Is Eating Instant Noodles Once A Week Ok

It may (or may not) increase your tumor risk

Truthfully, this one is a little confusing. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) places tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a preservative common in ramen (per Cooking Light), on their list of substances to avoid. They also remark, “In a government study which used a better design than other similar studies, TBHQ increased the incidence of tumors in rats.” On the other hand, while CSPIs recommendation to avoid TBHQ may bring up concerns about a link between instant ramen and cancer, a food additive safety evaluation drafted back in 1998 by the World Health Organization deemed TBHQ as non-carcinogenic, at least to mice and rats. They determined that dogs may be more susceptible to any potentially carcinogenic effects of TBHQ.

A 2007 review published in Current Drug Metabolism comments on the lack of evidence that TBHQ may cause tumors. In fact, researchers say that quite the opposite may be true: “Extensive studies have demonstrated that TBHQ exhibit anti-carcinogenic effect.” Perhaps this has to do with TBHQ being an antioxidant, a type of chemical that some believe helps prevent cancer (via the National Cancer Institute). What should we make of these apparently conflicting viewpoints? Seems like the jury is still out.

You may experience digestive issues

Does your digestion get off track after eating instant ramen? Dr. Branden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital conducted research to see what happened in the digestive tract after eating fresh versus instant ramen noodles (via Lifehack). Using a pill camera (one that can be swallowed), he found that the instant noodles were still intact after two hours. On the other hand, the fresh noodles appeared to be almost completely digested. He continued to record for 32 hours, explaining that his research showed the stomach contracting back and forth to grind up the instant noodles. In itself, this may or may not be a big deal. According to Canadas McGill Office for Science and Society, Dr. Kuo is not particularly bothered by this information and continues to eat processed noodles himself on occasion. Larger-scale studies are needed to further evaluate Dr. Kuos research.

In addition to a stomach full of slowly digesting noodles, fluid retention can cause uncomfortable bloating (Medical News Today). Fluid retention typically occurs following a diet high in sodium (i.e., e. more than the 1,700 mg found in a single box of instant ramen), or whenever the body is having trouble maintaining the right amount of fluid balance. The body gains temporary water weight as a result of overcompensating for the fluid imbalance by holding on to more water. You may experience swelling and lethargy as a result of the illness (via Yahoo!).

Eating instant ramen can cause nutritional deficiencies

If youre filling up on instant ramen every day, you may be depriving your body of essential nutrients required for it to properly function. Perhaps most importantly, instant ramen is lacking in two key nutritional areas that are important for your well-being: fiber and protein (per The Mighty).

According to the Mayo Clinic, eating enough dietary fiber can help control weight, regulate bowel movements, and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. It can even help you live longer. Men should aim for 38 g or 30 g of fiber daily, while women should aim for at least 25 g (for those under 50) or 21 g (for those over 50). Whole grains, legumes, and fresh produce are examples of foods high in fiber.

According to MedlinePlus, eating enough protein can benefit your health on a cellular level. It does this by helping your body repair its cells, along with creating new ones — so its not surprising that protein is vital for growth and development, particularly for kids and adolescents, and pregnant women. Among other issues, if your body does not get enough protein then tissues begin to break down and you may experience muscle loss (via WebMD). That said, it is important to understand that eating too much protein can also be harmful. Women should try to eat 46 g of protein daily; men, 56 g.

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