Most Western countries have an obesity epidemic these days, especially countries like the US and the UK. With large amounts of the populations struggling with their weight, we have to wonder how countries like Japan stay as fit and healthy as they do. With the longest life expectancy in the world, the Japanese must be doing something right to stay as slim and healthy as they are. What you might not realize is that there are no magic tricks that the Japanese are using to stay slim. There are no secret elixirs that they are taking in order to remain healthy. There are actually several things that they do with their diet that are scientifically proven to help them to remain slim. Here are the top 10 reasons why the Japanese are so thin according to science.
10. They Have Healthier Fast Food
When it comes to obesity epidemics, one of the main culprits is the fast food chain. This is especially true in America where fast food is probably more accessible than fresh ingredients. With so many fried foods that are laden in fat and salt, it is no wonder that obesity is such a problem in so many Western countries. Of course, it would be ridiculous to think that the Japanese population doesn’t enjoy fast food. The Japanese, like most of us in the modern world, struggle to find time for things like home cooking, too. There are thousands of Japanese fast food joints that are frequented on a daily basis all over the country. However, one thing that you will find is that the fast food joints in Japan is that the food on offer is generally a lot healthier and far less calorific. For example, when serving a burger, a typical Japanese fast food chain will offer a rice cake instead of a burger bun. As you can imagine, this gets rid of a huge number of calories. A lot of the Japanese fast food places also offer a lot of soups and Ramen noodle dishes too, which are a lot healthier. In short, Japanese fast food is a lot like home cooking. It is much less in calories and not full of substitutes, saturated fat and other additives, all of which can really mess up your metabolism and make you pile on the weight.
9. Eating On Time, Every Time
With modern life being so hectic, it’s actually really hard to find the time to sit down for a meal at a specific time. Life is always throwing curve balls and it’s really difficult to know what you’re doing from one day to the next, never mind scheduling in regular meal times. However, something that the Japanese do could be the secret to their success. For the majority of the Japanese households, mealtimes are set and everyone in the home will eat at the same time. They have three meals a day. As a rough rule, breakfast will be eaten between 8am and 9am, lunch is served between 12pm and 1pm and dinner is usually between 6pm and 8pm. The good thing about this is that the body gets used to these regular meal times and it really helps the metabolism. Perhaps this is one of the reasons as to why the Japanese manage to stay so thin and healthy. If you are struggling to maintain a slimmer figure, then the times at which you eat your meals could actually be making a huge difference. Try and have three solid meals a day that are eaten at the same time every day. You may notice that your body starts to adjust and that you are not hungry until your next meal is actually due. It really could make maintaining a slimmer figure much easier.
8. They Are Careful With Their Portion Sizes
When watching American cooking shows, one thing that we can all agree on is that in most cases, the portion sizes are often astronomical. This is true of dishes in the United Kingdom too. American fast food joints are probably the worst culprits with banquet style portions for just one person. The trouble is that when we can see all of this delicious food in front of us, we will want to eat it, whether we are full or not. It is eating in this manner that can cause real weight problems. In Japan, the portion sizes are much, much smaller. The Japanese will typically have a small portion that will fill them up until their next meal. This way of eating allows them to get the fuel that they need for the day without consuming empty calories and eating for the sake of eating. This is one of the major factors in them keeping thin. When plating up home cooked food, a lot of us will end up piling food high and stacking different foods on top of each other just to get a bigger portion. However, by simply eating slower, you are able to feel much more satisfied with your meal. Many people find that using a smaller plate can help, which is perhaps why the Japanese use several plates to serve one dish. It makes sense when you think about it.
7. Their Dinnerware Makes a Difference
When it comes to fast food, the majority of us will simply eat with our hands, especially if the dish is something simple like burgers and fries. Other dishes simply require a knife and fork. The problem with this is that eating at high speed is very easy. This can be especially tempting if you are in a rush and need to get a meal in your stomach as quickly as possible. However, this is bad for the metabolism and also a recipe for indigestion. When we eat at a high speed we tend to feel fuller quicker, but it doesn’t last as long as it should. One thing that you will notice about the Japanese is that they eat most of their meals with chopsticks. This makes eating at high speed near impossible, which is great because it means that you are fuller for longer and your food is digested properly. Another thing that the Japanese tend to do is to serve their food on multiple plates which also slows down the eating process. By slowing down the speed that you eat at, you will find that you feel a lot more satisfied after a meal and that you are not hungry until it is time to consume your next meal. If you find that you are struggling with weight loss, then maybe trying to eat with chopsticks for a week or so might help! For me personally, my coordination is that bad that I would probably cause myself an injury trying to use chopsticks, I have no idea how the Japanese make it look so elegant! Even so, it is certainly something that is worth a try.
