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Aug 13, 2014 09:14 AM EDT

Instant Noodles Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke and Diabetes, Study

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Increased consumption of convenient food products raises the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome, according to a new study by the Baylor University Medical Center.

The researchers said that the intake of food products like instant noodles two or three times a week increase the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke, especially in women.

"While instant noodle intake is greater in Asian communities, the association between instant noodle consumption and metabolic syndrome has not been widely studied," Hyun Joon Shin, a clinical cardiology fellow and a nutrition epidemiology doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a press release. "I decided to investigate in order to uncover more distinct connections."

Since Asian populations are associated with high consumption of ramen, the study was mainly conducted in South Korea, which has the highest per-capita number of instant noodle consumers in the world.

The researchers said that increased prevalence of cardiometabolic syndrome can be attributed to biological differences like sex hormones and metabolism, obesity and metabolic syndrome components.

The varied eating habits between men and women and inaccurate food reporting might have played a role in the gender gap. Another potential factor in the gender difference is bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical which is used for packaging the noodles in Styrofoam containers. Previous studies have showed that BPA interferes with the way hormones send messages through the body, specifically estrogen.

"This research is significant since many people are consuming instant noodles without knowing possible health risks," Shin said. "My hope is that this study can lay a foundation for future research about the health effects of instant noodle consumption."

The finding is published in the Journal of Nutrition.          

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