Is Ramen Really That Bad For You?

By April 9, 2010 2 Comments

When I was little and was hungry my mother would say, “Get a piece of bread.”  We make fun of her now and say that to each other all the time – “Get a piece of bread.”  Easy targets, those mothers.  And now I understand completely.  When I’ve already cooked, delivered the goods, and cleaned up the dishes and then hear, “I’m hungry,” my first impulse is to say, “Get a piece of bread.” They respond with, “Can I have some ramen?”  The kids are getting older, they’re eating more quantity and more often, and they know how to make it.  I usually say yes.  It’s too easy.

Certainly Jamie Oliver would not approve.

I remember someone told me ramen is TERRIBLE for you b/c of this “certain kind of fat” in it.  Really?  (Along with being told in my 20’s that long hair is bad for over 30, I kind of believed this one too.  I amend the long hair question.  Grow it into your 60’s if ya want – how’s THAT, Eric?  I’d really really like to grow mine out but always chop it…)

Investigative reporting…right on the label says:

Trans Fat (Bad Fat): 0.  Fabulous.
Label says there are 2 servings.  That’s about right for my kids right now.
Calories:  190.  Not bad, esp. if that’s the main course at a lunch.  Adults need about 2000 calories a day.
Total Fat:  7 grams
Saturated Fat (Bad Fat):  3.5 which is alright.  18% out of 100% for Daily Value.
Cholesterol (Bad): 0
Carbs: 26 grams.  (Love carbs; first energy source) 9% of Daily Value.
Sugars:  1 gram.  Great.
Protein:  5 grams.  This is pretty good and actually really surprised me.

Here’s the biggest problem with ramen:  The Sodium.  830 mg – that’s 35% of what you need in a day.  It’s not so bad if you don’t eat a lot of other processed food b/c that’s where the sodium culprit is:  processed foods.  It’s not that big of a problem to salt your food at dinner.  The sodium is in that little packet you sprinkle on.

Another problem:  The MSG, (Monosodium Glutamate) which Chinese restaurants will always boast, “No MSG!” MSG is a flavor enhancer and only in that little packet you sprinkle on the ramen.  Ramenlicious says MSG has health concerns related to:  obesity, high tension, nausea and many other problems.

THIS WEBSITE says that ramen is high in Thiamin (good) and high in sodium (bad).  It also says it rates low for weight loss, optimum health, and nutritional benefits.

My Conclusion:  Ramen is a great snack if you only sprinkle half the packet of sodium on.  And if you drain most of the liquid after you cook it, you get rid of most of the sodium and MSG.  It’s filling and not totally loaded with sugar.  Sometimes I sprinkle peas in for the kids which they will eat.  But they won’t eat it with Tofu.  Me neither but it was a good try.  My brother-in-law Glenn cracks an egg in ramen as soon as it’s done and makes egg-drop soup.  Yum.  So.  There’s my justification for eating ramen.



  • Hi Amy! I’m glad to learn the nutritional info about ramen(never looked it up) and also the tips to improve its health value. Great post!

  • Cassandra says:

    This is good to know! My health prof. in college convinced us that Ramen was the devil as well (Ramen, Mac-n-Cheese, Captain Crunch & 2% milk). I think he knew his audience well – college students trying to survive without money and without mom. I was grateful for that teacher…to this day I still have him in my head every time I shop. BUT, now I’ll have you in my head too, saying, “Is it really THAT bad?” And, I’ll happily buy the occassional box of ramen because it is quick and easy, it’s cheap (back to the budget discussion), and it’s not entirely unhealthy. :)Thanks for the research and thanks for sharing!

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