Ramen Noodles May Lead to Chronic Illness

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today, we focus in on a particular popular food that may be worse for you than you previously thought.

It's cheap, easy to make, and a nice break from the frozen pizza or microwavable mac n' cheese you've been munching on for dinner; it's ramen -- a.k.a. instant noodles.  Those tasty meals and snacks that can cost something like 18 cents per pack/meal if you buy in bulk.

All you need is hot water, the ability to tear open a seasoning packet, chopsticks (or a fork and spoon), and some slurping skills. It fills you up pretty quickly and also keeps your wallet full, so what's not to love?

This may not come as a shock to you, but instant noodles have been proven to be terrible for some people.

We came up with a list of the eight biggest reasons instant noodles can be bad for your health, using data from WebMD and, most importantly, findings from a new study by Baylor University. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition and shows that consumption of instant noodles significantly ups the risk of a scary condition for certain groups of people. This same condition has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even a stroke. Read to the end of this article to learn more about that scary reason to limit your ramen consumption.

And that's not all you should be concerned about -- what follows are a total of eight reasons that ramen noodles may be bad for your health...

8. Fat 

Mmm...looks good? Well, it contains a lot of fat. One 85-gram package of ramen noodles has 14.5 grams of fat.

The unhealthy saturated fats make up 6.5 grams, which is about one third of your daily allowance. The remainder of the fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

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7. Lack of Protein and Vegetables 

There is hardly any nutritional value in these cups. 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 0% calcium, just 4 grams of protein, and 10% of iron. Adult men needs about 56 grams of protein a day.

And, no, you are absolutely not getting your serving of vegetables through instant noodles. Consider those dried pieces of corn, carrots, and whatever else as decorations to make the noodles look more appetizing, because it certainly doesn't give you the nutrition you would be getting in a full meal.

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6. Flavoring Packet 

Do you know what this is made of? Yes, it makes your ramen taste like it does. However, this flavoring powder is made of salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar. That's bad news for your body.

The worst ingredient is the MSG, or monosodium glutamate. That's the "flavor enhancer" used to improve all kinds of tastes. Instant noodle makers use it to make their shrimp flavors taste more like shrimp, and beef flavors more like beef. 

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5. Salt 

Can you guess the amount of sodium in one serving of cup noodles? 910 milligrams.

Ramen is high in sodium, packed with 41% of your daily allowance with each package. Most of this sodium is in the flavoring packet that we just told you about. Using less flavoring, which is mostly salt, will reduce the sodium content, but that also means eating ramen with a watered-down soup base.

Also, remember that eating too much sodium can increase a person's risk of heart failure, osteoporosis, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

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4. BPA Chemicals

Look close. Now, look closer. 

You can't see it, but it's there alright. We're talking about a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA), which is used for packaging the noodles in polystyrene foam containers. Studies have shown that BPA can affect the way hormones send messages throughout our body, specifically the primary female sex hormone, estrogen.

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3. Calories 

Did you know that one package of instant noodles typically contains TWO servings? Have you ever eaten just half a package? Didn't think so.

One block of prepared ramen noodles has nearly 400 calories, which is bad news if you've considered it a quick snack. At this many calories, instant noodles clock in as a full meal.

 
 

2. Noodles

Have you ever wondered how the noodles are made? In order to create a noodle that can be on store shelves or in your kitchen cupboard for 4 to 12 months, the makers deep fry them in oil. That's right, they are fried noodles. And obviously, that can't be good for your body. 

There are air-dried instant ramen kinds, but they take longer to cook and cost more than the cheap kind.

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1. Cardiometabolic Syndrome

Say what? It sounds bad, because it is bad. Cardiometabolic syndrome is the scary condition we mentioned at the beginning of this article. The Baylor study found that eating instant noodles two or more times a week was associated with the syndrome, which raises a person's likelihood of developing heart disease and other conditions, such as diabetes and stroke.

Ladies, pay attention to this: Women (specifically South Korean), not men, who ate instant noodles at least twice a week showed a 68% higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Yikes!

Read more about that study: Clicking Here

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