The iconic idea about meals for students is that they have never been without ramen. We think about the starting student slurping some microwavable bowl of ramen noodles. Don’t get me wrong, I am probably the most inappropriate person to write about not eating ramen noodles because I love them. Even when I’m no longer starving or have other options for meals, I sometimes will choose a bowl of instant noodles as a snack. While we may understand why eating instant noodles are bad for us, we may not always act on it (or, rather, not act on foregoing opening a new pack of ramen noodles).
Here’s some more in-depth explanation of why you may be putting your health in jeopardy with instant noodles.
Think about your average home cooked meal. Even if you’re a fan of seasoning, you would never dump an entire teaspoon of salt into your food, right? Well, many instant noodles actually contain more than your entire day’s worth of necessary sodium. According to the FDA, about 2300 mg per day of sodium is the recommended daily intake. This is equivalent to approximately just one teaspoon. I took a look at some of the popular instant noodle brands on grocery store shelves and they often range from 60% to 90% of your daily recommended intake. This is important because long-term higher sodium causes higher blood pressure, and strain on kidneys, heart, and other organs.
Of course, you’re probably already aware that you’re overdosing on sodium with just one pack of instant noodles, but did you also know that sodium is only one problem in the equation when looking at health detriments of instant noodles.
High in Fats
Instant noodles are higher in fats (especially trans fats) than most other foods. A quick peek at the popular instant noodle brands that I have in my pantry include 45% of your daily value of trans fats. Higher unhealthy fat and cholesterol content in foods increase risk of heart disease over time. Fats we get from nuts, veggies, and natural sources are healthier and can reduce the risk of heart disease. However, fats from processed foods only increase calorie intake without adding meaningful nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your body.
Breaking Down Instant Noodles
Another interesting fact in one study 10 years ago found that the body breaks down instant noodles differently than other foods. For instance, while home cooked noodles (home-made non-processed wheat noodles) broke down completely in the digestive process, instant noodles did not. In the gut, instant noodles were largely still recognizable whereas homemade noodles are nearly entirely broken down. Although it is not conclusive from the study that instant noodles are bad for your health, it certainly raises questions as to whether instant noodles add any nutritional value to your body as they’re not truly broken down.