You may want to put down your Cup Noodles for this. Or, well, you may want to put it down for good.
If you're one of the people who believe instant ramen to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, we have some less-than-great news to share. According to a study from Harvard School of Public Health, headed by professor of nutrition and epidemiology Frank Hu and published in the Journal of Nutrition, women who eat instant noodles on a regular basis are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. This refers to the group of risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, among other illnesses, and they include obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
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The HSPH researchers and their colleagues chose to study South Koreans, who reportedly consume more instant noodles than anyone else in the world. With a relatively large sample of 10,711 adults (both men and women), the scientists were able to observe that their subjects followed two separate diet regimens: the first, a traditional, varied diet, and the second dominated by things like meat, processed food, and, yes, instant noodles.
The noodle hypothesis came about when it was realized that neither diet in itself could be associated with metabolic syndrome. Instead, there was a specific link between the syndrome's set of risk factors and a high intake of instant noodles. Since the study showed that the connection between noodle consumption and metabolic syndrome was independent from the overall diets, it became clear that those who ate instant noodles at least twice a week were putting themselves at a 68 percent higher risk of the syndrome. This conclusion was also only true for women, not men.
We can only hope the study's findings discourages manufacturers from depending primarily on unhealthy ingredients. For now, eating noodles in moderation is the best solution for all of us.