is nothing sacred? scaremongering about Ramen noodles at TED

This video is as misleading as it is disgusting:

The basic premise is that they had someone swallow a small pill containing a tiny camera, and filmed the digestion process for instant ramen noodles, gatorade and gummy bears versus more “natural” versions of those foods. And shocker, the processed foods did not seem to digest as quickly as the non-processed versions. There’s also some chemical scaremongering about how the ingredients in Ramen are “related” to butane which is a component of gasoline.

The whole thing is clumsy and ham-handed and (of course) gross; basically, the recipe for instant viral success. But just because the noodles retain their shape longer hardly means they are not being digested; if they were really immune to acid then they’d come out in the same shape as they went in (a rather obvious point ignored by the artists here, who have clevely titled their project M2A for “mouth 2 anus”)

The top-rated comments on the video also are worth sharing as solid critiques:

62+ packets assuming the maximum allowed amount of TBHQ (0.02% per product). I’d worry more about sodium intake before then (and ramen is full of sodium, natural or otherwise, no arguing there).

Oh, then this gem– “survive Armageddon”– ramen has an official shelf life of about 6 months. It’s flash-fried and then quickly dried. This is the major preservative. TBHQ preserves the oils.
But what do I know? I don’t have a fancy degree in media art production like Ms Bardin.

This video is just misinformation and half-truths. “Artificial flavours are intellectual property”? True, but they are disclosed to the FDA (in the US). The FDA must approve all artificial colours and flavours. No ifs or buts.
TBHQ is chemically related to butane, in so much that it contains a butyl moiety. So does butter. Butter and butane share a root word– butyrum. Butter is natural. Where’s that info in this video? Plus, you’d need 62+ packets @ 80g to get 1g of TBHQ, the “sick” amount.

5 thoughts on “is nothing sacred? scaremongering about Ramen noodles at TED”

  1. Ubu –

    J – the nice thing about Ted is that there is really great stuff there, and you browse to what you want. Granted, some of the speakers evangelize their perspective, but that is the point! There have been some simply amazing talks. I try to watch at least one a week.

  2. Maybe there are needles in the haystack, but every time I see a TED talks linked somewhere, it’s hay. And, honestly, I avoid almost all online video due to poor presentation and low information density; I’d rather skim a transcript than suffer through video, even from people whose written work I like.


  3. TED is dead.

    When you let someone just make up crazy talk, and give it the cred of the TED brand, you’ve just committed suicide. There is plenty of TED junk out there nowadays.

    N of 1, different foods, different concepts in packaging, their fates in digestion are different of course, but significant biologically? Nope.

    Cool camera.

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