nutrients that come with instant soups are in powder form. Once these powdered nutrients receive heat, they lose their nutritional value.
Instant noodles, similar to soups, also have many limitations when it comes to health and nutrients. Parents, this doesn’t mean you should ban these foods from your child’s diet altogether if it’s a favourite. Rather, you should exercise caution that burns don’t happen, and not let kids eat these foods too often.