How much sodium do I get from my instant noodles?

Instant noodles are famous for having lots of sodium.

I am looking at a Maruchan styrofoam bowl of them right now. It says it is one serving and contains 1280 mg of sodium. Ok, that is a lot.

However, for most foods you eat all of the product, but instant noodles are a bit different. The noodles cook in the hot water, you eat the noodles, and then a good bit of water is left behind. No doubt that a large portion (most?) of that sodium stayed in the water and unconsumed.

How much sodium am I really eating and how much is dissolved in the water? Is there a way to figure it out? I am betting on the Chemistry majors here.
To the mods: Although this might look like a food discussion (some might disagree with these being considered food), but I am definitely looking for a scientific factual answer to a question, so I put it here.

If you’re willing to do the experiment, you could weigh the prepared serving, and then weigh the remaining broth. Assuming that the salt saturation will be the same in the cooked noodles as in the broth (likely, since the cooked noodles will be mostly water), it’s then just a matter of proportions.

You could double-check this by measuring both the mass and the volume of the remaining broth. Assuming that salt is the primary solute, you could then use the density to find the salt proportion in solution.

This is seemingly another political fight, similar to the low-fat craze with AHA on the wrong side of the facts.

According to the instructions of most ramen packets, you cook the noodles in plain water, and add the seasoning packet at the end, so I think you’d have to weigh the cooked noodles, then add them to the broth, and then weigh them afterward, and account for that tiny amount of broth that stuck.

What does any of that have to do with the OP’s question?

I thought most cup ramen noodles say to pour the flavor packet when you pour the hot water?

Anyway, you also need to consider that not all the salt is in the flavor packet - the dry noodles also contain salt.

I think the best approximation would be:

  1. Measure the amount of hot water you pour in (call it V1)
  2. Weigh the contents of the flavor packet. Assume it’s almost all salt. (Call it MF)
  3. After eating the noodles, measure the amount of broth left over (V2).
  4. Note how much salt the label says it contains. If it’s in grams of sodium, multiply by 2.5 to get the amount of salt in grams. Call it MT.

The amount of salt left in the broth is approximately MF x (V2 / V1). So the amount of salt you consumed is MT - MF x (V2 / V1).

blink Who are these people who aren’t drinking the broth of their ramen?

People who love ramen but are making some effort to reduce their sodium intake.

To what degree do the noodles taste salty to you?

What I do is make low-sodium chicken soup, then add the noodles without the “flavor” pack. I don’t taste much sodium in them.

Yes, that number represents a lot of sodium, and if you don’t have the option of limiting the amount of a separate “flavor pack” – i.e.- the stuff is already in the cup with the noodles – then I suspect you’re getting most of the sodium, since a great deal of the broth will be absorbed into the noodles.

I love noodles in general and occasionally have a snack of ramen noodles with bits of added chicken or pork and peppers and onions, the particular brand I like weighing in at 1870 mg of sodium which is 78% of the daily value! And in looking at the ingredients, the noodles themselves seem relatively innocuous, but the “soup base” envelope lists the following as the three major ingredients, starting as legally required by the ingredient present in the largest quantity: salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar! :eek: From a health standpoint, you may as well climb up on your roof and jump off! So what I do is try to limit my consumption of this snack, and when I do have it, I make it with less than half of the recommended amount of water and add less than half of the soup base, and throw the rest out. The added ingredients of real food provide their own flavor with much less sodium and chemical crap.

My question exactly. Don’t you eat and drink the whole thing?! I mean, I sometimes make it for just the noodles – in that case, I use half the seasoning packet or less, after dumping out all (or almost all) the water before starting to eat. But, typically, I’d make it as a broth, and every roommate I’ve ever had in college made it as a broth, dumped the packet it, and ate everything, noodles, broth, and all. I had no idea anyone dumped the broth.

This means the salt panic is unwarranted and the package, even if he eats it all is only 1/4 of the best point on the mortality curve (4-5 g per day of sodium depending on physical activity)

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Yeah, I thought the OP’s behavior was a bit unusual, too (in my younger days when ramen was a common meal for me, I drank the broth, too), but that’s what he does, and that’s what he wanted information on, so that’s what I tried to address.

On some packages, the instructions specifically tell you to drain the water (usually before adding the flavour packet). I used to do it your way for years before actually looking at the directions. I think that some ramen noodles are intended (at least by the manufacturer) to be consumed alone, and others as a soup.

Oh wow, I never considered drinking what was left over. I guess I assumed it was saltwater with a little bit of spices, so no effective nutrition at all.

Since all of my noddle packets are at work and we do not have a scale here, I might not get to do the weighing experiments.

However, I like the idea of just looking at volumes. How much volume is it all combined, and then how much volume is left after noodles are gone. Assume the salt is evenly distributed. Maybe I will eat one today and see.

Technically, the those are instant yakisoba, not ramen.

And I was assuming that anyone eating ramen in any form wasn’t looking for effective nutrition, in the first place.

Once again, what does that have to do with the OP’s question?

You could always evaporate the broth and weigh the residue, which is probably mostly the remaining salt.

I agree that’s the best way. I tend to use turkey broth, though.

Sorry guys, the packets just taste like salt to me.