Ramen noodles are a go-to college food. They’re inexpensive, easy to make, and filling. No one has ever claimed they are healthy, but no one really knew the details of what happens once you swallow the budget-friendly meal…until now!
In a first-of-its-kind experiment, Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital may make you reconsider your love of instant noodles. Using a pill-sized, swallowable camera, he documented the ramen noodles’ trip through the digestive tract, and the findings were astonishing.
In the video below, you will see that ramen noodles do not break down quickly in the stomach. Even after two hours, they are remarkably intact, much more so than homemade ramen noodles, which were used as a comparison.
This is concerning for a number of reasons.
Ramen noodles contain a preservative called tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which extends their shelf life by quite some time. TBHQ is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and is often listed as an “antioxidant,” but it’s important to realize that it is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties — not a natural antioxidant. The chemical prevents oxidation of fats and oils, thereby extending the shelf life of processed foods. You’ll find it in Chicken McNuggets, CHEEZ-Its and Taco Bell beans. You’ll also find it in varnishes, lacquers, and pesticide products. Yuck! All of these products have it in “safe limits,” but anything that helps food outlast my stomach acid… I don’t know!
Sticking with whole, real foods — regardless of the increase in preparation time and expense — seems wise in light of this experiment.
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