Did Ramen Noodles—Gasp!—Just Become Healthy?

Ramen isn't going to be the next superfood, but it's a little better than before.

Ramen!
Ramen!

Ramen noodles: the mainstay of broke students, bad cooks, and the working poor everywhere. Designed to have a long shelf-life, the high salt content of these noodles is well known, with a single brick of the noodles having more than half of the FDA-recommended daily sodium intake. Such a high salt content is a common thing among processed foods, and has been an element of the noodles since they were introduced in the seventies.


However, a bit of good news is coming for those who are concerned about convenience and healthy living.

The Nissin company, who produce the best-known version of the noodles in the United States, has announced that its ramen noodles will now be produced with less salt. The company says that it has "reduced sodium by an average of 15% across all flavors” and removed added MSG entirely.

They have also announced that the labeling will be changed on all packaging to better highlight which options are vegetarian and which are not. This is in response to the increasing numbers of people who adhere to vegetarian diets — many food companies are now working to get their business. It's a sign of the times that even cheap meals are trying to sell themselves by appealing to vegetarians.

Ramen Food Pyramid by Vince Vance.

But, I don’t eat this stuff, why should I care?

The average American gets almost double the recommend amount of salt in a given day, most of it added to the food during processing. As too much salt can lead to a slew of health problems, including high blood pressure, this reduction could go a long way to improving the health of millions of Americans.

Now, this isn’t to say that ramen is going to be the next superfood. They are still high in salt and low in fiber, protein or nutrients, and have many of the hallmarks of a junk food. However, as 75% of all salt consumed by Americans is added in during food processing, even a slight improvement could go a long way to helping hundreds of thousands of people avoid heart attacks and strokes each year.

As people become more and more health conscious, even the cheapest, most heavily processed foods we eat are liable to change to make up for this fact. Will ramen be eaten by all the chic-est and health-focused individuals? Probably not, but the change is for the better.

 

Did early humans hibernate?

New anthropological research suggests our ancestors enjoyed long slumbers.

Credit: Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • Neanderthal bone fragments discovered in northern Spain mimic hibernating animals like cave bears.
  • Thousands of bone fragments, dating back 400,000 years, were discovered in this "pit of bones" 30 years ago.
  • The researchers speculate that this physiological function, if true, could prepare us for extended space travel.
Keep reading Show less

Does science tell the truth?

It is impossible for science to arrive at ultimate truths, but functional truths are good enough.

Credit: Sergey Nivens / 202871840
13-8
  • What is truth? This is a very tricky question, trickier than many would like to admit.
  • Science does arrive at what we can call functional truth, that is, when it focuses on what something does as opposed to what something is. We know how gravity operates, but not what gravity is, a notion that has changed over time and will probably change again.
  • The conclusion is that there are not absolute final truths, only functional truths that are agreed upon by consensus. The essential difference is that scientific truths are agreed upon by factual evidence, while most other truths are based on belief.
Keep reading Show less

A canvas of nonsense: how Dada reflects a world gone mad through art

Using urinals, psychological collages, and animated furniture to shock us into reality.

A Dadaist artist is painted with the ashes of burned banknotes during the financial crisis.

Credit: MICHELE LIMINA via Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • Dada is a provocative and surreal art movement born out of the madness of World War I.
  • Tzara, a key Dada theorist, says Dada seeks "to confuse and upset, to shake and jolt" people from their comfort zones.
  • Dada, as all avant-garde art, faces a key problem in how to stay true to its philosophy.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Study: Tripping might not be required for psychedelic therapy

Two different studies provide further evidence of the efficacy of psychedelics in treating depression.

Quantcast