6. They Drink a Lot of Tea
I know what you might be thinking, how on earth does drinking tea affect your weight in a positive way. Well, this is not exactly the kind of tea that I’m talking about. The Japanese actually drink a lot of green tea. If you have looked into drinking green tea before, then you will already be well aware of the fact that there are plenty of health benefits that come with doing so. For example, if you struggle with stress and anxiety, then studies have shown that drinking green tea can actually reduce those symptoms. Green tea can also help with insomnia, cardiovascular problems and even cholesterol levels. However, one of the biggest benefits of green tea is that it is great for weight loss and metabolism. The Japanese drink huge amounts of green tea, which is perhaps another reason why they remain so slim and healthy.
5. Their Diet is a Little Different
Another thing that you might have noticed about Japanese cuisine is the fact that it is a little different to what we would eat on a day to day basis. Whilst the majority of us enjoy fried foods and lots of carbs, the Japanese follow a different diet. Their diets tend to be high in carbs but very low in fat. They eat a lot of vegetables and lean meats, accompanied by fish and grains. What makes their diet so healthy is the fact that it is very low in saturated fat. With most people in Western countries, diets are high in carbs, high in fat and high in salt, which does very little for the metabolism and a lot for the waist line unfortunately. Following a Japanese diet could actually be the key to successful weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight and you are struggling with traditional diet methods then perhaps a Japanese diet is the key to your success!
While snacking was once somewhat uncommon, today there is a big snacking culture in Japan. There are also some big differences to the snacks consumed in the West. Japanese consumers are demanding when it comes to creativity, and the multitude of snack products are a reflection of that creativity. While there may be plenty of vending machines ready to dish out a variety of the odd and satisfying quick food fix, there are also plenty of healthy options. One of the main reasons why a lot of Western countries suffer problems with obesity is because of the amount of snacks that we consume. Snacks such as chips, dips and candy are full of saturated fats, salt and sugar. As well as this, the calories that they contain are shocking. While some of today’s Japanese snacks may not be that different, moderation is still key. With a country always looking to be more health conscious, healthy snacks are an available option. So while we may find ourselves chomping down on a bag of salty chips and a Mars bar, the Japanese are not necessarily enjoying a rice cake and a cup of green tea, but maybe their healthier outlook on snacks is one of the reasons why they they are able to keep so fit.
3. They View Eating Differently
For most of us, a typical meal time consists of sitting in front of the television with our food on our laps and eating our food fast whilst binging on TV shows. As you can imagine, this is not exactly healthy, nor is it good for the metabolism or the digestion of our food. With everyone and his dog owning a smartphone, this is another distraction that a lot of us will partake in when we are eating our food. The Japanese have a different view regarding eating. Their food and mealtimes are treated with the utmost respect. They don’t have any distractions around them when they are eating and are very mindful about their food and enjoying it properly. This is far better for digestion and the metabolism. If you want to lose weight, then it can’t hurt to remove all distractions when you are eating and really think about enjoying your food and eating slowly. It really could make all the difference.
2. They Eat a Lot of Fish
When thinking about Japanese cuisine, there is one thing that will spring to mind for most of us, and that is sushi. Sushi has been popular for a very long time, but as time has gone by it has seen a massive increase in popularity with sushi bars popping up all over the world. In the US and UK there are hundreds of them to choose from. However, the Japanese tend to have a lot of sea food in their diet anyway. If you have looked into the benefits of sea food for yourself, then you will know that one of the biggest advantages is that it is very lean, especially when you compare it with meats like steak and chicken. It is also very good for overall health. It can be good for the mind as well as the body, and especially useful if you are trying to lose weight. There are many Japanese sea food dishes that have become popular worldwide, but if you want to start with the basics then sushi is a great option to consider. One of the reasons why fish is so big in Japan is because Japan as a country is actually compromised of a group of islands, so fish is easily accessible. As well as sushi being a staple of the diet for most Japanese people, they also tend to eat a lot of pickled and fermented fish. This may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it certainly seems to be doing the Japanese a lot of favors.
1. They Eat a Variety of Land and Sea Vegetables
When taking a look at a traditional Japanese diet, one of the things that you will notice is the fact that they consume a large number of both land and sea vegetables. When we think of vegetables most of us will think of typical things such as potatoes, green beans or kale, in terms of greens that are very good for you. However, the Japanese take it a step further by adding things like seaweed to their diets. This might not sound all that appetizing and not exactly something that you would want to add to your meal, but the simple fact is that seaweed actually has a number of health benefits including reducing blood pressure and helping with weight loss. Breakfasts in Japan typically consist of regional fruits such as tangerines and persimmons. The majority of traditional Japanese dishes will consist of a number of different land and sea vegetables, which is definitely one of the reasons why the Japanese remain so slim.
As you can see, there are scientific facts that prove just why the Japanese remain slim and healthy. When you take a closer look at the diet that most Japanese people have, it is very easy to see why they have the longest life expectancy in the world. If you are struggling with health issues, or you are trying and struggling to lose weight, then looking into following a Japanese diet might actually be a very good idea indeed. Of course, that is only if you think that you can stomach pickled and fermented meat and vegetables, along with raw fish in the form of sushi. It might not be to everybody’s tastes but it certainly has its benefits, that’s for sure.