Famously affordable and easy to prepare, instant noodle dishes, such as ramen, have long been a staple of the average American's diet.
While once thought to be totally harmless, new studies are finding that instant noodle dishes can be extremely detrimental to one's health, especially if consumed on a regular basis.
Dr. Hyun Joon Shin conducted a study on behalf of Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Texas, The Daily Mail reports. This study was conducted to find out exactly how one's health is affected by regularly eating instant noodle dishes.
Dr. Shin's interest in this field was sparked by the alarming rates of heart disease and obesity that have been reported in South Korea in recent years.
While Asian populations have been consuming foods similar to ramen for centuries, there is something to be said for the intense processing that instant foods go through before being sold to consumers. This is a rather new phenomenon, and it seems to be taking its toll on unsuspecting people all over the planet.
Processed foods are extremely high in sodium. Consuming large quantities of sodium has been tied to higher rates of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Dr. Shin found that eating processed noodle dishes even as little as two times per week can be harmful to one's health, partially due to the high concentrations of sodium that can be found in processed noodles.
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.
In the study, Dr. Shin also found that women were more likely to face health issues from eating processed noodles. He speculated that this could be due to a difference in metabolism or hormones, though these claims have yet to be backed by research.
What we do know, thanks to Dr. Shin's new study, is that instant noodles, as well as other forms of processed noodles, can lead to severe health complications.
Said Dr. Shin of his study, "My hope is that this study can lay a foundation for future research about the health effects of instant noodle consumption."