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how bad is (real) ramen for you?

SamSam Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
so it turns out I love ramen. No, I'm obsessed with it, even- I used to only order ricebowls at ramen places because I am an idiot who thought ramen was served too hot, and too liquid for my tastes.

Now it turns out that tonkotsu ramen, pork bone broth with cha shu, pork belly and half boiled eggs is seriously the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.

I can't seem to find health info on it though. Googling only brings up info on instant noodles, which is of no help. Friends seem to have no idea- the most helpful answer I've gotten is "not as healthy as salads"

So, H/A, please do tell. Is this bad for me? Am I fooling myself if I think it's significantly better for me than burgers?

Sam on

Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Isn't the same mechanic used to cook it? IE frying the noodles?

  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

    Near the bottom it mentions that the noodles are pre-fried. It's also not talking about the instant noodles there in the criticizing of the Japanese restaurants. Though, that's asking for a citation so take it for what it's worth. As far as I'm aware, the same process is used to cook both the real ramen and instant ramen, the instant ramen's broth is just loaded with salt to make it taste better.

    Though, their nutritional value is on par with most noodles/soups.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Ramen is pretty unhealthy. Tons of fat (saturated) and salt. There is a big variation in different types of noodles and soups. Tonkotsu soup is pork marrowfat mostly, and ramen noodles are full of fat. Compare that to soba, which would have a soup made from oily fish (omega-3 yum) and noodles made from buckwheat, which is very nutritious.

    I've no idea whether burgers are better. I guess there's a lot of variation in burgers - you could have grilled ones made with good fresh ingredients, or you could have really artificial ones with loads of sauce and five special patties.

    Most Japanese people would see ramen as a once-a-week at most drunken food. Students sometimes eat a lot of it though.

    So - pretty unhealthy, no problem in moderation, don't eat it every day.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • ObsidianiObsidiani __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    It has way too much salt to be healthy. I'm not sure if there is any low-sodium Ramen out there but it wouldn't be the same as what you're used to. If you eat it everyday, your health will probably deteriorate.


    Healthier than a burger? Again, depends on the burger. Some burgers for instance made with Buffalo would be a lot healthier and more nutritious than a bowl of ramen.

    EliteLamer wrote: »
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  • DusT_HounDDusT_HounD Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dudes and dudettes- let us not forget that no matter whether it's the healthy or unhealthy kind, fat is still fat. Preparing a dish that is nominally contains all healthy fats is great, but if it still has 1000 calories per serving, that's a losing battle.

    Say for example, you want to make a dish at home of ramen, then for the ramen themselves, you use a packet of Koka; for 1 serving (80g, presumably dry), you get about 5g protein, 30g carbs and 1g fibre, no fat, and in total 143 kCal. Eaten on its own, that's fairly healthy, but adding seasonings will increase the sodium content etc, and i don't know for sure, but the seasoning packets that come with those will probably have a lot.

    Any and all fat that you get in your dish will come from the other ingredients you put in. If you add vegetables, it'll be negligible, but if you add even, say one large egg (boiled, or dropped into the soup as it cooks), you get a few g of fat (based on average 10% fat in an egg.

    For stuff like Tonkotsu, the majority of the fat in there will come from the pork itself, and if you add Char sui and pork belly, it's off the scale, but tasty. The latter two components are what i'd wager will be the major source of fat, because, well- they have a lot of fat in them.

    It would probably be worth trying to make a healthy version, with similar ingredients, but reducing the fat. While cooking, you could skim it, but that might impact on the tastiness.

    Anyone know good flavoursome alternative recipes?

  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Real ramen is pretty baller, but I prefer to stick with gamjatang (pork bone soup) because I can pretend it's not as bad for me. And it's usually cheaper.

    If you like the spicier ramen then you could try finding a decent Korean place that'll give you gamjatang.

