Food

Low Sodium Instant Ramen/Noodles and Which Japanese Brand Has the Highest Amounts of Sodium

Processed food is sodium-filled, yet people may think their issue is with MSG, but from my experience, it is with NaCl (salt) vs. the “tasty salt” aka Monosodium L-Glutamate.

Featured image by Jeremy Keith. Yea, that’s not a bowl full of meth, it’s salt (NaCl).

I highly suspect sodium chloride (NaCl), salt, as the culprit. Although, I am only speaking from my experience because, surprise, surprise, I have no medical/nutritional science background (I did not have the type of Asian parents that wanted me to be a doctor, look at me now).

I tried instant ramen as an alternative from my UberEAT and DoorDash ($35-$60 a day) regiment, which was cost-effective. Although I could not handle the high sodium, so I researched every major Japanese instant ramen producer and their products’ sodium levels.

I tried a diet like this during the pandemic, but this time around, I am out to find a quick and convenient LOW-SODIUM solution (it won’t be carrot or celery sticks, although I did buy some KIND granola).
Photo Description: the Japanese ramen chain, Ichiran. This is their instant tonkotsu ramen which comes in a 5-pack. The box set has liquid seasoning pack.
If you want the ultimate instant ramen and the closest thing to restaurant ramen, Ichiran (a Japanese ramen chain) offers up their tonkotsu ramen in a 5-pack, $26.85 / $5.37 a serving (you get what you pay for, along with 3,068mg worth of sodium).

What do I know? I know that major industries like the sugar industry will blame other ingredients to keep their pockets fat with cash. FYI, I did Google and cherry pick an article to back up my statement to avoid having it fall under “my feeeeeelings” by the New York Times “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat“).

Editors Choice: regardless of the salt content, the best tasting/quality instant ramen brands are Sanyo and Myojo (not Maruchan or Nissin). I had to get this out of the way before getting in to it.

Even better are the Korean brands of instant noodles.

Watch Your Sodium Intake Foo

Many food producers will use MSG as a tool to reduce the amount of sodium in foodstuffs.

According to the FDA, only 11 percent of sodium in the typical diet comes from the salt shaker. Seventy-five percent of sodium is consumed in the form of pre-packaged, processed foods.

FDA “Sodium in Your Diet

Instant Ramen Hacks to Cut Back on Your Sodium Intake

Producing your own soup stock while being mindful of high sodium ingredients is your best bet (I recommend this article by InsideTracker:Canned Versus Homemade Soup: What Are the Pros and Cons?” if you want to do a homemade version).

Photo Description: Fatworks fat: lard and schmaltz. They are offered in pails and in glass jars.
Fat is not your enemy, it is your friend (I’m real good friends).

Here are three components of any legit ramen (five in total, the other two are toppings and noodles).

  • Make your own base stock: chicken (easy) and pork (time consuming).
  • Add your own flavorings: shoyu/soy sauce and miso (use real ingredients, but doing so does not necessarily reduce sodium levels outright).
  • Secret ramen ingredient: chicken, duck, to pork fat! Fat is flavor (often called “aromatic oil”).

I have a dedicated blog post on aromatic oils here.

The FDA Daily Value for sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day.

FDA.govSodium in Your Diet

Popular Japanese Instant Ramen Brands

Brands are listed in alphabetical order (yup, they all have operations in SoCal):

  1. Maruchan, maruchan.com, Irvine, CA
  2. Myojo, myojousa.com, Chino, CA
  3. Nissin, nissinfoods.com, Gardena, CA
  4. Sanyo, sanyofoodsamerica.com, Garden Grove, CA

The Top Selling Japanese Instant Ramen on Amazon

I always find sales data interesting, but I sorted out all the other non-ramen products although the Chef Boyardee and Hormel Compleats Beef Pot Roast did sound tasty (that can’t be real beef tho?).

I love this sort of data, and out of the 50 products on Amazon for Packaged Pasta & Noodle Dishes (this list changes daily), these are the 10 Japanese instant ramen and noodles that made the list (4 in the top 10).

