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.

Fresh_ramen_noodle_001

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.

 

References:
  1. 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
  2. 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.

14 Comments

Josephine Odion

And I just had it for dinner. Yikes. That’s the last pack I eat. And somehow at the back of my mind, I knew having it at home,much less eating it, was counterproductive to my nutrition.

Reply
Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Greetings Josephine, cutting out instant noodles is definitely a good move. I love how you said “at the back of my mind”. The body has an innate intelligence. If we listen more carefully to our bodies it tells us in subtle ways what foods are good for us.

Reply
lizzy orji

i read an article about instant noodles n fast food in 2011, i got shocked n since en i stopped. am noodles clean now. thanx 4 d info, but my hussy still eats it n he feeds it to our daughter. All words ‘ve fell on deaf ears, mybe he ll reconsider after reading dis post.

Reply
Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Greetings Lizzy, I believe the more we understand the health implications of certain foods, the better placed we are to make good choices. The fact remains that not everyone will be ready to make changes. But at least having the awareness is the first step in taking control of your health. Which is the point of the whole natural health thing. Empowering yourself with knowledge to feel and look great.

Reply
cosmicyoruba

This is very enlightening. I had read about the dangers of instant noodles, but nothing as in depth as this really. I have to ask though, how much is too much? I eat noodles once in a while, not often say once in three months, and always cook it with vegetables.

Reply
Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Greetings cosmicyoruba, my honest advice is that instant noodles is not fit for human consumption. It is a Franken-food, just a long list of dead ingredients made palatable by an even longer list of industrial chemicals. But some might say I am extreme. I am such a Puritan because every single morsel of food we eat leaves a tiny trace in the body. Just a tiny bit of damage. This sliver of damage appears harmless. But life is cumulative. Your state of health today is the sum of all the choices you have made over the years. That sliver often does not go away. One sliver on top another on top another. In short, death by a thousand cuts.
I don’t think once a month is a problem, but then again, who really knows? Better to err on the side of caution.

Reply
Wow!

Come on! The misinformation passed across in this article does a disservice to a site that promotes natural living in a rational tone. Most rational people will read this article and immediately flick the switch labeled “important facts i should live by”, to the off position because deep down we know if it was true, it wont be openly sold as one of the world’s most popular foods, we would have had placard carrying advocates storming the gates of instant noddle factories worldwide.
Lets leave the science of this article, which is mostly half-baked and just use some common sense.
The first part of this article states we all going to start looking like famine victims from eating noodles cause it has little or no nutrients, my people how many of you eat plain noodles morning, noon and night, everyday for years? Because that is what it will take. Haba, no one, eats plain noodles, we add onions, fresh pepper, meat, shrimps, eggs, oil, etc.
The only problem of Alloxan is that it has a complex metabolic pathway in animals and humans which most of you lawyers, bankers and artists wont understand so it can be used to scare the “bejesus” out of you. Bet all of you didnt bother to hunt down the referenced scientific article and read it, right? Well would you bother with this one “Lenzen, S. (2008). “The Mechanisms of Alloxan- and Streptozotocin-induced Diabetes”. Diabetologia 51 (2): 216–226″, that says Alloxan does not cause diabetes in humans or this one ” Eizirik, D. L.; Pipeleers, D. G.; Ling, Z.; Welsh, N.; Hellerström, C.; Andersson, A. (1994). “Major Species Differences between Humans and Rodents in the Susceptibility to Pancreatic β-Cell Injury”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 91 (20): 9253–9256″, that basically states that humans are not lab rats so alloxan does not affect their pancreas cells.
It gets old pretty fast when one is presented with all the industrial chemicals found in a various products, lets leave the fact that all the listed chemicals are food grade and “safe” for human consumption but do you all realise we live in the 21st century? I mean, do you know how many dangerous chemicals you are exposed to on daily basis? Do you live in an underdeveloped country with no laws protecting you from the scrupulous who will do anything to make a fast buck? An example, you see that cheap air fragrance thingy you have in you car, yes, the one you leave in the sun all day and are sharing the confined space of you air conditioned car with, it has at least 5 chemicals in it that are killing you faster than alloxan. A plate of noodles should be the least of your worries.

Reply
Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Greetings Wow, the article really stirred up many things in you. Which is good. I love the fact that you referenced additional studies. To the extent that there are difference between human and mouse metabolism, there are still enough similarities to justify the “lab animal model”. It is after all a pillar of modern medical science. So, alloxan is not good for any life form. And ought to be avoided.
I accept that you feel my work is pseudo-science. I respect your humble opinion. But consider that we are in the midst of an epidemic of chronic degenerative disease. Truly astronomical rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so on. What factors are behind this process? I am sure you will agree that our processed foods diet certainly plays a role. Garnishing a dead food with onions, oil, and what ever else does not change the fact that it is a dead food. Much better to avoid it altogether and enjoy some beans or brown rice.
Also, if you check out the first article I referenced. It speaks of how white flour and fructose rapidly induces diabetes in mice. These refined carbohydrates also induce type 2 diabetes in humans, as you are certainly aware. Refined carbohydrates are disastrous for human health. I am sure you are familiar with insulin resistance and the related metabolic syndrome. Regular consumption of white flour (e.g. instant noodles) is a core driver of that disease process. And you know that the metabolic syndrome is a cluster of all the biggest killers in the 21st Century. I think what really stands out in the 21st Century is how sick we really are. For that reason, instant noodles ought not to have a place on our dinner plates.
I appreciate your comment and respect the rigor of your thought process.

Reply
Sonia Ginigeme

I totally agree. I know some of this stuff still I eat the noodles anyway. I load it down with veggies and it makes me feel better.But still.. I can’t shake the wood pecker feeling I get about it away.. *sighs*

Reply
Olanike

Very Informative Write up.Even though I kinda agree with WOW!,The human body was fashioned differentlY from that of other animals.Hence we can’t Conclude a Chemical that causes Harm to rodents wil do the same to humans.There are many pharmaceutical drugs which are used as Rat poison yet have Curative effects on We humans.

Reply
Olanike

Very Informative Write up.Even though I kinda agree with WOW!,The human body was fashioned differentlY from that of other animals.Hence we can’t Conclude a Chemical that causes Harm to rodents wil do the same to humans.There are many pharmaceutical drugs which are used as Rat poison yet have Curative effects on We humans.This isn’t to justify the Continuous consumption of instant noodles afterall it is a known fact that all Processed in a way or another contain pseudo-harmful constituents.

Reply
Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Greetings Olanike, you are right that there are real differences between human and mouse metabolism. A good example of it was shown in a recent study on the effects of diet soft drinks in mice. The artificial sweetener they contain, aspartame, breaks down into highly toxic formaldehyde upon ingestion. Mice are able to convert formaldehyde into harmless formic acid. But humans lack this ability. We bear the full brunt of aspartame toxicity, but many animals escape some of its ill effects.
And this is a recurring finding in many studies. Other mammals tend to have more robust detoxification pathways than humans.

Reply
Mitchell

Wow. I suppose I should start phasing it out. Sigh. In fact I should try to incorporate an over all healthy diet lifestyle. And isn’t that propylene glycol found in hair products? Na wa o. Question. Please this wheat that we make as swallow to eat, can we use it for baking n stuff? Thank you

Reply

Add Your Comment

  • (will not be published)
  • XHTML: You can use these tags <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    © 2014 Natural Nigerian. All rights reserved.