Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Instant Ramen Noodles

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

If you go look in your kitchen or panty right now, you probably have some of those instant Ramen noodles sitting there, looking completely harmless. You might think that they are pretty harmless — a quick and cheap meal when time or money is short, and you would be right about that. But did you know that Ramen noodles (sometimes called Cup-O-Noodles) are associated with an increased risk of several health problems?

There are a whole lot of things you didn’t know about this college dorm food staple. We are about to fill you in on everything you need to know (or ever wanted to know) about those Ramen noodle squares.


1. Space Noodles

Did you know that the first noodles consumed in outer space were Ramen noodles? The creator of these instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, wanted to make instant noodles portable and easy to eat. What better way to prove that than to make them astronaut food? In 2005, Ando created “Space Ram,” which is a vacuum packed type of Ramen noodles that uses smaller noodles so that they cook without boiling water. He also added a thicker broth to prevent them from flying around the cockpit. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s trip in the Discovery space shuttle proved that even rocket men like Ramen instant noodles.


2.  Ramen Noodles Linked To Metabolic Disease

Baylor University found that for those who eat a lot of these instant noodles, the risk of developing metabolic disease, which increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, goes way up. South Koreans eat a whole lot of these Ramen noodles because they are cheap. They eat more instant noodles than anyone else in the world, with more than three billion packages sold there in 2010 alone.

South Korean health problems have increased steadily as their consumption of Ramen noodles has increased. The general population has gained more weight (on average) and has much higher rates of heart disease now than at any time in their history.  Researchers looked at national health and nutrition surveys between the years of 2007 and 2009. These surveys involved more than 10,000 South Korean adults between the ages of 19 and 64. Scientists found that subjects who said that they ate instant noodles more than twice each week tended to suffer from metabolic syndrome more than those who ate instant noodles once a week or less.


3. Super Cheap Food

It’s one of the reasons that people eat Ramen noodles — they are super cheap (find out super cheap but super healthy foods). Depending on where you shop, you can find the instant Cup-O-Noodles for about 25 cents and a block package of Ramen noodles for 15 to 20 cents! When you are on a tight budget, these can go a long way towards stretching your food dollar. In fact, if you ate only Ramen noodles for every meal, it would cost you a mere $140 dollars over a year period. When you consider that most Americans spend more than $7,000 each year on food, you can see where these can save you some serious bucks. But exactly how much is your good health worth?

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

4.  It Used To Be A Luxury Item

Today, Ramen noodles are the bargain basement when it comes to food, but it wasn’t always that way. The inventor of Ramen noodles, Momofuku Ando, first made “Chicken Ramen” back in 1958, when food was scarce after WWII. He wanted to make something easy to make that was also portable. However, when it hit the Japanese supermarkets, it was seen as a luxury item since you could buy fresh Udon noodles for about a sixth of the price of Chicken Ramen.


5.  Death In A Cup (Or Bag)

They are definitely cheap, they are definitely popular, but they are also definitely unhealthy. Some researchers have gone as far as to call Ramen noodles “death in a cup” or “death in a cube-shaped bag.” If you eat a great deal of Ramen noodles, your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure goes up considerably. The noodles have a high glycemic index, like most white flour based foods, which increases your risk of diabetes. The little flavoring packet contains sugar, tons of salt, and MSG — all of which spell trouble for your health.


6. It’s The Best-Selling Item In Some Jails

Rikers Island in New York says that they know they need to keep those Cup-O-Noodles on hand in the commissary. It’s their biggest selling item at a whopping 35 cents. Guards give inmates hot water to cook the noodles, and some inmates simply give away the noodles but save the flavor packet to season their otherwise bland prison food.


7.   Even The Packaging Is Unhealthy!

If you thought the high glycemic noodles and MSG laced seasoning was bad enough, consider this: The Styrofoam cups in those Cup –O-Noodles are loaded with BPA, a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor.  The block of instant noodles in a bag might not contain BPA, but they simply put produce plastic that the world will have to find a way to dispose of sooner or later. Keep in mind that plastic never biodegrades. Never.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

8.  There Is Even A Museum In Japan

Go to Yokohama, Japan, and you will find the CupNoodles Museum, dedicated to the history of the product and the mastermind behind its creation, Mr. Momofuku Ando. You can visit a mini-factory where you can make you can make your own little Ramen noodles in cute designs like a fish shape or other shapes. The museum website claims you can make 5,460 different flavor combinations with Ramen noodles. Who knew?


SEE ALSO: 5 Foods You Must Never Eat if You Want to Live Longer


9.  Was Ramen The Best Invention Ever?

According to one survey, many Japanese people feel that Ramen noodles are their absolute best invention ever.  It seems hard to believe when you consider all the technologic advances that have come out of Japan, but the Japanese people feel that instant noodles truly represent their country. Ramen isn’t just popular noodle in their country, but it’s a noodle originating in Japan that is known all over the world.


10.  Seriously, Though, Just How Bad Is It?

Pretty darn bad.  And pretty disgusting as well.  If you need more evidence as to just how bad a choice it is to eat Ramen noodles, take a look at this video. It will show you exactly what Ramen noodles do to your stomach when you eat them.

Are you heading over to your pantry right now to ditch those last couple of Ramen noodle packages? We thought so.