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February 10, 2012 at 9:04 AMComments: 4 Faves: 1

This Is Your Body. This is Your Body on Ramen and Gatorade.

By Laura Hogg More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the FitChatter Blog Series

What can we learn about our food choices from the new viral video showing what happens when your body attempts to digest ramen noodles?

College students of the world, take note: a new video is making the rounds, showing what happens when your body attempts to digest ramen noodles as opposed to fresh, whole foods.

And it ain’t pretty.

Let’s be honest: the idea that ramen noodles are not as good for you as unprocessed foods is not exactly revolutionary. As noted by Stefani Bardin, maker of the video, “Top Ramen is made to survive Armageddon. Our homemade ramen noodles are made to be eaten.” The idea that ramen isn’t healthy is not so much breaking news as it is a “well, duh” moment. But never before have we been able to see exactly why that is in such, uh, vivid detail.

Bardin made the video using a little tiny LED/camera capsule called M2A (Mouth to Anus, if you really wanted to know). The two test subjects ate similar meals that were different in one very important way: one meal was completely homemade, and the other meal was made entirely of processed foods. Here’s what they ate:

Test subject one: Top Ramen, Gatorade, gummi bears

Test subject two: homemade broth and noodles, hibiscus drink, gummi bears made of juice

If you have four and a half minutes and a strong gag reflex, here’s the video.

For those who can’t stomach the video – first of all, I don’t blame you whatsoever. Second of all, basically, here’s what you need to know:

  • The video of the processed-food subject never loses its green tint from the Gatorade, which is colored with Blue #1, a petrochemical derivative. Yuck.
  • Ingredients of the homemade noodles? Water, flour, eggs, salt. Among the 15+ ingredients of the processed noodles? Petrochemicals (a.k.a., oil) and  TBHQ (a petroleum derivative related to butane, the gas in cigarette lighters).
  • After two and a half hours, while the homemade noodles are unrecognizable, the shape of the ramen noodles is still easily visible.

While the initial gut reaction (pun so intended) to this video is undoubtedly shock and disgust, it does provide a valuable opportunity for discussion. My reactions are as follows: 1) I really need the recipe for homemade pomegranate juice gummi bears because good grief that sounds incredible; and 2) it’s kind of crazy how much of the stuff we eat isn’t so much “food” as it is “mostly-edible chemical derivatives that will make you feel reasonably full.”

Bardin says that her goal is to help people become more informed about their food choices. Mission accomplished, I’d say. I think most of us have a vague knowledge that processed food is not so good for us. We read articles about it on HuffPost and Yahoo - the experts warning us of the dangers of sugar and sodium, us nodding sagely in agreement as we munch our Doritos. But vague knowledge is easily and conveniently forgotten. This video? Not so much.

Now, truth be told, I’m part of the 1% - the 1% of students who got through their college career without eating ramen noodles even once, that is. (Living at home can be awesome.) But even if I were an avowed ramen lover, this video would probably be enough to change my mind – and turn my stomach.

What are your thoughts on the video? Does it change the way you look at processed foods? And more importantly, will you ever be able to erase the images from your mind long enough to wolf down a cup of noodles?

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4 Comments

  • Oh man :/ Cannot believe the noodles never really break down. I mean I definitely understand how chemically made ramen noodles are, but never thought that they would barely break down even in the stomach! Just like you said above...it's just another reason why whole foods is a better choice. basically whole foods owns. ramen noodles pwned.

  • I'm glad I've started upgrading to more premium instant noodles. The ones I enjoyed today were a bit pricey, but used a really good soup base with actual dehydrated veggies, and the noodles had just two ingredients: potato starch and bean starch. I still have my weaknesses, but I'm starting to like the idea of only eating things with ingredients I understand and can pronounce.

  • You should also check out the decay (or lack thereof) of McDonalds McDouble. 3 years later it still has all it's color and form.

  • Ramen noodles are not palatable!

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