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  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Really good tonkatsu ramen will actually have lots of little chunks of fat floating around in broth. So no, it's not health food. That said, if you eat stuff like Miso-ramen or soy-sauce ramen, it's not really that bad for you. You may want to try eating tsukemen if you like ramen, as it is probably a little better for you.

    If you can find it, you might want to search for Suratanmen (酢辛湯麺), which is basically rather spicy ramen with a vinegar kick.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Ramen really isn't any different from eating any other flavored carbohydrate. Check the package for the number of calories, the amount of fat, and the amount of sodium. edit: since you don't have a package, you should be able to estimate based on quantity to packaged ramen. Noodles are noodles.

    I mean, pancakes are bad for you. I still ate about 1000 calories worth of pancakes and maple syrup the morning before training 6 hours for a century ride. That could've been a bunch of ramen noodles or other tasty carbohydrate but, sorry, pancakes beat ramen in my book.

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  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Packaged ramen and restaurant ramen are basically two completely different foods. It wouldn't carry over.

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  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    edit: since you don't have a package, you should be able to estimate based on quantity to packaged ramen. Noodles are noodles.

    Fresh noodles in a decent restaurant and the 25-cent bricks you get at the grocery store are very different, to say nothing of the difference between (for example) tonkatsu broth and adding one of those flavored salt packets to water - comparing them solely based on weight/volume isn't really going to work.

    If you want healthier "real" ramen, go with miso or soy like has been mentioned - it's still not going to be health food, but it's not going to be as bad as all the fat that's in the (super tasty) tonkatsu.

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  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Like almost everything else we consume moderation is the key. You discovered how awesome a bowl of actual ramen is, enjoy it. Its not health food but unless you are really stressed about your weight etc then dont sweat it. Of course if you really are stressed about weight and health then eating ramen instead of burgers isnt really going to help alot.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Deathwing wrote: »
    edit: since you don't have a package, you should be able to estimate based on quantity to packaged ramen. Noodles are noodles.

    Fresh noodles in a decent restaurant and the 25-cent bricks you get at the grocery store are very different, to say nothing of the difference between (for example) tonkatsu broth and adding one of those flavored salt packets to water - comparing them solely based on weight/volume isn't really going to work.

    A noodle is wheat flour, which I can assure you is the same amount of calories whether it's in an italian pasta or a giant Udon noodle. Unless you can prove that restaurants somehow find noodles with wheat of a different caloric value.

    Broth rarely has calories that is significant, although restaurants do typically use more fat. Salt is also a wash -- prepared foods often have more sodium because it covers up crappier flavors of being packaged, so it's fine to use as an estimate. Remember, we're going off a restaurant offering with NO information. Using a package that is roughly the same volume of noodles will give the OP a pretty close estimate on calories & sodium, and get him in the ballpark for fat.


    Of course throwing meat and other ingredients in there will obviously be different because of those ingredients. But then it's a matter of judging the ingredients.

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  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Compare that to soba, which would have a soup made from oily fish (omega-3 yum) and noodles made from buckwheat, which is very nutritious.

    Soba is ridiculously delicious. Cold soba w/ wasabi and soy sauce is the best.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The amount of calories in 35g (half cup) of Whole Wheat Flour is 130. The amount of calories in 35g of Buckwheat Flour is 134 (or essentially the same, as you can be +/- that same amount in nutrition label packaging). Of course, buckwheat flour has 2 grams more fiber, which is typically the difference in "other" grains. I mean, these aren't magical grains -- they just have more fiber compared to plain ol' wheat. Same calories essentially, meaning they're not really any healthier, unless you're looking for more fiber in your diet.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Buckwheat (soba) has lots more nutrients, vitamins, protein etc than ramen.

    And tonkotsu soup is massively fatty and calorific.

    @EggyToast - your tone is kinda patronising, but it doesn't sound like you actually have much experience or knowledge of real ramen or other noodle soups. Real ramen is barely related to American pack ramen.

    I figure I could take a bear.
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