Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Yakisoba Bad For You?



Short answer

Yakisoba can be part of a balanced diet with moderation. Its nutritional value varies based on ingredients and preparation. Homemade versions with controlled oil, proteins, and vegetables can offer health benefits, while pre-packaged or restaurant options may have high sodium and added sugars. Choosing whole grain noodles, increasing vegetables, and opting for lean proteins can enhance its nutritional profile. Be mindful of portion sizes and sauce to enjoy yakisoba healthily.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Nutritional Content of Yakisoba

Yakisoba, a popular Japanese stir-fried noodle dish, is often recognized for its savory flavor and versatile ingredient list. While it can be a comforting meal or an indulgent street food, understanding its nutritional content is crucial for those mindful of their dietary choices. Here, we deeply dive into what composes a standard serving of yakisoba, shedding light on its macros, vitamins, and minerals, and how they can impact your health.


  • Calories: A typical serving size of yakisoba (about 1 cup or 200 grams) contains approximately 250 to 300 calories, making it a moderate-calorie dish that can fit into a balanced diet.
  • Proteins: Yakisoba serves as a modest protein source, with about 9 to 12 grams per serving. The protein content can increase significantly if additional protein-rich ingredients like chicken, beef, or tofu are added.
  • Carbohydrates: The primary source of calories in yakisoba is carbohydrates, with about 35 to 40 grams per serving, mainly from the noodles. This can vary based on the type of noodles used and the amount of added sugar in the sauce.
  • Fats: Fat content in yakisoba can range from 10 to 15 grams per serving, skewed towards the higher end if cooked with generous amounts of oil or included fatty meats.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Yakisoba can also contribute to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals, especially if it includes a variety of vegetables. Common additions like cabbage, carrots, and bell peppers enrich the dish with:

  • Vitamin A & C: Essential for immune function and skin health
  • Calcium & Iron: Important for bone health and oxygen transport in the blood
  • Potassium: Helps to regulate blood pressure levels

Fiber: Depending on the vegetables added, a serving of yakisoba can provide a noticeable amount of dietary fiber, supporting digestive health. The noodles themselves, however, typically offer little in this aspect unless whole grain or vegetable noodles are used.

It's important to consider that yakisoba's nutritional content can vary widely based on the recipe, portion size, and specific ingredients used. Homemade yakisoba where you can control the ingredients, especially the type and amount of oil, vegetables, and protein, offers a healthier option compared to restaurant or street food versions, which may contain higher amounts of sodium and added sugars. For those with dietary restrictions or specific health goals, paying attention to these details can help in making yakisoba a part of a balanced and nutritious diet.

In summary, while yakisoba provides a mix of macronutrients and a good opportunity to include various vegetables in your diet, being mindful of the ingredients and portion size is key to enjoying this dish healthily. Factors such as the choice of noodles, added proteins, and the amount of seasoning and oil can all significantly influence the nutritional value of your yakisoba meal.

High Sodium Levels in Yakisoba Sauce: Implications

The deliciously rich flavor of Yakisoba, a beloved Japanese stir-fried noodle dish, is significantly influenced by its sauce. This integral component, while essential for achieving the authentic taste that many people love, also brings a considerable amount of sodium into the dish. Understanding the implications of these high sodium levels is crucial for making informed dietary choices.

Sodium, a major component found in table salt, is essential for bodily functions such as nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. However, when consumed in excess, sodium can have adverse effects on health. Below, we explore some of the potential implications of the high sodium content commonly found in Yakisoba sauce:

  • Blood Pressure: Numerous studies have linked high sodium intake with elevated blood pressure levels. Consistently consuming foods high in sodium, such as some versions of Yakisoba, can increase the risk of hypertension, a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates that reducing sodium intake can significantly lower blood pressure levels in individuals with and without hypertension.
  • Heart Health: High sodium consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to the retention of water, raising blood pressure and subsequently, stressing the heart and blood vessels. The Heart Foundation suggests that a diet lower in sodium could help reduce the incidence of heart disease.
  • Kidney Function: The kidneys play a key role in removing excess sodium from the body. When sodium intake is high, this can put strain on the kidneys, impairing their function over time. Persistent high sodium intake might lead to conditions like kidney stones and may contribute to kidney disease.
  • Bone Health: There is emerging evidence suggesting that a high intake of sodium could have a negative impact on bone health. Sodium can increase the amount of calcium excreted in the urine, potentially leading to weaker bones and increasing the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in older adults. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports these findings, highlighting the importance of moderating sodium intake for maintaining bone health.

Given the health implications associated with high sodium levels, it's advisable to be mindful of the amount of Yakisoba sauce used or to seek lower-sodium alternatives. Reading labels, consuming home-made versions where the sodium content can be controlled, or diluting the sauce with water or unsalted broth are practical tips to reduce sodium intake while still enjoying the delightful taste of Yakisoba. As always, balancing indulgence with mindful eating practices promotes overall well-being.

