Instant noodles are a popular go-to lunch or dinner for those who are strapped for time (or cash). While you probably don’t consider them a health food, you may think they’re not that bad, or, at least, not as bad as eating a burger and fries or a fast-food burrito.
In a first-of-its-kind experiment, Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital may make you reconsider your love of instant noodles. He used a micro camera to see what happens inside your stomach and digestive tract after you eat ramen noodles, one common type of instant noodles. The results were astonishing.
Ramen noodles don’t break down after hours of digestion
Even after 2 hours, the noodles were remarkably intact and this is concerning for many reasons. It may be a string put on the digestive system that is forced to work long to break down the highly processed foods. When the food remains in the digestive system for a long time it impacts the nutrient absorption. However, ramen noodles don’t have any nutritional value, though. Instead, they are loaded with additives, including the toxic preservative tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ).
5 grams of noodle preservative TBHQ is lethal
TBHQ, a byproduct of the petroleum industry, is often listed as an antioxidant, but it is actually a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties. It prolongs the shelf life of processed foods by preventing oxidation of fats and oils.
It is used in processed foods like Taco Bell beans, Red Baron frozen pizza, Teddy Grahams, Wheat Thins crackers, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Kellogg’s CHEEZ-IT crackers; McDonald’s chicken nuggets and much more.
However, you can also find it in varnishes, lacquers, and pesticide products, as well as cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability.
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.
The Codex commission established the maximum allowable limits up to between 100–400 mg/kg, depending on the food it’s added to. In the US, the FDA requires that TBHQ must not exceed 0.02 % of its oil and fat content.
According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, exposure to just one gram of TBHQ can cause:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sense of suffocation
If you consume instant noodles the body may get prolonged exposures. According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) which is based on animal studies, the TBHQ includes:
- 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
Eating instant noodles linked to metabolic syndrome
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, women who ate more instant noodles had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome when compared to those who ate less, regardless of their overall diet habits.
As a matter of fact, those who ate instant noodles more than two times a week had 68 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms like high blood pressure, elevated fasting triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, low levels of HDL cholesterol, and obesity. This is concerning since having three or more of these symptoms increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
People who consume instant noodles had a lower nutrient intake like vitamin C, niacin, vitamin A, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and protein compared with people who don’t consume noodles. Also, the noodle consumers have an excessive energy intake, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
What else is in a package of instant noodles?
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.
The MSG (monosodium glutamate) found in instant noodles it an excitotoxin, meaning that it overexcites the nerve cells, causing brain damage or dysfunction or worsening or triggering learning disabilities like Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and more.
Free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter the nervous system, brain, pancreas, and the yes use to set up certain bodily processes. MSG is also used to fatten up mice for scientific purposes, meaning that if you are planning on losing weight you should avoid this obesity drug.
Return to whole, living foods for optimal health
Although eating a package of instant noodles once in a while is not fatal, making it a habit generates the development of various health issues. If you indulge too much in ramen noodles, it`s a matter of time before they make you sick and fat.
The processed foods, as noodles, encourage chronic disease or weight gain as they are high in artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates, fructose and sugar and they are low in fiber and nutrients. The processed foods are designed to make you overeat, and they encourage for food cravings which lead to gaining weight. Consuming processed food promotes chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, the hallmarks of most serious and chronic diseases.
Although removing processed foods requires planning your meals beforehand, taking gradual steps helps remove them painlessly from your diet. To make this process manageable and easier, scout out your local farmer`s market and plan your meals accordingly.