Ah, Ramen, the pinnacle of cheap college foods. I remember in 7th grade, my mom told me that when she was in college and really broke, she would eat Ramen for weeks on-end because it was really cheap. That had me wondering not only if it was healthy to eat Ramen for weeks straight, but also, is Ramen healthy in general?

Sharon Cho

All of us here at Spoon are not only dedicated to giving you great recipes, funny articles, and lifestyle pieces, but also telling you about healthy eating, especially how to do it in college. So, Ramen, it's your time on the chopping block. Here's the answer to the question is ramen healthy, and to tell you if you should just stop eating it. 

Baylor University Says STOP, Stop Right Now

According to a study at Baylor University, Ramen noodles are essentially death in a small paper cup or plastic package. I'm sure Ramen lovers everywhere are shocked, upset, and devastated at the loss of a cheap, quick, vegetarian, even sometimes vegan meal, but here's why you should really just quit the habit.

The students at Baylor studied a group of 10,000 South Korean adults ranging in ages from 19-64 to conduct this study. While we know that it is typical for Asian countries to consume any type of noodles on a regular basis, the students wanted to know what this does to a person's health. They found that people who ate instant noodles more than twice a week tended to suffer a condition called metabolic syndrome.

What is Metabolic Syndrome, You Ask?

shrimp, ramen, sauce, meat, fish, pasta, seafood, vegetable
Alex Vu

According to the National Institute of Health, metabolic syndrome names a group of risk factors that increase the risk of a person for developing a heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke. The risk factors include traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease, such as eating instant noodles more than twice a week.

Here's the other thing about this: it did not matter what other foods the people studied ate, whether they had the healthiest or most unhealthy diet out of the group. Aside from the instant noodles, nothing else raised their risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

But Wait, They Said ALL Instant Noodles...

That's right, the study includes all types of instant noodles. But before you go defending Ramen and say it was lumped into a larger group, let's dive deeper into the macro and micronutrients that make up these noodles and ask 'is Ramen healthy?'

Ramen is particularly unhealthy because of a food additive found in them called Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone. TBHQ is a preservative that is a petroleum industry byproduct - not something you would typically want in the food that you eat. Ramen is also very, very high in sodium, calories, and saturated fat, and is considered damaging to your heart.

Isabella Neuberg

Not only are the actual noodles bad for you, but the packaging that they are placed in is also detrimental to your health. Everyone's heard of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical you should absolutely avoid at all costs, as it may be a carcinogen - a substance that causes cancer in living tissue. BPA is widely used in the styrofoam cups that Ramen often comes in.

Ramen is also considered a hormone disruptor, which can negatively affect natural hormones in a person's body, like estrogen. This is particularly bad because Baylor say in their study that women tended to suffer more damage than men did due to high levels of ramen consumption.

This is Just More Proof That Processed Foods Are Unhealthy

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Zoe Su

So, now you ask again: is ramen healthy? In response, I say absolutely not - but like anything in life, sometimes it's okay to eat unhealthy things. I wouldn't say that you should eat Ramen twice a week, because it's clearly been proven to be detrimental to your health.

But, if you're craving it, it's 2 a.m., you have three more hours of studying to do, you need a quick snack, and all you have is Ramen - go for it. Just don't make it a habit, and if you have time, check out these snacks that are quick, easy, and brain-boosting instead of Ramen. Remember, stay away from the processed foods, stick to whole and unprocessed ones. 

Sorry, Ramen, but you just don't make the health cut this time.