Why you should not encourage your family’s love for instant noodles
Though cheap, delicious, and easy to prepare, giving up instant noodles can promise more benefits in the long run, according to this latest study
Despite its reputation for having no nutritional value, instant noodles have been one of the most popular snack choices for kids and parents alike. Aside from being delicious and affordable, it’s super easy to prepare.
But, these pre-cooked dried noodles, which come with seasoning oil and flavouring powder, is highly unhealthy.
Aside from being high in fat and carbohydrates, instant noodles are very low in fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
In 2015 alone, around 52 countries consumed 97.7 billion servings of instant noodles, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA).
The countries with the highest consumption, they found, was China and Hong Kong—with 40.43 billion servings. Indonesia came second, with 13.20 billion servings consumed.
Instant noodles aren’t simply just a “junk food”, it also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The research, shared by the Washington Post, took into account the diets of 11,000 South Koreans between the ages of 19 and 64. Upon analysing their eating habits, researchers found that South Korean women were at high risk for metabolic syndrome due to their large instant ramen consumption.
Metabolic syndrome can often lead to increased blood sugar and blood pressure levels, making the women more prone to diabetes, stroke or heart disease.
What interested scientists, however, is that the same results weren’t found in the study’s male participants, which they eventually attributed to gender biological differences.
Upon closer inspection, they found that the substance called Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a harmful petroleum by-product used to preserve cheap processed foods, was the one responsible for the health risk consuming instant noodles regularly poses.
“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,” said the study’s co-author Hyun Shin of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Other studies found various health hazards. In India, for instance, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) found lead contamination in certain brands of instant noodles and have since banned them, deeming them “unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.”
In South Korea, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) found a cancer-causing substance known as Benzopyrene in six brands of noodles, which lead to a massive recall of the brands worldwide.
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