So, you want to save a buck or two at the supermarket. You pick up a five-pack of Meegs and decide, yup, that’s your lunch for the uni week. Or dinner for two nights. Or, based on calorie count, the five pack of noodles could fuel you for 1 full day. You load up, and get through the day with enough energy for lectures. Plus, you’ve really saved a bunch of money, successfully avoiding avocado toast. Great work! But, how long can you survive like this – eating only Mie Goreng? What would kill you first on this diet? Malnutrition, or too much of that sticky black soy stuff that you squeeze lovingly into the bowl? If you really love Meegs don’t read this as I’m probably about to ruin a beautiful thing for you.
Generally, women need about 1,600-2,400 calories per day to survive, while men need about 2,000-3,000. As I’ve already mentioned, these amounts are matched almost perfectly by the five-packs of Meegs you can get from those supermarket deals (they are just shy of 2,000 calories). You also may be getting plenty of vitamin B2, according to the European listing of ingredients, and one epidemiological study on instant noodles. This could indicate a positive in the nutritional values of your noods, but I will get back to vitamins later.
Having five whole packets will be a lot more salt than you need. It’s hard to say if this on its own will be a deal breaker for the body’s survival. We’re remarkably resilient, and there is a great deal of variation in nutrition science about how much salt is best for us. 14.5g of salt in a day, everyday, is still a serious challenge on the kidneys and puts the body at real risk of developing serious chronic problems. The Australian Heart Foundation recommends less than 5g salt per day. Although, other studies also show that this is too low! However, it’s unanimously agreed that 14.5g per day is too much in the long term.
Could a lack of vitamins catch up with you in the short term? Mie Goreng, despite being cheap, short-changes you on many vitamins if it is not made out of “fortified wheat flour.” It is difficult to tell whether Mie Goreng is really made with this vitamin-filled ingredient like some questionable sources claim (Wikipedia). Vitamins are left off of the nutritional information completely in NZ – not a good sign. Without vitamin B2 the body has about 2 weeks on the clock. Combined with the high salt intake, it would become a balancing act between the over consumption of sodium and malnutrition of B2. Maybe you need to get creative and skip out on the flavouring packets a few times to bring down the amount of salt, you Goreng guzzling gimp!
B3 is only at 2% of your recommended daily intake according to one source of Mie Goreng ingredients. There is a bleak long term outlook for B3 deficiency in terms of skin problems, stomach problems, apathy, and paranoia. This could be the thing that gets you in the end, but it’s unclear exactly how long it would take the serious problems of this deficiency to settle in. Vitamin B2 on the other hand is the one that you require all the time, otherwise that two week clock starts ticking…
There’s a lot of tough, highly manufactured noods to get through on this diet. It takes more hours to process than fresh Mie Goreng, and if you need to eat 5 packs daily to try meet the most basic vitamin and calorie requirements… things are really going to block up very quickly. People who have tried to eat copious amounts of mie goreng report that stomach pains and constipation were so bad they had to stop. Even if you can tough through this pain you are putting yourself at serious danger of intestinal obstruction.
What about the other chemicals and preservatives in the food? Could this kill you at high doses? tBHQ is an antioxidant, which sounds good, like something you might find in a blueberry or some dark chocolate. But, in mammals, this particular ingredient in large quantities can upset DNA. Interestingly, tBHQ has been shown to be potentially useful after heart transplants for controlling cell stress. Unless you have had a heart replacement, this antioxidant is only helpful for keeping the noodles fresh, it’s not necessary or helpful in the human body. It’s just unlikely to kill you because it has such a low concentration in Mie Goreng.
Back to our question: if you only ate Mie Goreng to save money, what malnutrition or overconsumption issue would kill you first? Well, as you can see it’s complicated. There are MANY reasons why this diet would make you sick. But it’s possible you could sit mindlessly in your lectures, as a blocked up and salty mess, for around two weeks. For your own safety, you are much better off keeping these packets for the times you require a drunken snack, not for when you require a legitimate meal. And although these noodles may sit in your stomach for most of the day (I dare you to search up gastric videos of this on YouTube) it’s only really giving you lots of salt. It’s not going to provide the calories, protein, and vitamins you genuinely need. No surprises there.