Monday, September 19, 2011

A Spoonful of Monosodium Glutamate

Being a college student who is always on the run and looking for a quick and cheap meal, I always turn to the one and only Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup. College living is synonymous with ramyun, right? It’s quick, cheap and tastes delicious, what more could I ask for? All I have to do is boil some water, drop the noodles in and add the little packages of soup base and vegetable mix. Seven minutes later it’s all done and I’m gulping it down.  Although a lot of people tell me I shouldn't eat ramyun because of how bad it is for me, I always ignore them. I’m pretty sure there are way more things worst to eat. I’ve always wondered what exactly makes ramyun so bad, that’s why I decided to trace it all out and this is what I’ve found out.

The delicious Shin Ramyun that I can eat everyday is distributed by a company called NONG SHIM AMERICA, INC. located in Rancho Cucamonga, California (thumbs up for being made in the good old USA!). One of their 4.2-ounce packages contains enough product for two servings at about 240 calories per serving. I usually eat the whole thing by myself, so that means from one bowl I take in a whopping 480 calories. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure that taking in nearly 500 calories from one meal is not a good thing. Taking a look at all the ingredients that make up Shin Ramyun, I found that many of them I never heard before nor could barely pronounce. Listed where ingredients such as maltodextrin, oleoresin capsicum, disodium inosinate, sodium metaphosphate, T-BHQ, tocopherol, and the list goes on and on.

High in carbohydrates and low in minerals and vitamins, ramyum has risen a lot of questions in the health realm. The instant noodle is deep fried allowing it to never go bad and the soup base contains high amounts of sodium as well as the much dreaded monosodium glutamate,better known as MSG. Many know it as the ingredient that gives Asian cuisine that extra kick of hot. In the last decade research has shown that the food additive is known to cause heartburn, nausea, an increase in heart beat, bronchospasm, drowsiness, and other sorts of side effects. According to the World Wide Health Center it has shown that MSG can be linked to a number of the neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington's disease.

Scary right?

Other ingredients such as palm oil have been associated with rainforest destruction, extinction of animals, and an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Although palm oil contains no trans fats, it does contain high levels of saturated fats, which increases your risks of developing cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer such as breast, ovarian, and prostate.

Taking all these factors into account, eating ramyun isn’t as cheap as I thought it was.  Moreover all the mystery ingredients also rattle my mind. I guess its time to cut back and look for other alternatives that are cheap and easy to make.

In the ramyun aisle. So much to choose from!


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