Instant ramen noodles are a staple in college dorms and are also embraced by those who are looking for a quick and filling snack around the world. China has the highest per-capita consumption of instant noodles, but the US does not come in far behind, ranking sixth in instant noodle sales after China and Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Vietnam.
This junk food satisfies a salty craving and is fine to have every once in a while, right? Unfortunately, research shows that ramen might be a lot more detrimental to your health than was once believed. Here are some reasons why dried noodles are not the safest food to consume.
1. They increase the risk of metabolic syndrome for women
Instant ramen is made by either flash-frying or air-drying noodle blocks, then packaging them with seasoning that includes monosodium glutamate. A typical cup of noodles contains at least 2,700 milligrams of sodium, while the FDA recommends that the maximum sodium intake to be 2,300 milligrams per day (1,500 milligrams for certain high-risk populations).
According to a study done by the Journal of Nutrition, women who consumed instant ramen with these types of unhealthy ingredients were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, no matter how much they exercised or what else their diet consisted of. Some of the main contributors in the ramen’s ingredients to this syndrome were “high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads.” Individuals with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Women are believed to suffer from an increased risk of metabolic syndrome because of their different hormone levels and metabolic rates in comparison to men.
2. They contain the chemical Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ)
TBHQ is a chemical byproduct that comes from the petroleum industry and is an inexpensive food additive that is used to cheaply preserve food.
A study at Massachusetts General Hospital was conducted to find out what happens to ramen two hours after it was consumed. A tiny pill camera was ingested and the results were astounding. The test results showed that instant ramen tended to linger longer in the stomach cavity than homemade ramen due to TBHQ. The dangers of this chemical byproduct have been linked to the weakening of organs and development of cancerous tumors, including stomach tumors. To view the video, click here.
3. There have been findings of Benzopyrene in certain brands
In June 2012, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) found tracesof the carcinogen Benzopyrene in six different brands of instant noodles produced by the Nong Shim Company Ltd. Although the KFDA claimed that the benzophyrene levels were not harmful, there were later findings of other batches that had issues and had a recall later in October of 2012.
4. They contain bisphenol-A (BPA)
The chemical BPA is widely found in the styrofoam cups that often contain the noodles. BPA has been known to be a carcinogen and a hormone disruptor. A hormone disruptor like BPA can cause hormones in women, like estrogen, to develop irregularly and lead to diseases like breast cancer.
BPA has also been found to have an effect on the developing brains of infants in the womb. In a study conducted in 2011, women who had high levels of BPA in their systems and were pregnant were more likely to have daughters who exhibited signs of anxiety, hyperactivity, and depression as early as three years of age. Boys were not affected the same way, but it is currently unclear why. Children are thought to be affected the most because their brains and bodies are still developing.
It has also been shown that BPA can lead to other chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancers.