Eww! Pill cam captures ramen noodles in stomach

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A first-of-its-kind experiment by a Boston doctor could make a lot of people think twice about eating ramen noodles and other processed food.

Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital wanted to find out exactly what happens to food in the stoman and digestive tract.

Not long ago, we couldn't see inside the body.

But thanks to the "smart pill," a camera tha size of a multi-vitamin, Dr. Kuo could do his experiment, and post the results on the internet.

The video has gone viral and is sparking a lot of conversation.

It shows what happens in the gut of someone who ate a package of instant ramen noodles. That's the kind of meal which college students and others on a budget know very well.

Chemically preserved for a long shelf life, no one has ever seen what happens to the noodles inside the stomach until now.

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.

The study can't conclude that the processed food is harmful. In fact, Dr. Kuo says his study group was too small to be conclusive about anything but the need for much more research.

"People have this interest in what's going on in their bodies," he says.

He adds, "I realize that the video is out there and it's provocative."

Dr. Kuo does plan studies which might reveal whether the slower digestion affects the amount of nutrients the body absorbs.

"It's still not really clear the impact it has on the G-I tract. Many things are good in moderation. I think processed foods still need to be investigated further," he says.

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