Harvard Study Shows That Instant Noodles Are Worse for Women Than Men

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Instant noodles, or fondly called “Maggi Mee” by many Singaporeans and Malaysians, have become a staple dish for many people who work late or simply can’t find the time to have a decent meal.

While everyone knows how unhealthy it is, cup noodles and packaged instant noodles are still flying off the shelves in supermarkets, with new flavours coming in every now and then.

If you prefer to watch, here’s a video we’ve done about this junk food that ironically have saved our lives countless times:

For a start, this junk food comprises mainly carbohydrates, so all the nutrients you have from that bowl of instant noodles are pure energy—unused, they’ll be converted into fats. Secondly, it’s a high-GI food: to put it in simple terms, it can keep you full for just a while, but you’ll go hungry pretty soon.

In Singapore and Malaysia, there are new versions with low MSG and even non-fried ones. But they’re pretty much useless, because despite all these attempts, the fact remains that you’re merely consuming high-GI carbohydrates. However, if you’re still trying to find an excuse to swear off instant noodles, this study might just be the ticket.

Hyun Shin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health and her friends in Baylor University, did a study on about 11,000 people between the age of 19 and 64 in South Korea, a country famous for their consumption of instant noodles (read this: 3.4 billion packages consumed in just a year) and the brand Shin Ramyun.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Nutrition on 1 August 2014, and it sure would have disappointed many instant noodles fans. It turned out that women who ate more instant noodles (at least twice a week) had a “higher risk of metabolic syndrome”. Mayoclinic.org’s definition of metabolic syndrome is “a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

But interestingly, there is no mention of men. Hyun Shin added, “Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [its] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads.” So, what’s the solution if you die die must makan your daily dose of Maggie Mee? Lisa Young, a nutritionist and professor at New York University, has this advice:

Firstly, don’t eat it every day. Secondly, control your intake. As if we didn’t know about that, eh? In other words, this pretty much sums up the advice that parents have been telling their kids: avoid instant noodles wherever you can.