A new type of noodle called Zero Noodles, claims to have just 5 calories per serving. The pack says they've been using them in Japan for centuries. They're having us on, surely. I just had to find out for myself.
After tracking them down in a branch of Holland & Barrett and examined the pack, it's interesting to see that Zero Noodles are actually 96 percent water. For the other four percent, you're getting some soluble fibre which is good, and some carbohydrate. This is what accounts for the calories.
The photo shows what they look like straight from the pack. As you can see they resemble rice noodles or
The instructions tell you to rinse the noodles under warm water then put them into boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and add other ingredients. I couldn’t wait.
Opening up the pack I had a quick sniff. Phew, they smell uncannily like fish sticks. That wasn't what I was expecting.
After rinsing and placing them in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes, I drained them and had quick taste test. The texture is the most notable feature – they’re quite rubbery, like chewable rubber bands. They're also tasteless on their own, so, keeping it simple, I added some soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
One serving is apparently half the pack, but I decided to be greedy and eat the lot myself. Of course, it meant doubling the calories from 5 to 10, but who’s counting? With this sort of food you can really pig out if you want.
The noodles seemed to soak up the flavour of the soya sauce (and then hide it), but they were greatly improved once I'd added a good splodge of sweet chilli sauce.
Since they were 96% water, I expected them to dissolve and disappear to nothing. But they took me about 10 minutes to munch through which left me feeling pleasantly full up. Who would have thought you could fill up on 10 calories.
Perhaps unwisely after eating the noodles, I decided to investigate the mysterious ingredients. First, calcium hydroxide. Goodness, this stuff comes from lime (not the fruit) and apparently is ideal for treating acidic soils. Oh, and it can be fatal if eaten! Then I reaslised the ingredients in Zero noodles is ‘food grade calcium hydroxide’. According to Wikipedia, it has low toxicity and is widely used in the food industry. Well, that’s a relief (I think).
Next was konnyaku glucomannan flour. Over at Konnyaku.com are some interesting facts about its use and where it comes from. Importantly it seems it has a long history of safe use.
These noodles obviously provide little in the way of nutrition so wouldn’t be a good choice for a main meal on their own. But they could be especially beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight. You could use them in place of regular rice noodles in a stir fry or soup and save hundreds of calories. A 100g serving of regular rice noodles has around 200 calories!
On the minus side, they're expensive compared with regular rice noodles. This 200g pack cost £1.99 whereas a pack of cooked 375g rice noodles from Tesco costs £1.00.
There’s no mention of salt in the ingredients so when it comes to the traffic light scale I can only say that Zero Noodles have a green light for sugar, fat and saturates. They're gluten free and organic.
Zero Noodles are made in China and distributed by Glow Nutrition Ltd, Surrey.You can find Zero Noodles in branches of Holland & Barrett and online.
Nutrition Information per 100g: 5 calories, 0g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 4g fibre.
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For more on Zero Noodles click here.
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