This Is What Happens In Your Stomach When You Consume Packaged Ramen Noodles With a Deadly Preservative

ramen noodles

By Natasha Longo

Wake Up World

Ramen noodles contain Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a by-product of the petroleum industry and food additive frequently used to preserve cheap processed foods. It is one of those chemicals that is neither digestible or beneficial in any way for your body.

A gastrointestinal specialist conducted an experiment with a time lapse video inside the stomach, comparing both fresh and preserved ramen noodles. After two hours of digestion, the results were staggering.

The first-of-its-kind experiment by Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital wanted to find out exactly what happens to food in the stomach and digestive tract after consuming ramen noodles.

Thanks to the “smart pill”, a camera the size of a multi-vitamin, Dr. Kuo could do his experiment, showing what happens in the gut of someone who ate a package of instant ramen noodles compared to fresh.

Dr. Kuo recorded 32 hours from the pill camera.

“What we’re seeing here is a stomach contracting back and forth as it’s trying to grind up the ramen noodles,” Dr. Kuo says of the beginning of the video.

For comparison, the study volunteers also ate fresh, homemade ramen noodles on a different day.

The video at 20 minutes, and 2 hours, shows a striking difference.

“The most striking thing about our experiment when you looked at a time interval, say in one or two hours, we noticed a processed ramen noodles were less broken down that homemade ramen noodles”, noted Dr. Kuo.

This affects nutrient absorption and could theoretically allow preservatives to linger longer periods in the stomach cavity before being transported to the intestines and subsequently eliminated.

What Is TBHQ?

In processed foods, TBHQ is sprayed on the food or on its packaging to prevent discoloration and changes to flavor and odor. Others products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, varnishes and lacquers, contain TBHQ to maintain stability.

Small amounts of TBHQ may not kill you (although death has occurred) or even make you feel immediately sick, but it can have a long term effect on your health such as weakening of organs and contributing to the onset of cancers and tumors.

The FDA says that TBHQ must not exceed 0.02 percent of its oil and fat content. Death has occurred from the ingestion of as little as 5 grams. This would be a considerably high dose compared to the amounts found in foods, but it gives us a good indication on the toxicity level of this preservative.

At higher doses, it has some negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumors and damage to DNA. A number of studies have shown that prolonged exposure to high doses of TBHQ may be carcinogenic, especially for stomach tumors.

Ingestion of a single gram (a thirtieth of an ounce) has caused nausea, vomiting, anaphylactic shock, diarrhea, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse. Some people have reported having anxiety and night terrors and asthma after ingesting TBHQ. Others have reported having a body rash and swollen lymph nodes.

You can find TBHQ in McDonald’s chicken McNuggets across the United States, however McDonalds European chicken nuggets do not contain the toxic preservative. This is interesting since both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the FDA have evaluated TBHQ and determined that it is safe to consume at the concentration allowed in foods. The EFSA considers TBHQ to be non-carcinogenic, so why do they not allow it in chicken mcnuggets?

Other Food Products Containing TBHQ:

  • McDonalds chicken nuggets and french fries
  • CHEEZ-IT Crackers made by Kelloggs
  • Butterfinger chocolate and Reese’s Peanut butter cups
  • Nestle Crunch
  • Wheat Thins
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Pam cooking spray
  • Aldi products
  • Keebler Club crackers
  • Kellogs eggo frozen waffles and many other kellog products
  • Taco bell beans and some taco shells
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Red Barron frozen pizza
  • Keebler Cookies
  • TastyKake
  • Little Debbie
  • Kellog’s Pop-Tarts
  • Homestyle Peanut butter cookies
  • Some forms of soymilk
  • Different breads, cereals and crackers could contain TBHQ
  • Crisco oil
  • Some pet foods
  • Many cosmetic products and baby products
  • Some hair dyes lipsticks and eyeshadows
  • Wrigley’s gum
  • Little Debbies nutty bars and some M&M products
  • KFC beans and fried chicken

There are many more processed foods not listed above which contain TBHQ. A conclusion that is now quickly reaching vast numbers is that all processed food in general, has far too many problems to be considered safe. Our regulatory agencies are not responsibly working to resolve these problems, and instead of removing these toxins from the food supply are claiming that safe levels exist.

