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Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

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South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21)

SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Seoul, South Korea - August 19, 2014

1. Mid of cooking instant ramen noodles in a boiling pot

2. Mid of customers eating ramen noodles

3. Tight of woman cooking ramen

4. Tight of ramen cooking in boiling water

5. Mid of woman adding ingredients to ramen

6. Tight of man eating ramen

7. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Han Seung-youn, diner (Transcript Below)

8. Wide of customers eating ramen noodles

9. Tight of ramen

10. Mid of customers eating ramen

11. Mid of cardiologist Park Deok-woo looking at heart images on the computer screen

12. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Park Deok-woo, Cardiologist, Asan Medical Center (Transcript Below)

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Beijing - August 19, 2014

13. Wide of exterior of Beijing Railway Station

14. Tight of instant noodles in a bag

15. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Feng Xiaowei, migrant worker (Transcript Below)

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Seoul, South Korea - August 18, 2014

16. Wide of people buying instant ramen at the supermarket

17. Tight of ramen on shelf

18. Mid of customers looking at boxes of instant ramen noodles

19. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Jeong Ki-hoon, customer (Transcript Below)

20. Tight of ramen packages

21. Mid of customer grabbing package of ramen

22. Tight of customer putting ramen in cart

23. Mid of customer looking at ramen package

STORYLINE:

THE SPICY, SALTY NOODLES AND BROTH KNOWN AS RAMEN IS THE EPITOME OF CONVENIENCE - NO WHERE IS IT MORE POPULAR THAN IN SOUTH KOREA.

IT COSTS LESS THAN A DOLLAR A PACK AND involves only THREE STEPS - BOIL THE WATER, POUR IN THE CONTENTS, AND EAT.

SOUNDBITE (Korean) Han Seung-youn, diner:

"I think the merits of ramen compared to other foods are the fact that I can eat it comfortably, anywhere, and it guarantees above-average taste wherever I go."

BUT THE SAVORY NOODLES MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY BY BAYLOR HEART AND VASCULAR HOSPITAL IN TEXAS EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF RAMEN IS LINKED TO INCREASED RISK OF DIABETES, HEART DISEASE AND STROKE.

SOMETHING SOUTH KOREAN DOCTORS WORRY ABOUT TOO.

SOUNDBITE (Korean) Park Deok-woo, cardiologist at Asan Medical Center:

"Ramen has a large amount of sodium and is high in salt itself. Since ramen is high-calorie of carbohydrate, its carbohydrate, high-calorie and large amount of salt itself can have a direct influence on blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and metabolic syndrome."

IN CHINA, HEALTH CONCERNS AND CHANGING TASTES ARE TURNING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE INSTANT NOODLES.

SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Feng Xiaowei, migrant worker:

"It's just easy and convenient. I eat it only in time of urgency because it's not good to eat.

BUT IN SOUTH KOREA..RAMEN IS INGRAINED IN THE CULTURE - INTRODUCED IN THE EARLY 1960s AS THE COUNTRY BEGAN TO CLAW ITS WAY OUT OF POVERTY AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KOREAN WAR.

SOUNDBITE (Korean) Jeong Ki-hoom, customer:

"Rather than getting mental stress, I think it is a better way to sometimes eat ramen to appease my appetite. If I pay too much attention to the negative aspects of ramen, then I get stressed."

MORE INSTANT NOODLE PACKETS PER CAPITA ARE CONSUMED here THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD - PROVING THE COUNTRY'S LONG TIES TO THE NOODLES MAY BE HARD TO BREAK.

MATTHEW BURGOYNE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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