Ramen gets almost as bad of a reputation as Mcdonalds, and often for just as fallacious reasons as well (Imagine that “Mcdonalds burger that never rots” viral gag that shows absolutely nothing except that their burgers are too small and dry out too quickly). A similar viral gag would be how Ramen doesn’t digest, which makes no sense. Unless you are literally crapping out noodles, it digested. However, it brings up some good questions: Is it nearly as unhealthy as the opponents would have you believe?
Well, it’s not really as simple as a yes or no answer.
The first thing we need to look at is the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients:
Note that the serving size is just half a block… nobody eats that little, so all the numbers listed are actually double. That’s 380 calories for a whole pack. Is that a lot? Well, 180 of those calories are from added fats, which enhance the flavor and texture, but are otherwise unnecessary.
Looking at the Sodium content, it’s enormous! Over your whole day’s worth of sodium in just one bowl. You can, however, circumvent this by simply tossing out the seasoning packet and add your own seasonings to control the sodium intake. And this about does it for the nutrient properties. It has very little protein, no vitamins or minerals, and no fiber, so it provides very little in actual fuel for your body.
Now for the ingredients. Since we decided to toss out the seasoning packet and add our own, half of the ingredients are now gone. But what we have left is not pretty. But it pretty much only has 2 main ingredients:
Enriched Flour: Enriched flour, or bleached flour, is just white flour, or flour that has been stripped off all its nutrition and has some nutrition put back in later. It’s best to just stick with whole wheat flour
Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is best avoided, but would work great in cooking, such as sauteeing. It is not bad by itself, but there is very little reason for it to be added to a dry soup.
The other ingredients are preservatives, which are not bad by themselves, but is better if avoided.
Now Ramen is a staple of many college freshmen as a meal replacement and can be eaten every once in a while without issue, but is not something that should be a daily occurrence or even something that should be made for many meals, no matter how many vegetables you put in it. A healthier alternative is to just make your own soup using regular pasta noodles, which will reduce your fat and sodium intake. However, to make it healthier, I suggest whole wheat noodles and make your own if possible.
Ramen is not this horrible, life-threatening thing that will kill you or degrade your health if you eat it, but it isn’t healthy for you. There are many beneficial foods that are cheap that can replace ramen, such as regular pasta, or rice. So it’d be better if you ate it in moderation.