Since when did safe levels exist of any poison entering the body?

Article sources:

Previous article by Natasha:

8 Healthy Foods That Can Easily Replace Their Less Healthy Counterparts

About the author

Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

This article was reposted with the permission of the kind crew at


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  • Hammer

    Ok. 5 grams of coke will kill you too.

  • AaronE

    Ut-oh….. I better stop eating lipstick.

  • kaen lincoln

    okay in moderation, look at the list, if all are at low levels and you eat some of all your level is high, why have all this stuff in our food to begi with.

  • Adams

    The researcher in the video specifically says the conclusions that this article claims as fact cannot be drawn from his study. The only sources I see listed are a school website and a .com website. You’ll have to do better than that to scare me away from Ramen. Especially considering the researcher still eats them even after performing his research.

    • Jenna

      Sorry Adams. I don’t know why my comment is showing as posted in reply to yours but I agree with you!

    • Josh Andrews

      definitely! the guy conducting the experiment said that he continues to eat ramen haha

  • Ben Carnes

    Can I find this in a peer- reviewed article?

    • J. C.


  • terry

    The fact remains that nearly ALL food products in grocery stores are “processed” and include some type of poison our bodies are not meant to consume.

    This is done to us by regulations of the U.S. government who get kickbacks from the huge drug companies to force upon us drugs that contain even more poisons.

    Wealth and power are at the center of it all and those who control us do not give a rats butt about the people.

    Their motto is: Control the food and you control the people. Period.

    • Ariel B.

      The U.S government does not get kickbacks from huge drug companies. The people that help determine these regulations are scientists (who work for the FDA, EPA, etc. and conduct research independently of drug companies), and risk assessors (people who work a 9-5 job just like everyone else, and use peer-reviewed scholarly sources for their determinations).

      And the reason the government “controls the food” is to prevent the atrocious condition of the U.S. food supply that existed in the late 19th century/early 20th century before proper regulation.

      • Independently? Really?

      • schistdigger

        Ariel B., Is your middle name Pollyanna? for MANY administrations the heads of those gov’t agencies you mention were appointed by presidents who apparently owed “favors” to the very industries those agencies were originally designed to “regulate” – – The heads of those agencies were DRAWN from the upper management of corporations who had adversarial relationships with those regulatory agencies. Lumber co. exec’s would end up being in charge of the dept of forestry – mining co. exec’s ran the Bureau of land management, The oil refiners and coal fired power co.’s populated the EPA, mega-food packers be it animal or vegetable “regulate the FDA. We don’t regulate these industries – – we tell ’em how much they can GET AWAY WITH !

  • Name (required)Catlin

    Until recently I fed my 2 sons ramen noodles too, bc they liked them but we quit eating them and their digestive problems improved greatly. Also, I ate ramen for years, had to have my gallbladder removed when I was in my 20’s and it puzzled doctor’s that I had the condition that I did at such a young age; I had several bowel obstructions for which I had to have major surgery for. All through my 20’s and 30’s I was underweight, I often vomited up everything I ate; underweight, struggled to keep good down. Diagnosed with gastroparesis, Chrons disease. Colonoscopy after eating organic revealed that all of these had cleared up. Hmm.

    • Vani Hari

      Your story sounds similar to the bullshit I make up. I think I need you ASAP as a writer. Are you familiar with affiliate marketing?

  • Chloe

    It’s hard to take this seriously with so many misspellings. They even spelled “cereal” wrong.

  • jackie

    Just checked teddy grahams, wheat thins and Pam I didn’t see TBHQ listed in the ingredients !

  • Faye

    I love the last line of the article:

    “Since when did safe levels exist of any poison entering the body?”

    Can someone please tell this genius that even oxygen is toxic at very high levels?

