Ramen-style noodles, a staple in the pantry of broke college students, has been the mainstay of one teenager's diet for the past 13 years, according to an article in the New York Daily News.
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Georgi Readman, 18, of the Isle of Wight, U.K., refuses to eat fruit and vegetables and exists solely on packaged noodle soup, a snack that often contains high amounts of fat, saturated fat, and sodium. One package typically boasts 400 calories and 20 grams of fat.
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Readman, who is 5'3'' and 98 pounds, told the Daily News that she became hooked on the noodles when she was five-years-old and her mother still buys her packages by the dozens. She estimates eating 30 miles of noodles per year and the thought of eating anything else makes her sick.
“I hate the texture of fruit and vegetables," she said. “I can’t go to my friends' for dinner or go out for meals because I don’t want them to see me freak out if the side salad touches the stuff I eat. Mum goes to the supermarket and brings back as many packets as she can afford. I always fancy noodles and could easily eat two packets at once. I’ve even eaten them dry and uncooked before!”
Many children develop picky eating patterns after they turn one because their bodies naturally need less food and their taste buds change so they become more opinionated and selective about what they eat. Plus, at that age they're often on the go so it can be hard to get them to sit down for properly balanced meals. And although parents might give in to the demands of their children because it's easier than arguing about food, one recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 78 percent of picky eating habits can be attributed to genetics (only 22 percent are caused by environmental factors).
Readman could not be reached for comment but according to her doctors, she is malnourished and has the health of an 80 year old.
"That sounds like an accurate assessment," says Lisa Kaufman, a pediatrician at Village Pediatrics who has not treated Readman. "A diet of instant noodles has likely wreaked incredible amounts of havoc on her organs. The body—especially one that's still developing—needs protein, minerals, and nutrients to grow; that's just basic common sense. Without it, this girl has probably suffered stunted growth and IQ, osteoporosis, heart and kidney damage, and high blood pressure. Her lifespan has likely been shortened as well."
Kaufman adds, "Kids would eat ice cream every day if they could but it's the parent's responsibility to broaden their palates, introducing various foods and textures to them."
At 18 years old, Readman's eating habits are so ingrained that it would likely take a major mental and physical overhaul to improve her health. "In order to get off the noodles, she may need hospitalization and an education in nutrition," says Kaufman.
Curious about how the human body responds to ramen noodle and other processed foods? Check out this graphic Ted Talk presentation.
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