Either it be Knorr, Maruchan, Nissin, or any of the other popular brands, instant ramen noodles are one of the most consumed pre-packaged foods in the world. However, instant ramen noodles are well-known for being one of the unhealthiest foods people can eat. All you have to do is look at instant ramen noodles being digested in the human body (which was a study that actually happened) to see how bad it is for you. Any food that has enough preservatives to withstand gastric acid (stomach acid) for more than a day cannot be good for anyone.
From what we can summarize above, everyone knows that instant ramen noodles are bad for people to consume, but Harvard did a study showing just how bad it is for the human body, and it is far worse than people expected.
Scientists conducting a study at Baylor University and Harvard revealed the increased health risks associated with eating instant ramen noodles. This includes heart disease and stroke, as reported by the Washington Post. They were published in the Journal of Nutrition. Reportedly, the study analyzed the health and diet of 11,000 South Koreans between the ages of 19 and 64 to come up with their findings. South Korean women are at a high risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition that often leads to increased blood sugar and blood pressure levels, due to the high amount of instant ramen noodles they consume. The same could not be said about South Korean men; scientists state that biological differences is the reason for the different results among genders.
The scientists were able to identify that tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum industry byproduct used to preserve cheap processed foods, was the substance or ingredient responsible for causing metabolic syndrome. Hyun Shin, the Harvard School of Public Health doctoral candidate and co-author of the study, provided a statement on the findings.
“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads.”
The results from these studies are a debilitating issue because 52 countries served a grand total of 97.7 billion servings of instant ramen noodles just in 2015, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA). China and Hong Kong consumed a total of 40.43 billion servings, making them the highest consumers of instant ramen noodles. Indonesia followed in second place with 13.20 billion servings. As for the United States, four billion instant noodles were consumed, but that is considered not bad if divided among the country’s population of 319 million people. That means each person eats about 12 to 13 packets a year.
[Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images]