Contain Harmful Preservatives
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and t-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) are the main preservatives added to instant noodles to prevent rancidness and keep them usable longer.
BHA doubles and TBHQ triples the shelf life of instant noodles, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemist’s Society.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the consumption of moderate levels of TBHQ, long-term constant exposure to this preservative may prove carcinogenic, according to a 2005 study published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
According to the American Cancer Society, BHA is “reasonably anticipated” as being a human carcinogen.
The European Mission includes BHA in a list of chemicals with possible endocrine-disrupting effects. The endocrine system is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones, a disruption of which is likely to cause several adverse developmental, immune, neurological and reproductive effects.
Don’t Digest Easily
This is far more harmful than it sounds.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital used a minuscule camera to observe the effects of noodles on the digestive tract over 32 hours.
The video revealed the stomach working hard, contracting back and forth, to break down the noodles. The noodles remained undigested for a long time and severely strained the digestive tract.
Furthermore, the retention of instant noodles in the digestive tract for so long means you get overexposed to the toxic chemicals and preservatives, such as TBHQ and BHA, found in the noodles, which can prove carcinogenic.
Long-term exposure to TBHQ can also cause asthma, anxiety and diarrhea in some people. It can also adversely affect the liver and the reproductive organs.
Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
“Metabolic syndrome” is defined as a group of symptoms that increases a person’s chances of contracting heart disease, having a stroke and developing diabetes.
These symptoms include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglyceride level, high blood sugar and increased abdominal fat.
Women who consumed noodles 2 or 3 times a week reported an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Furthermore, deep-frying is a step in the production process of most instant noodles. This further saturates the noodles with excess fat from the oil, making it a greater risk factor for heart disease.
Noodles that are air-dried skip the deep-frying, which makes them a comparatively healthier alternative.
High in Saturated Fats
While eating any kind of fat excessively increases your risk of obesity, saturated fats are especially harmful as they spike your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol) level and increase the risk of heart disease.
The World Health Organization recommends avoiding dietary saturated fats.
LDL cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity and abdominal fat levels improved in subjects who switched from saturated fats to polyunsaturated fats, according to a 2002 study published in Diabetologia.
Depending upon the manufacturing process, the amount of saturated fat found in different brands of instant noodles may differ.
Instant noodles fried in palm oil, lard or butter before packaging are likely to have a higher saturated-fat content. Some instant noodles’ seasoning may also contain oils high in saturated fats.
Check the nutrition label to learn the exact amount of saturated fats in your preferred brand of instant noodles and assess the health risk accurately.