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Salt content of instant noodles in Malaysia: a cross-sectional study
  1. Chun Han Tan1,
  2. Zhen Yee Chow1,
  3. Siew Mooi Ching2,3,
  4. Navin Kumar Devaraj4,
  5. Feng J He5,
  6. Graham A MacGregor5,
  7. Yook Chin Chia6
  1. 1 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
  2. 2 Department of Family Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia
  3. 3 Department of Gerontology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia
  4. 4 Department of Family Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia
  5. 5 Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  6. 6 Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chun Han Tan; chunhan931013{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Objective To determine the salt content in instant noodles sold in Malaysia.

Study design A cross-sectional survey was done involving 707 different flavours and packaging of instant noodles sold in six hypermarkets and retailer chains in Malaysia and the corresponding brand’s official websites in 2017.

Methods The salt content (gram per serving and per 100 g) was collected from the product packaging and corresponding brand’s official website.

Results Of the 707 different packaging and flavours of instant noodles, only 62.1% (n=439) provided the salt content in their food label.

The mean (±SD) salt per 100 g of instant noodles was 4.3±1.5 g and is nearly four times higher than the salt content of food classified in Malaysia as a high salt content (>1.2 g salt per 100 g). The salt content for instant noodle per packaging ranged from 0.7 to 8.5 g. 61.7% of the instant noodles exceeded the Pacific Salt Reduction Target, 11.8% exceeded the WHO recommended daily salt intake of <5.0 per day and 5.50% exceeded Malaysia Salt Action Target. 98% of instant noodles will be considered as high salt food according to the Malaysia Guidelines.

The probability of the instant noodles without mixed flavour (n=324) exceeding the Pacific Salt Reduction Target was tested on univariate and multivariate analysis. Instant noodles with soup, Tom Yam flavour, pork flavour and other flavours were found to be predictors of instant noodles with the tendency to exceed Pacific Salt Reduction Target when compared with instant noodles without mixed flavours (p<0.05).

Conclusion Only 62% of instant noodles displayed the salt content on their food label. Salt content in instant noodles is very high, with 90% exceeding the daily salt intake recommended by WHO. Prompt action from regulatory and health authorities is needed to reduce the salt content in instant noodles.

  • sodium
  • salt
  • instant noodles
  • hypertension
  • Malaysia

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Footnotes

  • Contributors YCC conceptualised the study. Subsequently, YCC, SMC, NKD, CHT and ZYC designed the research. CHT and ZYC collected the data and did the data entry. Data analysis was done by CHT, ZYC, SMC and NKD. CHT and ZYC wrote the first draft of manuscript. The data interpretation and manuscript revision were performed by FJH, GAM, YCC, SMC, NKD, CHT and ZYC. FJH, GAM, YCC, SMC, NKD, CHT and ZYC contributed to the discussion of the study and came to the consensus to approve the final draft of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The original result showing the salt content of all the products is available on request to the corresponding author.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Patient and public involvement Patient and/or the public were not involved in this research.

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