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Instant Noodles Linked to Heart Disease, Stroke: Study

As the world's second largest consumer of instant noodles – Vietnam chows down on 5.2 billion packs of the pre-cooked blocks every year – this may be hard news to swallow, but studies show that consuming instant noodles regularly can increase your risk of metabolic changes linked to heart disease and stroke.

According to the Washington Post, a 2014 study helmed by researchers from Baylor and Harvard Universities found that women who ate instant noodles twice a week or more were at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a condition which can cause high blood pressure as well as high blood sugar, along with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, evaluated the health and dietary choices of nearly 11,000 South Korean adults between the ages of 19 and 64. Researchers categorized each participant's diet as consisting of either traditional healthy foods or fast food, and also counted the number of times a person consumed instant noodles in a week.

In the end, women who consumed instant noodles were at a higher risk of developing this condition, regardless of other dietary choices or physical activity.

“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads,” the study's co-author Hyun Shin, who is also a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health, told the Washington Post.

While there was a lack of apparent association for men, New York University professor Lisa Young pointed out that the food remains an unhealthy choice for all people.

“Instant noodles are high in fat, high in salt, high in calories, and they’re processed — all those factors could contribute to some of the health problems [the researchers] addressed,” Young told the Post. “That doesn’t mean that every single person is going to respond the same way, but the piece to keep in mind is that it’s not a healthy product, and it is a processed food.”

[Photo via Flickr user Guilhelm Vellut]

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