The consumption of instant noodles is very popular as go-to lunch or dinner especially among college students who are always at need of cash. You may know that they are not healthy food, but they do the job considering that they cannot be that bad at least not like fries and burger or a fast-food burrito.
Regarding the nutritional value of instant noodles Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study on how this type of food affects our body. The test was done on the consumption of ramen noodles, the most widely consumed, by inserting a pill-sized camera to see what happens inside your stomach and digestive tract after their consumption. In the video below you will see ramen noodles inside a stomach.
Ramen Noodles Don’t Break Down After Hours of Digestion
After two hours in the digestive system the ramen noodles still remained intact which was not the case with homemade ramen noodles. This is really alarming as this overburdens the digestive system, which is forced to work for hours to break down this type of food. The presence of food in the digestive system for such a long time impedes the nutrient absorption which in the processed ramen noodles, there isn’t any much of presence of nutrients. In fact, they are packed with additives like toxic preservative tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ).
Along with the unbreakable ramen noodles this substance stays as well as very long which you can only imagine what it can do to your body.
This additive is commonly used in a variety of processed foods like Reese’s peanut butter cups, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Wheat Thins crackers, Kellogg’s CHEEZ-IT crackers, Taco Bell beans, Teddy Grahams, Red Baron frozen pizza, and many more.
TBHQ is a byproduct of the petroleum industry, which is often listed as an “antioxidant”. However, this does not mean healthy antioxidant but in fact a chemical one that prevents oxidation of fats and oils thus extending the shelf life of processed foods.
Aside the presence in foods TBHQ is also found in pesticide products,varnishes, lacquers, cosmetics and perfumes in order to lower the evaporation rate and improve stability.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that TBHQ was safe for use at levels of 0-0.5 mg/kg of body weight. But, the Codex commission set the maximum allowable limits up to between 100 to as much as 400 mg/kg, depending on the food it is added to.
What is the healthy limit cannot be easily determined due to the discrepancy in these regulations. The best solution is to avoid products that contain this additive as exposure to five grams can be lethal.
On the other hand, the exposure to just one gram of TBHQ can trigger many health issues. Here it is what the Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives maintains:
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Nausea and vomiting
Sense of suffocation
Although TBHQ may not be suspected to be a persistent toxicant as the body may be able to eliminate it from its system, the regular consumption of instant noodles may provide prolonged exposures to your body.
As per the findings of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which are based on animal studies health hazards related to TBHQ, the following conclusions were determined:
Reproductive effects at high doses
Biochemical changes at very low doses
Liver effects at very low doses
Positive mutation results from in vitro tests on mammalian cells
The Consumption of Instant Noodles Related to Metabolic Syndrome
In a study conducted on the female gender regarding the consumption of instant noodles released in the Journal of Nutrition, women who ate more instant noodles were at a higher risk of metabolic syndrome from the ones who less, no matter of their overall diet or exercise habits.
Women who consumed this type of food more than two times a week were at 68 % higher chance of having a metabolic syndrome manifested with symptoms like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, central obesity, higher levels of triglycerides, and low levels of good-HDL cholesterol.
If you have three or more of the above mentioned symptoms, then you increase the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The consumption of instant noodles offers slow quantities of nutrients to the body.
In a previously conducted research the instant noodle consumers showed very low intake of valuable nutrients like protein, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and niacin. Plus, this consumption offered them only an excessive intake of energy, unhealthy fats and sodium as in one package there is 2,700 milligrams of sodium.
If you think that this is the only toxicant that ramen instant noodles contain, then you are so wrong. Aside that they are high in sodium and TBHQ, there are still some ingredients that can be very harmful for your health.
A typical serving of instant noodles offers the following as per Prevent Disease:
“The dried noodle block was originally created by flash frying cooked noodles, and this is still the main method used in Asian countries, though air-dried noodle blocks are favored in Western countries. The main ingredients of the dried noodle are wheat flour, palm oil, and salt. Common ingredients of the flavoring powder are salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar.
…In June 2012, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) found Benzopyrene (a cancer-causing substance) in six brands of noodles made by Nong Shim Company Ltd. Although the KFDA said the amounts were minuscule and not harmful, Nong Shim did identify particular batches of noodles with a problem, prompting a recall by October 2012.”
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
If up to now you are still doubtful whether to cease their consumption or not, the presence of MSG should by all means convince you to exclude them from your diet. MSG is an excitotoxin, which can damage your nerve cells or even destroy them thus causing brain dysfunction, posing a threat to your learning disabilities, triggering Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and so on. Moreover, MSG is about 78% of free glutamic acid.
It is a neurotransmitter that the brain, nervous system, pancreas, eyes, and other organs use to initiate certain processes in the body. MSG is also used in animal studies on mice to make them fatter, so this makes the ideal obesity drug. If you are very much concerned about your weight index and overall health, make sure to avoid this substance at any cost.
Consume Real Whole Foods
Conclusively, we can state that going back to whole, living foods are the best solution for optimal health.
A package of instant noodles will for sure not kill you, but if you make this a habit and replace real food with this type of food, then for sure your health is at great danger. Instant noodles will make you sick and fat if you eat them regularly as only a couple of times a week.
The consumption of any processed food incites weight gain and chronic disease since they are very rich in refined carbohydrates, sugar, fructose, and artificial ingredients, but very low in nutrients and fiber. Moreover, they are addictive making you to eat more and more thereby leading to weight gain.
People have thrived for centuries on eggs, meats, vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods and were healthier than the today’s people. On the other hand, the processed foods were only recently invented and lead to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation, the main triggers for various serious diseases.
You may find difficult to exclude these foods from your eating regime, but do it as soon as possible and thus preserve your health. Do it step-by-step by following a nutrition plan, and very soon you will free your body from the impact of these foods.
You should plan your meal in advance, which is very possible, all you need to go to your local farmer’s markets or go to the supermarket and mark the produce that will be on sale.
Purchase the needed ingredients for a whole week, so in working days you have everything available. You can prepare half way in advance the previous night so that when dinner comers the preparation is quick and easy. You can use the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and in that way avoid the urge for the instant noodles.