Eating too many instant noodles could cause metabolic syndrome

Harold Mandel's picture
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Instant noodles appear to be a harmless enough snack and yet new research shows eating too many instant noodles could lead to metabolic syndrome. Instant noodles are very popular in Asian populations and people in other cultures often also enjoy Asian food. The possibility that eating too many instant noodles could cause serious negative health consequences is therefore alarming.

It has not been clear if higher consumption of instant noodles is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk independent of overall dietary patterns. Researchers therefore investigated this association using the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported The Journal of Nutrition. There were 10,711 adults between the ages of 19–64 years of age analyzed in this study.

Two primary dietary patterns were assessed in the study. The “traditional dietary pattern” consisted of the following foods:

1: A lot of rice

2: Fish

3: Vegetables

4: Fruit

5: Potatoes

The "meat and fast-food pattern” consisted of:

1: Less rice intake

2: Rich meat intake

3: Soda

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4: Fried food

5: Fast food including instant noodles

Consumption of instant noodles is associated with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome

It was observed that the consumption of instant noodles was associated with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome in women which was independent of major dietary patterns.

Recent research has shown that significant consumption of instant noodles, including ramen, may increase a person’s risk for cardiometabolic syndrome reports Baylor Scott & White Health via Newswise. This association was found to be particularly strong for women.

South Korea has the highest per-capita number of instant noodle consumers in the world

This research focused primarily on South Korea which has the highest per-capita number of instant noodle consumers in the world. In recent years there has been a rapid increase in health problems among South Koreans, particularly heart disease. There has also been an increasing number of overweight adults in South Korea. These changes could lead to increased mortality among South Koreans due to cardiovascular disease, along with increased health care costs.

Cardiometabolic syndrome is a serious syndrome which increases a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease

Hyun Joon Shin, MD was the primary investigator of the study at Baylor University Medical Center. Dr. Shin discovered that consuming instant noodles two or more times a week was associated with cardiometabolic syndrome. This is a serious syndrome which increases a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease and other serious conditions such as diabetes and stroke. Dr. Shin also observed that these results were more prevalent in women.

The greater prevalence of this problem in women could be due to several factors, including:

1: Biological differences such as sex hormones and metabolism between the sexes

2: Different eating habits between men and women

3: The chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is used for packaging the noodles in styrofoam containers may disrupt the way hormones send messages through the body, specifically estrogen

The implications of this study are significant. People should be made aware of the potential health risks of consuming too much instant noodles. An improvement in dietary patterns in Asia and elsewhere worldwide keeping this concern in mind has the potential to dramatically improve the health of many people.

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