For those concerned about their sodium intake, it may be beneficial to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian to develop a diet plan that manages sodium consumption effectively, especially if there are underlying health conditions such as hypertension or kidney disease. Moderation and awareness in dietary choices can significantly contribute to long-term health and prevent the adverse effects of high sodium levels.

The Role of Refined Carbs in Yakisoba Noodles

When delving into the nutritional components of yakisoba, it's crucial to understand the role of refined carbohydrates, primarily because yakisoma's main ingredient is noodles. Typically, these noodles are made from wheat flour, which has been stripped of its bran and germ layers during processing. This undermines the nutritional value, leaving behind refined carbs that have a significant impact on health.

Refined carbs in yakisoba noodles can lead to several health concerns when consumed in excess. Firstly, they have a high glycemic index (GI), meaning they can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, foods with a high GI can lead to increased hunger and, over time, weight gain, contributing to obesity and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, refined carbs are devoid of essential nutrients found in whole grains, such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight the importance of incorporating whole grains into our diets, emphasizing their role in maintaining digestive health and preventing chronic illnesses like heart disease. By contrast, diets high in refined grains, such as those found in some yakisoba noodles, are often associated with poorer health outcomes.

However, it's worth mentioning that not all yakisoba noodles are created equal. Some varieties may use noodles made from whole wheat or incorporate other grains like buckwheat, which can mitigate some of the negative impacts of refined carbs. Seeking out these alternatives can be a healthier choice for those who enjoy yakisoba but want to maintain a balanced diet.

In practical terms, for those aiming to integrate yakisoboa into a health-conscious diet while minimizing the negative effects of refined carbs, here are a few tips:

  • Look for yakisoba noodles made from whole grains or with added fiber.
  • Balance your meal by adding a variety of vegetables to increase the nutrient content.
  • Consider portion sizes to manage calorie intake and carb consumption.
  • Explore homemade yakisoba recipes that allow for healthier noodle substitutes.

While yakisoba can be a delicious and convenient meal, being mindful of the refined carbs in traditional noodles and seeking healthier alternatives can be beneficial for long-term health and wellness.

Additives and Preservatives in Pre-packaged Yakisoba

Pre-packaged yakisoba often comes loaded with various additives and preservatives, which can significantly impact its nutritional profile and health implications. While these ingredients help maintain freshness, enhance flavor, and improve texture, they can also pose health risks, especially when consumed frequently or in large quantities. Here, we delve into some of the most common additives and preservatives found in pre-packaged yakisoba, along with their potential health effects.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly added to improve the savory taste of foods, including yakisoba. While the FDA recognizes MSG as generally safe, some individuals might experience short-term reactions such as headache, sweating, and numbness after consumption. However, scientific studies have not found convincing evidence that links MSG to any long-term health issues when consumed in moderate amounts.

Sodium Benzoate

Used as a preservative, sodium benzoate extends the shelf life of yakisoba by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and yeast. A controversial aspect of sodium benzoate is its potential to form benzene, a known carcinogen, when exposed to heat and light in the presence of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Although the levels found in foods are generally regarded as safe by health authorities, it is advised to consume products containing sodium benzoate in moderation.

Artificial Colorings

Some pre-packaged yakisoba may contain artificial colorings to make the food appear more appealing. These colorings, such as Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) and Red #40, have been linked to hyperactivity in children and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. While the evidence is not conclusive, and these additives are considered safe for the general population, their necessity in the context of health and nutrition is often questioned.

Trans Fats

Trans fats, which can be found in the oil used for frying pre-packaged yakisoba noodles, raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels, contributing to the risk of heart disease. Though many food manufacturers have reduced or eliminated trans fats from their products, it is important to check the nutrition label for partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of trans fats.

Understanding the presence and effects of these additives and preservatives can help you make more informed decisions about consuming pre-packaged yakisoba. If you have specific health concerns, allergies, or dietary restrictions, it may be beneficial to look for products with fewer artificial additives or, alternatively, prepare yakisoba from scratch using fresh, whole ingredients.

Vegetable Content in Yakisoba and Its Health Benefits

Yakisoba is more than just a treat for your taste buds. The health benefits of yakisoba can greatly depend on its vegetable content. Traditionally, yakisoba includes a mix of vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, and sometimes bell peppers and mushrooms. Let's dive into the nutritional importance of these vegetables and how they contribute to making yakisoba a potentially healthful choice.

Cabbage: This leafy green is a powerhouse of nutrients. Cabbage is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the body resist infectious agents and scavenges harmful free radicals. It's also rich in vitamin K, essential for bone health, and has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved digestion.

Carrots: Known for their high beta-carotene content, which the body converts into vitamin A, carrots are beneficial for vision, skin health, and the immune system. They also offer fiber, which promotes digestive health, and antioxidants that support heart health.

Onions: Onions add more than flavor; they are rich in vitamins C and B6, iron, folate, and potassium. These nutrients contribute to heart health, red blood cell formation, and the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.

Bell Peppers: If included, bell peppers can enhance the dish with their high vitamin C content, various antioxidants, and additional fiber. They support immunity, skin health, and could play a role in preventing chronic diseases.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and copper. They can boost your immune system, contribute to heart health, and provide antioxidants that protect body cells.

