Instant ramen noodles—they’re convenient, don’t cost much, and have become a food staple for college students and many others. In fact, ramen noodles have become popular in restaurants nationwide, too, since its presence has increased by 18 percent on menus from 2013 to 2014 alone, according to food industry research firm Technomic.
The ramen noodle fare can stand alone or can be dressed up with veggies, chicken, beef or even an egg on top. Regardless of how they're prepared, however, routine instant ramen noodle ingestion has been connected with an increased risk for both heart disease and stroke.
Here’s the lowdown: a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, examined the diets of 10,711 adults between the ages of 19 and 64. The researchers discovered that consuming instant noodles, such as ramen, two or more times per week, was associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome in women, but not men. Metabolic syndrome, of course, is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol levels. All combined, these increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Obviously, ramen noodles often contain high amounts of sodium—approximately 1731 grams per serving, which is more than half of the daily recommended allowance—that can lead to blood pressure problems and more. Likewise, ramen noodles and other instant noodles contain few nutrients.
Lead investigator of the study, Dr. Hyun Joon Shin, stated that the noted differences between how processed noodles affected women and men differently in the study were most likely due to the biological differences between women and men, including sex hormones and metabolism. However, Shin also pointed out that the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, found in instant noodle packaging might also contribute to the difference, since BPA can interfere with bodily hormones, especially the hormone estrogen.
BPA, in fact, mimics estrogen—for everyone, including women, men and children. It can also contribute to increased estrogen levels and estrogen dominance, which can lead to being overweight, cancers (especially of female reproductive organs) and infertility.
Add those findings to the 2011 video that showed for the first time how our bodies digest instant noodles vs. homemade noodles, and you have reason to question any benefits of processed noodles. The video showed the digestive tract trying to break down the noodles. More than two hours later, the instant noodles still weren't broken down and their shape and color remained recognizable; however, the homemade noodles were completely broken down during that same timeframe.
Why weren’t the instant noodles broken down and digested easily by the body? It could be the ingredient in them called tertiary-Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, a preservative made from petroleum. Yes. . . petroleum.
So, don’t be an instant noodlehead. The truth is that there could be some serious fallout from eating too many instant noodles, including ramen noodles. Even though some say they won’t give up their instant ramen noodles or other instant noodles, you may just want to pass on them—as well as other processed foods.
As Seen On: Extraordinary Health