Popular all around the world, instant noodles are a fast and cheap way to satisfy a hunger craving. It's pretty obvious that these noodles are not what is considered a 'healthy' food, but the reality of just HOW unhealthy they are might come as a shock.
In a new experiment, Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital has highlighted just how bad this snack is for you.
Using a pill sized camera he looked at what happens in the stomach after eating ramen noodles and was shocked at the results, to say the least.
The video showed that even after two hours after consumption, the noodles were still intact in the stomach, homemade noodles were used as a comparison which broke down much quicker. This is worrying for several
Food that doesn't break down properly puts a great strain on your digestive system, making it work harder results in indigestion and other gastric problems.
It Contains Harmful Toxins
Food that sits in the digestive tract has a negative on nutrient absorption, and there isn’t much nutrition in ramen to begin with. Instead, there is a number of additives, including the toxic preservative tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), and we don't know what extended exposure to this can be doing to your health, but chances are it's not good. TBHQ, a byproduct of the petroleum industry, is often listed as an “antioxidant,” but in reality it is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties – not a natural antioxidant. It prevents oxidation of fats and oils, which gives products a longer shelf life.
TBHQ is found in varnishes, lacquers, and pesticide products, as well as cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability.
At its 19th and 21st meetings, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that TBHQ was safe for human consumption at levels of 0-0.5 mg/kg of body weight.1
However, the Codex commission set the maximum allowable limits up to between 100 to as much as 400 mg/kg, all depending on the food it’s added to creating a discrepancy as to what level is considered 'safe' reducing exposure to it would be best though, as exposure to five grams can be lethal and, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, says that exposure to just one gram of TBHQ can cause:4
Nausea and vomiting
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Sense of suffocation
TBHQ is also known to bio-accumulate, meaning that the more yoou take in, the most it builds up. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), based on animal studies health hazards associated with TBHQ include:5
Liver effects at very low doses
Positive mutation results from in vitro tests on mammalian cells
Biochemical changes at very low doses
Reproductive effects at high doses
Links to Metabolic Syndrome
A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate instant noodles more than twice a week were 68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome, symptoms of which include central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.
Three or more of theses symptoms increases your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Instant-noodle consumers also had a significantly lower intake of important nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, niacin, and vitamin C compared with non-consumers.7
Those who ate instant noodles also had an excessive intake of energy, unhealthy fats and sodium (just one package may contain 2,700 milligrams of sodium).8
Other Harmful Additives
As well as a very high sodium count and the preservative TBHQ, there are many other undersirables in a packet of instant noodles? Prevent Disease reported:9
“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.”
MSG is an excitotoxin, meaning it overexcites your nerve cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain dysfunction and damage to varying degrees. It has even been linked to the triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and more.
Alternatives to Instant Noodles
The occasional pack of noodles won't kill you, but really it would be best to avoid them altogether. With the dangers pointed out in this article, even a few times a week should be considered 'too much'.
Because all processed foods are full of sugar and additives which makes them addictive, excluding them from your diet completely is the only way to break the habit. For centuries before processed food was even invented we lived on vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits, and other whole foods.
Even switching your noodles for something like wholegrain pasta is an easy step to ensuring you are cutting out a load of the additives that are bad for you, and keeping your brain and body fed with a healthy carbohydrate alternative.