Know Your Food – The Maggi Fiasco

The lead in Maggi and the subsequent outrage, ban, hullabulla, off the shelves drama and all that fiasco of a non existent, dysfunctional and yet another corporate greed oriented useless agency which goes by the name of FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) is the least of our problems. What Nestle is doing is the norm for every single packaged food and processed food industry across the world. They fool the gullible into believing that the the shit you eat is the epitome of nutrition and we have the a bunch of ignorant and overrated actors endorsing brands as long as they are paid. I still recall that Lisa Ray’s sprite ad where she emerges out of the bathtub and exclaims in a husky voice “Sprite, meri glowing thwacha ka raaz” (Sprite, the secret to my glowing skin). The ad ends with Sprite’s typical in your face sarcasm. Well, neither Lisa Ray nor Sprite are any better than the rest anyway.

Lets get to see what is in Maggi and explore the infinite goodness and well being that it gets into your daily life so much so, it is recommended by one of the overrated actors with a “Pay me and I will do whatever you want” attitude to have it as the first meal of the day after an early morning workout.

Read the labels would you ?

Before you actually go to the calories per serving, spare some time to take a look at the ingredients list. I suggest three simple rules to follow to help you make an informed decision before you purchase that healthy food with natural goodness of real vegetables

1. If it has a long list of ingredients (>6) don’t eat it.

This is the ingredient list of a sample healthy simple multi grain potato chips.Dehydrated potato, vegetable oil, potato starch, rice flour, seasoning, cheese solids, milk solids, yeast extract, whey, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, buttermilk, onion powder, sour cream, natural & artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, turmeric, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate,lactic acid, wheat bran, sugar, oatflour, MSG, pottasium chloride, dextrose, mono & diclycerides, citric acid, silicon dioxide, ferrous sulphate etc.Phew all that crap for just a pack of potato chips. Just slice those potatoes, fry it and eat it.

Sweet ! Potato Chips !
Sweet ! Potato Chips !

2.If you cannot understand what is in the ingredients list, just don’t eat it.

Cannot get any simpler.

3. Read the first 5 ingredients carefully.

As per international regulations, ingredients should be listed in descending order. For example, the first ingredient in the list contributed the largest amounts and the last ingredient contributed to the least amount in a processed food. So if you know sugar(s) is in the top 3, the food is loaded with sugar. The manufacturers have a way to get around this and I doubt if this is really followed except in a few countries across the world.

OK, now that we have set the context right, lets dissect Maggi starting with noodles and follow it up with the MASALA TASTEMAKER.

Healthy Maggi
Healthy Maggi

Wheat Flour : Simply put, it is maida. Real whole wheat flour is referred as Atta. Maida is heavily refined atta. In other words, there is very less or no nutrients with a high Glycemic Index (GI). It is a simple search to find out what high GI foods unleash in your body. You can read the details elsewhere, but in summary it messes up your insulin and pancreas in the long run and will reward you with diabetes.

Edible Vegetable Oil : Instant noodles are normally flash fried leave large traces of Edible Vegetable Oil. These contain a lot of trans fats that do not go rancid and accumulates as LDL cholesterol in our body as even our body finds it difficult to break it down into simple components. A liver can do only that much.

Salt : Well salt it is and a pack of instant noodles can supply your body close to half of the recommended dietary intake of salt. Great ! half my needs with just one pack of instant noodles? Think again.

Hydrolysed Groundnut Protein : ICING on the cake !!! (BTW, I hate that icing on the cakes .. )Whoa that is some real healthy stuff. You have extracted that healthy protein out of the groundnut. Lets look a bit close shall we ? Meanwhile, do you remember reading that “NO ADDED MSG” somewhere in Maggi. To be fair to Nestle, they did post the truth here. They have not added MSG in either the noodles or in the tastemaker, but lets take a closer look on this super healthy sounding ingredient. Glutamate is an amino acid naturally present in our human body. A derivative of glutamate called monosodium glutamate, also fondly called as MSG is formed by hydrolyzing proteins. Cooking does this to your Hydrolysed Groundnut Protein. A honest label “NO ADDED MSG”, but you still end up with that MSG ? You can also watch out for flavor enhancers or taste enhancers in the ingredients list. It is usually a 3-digit number starting with 6 and if recollect correctly it is usually in the 61x – 63x series.The packaged and processed food industry knows inside out that it is bad for you, but the profit margins, relatively long shelf life, ease of usage of these foods, the market demand , the lazy lifestyle of us consumers with a farcical demand for healthy foods has led us to this unviable and unsustainable environment. Every single health claim of packaged and processed foods are just simply lies.

No Added MSG : A claim as specific as this inevitably means that you will get MSG in your food. It just means it has not been added directly. The same goes for No Added Sugar, No Added Chemicals, No Added Salt etc.

Extra Fiber : Typically a negligible amount of fiber added artificially. It may be as small as a drop in a bucket of water. Solution – Get some real fibre eating fibre rich foods like spinach, oats etc.

Real Fruit : A drop of real fruit extract in a litre of artificially concocted chemical mixture labelled as juice. Same applies to Real Almonds, Kesar, Raisins, Cashews, Vegetables, Butter,etc. Just remember every drop of goodness has been completely extracted due to the treating and other processing that even this drop is of no nutritional value. Solution, dump this juice concept as it anyway destroys the complex carbohydrates and instead enjoy the real fruit, the way it is supposed to be.

We live in a world which is best described as alternate reality as we do not have the stomach to face the reality. The reality is every instant of our life is overloaded with toxins,radiations, toxic chemicals and complete lack of humanity. There have been multiple claims across centuries on when the great apocalypse will strike us and the world as we know it will come to an end. None of those claims make any sense as the world we are existing in right now has ended a long time ago in our quest for wealth and riches. Hope one day when all rivers dry, all the rainforests are cut, all the resources diminish, we will realize that we cannot just eat money. Eat well. Live well.

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