Ever heard of the Ramen noodle diet? It is not unusual for college students to eat only Ramen noodles to save money. This lets them get by through eating as cheaply as possible.
Now some people claim that they can lose weight by eating a Ramen noodle only diet.
How the Ramen Noodle Diet Works
The Ramen Noodle diet plan is simple.
1. You just eat ramen noodles and nothing else. Yes, that’s all your meals.
2. In addition, you also limit high-calorie drinks.
3. You can eat all the ramen you want.
Based on what we know, the diet is based on packaged Ramen noodles. We’re not totally sure if eating authentic style Japanese Ramen, the one found in restaurants, or where you make or get noodles and cook yourself count.
Though technically, those should count as ramen too.
The reason we raise this point is because it can change the health profile quite significantly. We’ll explain a bit more later on.
Going back to the diet details…
The reason why this diet is being mentioned is because it seems to work. We have no prior experience with it, and have no plans of trying it out in the future. So unfortunately, we can’t tell how well it really works.
That said however, some people claim to have lost a great amount of weight with this plan.
What are Ramen Noodles?
Before getting into more details, we’ll have to clear up some things.
Ramen noodles are dried Asian noodles sold in packages available at any grocery store.
They’re available in a variety of flavors from different brand makers. Some come in the form of cup noodles while most are in packet form.
One of their allures is that they’re very cheap. Each packet costs way under $1.00. Typically you buy them in bulk, like in packs of 6, 12 or even 24. This brings down the price even more, sometimes up to $0.40 or $0.50 per pack. So quite economical.
The other thing that makes them enticing is that they’re very easy to prepare. You just add hot water, stir in the flavor packet, and eat. It takes less than 5 minutes from the time you open the pack till you’re slurping the noodles.
Being cheap and quick to prepare is what makes them the prevailing food choice of college students. Plus of course, they’re so easy to store and bring anywhere. No refrigeration needed and you can slip one in your backpack or bag and go wherever you need to.
The other type of Ramen…
Then there’s the other type of ramen. The one made by hand or where you buy fresh Japanese noodles, not packed dried ones, then blanch them and cook in your own broth.
This technically are ramen noodles too.
But unlike the packaged ramen noodles often used in the diet, these do take a bit longer to prepare.
If you go to a ramen shop to get one, it could be very costly by the time your diet is done.
So while this is a possibility, and a healthier choice for the diet, it probably isn’t what people follow or use when going through the ramen noodle diet.
Advantages of the Ramen Noodle Diet
The appeal is understandable.
- There are no meal plans to worry about.
- It is easy to prepare the noodles, you only have to buy that one thing so shopping is easier.
- And, you can prepare it quickly any time of day.
- You can eat all you want, so you do not have to deal with hunger.
- Finally, it is very inexpensive.
Each packet of ramen contains 10.8% of the daily recommended fiber. There is also 21.78% of the recommended protein. At least that’s what the packet I’m looking at says.
You can expect that different brands contain different nutrient values. So the figures above are generalizations. But you get the idea.
It also contains a large percentage of many vitamins and minerals including iron, selenium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.
So, what are the downsides?
Of course, by eating one food exclusively, you are not getting all of the nutrition that your body needs. However, if you ate only the noodles, it would probably alright unless this was for a prolonged period of time.
It is the flavor packet that is the real culprit. Or at least where the negatives come in.
The flavor packets contain more than 1,800 mg of sodium each (give or take). Keep in mind that the FDA’s maximum recommended limit for sodium is 2,300 mg per day.
So one packets puts you almost over the limit by itself.
Of course, you would be eating more than one packet, so the sodium you ingest would be a great deal. Do this for a few weeks and your body will begin to hate you.
There are also 14 grams of fat in one pack of noodles. If you eat five packs a day, you are a little above the recommended amount and the saturated fat is not out of line.
One packet has 380 calories. If eating five or fewer packets a day, this may be a good amount of calorie intake. This, of course, would depend on your caloric requirements based on your height and current weight, or weight goal.
Then there’s the issue of the included MSG and palm oil. Palm oil is high in saturated fat. While MSG is well, another form of sodium.
So from a nutrition standpoint, the ramen noodle diet isn’t healthy. A lot of the problems come from the added sodium, which is necessary for both flavor and as a preservative.
However, if you consider getting rid of the flavor packet. And instead making your own pork or chicken broth to go with the pack’s dried noodles. You’ve probably got something.
Risks of the Ramen Noodle Diet
- The FDA lists potential side effects of MSG as nausea, headaches, sweating, weakness, chest pain, and difficulty breathing for those with asthma.
- Palm oil, because of the high saturated fat, can lead to heart disease.
- The excess sodium increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, heart disease, and hypertension.
- Consumption of ramen noodles more than twice a week is thought to be associated with cardio-metabolic syndrome, a collection of abnormalities that affect the cardiovascular, renal and metabolic functions.
- The product includes tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which is also high in saturated fat.
All together, we conclude that this isn’t a diet worth pursuing, even it helps you lose weight. There are better, healthier options that can do that for you.