HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Its cheap and easy to prepare that's why instant ramen is such a staple for those low on cash and time.
But a study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition found that it can cause health problems, especially heart problems, especially in women. And that's causing heartburn for college students.
"They're so easy to make," says Tony Mejia, a freshman at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, "just put water."
Ali Hanna, also a freshman says she has eaten the noodles in a cup before but only because she has to."I haven't gotten into it just yet, but I'm sure I will because it's going to be a cheap meal for me," says Hanna, as she picks sushi from the campus center.
The university is offering healthier alternatives on campus. Sushi, soup and salad among other items, but all of those are much more expensive than the pre-packaged ramen which costs less than a dollar per bag.
Cardiologist John Kristofich of Straub Clinic and Hospital says the instant stuff will cost you long-term.
"These types of food can lead to increased obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol," says Dr. Kristofich, "All that can lead to damage of the heart... a heart attack."
The two-year study examined the diets of 10,700 South Koreans, who reportedly consume more ramen than anyone else in the world.
The results, those who ate instant noodles showed an increased risk of cardio metabolic syndrome. And the numbers were far worse in women.It's unclear why the foods affect women more. Dr. Kristofich says it could be the way women metabolize food or because of hormones. Regardless of the results, he says instant ramen isn't good for anyone.
"It's fast food in a bowl," he says.
There are several reasons why the pre-packaged versions are worse than the restaurant varieties. First, the kinds in the store are pre-fried in palm oil to cook faster. Second, because the soup base has more sodium.
Dr. Kristofich says it's okay to eat instant ramen once in awhile, but it's not a good idea to make it a regular part of the diet.