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Video: Ramen Noodles vs. Real Food--vs. YOU!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You are what you eat.

That adage is a reminder to me at every meal, and it's one of my secrets to losing 50 pounds and keeping it off for six years and counting.

I follow it up with: Make every bite count.

That is, if I'm going to drink my calories, they shouldn't be empty ones. (Calcium-fortified soymilk, yes, Diet soda, never!)  If I'm going to have a snack, I want it to fuel me through my evening workout.  If I'm going to reach for a slice of bread, it will always be a whole-grain variety that's full of fiber and other nutrients.

I love to cook (I did co-write a cookbook, after all!), and I make almost everything I eat from scratch. I read labels, buy raw ingredients, and make time to prepare healthy and nutritious food each day.

That said, I'm not perfect. I reach for prepackaged treats on rare occasion. I have a serious affinity for all things crunchy and salty, and sometimes, I just want a Twizzler. I know those foods aren't good for me, but I know that when 98% of my diet is whole foods, the infrequent junk foods won't have a tremendous effect.

But have you ever wondered how certain food affects your body? Do you ever think about how much effort your body has to put into digesting one food versus another?
TEDxManhattan 2011 Fellow Stefani Bardin did, and that's why this "media maker" and her colleague had two people swallow M2A cameras (mouth-to-anus) and SmartPill wireless gastroenterology devices collects time, pressure and pH from within the GI tract. The participants ate similar meals: Gummi Bears, blue Gatorade and Ramen noodles. The only difference: One person had a homemade, real-food version. (Awhile later, each participant ate the other version of the meal.)

The results--and the visual proof--are startling. Watch for yourself:

Warning: Don't watch this video on your lunch break.

This video grossed me out, and it reaffirmed my faith in the power of real foods. Cooking takes time (though it doesn't have to take much time!), but it can save your life if you're eating and preparing healthy foods. I'm 100% committed to this healthy lifestyle that SparkPeople has helped me create, and this was more fuel for my fire.

That said, I wouldn't judge anyone else for continuing to eat these foods, on occasion.  When I lived in South Korea, I ate ramen noodles or pancit bihon quite often--and enjoyed every slurp!

How about you?

Has this video affected your view on real food? Do you think processed foods are a sometimes or never food?

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Video no longer works Report

Sorry, Sparkpeople doesn't allow me FL add the HTML code to make this clickable here - will have to copy the link, open a new table, and paste it in. Report
Video doesn't work in 2017 - is there a better link to it?

Thanks! Report
I used to eat Ramen regularly, but honestly I've never like the greasy texture and the high sodium chicken bullion. I would often only use half a packet, but it was still too much. I was comparing the calories and sodium to a multigrain pasta one day while deciding a meal, and the choice was clear. Stay clear of Ramen! I understand eating Ramen out of budget concerns or even convenience...I've been there. But I'm learning that I can eat healthier meals because I'm not spending money on fast food, and I'm also learning to eat less meat. I know it's not easy, esp. if you have low income or even zero income coming in, but it can be done with a little planning and creativity. Report

I was a vegan/vegetarian for 28 years., but without proper info and as a result, I wasn't very healthy.

Information like this is helping reshape my thinking about what I eat . . . because I like being healthy.

Just another reason I love SparkPeople! Report
Homemade noodlees are SO easy to make and SO yummy. This is a good reminder to me to take the extra time to make it from scratch. Report
The visual was truly an inspiration to leave that stuff alone. My husband loves his Ramen noodles....and he and a friend at work eat them just about every day for breakfast. I'm glad to know that my breakfast, usually oatmeal with fruit and milk is looking pretty normal right now..... Report
Okay, does anyone have a recipe for those ramen noodles? I've been wanting to make some for a while, but didn't know you could do so so easily. I had the pleasure of eating real ramen while in San Francisco, but there are no noodle houses where I live, and I want something other than Top Ramen! Report
Wow, whenever I see something like this, I am that much more thankful that I have a garden, and that our farm provides our beef. I try to use as little processed foods as possible, but for sure they are in our diet. Thank you for sharing this! Report
Whether or not the video is propaganda or shock therapy or some other hidden agenda, processed foods are not the best choice for our body. The writer of the story is clearly just presenting the video as an interesting visual on the differences of whole vs processed foods. She does not put anyone down for choosing processed foods and even admits to doing so herself. I think the article is very well written and very thought provoking. Report
It would have been interesting to see the videos from the second test. Did the person on the left not chew the food as well as the person on the right? I also sensed a not-so-hidden agenda with this video. Taking chemicals out of context doesn't always lead to where the presenter wanted us to go.
All of that said, I believe that foods straight from the garden are better than foods that have been processed. However, some foods need to be processed (cooked) in order for us to digest them or to remove toxins (soaking, fermenting). Report
I hope I can play this at school tomorrow - I taught a section on nutrition and budgeting and my students expect to live on Ramen noodles - this may make for some interesting discussion! Report
I only have one question: did the subjects even chew the processed ramen noodles?

That aside, I have to agree with the sentiment that this is designed to be more shock therapy than anything else. Report
You say you're not judging people for not eating like you do, but it kind of sounds like it. Just in the overall tone of the blog. Just my opinion though. Report
OK, so the processed Ramen noodles didn't break down as easily as the home-made ones. There is nothing in this video that explains why that is a bad thing? Seems to me if the food isn't broken down as easily that I would stay full longer. I think that's a good thing. I'm not saying processed food is good, but I think the video is more propaganda than science. Report
I love real foods, but I won't give up my Diet Coke! I do not drink it to lose weight - I just love the taste! Report
Didn't watch the video but can take a few guesses as to what's in it.
Now I'm curious about a homemade "real food" version of Raman though... Report
Pretty gross to watch. As a cashier I couldn't believe the amount of RamaNoodles that parents buy for their children. I know how hard things are now and I'm right in the middle of it but this sure opened my eyes. This video needs to be on the evening news so more can see it and decide! Report
I have to agree with a couple of comments - the video fell short of its promise. A comment about gatorade and blue, and all the rest was the absorption or otherwise of the ramen noodles v home made. What is the home made? What about the difference between the gatorade and whatever the "real food" alternative? What about the rest of the "menu"?

