Eating instant noodles may cause heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Aug 15, 2014 01:11 PM EDT | By Staff Reporter

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It's one of the most common foods among college students who are pinching pennies while they get through their studies, but just how healthy are instant noodles? Ramen may increase people's risk of metabolic changes linked to heart disease and stroke, new research finds.

Eating instant ramen twice or more a week is associated with the syndrome.

Instant noodle consumption is particularly high amongst Asian populations, so the researchers studied South Koreans who have the highest per-capita instant noodle consumers in the world and are also reporting rapid increases in heart disease and obesity.

The findings, published in The Journal of Nutrition, could shed new light on the risks of a worldwide dietary habit, said lead study author Hyun Joon Shin.

Dr Shin, who led the study on behalf of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital, in Texas, said instant noodles and ramen appeared to be particularly damaging to women's health.

As part of his study, Dr. Shin used tiny cameras to track the digestion of processed noodles versus homemade noodles. The difference between the digestion of the two types of noodles turned out to be staggering.

"The most striking thing about our experiment when you looked at a time interval, say in one or two hours, [was that] processed ramen noodles were less broken down than homemade ramen noodles," Dr. Shin remarked.

However, Young said there might be ways to dampen the dangers of eating instant noodles without swearing off of them altogether.

"Number one, don't eat it every day," Young said.

"Number two, portion control," she said, and recommended that people eat a small amount of instant noodles and mix them with vegetables and other healthier, nonprocessed foods.

The study was published Aug. 1 in the Journal of Nutrition.

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