Noodling over ramen is more than a bad fast-food habit — it is a potential health hazard.
Cheap, quick, and easy to make, ramen noodles have been a go-to snack or quick dinner ever since Momofuku Ando invented them in 1958. But fast doesn’t mean better — in fact, studies have uncovered several health risks associated with the instant noodles.
1. Ramen increases risk for metabolic syndrome in women.
Women who eat instant noodles two or more times a week are 68 percent more likely to develop a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, no matter how healthy they eat or how physically active they are. Doctors think that ramen’s processed ingredients, high sodium levels and considerable amount of saturated fats contribute to high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
2. Ramen can make you fat.
One package of ramen noodles contains 14 grams of saturated fat — that’s forty percent of your daily intake. Additionally, they are low in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They fill your stomach, but provide little nutritional value for a whopping amount of calories.
3. Ramen can damage your liver.
Highly processed foods contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavorings, and additives that stress your liver because they are so hard to break down. If your liver is overwhelmed it stores excess fat in its own cells. Over time, fat builds up and can inflame or damage this vital organ. Irregular liver function also causes water retention and swelling.
4. Ramen can increase your risk of heart failure.
Sodium causes high blood pressure, which leads to heart failure or stroke. Because ramen noodles contain 1,820 mg of sodium, almost two-thirds the daily FDA-recommended consumption, they can significantly increase your combined salt intake for the day without you even realizing. The more you eat, the higher your risk.
5. Ramen stresses your digestive tract.
A video shows that even after two hours, your stomach cannot break down highly processed noodles, interrupting normal digestion. Ramen is preserved with Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a hard-to-digest petroleum-based product also found in lacquers and pesticide products. Prolonged breakdown exposes your body to this chemical for extended periods of time and deprives it of absorbing nutrients from other foods. Eventually, your body will flush it through the digestive system, but if you experience nausea and vomiting, tinnitus, or delirium, it could be attributed to an unsafe exposure to TBHQ.
If you’re ready to explore healthier nutritional options, consider meeting with an expert to discuss a personalized plan.
The USC Digestive Health Center has some of the world’s top digestive specialists. If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://digestive.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.
By Heidi Tyline King