As college students or mere busy bees, no matter where we are from or are living, the favorite go-to food that connects us all would be ‘Instant Noodles!’
It is the quick, cheap, easy, and filling choice we make for dinner, lunch, and believe it or not, even breakfast, for some. But besides the mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) often said to be the core ingredient in it that damages our stomachs, a new study shows that eating instant noodles damages our digestive systems because of many more reasons than we originally thought!
Noodles Ain’t Yummy For Your Tummy
Dr. Braden Kuo of the Massachusetts General Hospital was determined to uncover what happens to the instant noodles or ‘instant ramen’ as called in Japan, Korea, and the US, once it reaches our stomachs and travels through our digestive tracts. 1
Conducting an experiment that was the first-of-its-kind, he used a tiny pill-sized camera, to take us inside the stomach and digestive systems of a few chosen candidates for the experiment.
In the experiment, the candidates were asked to eat instant noodles and fresh homemade ramen noodles every other day.
The results were then collaborated from the 32-hour recorded footage from the pill camera. The recording showed that upon 1 to 2 hours of digestion, the fresh ramen noodles had been completely digested while the instant or processed noodles appeared to be almost intact and hardly digested, explained Dr. Kuo.
The fresh noodles were broken down by the stomach as it should be. But as for the instant noodles, the footage showed how painfully the stomach contracted back and forth when trying to break it down.
When the stomach puts so much effort to break down foods like instant noodles, it slowly loses its nutrient breaking powers and fails to absorb the required nutrients from even the healthiest food effectively. This also enables those nasty preservatives to outstay their welcome.
What’s REALLY In That Instant Ramen?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the main preservative in instant noodles is Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ). TBHQ is a food additive often used in cheap processed foods, such as wheat thins, microwave popcorn, and even sweet pop-tarts.
Although the FDA permitted percentage of TBHQ should not go above 0.02 %, even tiny amounts of it can make a person feel sick almost immediately, slowly weaken their organs in the long-run and even increase their risk for getting tumors or cancers by a mile.
So here is a quick preservative checklist of what your noodles are truly made of:
TBHQ is the main preservative used in the making of instant noodles to keep the flour, wheat, salt, and vegetable oil well-mixed. Funny enough, it is also a common ingredient in resins, perfumes, lacquers, and some biodiesels.
Propylene Glycol is a liquid alcohol which is used to maintain the texture of your instant noodles till it is boiled. Also used as an antifreeze chemical and in tobacco products.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in the Styrofoam that many of those instant cup noodles come in. BPA can easily enter your system as it melts into your noodles when adding hot water to your cup and is known to be a natural destroyer of your body’s endocrine system (glands that help to control the body’s metabolic activity).
Sodium of about 1875 milligrams is found in just one packet of instant noodles, which is quite a large sum above our recommended daily intake of 1500 milligrams.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a strain of sodium salts with glutamic acid, which gives 80% of our favorite salty foods and snacks that addictive flavor. However, eating enough of it can increase your heart rate, cause nausea, headaches, and excessive sweating.
Corn syrup is a processed sweetener which is added to instant noodles to keep its texture firm and is detrimental to your metabolic rate and body’s fat balance.
Vegetable oils such as palm, canola, and cottonseed are usually used in noodles to keep them slippery and easy to slurp when eaten. Although canola and linseed are unsaturated, palm oil is high in saturated fats, which can increase the unhealthy fat stored in your body.
Why Say ‘No’ To Noodles?
Since Dr. Kuo’s experiment was done on a small-scale, it may not be enough to convince or combat the multi-million market-scale levels of instant noodle producers and consumers out there. The damaging effects of processed foods are known mostly as a whisper or the little voice in the back of people’s minds.
Further large-scale experiments and investigations would be needed to show the exact ill-effects of it on people’s long term health. But, it is a wonder if that would persuade them to avoid processed foods for the love of their stomachs and other internal organs health.