Did you hear the news about ramen noodles? New health studies show that they are more dangerous than we thought and are linked to many health concerns.
In my inbox today I got some news from our friends at Food Revolution, and it will likely be bad news for lots of folks who love their beloved cup o’ noodle. Unfortunately, those cheap, addicting packets of ramen noodles are actually much worse for our bodies than previously thought.
According to a recent study in South Korea, where the population eats more ramen noodles than any other country in the world, ramen noodles are linked to heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome. South Koreans have seen an increase in health problems in recent years, including weight gain and obesity and unprecedented rates of heart disease. Some doctors thought they should figure out why.
The doctors conducting the study used information from a national health and nutrition surveys conducted between 2007 and 2009 and reviewed data on over 10,000 South Korean adults aged 19 to 64. Their discovery is pretty shocking: people that ate any type of instant noodles more than twice a week tended to suffer from a condition called metabolic syndrome, regardless of their other lifestyle habits like diet and exercise!
But why is this a big deal? Metabolic syndrome– a condition that includes various risk factors like weight gain, increased blood sugar and blood pressure, and abnormalities in hormones– increases the risk for dozens of other lifestyle diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The National Institutes of Health defines metabolic syndrome as:
“The name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.”
Another interesting aspect of the study showed the women are much more likely to suffer the negative effects of these foods than men. According to the doctor conducting the study, this is likely due to differences in hormone levels and metabolism between men and women.
But why are ramen noodles so terrible for our bodies? Firstly, these noodles are often made from processed wheat and GMO oils, along with an array of flavoring packets with a mess of MSG, salt and flavorings of dubious origin. The study also found that ramen noodles are particularly unhealthy because they contain a food additive called Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a preservative that is a petroleum industry byproduct. Finally, the containers that hold the beloved cup o’ noodle contain the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in the styrofoam. BPA is a probable carcinogen and is considered a hormone disruptor, negatively affecting natural hormones in our bodies such as estrogen.
The good news is that this type of risk factor is TOTALLY avoidable! Despite the cheapness and ubiquity of these noodle packets, you need to skip them in the grocery store. Learning what’s really in our processed foods and how they can have such negative effect on our body can help us make better decisions for our long-term health!
ramen noodle art by Shutterstock