In many ways, modern life is an exercise in being continuously overwhelmed. There are so many things that draw upon our time and resources. And all these things must be attended to. I often feel like I am on a treadmill that keeps turning faster. I have to run that much harder and faster to remain in the same place. And there is no getting off said treadmill. To stop is to fall through the cracks.
In the midst of it all, we have to make out time to nourish and fuel our bodies. However, how many of us can regularly set aside time to prepare wholesome meals from scratch? This is a challenge for many people. Life leaves us so drained physically, emotionally, and psychologically that cooking meals oftentimes is a low priority. Instead, we rely on convenience foods like instant noodles. After all, it ticks so many of the right boxes. It is affordable, time-saving, and tasty. Plus, it is such as versatile meal. You can have noodles and egg; noodles and fried plantain; noodles and sausage; noodles and bread; and on and on. It is the proverbial Swiss Army knife of the modern diet.
However, there is a dark side to instant noodles. It is no hyperbole to say that instant noodles destroy health. In this post, I would like to explore some of the ways regular consumption of instant noodles negatively affects the body.
Regular consumption of instant noodles leads to multiple nutrient deficiencies
A major problem with instant noodles is the fact that it is made from white flour. White flour is essentially pure starch. Many essential nutrients are lost when wheat is processed into white flour:
- Fiber: 95% lost
- Iron: 84% lost
- Folate: 59% lost
- Vitamin E: 95% lost
- Vitamin B6: 87% lost
And the list goes on and on. It is truly a massacre. But what does it all mean? The loss of such high amounts of nutrients creates real problems for the body. All processes in the body, from movement to digestion to breathing to thinking involve a long list of vitamins and minerals. Food is supposed to provide us with a daily top up of these substances. When our diet does not provide this the body is able to compensate for a while by drawing down on it stores. It draws some calcium and phosphorus from the bones; some potassium and magnesium from the heart and other muscles; some vitamin A and E from the liver; some essential fatty acids from the brain; and so on. However, this is not sustainable. Something has to give and the result is an expanding list of nutrient deficiencies.
Instant noodles essentially strip the body of nutrients. There is a vicious circle. The more you eat the more deficient you become. These deficiencies drive multiple disease processes. Take for example magnesium. Magnesium is critical for the relaxation of blood vessels. A deficiency in magnesium causes elevated blood pressure (hypertension). Or take potassium. Potassium is critical for stomach acid formation. Low stomach acid leads to bacterial overgrowth in your bowels. This causes all sorts of issues like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, and so on.
Please note that fortification is largely a sham. Adding synthetic nutrients to a depleted food is a far cry from whole foods. Most of these so-called vitamins are synthesized from petrochemicals and the body rapidly excretes these toxins.
The problem of alloxan
As if depleting the body of nutrients was not bad enough, instant noodles contain alloxan. What is alloxan? Alloxan is a byproduct of the process where flour is bleached and aged with chlorine gas. This process makes flour pure white and gives it a very long shelf life. However, the chlorine gas interacts with some of the protein in flour and this reaction creates small amounts of alloxan. Again, what is alloxan? Alloxan is a chemical used in medical research laboratories to induce diabetes in animals. Alloxan is such a potent toxin that it has no other known use.
How does alloxan cause diabetes? Alloxan is absorbed by insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This toxic exposure causes the cells to malfunction and die. Without enough insulin, the body is unable to regulate blood sugar properly. This is adult-onset diabetes.
Please note that this is a gradual process. It proceeds from years of regularly consuming instant noodles and other white flour products. But it is a powerful instance of what is fundamentally wrong with the processed foods industry. These firms are peddlers of corrosive and death. And it is these sorts of foods that underlie the skyrocketing rates of chronic diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and so on.
A laundry list of industrial chemicals
In truth, alloxan is just one of a raft of toxic chemicals found in instant noodles. According to the Consumer Association of Penang, a Malaysian health advocacy organization, there are over 136 additives used in various brands of instant noodles. Some of the most shocking are propylene glycol (anti-freeze ingredient), calcium sulfate (used in Plaster of Paris), calcium oxide (used in insecticides), pentasodium triphosphate (cleaning agent used in detergents), tertiary butylhydroxyquinone (a form of lighter fluid), polydimethylsiloxane (used in contact lenses), propyl gallate (a preservative that hinders sperm production), BHT (a preservative that harms kidney), tartarzine (a coloring agent that make children hyperactive), and on and on. It can only be described as a toxic assault of epic proportions.
Of a truth, this post only scratches the surface of the ways in which instant noodles destroy health. But what I want you take away from all this is that convenience foods kill. I know that our lives are so hectic that it is difficult to regularly prepare wholesome meals. But it is no exaggeration to say that it is a matter of life and death. We simply have to make time.
Amin, Faridah, and Anwar Gilani. “Fiber-free white flour with fructose offers a better model of metabolic syndrome.” Lipids in Health and Disease. 12 (2013): 12-44. Print
SL, Howell, and KW Taylor. “The acute pancreatic effect of alloxan in the rabbit”. Journal of Endocrinology. 37 (1967): 421–427. Print.
Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.