Yes, it is true, that sacred staple of the student pantry when eaten frequently, has dangerous consequences. Note I say ‘frequently’ as in twice weekly or more. That cold chill slithering up the spine of many is nearly perceivable even from here.
By the way, ever wonder why instant ramen noodles are so brittle? They are flash fried then dried into that block form.
Let’s start with just the noodles:
- Instant ramen noodles are sprayed with a petroleum industry by-product called Teriary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). You can read more about TBHQ here. This is a preservative that prevents the oils from becoming rancid, and depending of the source you are reading, is also referred to as a synthetic antioxidant. But it is a hormone disrupter and neuro-toxin as well. TBHQ is found in many fried foods such as cereals, fried foods, vegetable oil, crisps (potato chips) ‘nugget’ type food, snack foods and even cosmetics and more. Yes, even your pet’s food.
- Frequent consumption of such foods containing TBHQ are associated with Cardiometabolic syndrome. In other words the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke are greatly raised. And it seems more than 2 packets of ramen noodles a week will put you in that statistic. Women in particular who ate ramen noodles more than twice a week showed a 68% higher risk of Cardiometabolic sydrome. You can read about that study here.
- Ramen soups are incredibly high in sodium.
- Caloric (rather empty ones too) and
- High in saturated fat.
- High in MSG (links to my article on msg).
- Like the Pot Ramen soups in the polystyrene foam containers? Then add bisphenol A (BPA) to the chemical cocktail. This chemical will leach into the soup due to the very hot water you add and is clearly associated with affecting the delicate hormonal balance in both men and women, specifically estrogen.
- Nearly no protein nor vegetables.
By the way, did you know that a block of instant ramen noodles is for two people? But who eats only half a block?
“While instant noodle intake is greater in Asian communities, the association between instant noodle consumption and metabolic syndrome has not been widely studied,” said Dr. Hyun Joon Shin, lead scientist for this study. “I decided to investigate in order to uncover more distinct connections.” – BaylorScottWhite study.
So, what is my take on this? If you feed yourself on processed foods and crisps (potato chips) are your idea of a snack or favourite mouth stuffer in front of the TV, fried whatever-nuggets make you giddy at the thought and instant ramen noodles is something you can live on (and even worse the ‘soups’ in the plastic pots), then maybe it’s time to re-think your food choices. You’ve GOT problems already but perhaps you’ve not noticed. Yet.
If you already have difficulty controlling your weight, are diabetic or have a metabolic problem then these products are definitely part of the problem. And you risk even more devastating health issues later. Perhaps sooner.
Of course not every person who eats instant ramen noodles frequently during the week will be affected. But it is a processed food and can you be sure that the accumulative effect of TBHQ and Co. won’t trigger (or contribute to) a hidden health issue.? Ya know, the straw (or noodle) that broke the camel’s back? Sorry, just couldn’t resist the pun.
Here’s good news: Buy fresh or frozen ramen noodles and avoid the instant kind. If instant is the only kind you know, you will love the mouth-feel and delicious taste. Incomparable to the instant ‘stuff’.
Moderation comes to mind – as it often does. Enjoy instant ramen noodles once in a while (such as once a month) and without guilt. Make it a fun treat and not a lifestyle.
Have I tried the instant kind? Oh yes, perhaps three times in my life. The fresh/frozen are vastly superior and nearly as quick for your soup or stir-fry.
Try it. You’ll like it!
A short list of resources:
Common additive may be why you have food allergies , Michigan State University
Instant noodle intake and dietary patterns are associated with distinct cardiometabolic risk factors in Korea. J Nutr. 2014 Aug;144(8):1247-55. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.188441. Epub 2014 Jun 25.