I certainly try to do real food - I can't really afford to feed DH and me on ready meals. I don't understand how folks on low incomes can afford these, except maybe on the supermarket BOGOF offers. I'd still rather buy fresh veg etc, though, even though I can rarely afford organic.

I also have to agree with another European comment - produce at farmers' markets is way too expensive. Report
EEEEWWWWW ! I grew up w/ Ramen Noodle & now, it's gross !!! I won't eat it after this video. Report
Very interesting. Report
I literally lived on Ramen noodles for months at a time - obviously for financial reasons. My other option was to simply skip meals - and I did a lot of that, too. I managed to have one dollar burger from McDonalds once a week. And spaghetti once a week, too. That was how I gained weight - it certainly was NOT from overeating. It was from stress and junk food and lack of sleep. I went thousands of dollars in debt eating healthy for the last six months. I lost the weight - but I see Ramen noodles looming in my future. I can't afford to keep eating with cash advances requiring payments I have no way of making now. At least I learned how to exercise, and will keep doing that, no matter what I have to eat just to keep on breathing. I pray every day that my company will be able to start receiving revenue so it can pay me before the ramen diet is back. This is no joke - it is the horror of my life. I have absolutely no resources and no one on the planet to turn to - we are in danger of losing our home and car too. And I ate healthy for six months and owe thousands of dollars. I thank God for Ramen noodles - at least they're food. Report
OK, I'm sick now....
I kind of already knew this from various sources, but it makes an impressed visual statement so I went to YouTube and shared it on Facebook... hope my grandkids watch... Thank you for sharing!!! Report
I would have enjoyed seeing a comparison with manufactured whole wheat pasta. The idea of switching from easy to make ramen to time intensive homemade noodles is going to make many people give up too quickly. Report
Cracked me up when she said that ramen noodles are made to survive Armageddon. John Robbins calls them frankenfoods! I don't want to be a lab rat or a chemical dumping ground for the food manufacturers. Better to get your food from a farmer than a manufacturing plant! Report
Didnt we already know this?? But we have reccesion going on and there is just not that much money to spend every week on groceries so i eat healthy where i can. And yes i do eat processed food. I would love to eat organic at every meal but its SO expensive, at least over here...(netherlands) Report
Very interesting! I try to mostly eat real food. I guess lucky for me my body can't handle the amount of sodium in the processed/prepared foods. Report
Organic food is certainly the best. Report
I definitely try to stick to whole foods, but sometimes a little candy is in order! Report
Ideally, whole freshly made food, of course. Reality: processed foods like ramen are a sometimes for me: few times a year. I do add some fresh spinach and shredded carrots to mix some healthy in with my ramen cravings. Report
Of course real food is way better for you than processed food like ramen. But ramen is cheap and convenient, whereas most people don't have the time to make their own noodles from scratch and cook all the time. I batch cook over the weekend and some evenings during the work week, but it gets tiring and sometimes the prepackaged stuff is all I have time for. Report
That was disturbing. Report
Even though I buy whole grain, I am still purchasing noodles, bread and such from the store. I just might attempt to make some homemade noodles after watching this. Report
Yikes! O m gee! We are slowly allowing ourselves to be poisoned when not eating whole foods! If I cannot pronounce it and decipher its components, I cannot justify eating it, as I know now what I am eating. Sad... Report
I tell anyone who complains that eating healthy is too expensive to look into buying whole foods instead of processed foods. It's better for you and usually cheaper. That being said, sometimes eating processed food is just unavoidable. I guess that moderation is key! Report
I have always thought that we should be eating a whole foods diet. As a kid in the 60's we didn't have any food but whole foods because my mom cooked every meal. We never went to restaurants and there certainly wasn't a McDonald's on every corner. Now just drive thru any urban area and take note of all the fast food places, or go down your grocery aisles and check out all the stuff that is boxed, canned & bottled. Just think of all the preservatives, colors & dyes, chemicals we are exposed to every day in our food, the air we breathe, the water we drink. I also think that the rising rates of cancers can be attributed to the stuff that's in packaged & fast food. Report
wow...I'm slightly disturbed by this but it does make sense. If processed foods don't truly break down in your body and lacks nutrients, it's no wonder they make you gain weight. Report
I keep ramen at my desk in case I forget my lunch. On days when I eat the ramen, I am always super-hungry the rest of the day. I think it's a combination of the salt and the empty carbs. Report
This further re-affirms that real food is better than processed food! And the post couldn't have come at a perfect day. I am dedicated to re-vamping my eating habits that haven't been stellar lately by doing a 10-day real food challenge. Report
I watched this at work on an old computer so there may be something I'm missing but I have to say I expected a little more from the video. Basically all it shows is that gatorade stays blue in your stomach and ramen noodles don't break down into mush like real noodles. We all know processed food is bad for you; I guess I was just expecting some new information about the Ph levels that sensor measures, the force your stomach needs to exert for processed vs. real food, something along that nature. Report
I believe in the power of whole natural foods. Having been on many different food plans to loose weight, I always feel the best when they emphasize real, whole foods.
I have more energy, feel better in general. I believe the obesity epidemic started with the introduction of processed foods into our lives. Fast and convienient yes, healthy and good for us? No!!! Report
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