    • schistdigger

      That line caught my attention also. My high-school chemistry teacher once asserted that the definition of a poison should be – – “too much”. He then went on answering all our questions & refutations of his premise quite well. He fairly well proved that too much of anything can exhibit the effects of being poisonous. However, that being said, the amounts of this chemical which are deadly are quite small – can come from numerous sources – and little was discussed as to the possibility of cumulative effects.

  • Denise

    I did an academic search for the substance and found this abstract.
    Tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ)–a phenolic antioxidant, was evaluated by assessing the induction of sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) in bone marrow metaphase cells of mice. Six concentrations, 0.5, 2, 20, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg, of TBHQ were injected intraperitoneally. A positive dose-response effect in the SCE frequency was observed using the Cochran-Armitage trend test. Two mg/kg of TBHQ was found to be the minimum effective dose. Study of the cell-cycle kinetics showed a delay in cell cycle induced by the higher concentrations of TBHQ. Thus, TBHQ was found to be a DNA damage-inducing agent and also a cytotoxic chemical in vivo in mice

    Reference List
    Mukherjee A, Talukder G, Sharma A. Sister chromatid exchanges induced by tertiary butyl hydroquinone in bone marrow cells of mice. Environmental And Molecular Mutagenesis [serial online]. 1989;13(3):234-237. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 20, 2014.
    That is just one of the journals that I found.

  • Name (required)Pat

    I question the ‘ pictures ‘ of the digesting ramen . Fake ?

  • Joe D

    Did a child write this? Since when did safe levels exist of any poison entering the body? Seriously? Take a chemistry class please.

    • phillip

      yes, like using arsenic in small amounts regularly to poison someone. anyone wants to take arsenic? it’s just one small dose so it won’t kill you–immediately.

  • Food crops are usually unseasonal. However, people desire to eat them around the year. Traditionally food was processed in many ways and usually dried. Fish was smoked in some places. Modern convenience foods had low shelf life. As production scaled up with demand, it became important to arrest spoilage and also maintain consistency. Man made chemical industry came to the rescue with toxic solutions which disabled bacteria from forming and multiplying. Willing academics provided assurance that the human body could resolve minute amounts of toxicity and the commercial consideration usually put to rest any doubts expressed. That toxicity affects Human Homeostasis is known, sometimes in parts per billion also. Humanity is under threat from toxic chemicals like never imagined. Even the use of any foaming bath soap is an issue due to the heavy metal SODIUM. Friends, we need to decide to be honest, first to ourselves and then to our near and dear ones, our babies and the unborn generations. There is more than enough knowledge, expertise and confidence to address issues of toxicity in food. Yes, a PARADIGM shift will be necessary and it need not be painful or disruptive, and can certainly be painless and harmonious too. We must learn to have our cake and eat it too, without violence.

  • nobody

    I think the slower process means you will be full for longer and your body has a better chance of absorbing more nutrients from the home made Ramen then the one that broke down quickly because it has more time to do so, also I’d like to know if the 32 hours it took to digest the smart pill video camera is cause for concern because that’s like 30 hours more work then the Ramen for the stomach to grind on.

  • Peebz

    Seems like that list is just things she doesnt like. Definately isnt a kellogs fan judging by how many times she bought that up in the list… And then theres ‘aldi products’, which im sure wouldnt all have this chemical on them, perhaps they made it on the list out of spite for discounting cornflakes

  • starvedWolf

    only reason I eat them, is because I’m too poor to afford anything else.. lol

  • FraidyMan

    According to Wikipedia and the articles I read on TBHQ, you would have to take a bath in it for it to be lethal. This is largely inflammatory nonsense.

  • wickedproxy

    “Aldi products” So you’re telling me that every product sold in Aldi stores contains this stuff. Every single thing they sell! Even the fresh lemons, lettuce, broccoli, onions, potatoes ect. Sorry not buying it.Do you have a vendetta against stores that try to sell cheaper food? (including fresh unprocessed produce)

  • Ben

    Whenever you eat broccoli you are consuming cyanide. So yes, there ARE safe levels of toxins you can consume. Eat broccoli before getting drunk and your body will kick into toxin removal mode, giving you a head start in battling hangovers.