#2 was Chef Boyardee with 15k reviews although Maruchan has 51k (I think that is due to the range of flavors/larger product range whereas that is just one flavor of beef ravioli).
  1. Maruchan, Ramen Chicken (#1)
  2. Maruchan, Instant Lunch Beef (#4)
  3. Maruchan, Instant Lunch Chicken (#6)
  4. Maruchan, Yakisoba Cheddar Cheese Flavor (#10)
  5. Ichiran, Tonkotsu (5 meals/Japan Import) (#14)
  6. Nissin, Hot & Spicy Chicken Flavor Ramen, (#20)
  7. Sanyo, Sapporo Ichiban Orignal Soy Sauce (#25)
  8. Nissin, Raoh, Tonkotsu Ramen (#28)
  9. Nissin, Raoh, Miso Ramen (#35)
  10. Nissin, Chicken Cup Noodles (#41)

I thought Nissin would be the leader since Momofuku Ando/Go Pek-Hok invented instant ramen, but their competitor, Maruchan on Amazon, dominates the top 4 products.

How Does Instant Ramen Stand Up to Processed American Foodstuff

I have done canned chili (990mg), but seeing that Amazon top seller list, I wanted to see how their American counterparts compared.

MSG is an organic compound and is found naturally in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan/cheeses, yet you do not hear anybody complaining at pizza joints about MSG (Vinny will make you disappear if you do).

For the types that are scared of MSG, I hope they do not find out that cyanide occurs naturally in food too (cherry pits, apple seeds cassava, lima beans and almonds).
BRAND
(Product and
Where to Buy)
SODIUM
PER CONTAINER
Chef Boyardee
Beef in Tomato
& Meat Sauce
Ravioli

7.5oz / 12-pack
600mg / 26%
Knorr
Pasta Sides Dish
Alfredo Broccoli

4.5oz / 8-pack
1,390mg / 60%
Hormel
Compleats
Beef Pot Roast
Microwave tray

9.0oz / 6-pack
1,270mg / 53%
Thank you natural glutamates in Chef Boyardee.

Never Go Full Ramen Seasoning Packet

When I go full-seasoning packet, I get a headache and am super thirsty from all the sodium. It is also why you never go full-seasoning packet.

TLDR: the lowest sodium products out of the 4 brands:

1. Maruchan
Beef Flavor
25% less sodium
3.0oz / 24-pack
2. Myojo
Signature Tonkotsu Ramen
16.93oz (5.64oz)
3. Nissin
Chili (Vegetarian)
3.0oz / 24-pack
4. Sanyo Foods
Original Cup
Original Flavor
2.25oz / 64g

Although, pay attention to portion sizes, 2.25oz vs. 5.89oz.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission

Sodium content is in ascending order by instant ramen brand.
The FDA Daily Value for sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.

Photo Description: #1 round icon

Maruchan

The lowest sodium product by Maruchan is a low sodium marketed product, their Beef Flavor 25% less sodium (1,080mg/46%). On the opposite end, is their sodium bomb, the Maruchan GOLD Soy Sauce Flavor with a 95% DV.

A cheddar cheese ramen is your next best bet, mmmh cheese.
Photo Description: "Maruchan ramen noodle soup" is the label with "beef soup" and "25% less sodium," and "no artificial flavors." This product is the low sodium ramen winner.
The Maruchan low sodium ramen winner is obviously their “25% less sodium” product (I need to try this one).
BRAND
(Prouct and
Where to Buy)
SODIUM
PER CONTAINER
(equals 2 servings)
Maruchan
Beef Flavor
25% less sodium
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,080mg / 46%
(540mg)
Maruchan
Instant Lunch
Cheddar Cheese

