Instant noodles — a destructive but tasty brew

By Tina Shaygan

You may have questioned just how unhealthy instant noodles really are. Is this just another undergraduate myth, like a fictitious hangover remedy? Well, it turns out instant noodles really are terrible for you — you might as well pump salt into your veins. Instant ramen, instant rice, frozen entrees and so on have charmed their way into the stomachs of many students.

With the pressure from classes and midterms alongside other obligations such as volunteering and extra-curricular activities, students often find themselves left with mere minutes for cooking. One batch of instant noodles every few weeks is not life-threatening but the freshman 15 weight gain can start looking like a freshman 50, usually after one forgets the taste of carrots. The November student diet, of which alcohol, caffeine and junk food comprise a large amount, is a ticking time bomb with long-term health consequences.

Modernity has left those of us who pay attention to what we eat very confused. Apparently, everything is bad for you. Red meat, pasta andmilk have long been scrutinized for their potential health consequences. Even egg yolks have been compared to cigarettes, according to a 2012 study done by London’s Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.

Yet foods such as instant noodles and candy still occupy an indulgent space in people’s hearts. They’re cheap, quick and they set the right chemicals off in our brains. As a result, North America has a weight loss industry worth $104 billion and Canada spends almost $7 billion dollars a year on health care related to obesity. Considering the potential risks, the cheapness and convenience of ramen seems like a poor excuse to chow down — would you rather save a few bucks and minutes every week, or have your heart implode somewhere down the line?

A single preparation of instant noodles contains much more sodium, fat and carbohydrates than the recommended daily intake, in fact nearly double the sodium content depending on the brand. Nor do they contain a notable amount of vitamins, healthy fats or protein.

Consuming unhealthy foods affects more than the fit of your jeans — you could be lowering your grades. The brain requires adequate nutrition such as the healthy cholesterols found in avocados to function properly. Most junk foods that are so highly processed that they have a shelf life of decades, which makes one wonder how our body is even digesting such material. On top of that an unhealthy diet consisting of sugar, sodium and saturated fats leads to various heart problems that will emerge long after university. Although convenient, cheap and delicious in a sickly way, student diets are fogging up student brains.

Researchers consistently unveil new studies about the health horrors of student diets, yet the U of C’s food offerings remains unchanged. While decent options have sprung up, such as the pre-packaged salads at Stör, generally healthier meals are more expensive and time-consuming than not. As university is a time during which we develop long-lasting habits, current students risk ending up as the most highly educated but unhealthiest generation yet. I cannot promise that eating a salad before your next exam will guarantee you a great grade. It probably won’t kill you but instant noodles just might, given enough time.

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