Common packaged food is great for convenience - but terrible for your heart

September 04, 2014
Volume 11    |   Issue 35

This filling, inexpensive food can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, or stroke. And some people eat it daily.

A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating ramen and other instant noodles could take a toll on your health. This study was conducted in South Korea, where more people eat instant noodles than anywhere else in the world.

The researchers did this study on behalf of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital. Dr. Hyun Joon Shin was the lead researcher. Dr. Shin wanted to find out whether there was a relationship between instant-noodle consumption and metabolic syndrome, particularly because heart disease and obesity are on the rise in South Korea.

Dr. Shin found an association between eating instant noodles two or more times a week and cardiometabolic syndrome. This syndrome puts you at a greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. He also found that this risk was higher in women, which is likely due to biological differences in hormones and metabolism. But there could be an impact from external factors as well. This includes accuracy in food reporting.

But it isn't just the noodles themselves that are dangerous. Many of these products come in Styrofoam cups that you just pop in the microwave. That's certainly convenient. But these cups contain bispehnol A, or BPA, which I've warned you about before. BPA wreaks havoc on our hormones and you should avoid it whenever possible.

While these noodles might seem convenient, the toll they take on your health is anything but. So instead of eating ramen, make some brown rice or quinoa noodles in advance, and add them to a soup. Include a little tofu or chicken for protein, and you'll have a nutritious meal rather than one that can lead to illness.

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H. J. Shin, E. Cho, H.-J. Lee, T. T. Fung, E. Rimm, B. Rosner, J. E. Manson, K. Wheelan, F. B. Hu. Instant Noodle Intake and Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Distinct Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Korea. Journal of Nutrition, 2014; 144 (8): 1247 DOI: 10.3945/jn.113.188441.

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