  • Patrick Wayne Hartleib

    Like I’m gonna quit eating pop tarts let alone my fave Mr noodles which I have eaten for years and just survived on it a whole month in the past. Yes after eating it a whole month I craved other foods but it didn’t make me sick ever so I call shanniggins on this. Might be some truth but I not gonna quit them or my pop tarts.

  • Hi J.C,

    Rest assured that we don’t get paid by companies/corporations, in order to promote (or not promote) any product.

    Thank you for your input. We create each and every article knowing that some will agree, whilst others will disagree, and we welcome discussion about our content.

    Typically, we sensor very few comments, because every one has the right to share their thoughts (in a non offensive manner).

    Wishing you a beautiful day,

    [email protected]

  • Evan Lindsay

    I guess the author of this post failed to watch the end of the video where they said there is no conclusive evidence that slower digestion rate harms the body.

  • Majeed Seventh

    I did nine months in UK, I never accepted Aldi dead food after one experience, I felt there is hidden something in their food
    Their corn flakes contains this dead toxic element (TBHQ)

  • Lanina Roby

    “Other Food Products Containing TBHQ:
    – …
    – Many cosmetic products and baby products
    – Some hair dyes lipsticks and eyeshadows”

    Oh my, I’ve apparently been using makeup wrong this entire time!

  • Nikola Johnny Pavlovic

    “The dose makes the poison” – Paracelsus (1493 – 1541)
    Yea safe levels ‘exist’ (we know about them) since around the 16th centure.

  • Nikola Johnny Pavlovic

    Sorry to break it to you mate, but the world wasn’t ‘made for us’, we just happened to evolve here. Do you eat almonds? The taste they have comes from cyanide. You can feel that taste in your mouth when you get poisoned by cyanide as well. ‘Poison’ is our invention, it has no meaning to nature. Hence the saying:
    “The dose makes the poison” – Paracelsus

  • Nikola Johnny Pavlovic

    By the way, I’m saying those noodles ain’t thrash.

  • Dlem

    “We are made up of many elements, yes, but if we needed any extra of those elements, be them toxic or non toxic then we would have been made with such extras included in our beings. ”

    We in fact do need extra of those elements, we get several of them from breast milk within minutes of being born. Those elements in turn came from food the mother had to eat. That’s how eating works, you take in stuff, and pull out the “elements” you need.

  • Paul Phelan

    Guess what else is totally undigestible and of no nutritional value? H2O!

  • yennyee

    What about other pasta products like dried macaroni and other noodles?

  • Winter Fawn

    This writer apparently did not do ALL of their RESEARCH!!! Very inflammatory and absolute nonsense . According to the writer we apparently are supposed to starve ourselves

  • John Smith 1882

    People!!! Wake up!! The industrial industrial complex is out to kill us all. All in the name of cheap food!

    Look at ingredients in perfume and cologne! Look at ingredients of BUG KILLER! See that there? It’s WATER!

    And the evil government, FDA, and USDA have been telling us to drink WATER!

    They are poisoning us!!

  • Sean Wickham

    I would trust wikipedia as a source more than any publication over 3 years old, especially if they have been cited properly.
    It’s not 2006 anymore, you can stop with the old “wikipedia?” cliches.

  • Sean Wickham

    We are exposed to a consistent amount of radon (about 3 full-body x-rays per year) every year and have been for millennia. None would be good, but we’ve evolved to be able to survive such exposure.

  • Damien

    “Aldi products” lol

  • Wendy

    You know what im tired of seeing things like this Holy Crap everything will give you cancer Damn who cares. Analyze the air you breath that will give you cancer to Geeze really i know that the more you hide from Crap the quicker you will contract it common sense ppl. I read something not to long ago about a 65 year old model grandma who never smoked, drank , ate healthy her whole life who died because her body was riddled with cancer. An old man same age who smoked his whole life drank ate very unhealthily was as fit as a fiddle in perfect health. Its like a virus the more you have it the stronger your body gets because of it and the less chance you have to die from it SAME goes for Crap like this ……..