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Consumption of instant noodles linked to metabolic syndrome

Instant noodles raises risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Instant noodles are high in sodium above 800 mg )which increases your risk of developing kidney stones and other kidney problems.
Instant noodles are high in sodium above 800 mg )which increases your risk of developing kidney stones and other kidney problems.
GettyImages/Steve Wisbauer
New research from Baylor found that eating instant noodles (ramen included) two or more times a week was associated with cardiometabolic syndrome especially in women.

The consumption of instant noodles is rather high in Asian populations. It is unclear whether a higher intake of instant noodles is associated with cardiometabolic risk independent of overall dietary patterns.

Dr. Hyun Joon Shin, MD, MPH, MS, clinical cardiology fellow at Baylor University Medical Center and a nutrition epidemiology doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health and Baylor's primary investigator of this study along with colleagues examined the association between instant noodle consumption and metabolic syndrome.

The study included 10,711 adults (54.5% women) 19–64 years of age from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV 2007–2009. Participant’s diets were evaluated by using a 63-item food-frequency questionnaire.

The researchers identified two major dietary patterns; “traditional dietary pattern” (TP), rich in rice, fish, vegetables, fruit, and potatoes, and the “meat and fast-food pattern” (MP), with less rice intake but rich in meat, soda, fried food, and fast food including instant noodles.

The highest meat and fast-food pattern quintile was associated with increased prevalence of abdominal obesity (odds ratio or OR 1.41). LDL cholesterol of 130 mg/dL or more decreased prevalence of low HDL cholesterol (OR: 0.65) and high triglycerides of 150 mg/dL or more (OR: 0.73).

The highest quintile for the traditional dietary pattern was associated with decreased prevalence of elevated blood pressure (OR 73), and marginally lowers trends for abdominal obesity (OR 76) but neither of the dietary patterns was associated with prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

The consumption of instant noodles at two or more times a week was associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (OR 1.68) in women but not in men (OR 0.93).

The consumption of instant noodles was associated with increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome in women, independent of major dietary patterns.

In women the results can be likely attributed to to biological differences (such as sex hormones and metabolism) between the sexes, as well as obesity and metabolic syndrome components. In addition, men and women's varied eating habits and differences in the accuracy of food reporting may play a role in the gender gap.

Another potential factor in the gender difference is a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA), which is used for packaging the noodles in Styrofoam containers. Studies have shown that BPA interferes with the way hormones send messages through the body, specifically estrogen.

Dr. Shin commented “This research is significant since many people are consuming instant noodles without knowing possible health risks.” "My hope is that this study can lay a foundation for future research about the health effects of instant noodle consumption."

Dr. Shin added that the study's health implications could be substantial -- particularly if it leads to people choosing healthier foods.

This study appears in the Journal of Nutrition Citation


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