The combination of these vegetables in yakisoba provides a symphony of nutrients complementing the dish's carbohydrates and protein (usually provided by the noodles and any added meat or tofu). These vegetables collectively contribute to a diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and support overall health.

However, the specific health benefits of yakisoba will depend on the quantities of these vegetables included, the method of preparation, and the additional ingredients used (such as the type of oil and the presence of any processed components). For a healthier version of yakisoba, aim to include a generous portion of vegetables and opt for whole wheat noodles to increase the dish's fiber content. Furthermore, considering the sauce and seasonings is crucial as they can add excessive sodium and sugar, overshadowing the dish’s potential health benefits.

In conclusion, yakisoba can be a vehicle for nutritional goodness, especially when it boasts a high vegetable content and is prepared with health-conscious methods. Including a variety of vegetables not only enhances the flavor and texture of yakisoba but also maximizes its health benefits, making it a more balanced and beneficial component of your diet.

Balancing Yakisoba in a Healthy Diet: Tips and Alternatives

While yakisoba offers a delightful mix of flavors and textures, incorporating it into a balanced diet requires careful consideration. Given its high carbohydrate content and potential for high sodium and saturated fats (depending on the preparation), individuals looking to enjoy yakisoba while maintaining a healthy lifestyle should consider the following tips and alternatives.

1. Opt for Whole Grain Noodles: To increase the nutritional value of yakisoba, opt for whole grain or whole wheat noodles if making the dish at home. Whole grains are richer in fiber and nutrients compared to their refined counterparts, thus contributing to better digestion and health.

2. Increase Vegetable Content: Yakisoba traditionally includes a mix of vegetables, but increasing the quantity and variety can enhance its nutritional profile. Consider adding a colorful mix of bell peppers, spinach, carrots, and broccoli to not only boost the vitamin, mineral, and fiber content but also to make the dish more filling with fewer calories.

3. Choose Lean Proteins: When including protein in your yakisoba, opting for lean sources such as chicken breast, tofu, or shrimp can help reduce the overall fat content of the dish. Lean proteins provide essential amino acids without the extra saturated fat found in fattier cuts of meat.

4. Limit Sodium Intake: Soy sauce, a common ingredient in yakisoba, is high in sodium. To keep the sodium content in check, use low-sodium soy sauce or tamari and be mindful of the amount. Alternatively, consider using homemade sauces with less sodium or sodium-free seasonings to add flavor.

5. Portion Control: As with any dish, moderation is key. Serving yakisoba as a side dish rather than the main course can help manage portion sizes and ensure a balanced intake of other nutrients from different food groups.

6. Alternatives to Traditional Yakisoba: For those looking for lower-carbohydrate or gluten-free options, consider alternatives such as zucchini noodles (zoodles), spaghetti squash, or konjac noodles. These alternatives can closely mimic the texture of traditional noodles while offering a more nutritious profile and lower calorie count.

Incorporating these tips into your yakisoba preparation or seeking out restaurants that offer healthier versions can allow you to enjoy this popular dish without compromising your dietary goals. Remember, a balanced diet is about variety and moderation, and even traditional dishes like yakisoba can be adapted to fit within a healthy lifestyle with a few mindful adjustments.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, the vegetables commonly added to yakisoba, such as cabbage, carrots, and bell peppers, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contribute to a healthy diet by providing essential nutrients that support immune function, aid digestion, and can help in the prevention of chronic diseases.

Yakisoba can be adapted to fit vegetarian or vegan diets by omitting meat or seafood and ensuring that the sauce and noodles do not contain animal products. Using tofu or tempeh as protein substitutes and vegetable-based sauces can make yakisoba a satisfying plant-based meal.

To make yakisoba gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles such as rice noodles or specially labeled gluten-free yakisoba noodles. Also, be sure to replace traditional soy sauce with a gluten-free tamari sauce to maintain the dish's flavor without introducing gluten.

Traditional yakisoba, made with wheat noodles, is high in carbs and may not fit into a strict low-carb diet. However, by substituting the noodles with low-carb alternatives like shirataki noodles or spiralized vegetables, you can enjoy a version of yakisoba that aligns with your dietary needs.

Ask a question about Yakisoba and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • increased thirst
  • elevated blood pressure

Possible long-term side effects

  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • kidney strain
  • osteoporosis
  • type 2 diabetes
  • weight gain
  • nutrient deficiencies

Ingredients to be aware of

  • high sodium levels
  • msg
  • sodium benzoate
  • artificial colorings
  • trans fats
  • refined carbohydrates


  • moderate protein source
  • supports immune function
  • supports bone health
  • regulates blood pressure
  • digestive health support
  • rich in antioxidants

Healthier alternatives

  • whole grain or vegetable noodles
  • homemade sauce with low sodium
  • lean proteins
  • increased vegetable content

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Annie Chun's Udon Soup

  • Japanese-Style Udon
  • Instant & Microwavable
  • Chewy noodle texture
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Convenient 6-pack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-08-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-08-2024

Random Page

Check These Out!