2.25oz / 12-pack
1,100 mg / 46%
Maruchan
Chicken Flavor
25% less sodium
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,140mg / 48%
(570mg)
Maruchan
Instant Lunch
Chicken Flavor
2.25oz / 12-pack
1,190 mg / 50%
Maruchan
Creamy Chicken
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,220mg / 50%
(610mg)
Maruchan
Chili Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,320mg / 56%
(660mg)
Maruchan
Picante Chicken
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,480mg / 62%
(740mg)
Maruchan
Beef Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,580mg / 66%
(790mg)
Maruchan
Shrimp Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,580mg / 66%
(790mg)
Maruchan
Roast Beef Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,620mg / 68%
(810mg)
Maruchan
Roast Chicken
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,640mg / 68%
(820mg)
Maruchan
Chicken Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,630mg / 70%
(830mg)
Maruchan
Soy Sauce Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,760mg / 76%
(880mg)
Maruchan
Lime Chili Shrimp
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,820mg / 76%
(910mg)
Maruchan
Pork Flavor
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,920mg / 80%
(960mg)
Maruchan GOLD
Spicy Miso Flavor
4.21oz / 5-pack
2,160mg / 94%
(1,080mg)
Maruchan GOLD
Soy Sauce Flavor
18.5oz (5-bowls)
2,180mg / 95%
(1,090mg)
Photo Description: #2 round icon

Myojo

The quality of their fresh frozen and air-dried noodles by Myojo are the best, but their broths are a major sodium bomb. With one of their products coming in at 138% of the Daily Value (DV). The average out of 9 products offered is 2,721mg

Typical of a Japanese company, they have a Signature and Premium line of products, but what are the differences between the two (who knows, they can’t communicate that).
Photo Description: the packaging which looks like a plastic wrap. The packaging says "coming soon" of their tonkotsu ramen.
I think Myojo is a better overall product, but the salt content, bruuuuh
(I guess for Myojo to pull off a low-sodium ramen, it’s going to take time).
BRAND
(Prouct and
Where to Buy)
SODIUM
PER CONTAINER
(equals 2 servings)
Myojo
Signature
Tonkotsu Ramen

16.93oz (5.64oz)
1,990mg / 87%
Myojo
Original
Hiyashi
Chuka
(Cold Ramen)
16.83oz (5.61oz)
2,020mg / 88%
(I highly recommend
you try this product
because you can
include lot of fresh
ingredients).
Myojo
Premium
Seafood Tonkotsu
12.56oz (6.28oz)
2,520mg / 110%
Myojo
Signature
Shio Ramen
15.87oz (5.29oz)
2,570mg / 112%
Myojo
Signature
Shoyu Ramen
16.08oz (5.36oz)
2,740mg / 119%
Myojo
Premium
Shio Tonkotsu
11.78oz (5.89oz)
2,600mg / 122%
Myojo
Signature
Miso Ramen

17.46oz (5.82oz)
2,860mg / 124%
Myojo
Premium
Garlic Miso Ramen
10.93oz (5.47oz)
3,000mg / 130%
Myojo
Signature
Spicy Miso Ramen
16.40oz (5.46oz)
3,050mg / 133%
Myojo
Premium
Vegetarian Shoyu
10.93oz (5.47oz)
3,160mg / 138%
26,510 total milligrams divided by 9 equals 2,651 (note: Myojo has the largest portion sizes).
Photo Description: #3 round icon

Nissin

Nissin Foods started it all (yea, they, Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen), and they have a solid product line, especially the Cup Noodle Original and Curry flavor (I tried to order the Seafood version, and the Amazon seller could not fulfill my order).

