One thing those following a healthy plant-based diet must know is the importance of reading labels carefully. Not only because food manufacturers sneak animal ingredients into the most surprising of places, but because labels often mislead you to believe unhealthy food is nutritious.
Take “soba” noodles for example. Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat, and synonymous with the popular noodle dish. The main reason for eating buckwheat–besides its fragrant aroma–is its exceptional nutrition (high protein, vitamins and minerals) and health benefits (protecting cardiovascular system and controlling blood sugar).
However, just like “whole-wheat” bread–which may contain as little as 5% whole-wheat flour–soba noodles typically contain less than half soba flour (some have practically none), instead using unhealthy white flour made from wheat.
Even in my neighborhood grocery in Tokyo–where there are over 15 kinds of soba noodles (both dry and fresh)–not a single one is 100% buckwheat. Only a couple even listed soba as the main ingredient, and of the two that did, one contained egg-whites of all things! Consequently, most so-called soba is little better than plain-old white pasta, and perhaps worse.
Why is this? Continue reading