Post WW2 food aid in the form of wheat to Japan helped with the invention of instant ramen.
Photo Description: the newly redesigned packaging of Nissin Top Ramen. The package touts "vegetarian" and "no added MSG". The package shows the noodles, and an illustration of chili's. This product has the lowest sodium for Nissin products (the low sodium instant ramen winner for Nissin).
The keyword in the marketing of this product is “added” because it occurs naturally in the product (they just did not add any additional MSG although they are one of the good ones because they cite that).
BRAND
(Prouct and
Where to Buy)
SODIUM
PER CONTAINER
(equals 2 servings)
Nissin
Chili
(Vegetarian)
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,240mg / 54%
Nissin
Hot & Spicy
Chicken
3.32oz / 18-pack
1,300mg / 57%
Nissin
Hot & Spicy
Blazing Hot
3.26oz
1,300mg / 57%
Nissin
Hot & Spicy
Fiery Beef
3.32oz / 6-pack
1,310mg / 57%
Nissin
Hot & Spicy
Shrimp
3.7oz / 12-pack
1,330mg / 58%
Nissin
Top Ramen
Beef
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,330mg / 58%
Nissin
Cup Noodle
Seafood
2.7oz / 6-pack
1,430mg / 62%
Nissin
Cup Noodle
Curry
2.82oz / 6-pack
1,450mg / 63%
Nissin
Top Ramen
Shrimp
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,490mg / 65%
Nissin
Top Ramen
Hot & Spicy
Beef
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,520mg / 66%
Nissin
Cup Noodle
Original
2.4oz / 6-pack
1,530mg / 66%
Nissin
Top Ramen
Chicken
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,590mg / 69%
Nissin
Top Ramen
Soy Sauce
3.0oz / 24-pack
1,620mg / 70%
Nissin
Demae
Roasted Beef

3.5oz / 5-pack
2,030mg / 88%
Nissin
RAOH Tonkotsu
3.53oz / 6-pack
2,070mg / 90%
Nissin
RAOH Miso
3.77oz / 6-pack
2,290mg / 100%
Nissin
RAOH Soy Sauce
3.77oz / 6-pack
2,400mg / 105%
It always seems like the fancier foo foo stuff typically has more sodium.
Photo Description: #4 round icon

Sanyo Foods

When it comes to flavor and the overall product, I Iean towards Sanyo Foods, especially their Sapporo Ichiban Original Flavor and the Morimoto Branded Product.

Sanyo kills it with their Sapporo Ichiban line (has 5-stars on Amazon, that’s crazy good) and Morimoto (Momosan) ramen which is always sold out.
Photo Description: this is the lowest sodium ramen by Sapporo Ichiban original flavor.
The sodium count will be lower because the portions are smaller (64g vs 85g).
BRAND
(Product, Price,
Where to Buy)
PER CONTAINER
(Per container
equals 2 servings)
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Original Cup
Original Flavor

2.25oz / 64g
1,020mg
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Chow Mein
(No Broth)
3.6oz / 24-pack
1,130mg / 47%
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Chicken Flavor

3.5oz / 10-pack
1,480mg / 62%
1,660mg / 70%
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Beef Flavor

3.5oz / 24-pack
1,480mg / 62%
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Tonkotsu Ramen
18.5oz (6-pack)
1,530mg / 67%
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Miso Ramen
3-pack/3-flavors
1,800mg /78%?
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Original Flavor
3.5oz / 24-pack
1,820mg / 76%?
1,870mg / 78%?
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Tokyo Chicken
Momosan Ramen

3.36oz / 95g
1,960mg / 90%?
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Tokyo Chicken

Tonkotsu
Momosan Ramen

3.36oz / 95g
2,040mg / 90%?
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Shio Ramen

3.6oz / 6-pack
2,090mg
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Miso Bowl
2.98oz / 84g
2,100mg / 90%
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Shrimp Flavor

3.5oz / 24-pack
2,160mg / 94%?
Sanyo Foods
Sapporo Ichiban
Shoyu Bowl
2.91oz / 82g
2,170mg / 90%?
I have no clue why, but there is a lot of discrepancy with the percentages. Portion wise, Sanyo Food products are also slight larger than other products.

In Conclusion

If you came here wondering, “what ramen has the least amount of sodium?” I hope you now know which products have the least amount of sodium, along with ramen hacks to minimize your sodium intake.

Both Nissin and Maruchan have moderate levels of sodium whereas Sanyo Foods is at the upper end of the spectrum, and Myojo takes the top spot as the SODIUM KING (Ichiran is vying for Emperor status with 3,068mg/133%).

I wonder how long I can go with doing steaks/meat everyday.
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