Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Japanese Diet vs USA Diet


Today we’re focusing on the Japanese diet. The reason we are is because they have the lowest obesity rate on the planet and the highest life expectancy rate. Their obesity rate is only three percent and in America it’s thirty percent. That’s ten times the obesity rate in America, and compared to France, France has twelve percent obesity rate, so Japan, yes, is the lowest obesity rate in the world, and then the longest lifespan, so they’re doing something right. They are lean machines.
Today we are going to talk about the difference between the American diet and the Japanese diet and why they are able to live so long and so healthy. The first thing that I noticed is the Japanese diet consists of mainly rice as their starch, and then when they do consume noodles they consist of buckwheat or whole wheat. White flour is hardly ever used in their starch containing foods.
In America, our staple, white, enriched, bleached white flour that’s very common. Then potatoes are another one of our starch staples. The great thing about rice, and although the Japanese do consume the white rice version, it is the low-fat complex carbohydrate, so it fills you up very quickly. It does not leave a lot of room for you to be going after sugary foods after your meal. That’s a lot of the problem when people do low carb diets, they get hungry so quickly because carbohydrates serve to expand in the stomach and help fill you up, satisfy you so you don’t keep eating.
The point is that it’s a complex carbohydrate, and their noodles are a complex carbohydrate which is a superfood, and I made a video about that, so they’re getting all of the benefits of the buckwheat, especially that it has higher protein and higher fiber.
The next interesting fact about the Japanese diet is they are really a vegetable crazed nation, they are a vegie nation. I read a survey and the survey reported that Japanese women and their families reported their favorite meal, and I’m going to read it to you because it is so awesome, is that their favorite dinner that they like to prepare for their families, so in other words they are cooking at home, they are not buying this out, that’s another important point, but it’s made of mixed vegetables simmered in seasoned broth, and it includes red bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, onions, burdock, tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, spinach, bamboo shoots, turnips, shitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes and seaweed. That is a mouthful of vegetables and obviously their variety of vegetables is a lot higher than America, and it would serve us well to kind of take after their example.
The next difference is that the Japanese consume two times the amount of fish that they do meat, and then when compared to Americans, Americans consume forty times more meat than fish, and the thing about the fish that the Japanese are choosing to eat is it’s salmon, tuna and sardines, which are all high sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
These are the types of fats that help to reduce inflammation and that inflammation will often come from stressful lifestyles. If you do have a high paced, stressful lifestyle which promotes inflammation you can combat that with these types of foods, these fish that are high in the good types of fats.
Another difference is the consumption of sugar between the Japanese and between Americans. The Japanese only consume forty eight pounds of sugar every year where as the Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar every year. So, as Americans we are consuming three times the amount of sugar every single year, and actually, it’s coming out now, that sugar, excess sugar has more of an impact on heart disease and inflammation than actually fat does on heart disease. That’s a really important statistic right there. The Japanese don’t even really like sugary desserts like Americans do. Their typical dessert is sliced and peeled fruit that is centered on a plate.
I actually have a friend who is Japanese and she recently moved to the states and she was just blown away by how much sugar is in everything and she was saying how crazy it was because everything she ate tasted to her like it had sugar in it, which is actually the truth, unfortunately, but she said everything tasted sweet.
Then when it came to desserts, if they have ice cream, they may have a little scoop of ice cream, and then of course, you can get this huge banana split and she was just really shocked about the difference. Yep, I mean it’s true, Japan consumes a lot less sugar than we do. The portion sizes are a lot smaller in the Japanese diet.
They actually take longer periods of time to eat their food. They chew more. They use chop sticks which allows them to just take a little bit more time. It’s really easy to shovel in food when you’re on the run, but Japan, it’s culture is very centered around enjoying and savoring the food experience. That aids in digestion. It helps you to eat less calories and food in general because you give yourself a chance to feel full before you keep eating everything.
Americans get about thirty different types of food per week. Thirty different specific foods. Europeans average about forty five different foods per week. The Japanese average over a hundred different types of food every week!
So the amount of nutrients that they are getting, the different types of nutrient profiles that they are getting in their food is so large and it’s so expanded that they are really able to provide adequate nutrition to their bodies just based on what they’re eating. A lot of times when you are really centered on a few certain food groups, if you’re a picky eater and maybe you only eat four things, you are really limiting yourself to the amount of nutrients that you can get.
That’s the great thing about the Japanese diet is that it’s so diverse and it’s so varied that they’re making sure that they get what they need.
Another awesome thing is that the Japanese actually teach their children how to eat and what to eat. They encourage their children and it’s through education, and they believe it’s important enough to educate their children about nutrition, which I find fascinating. They encourage their children to eat at least thirty foods a day and to aim for a hundred different types of food a week. That is ensuring that they are getting enough variety. I’ve run across it so many times that when children, and especially in America, they tend to be picky eaters. They really can live on chicken fingers, french fries and ketchup. I’ve just run across so many families that that is their kids’ staples. I think it’s really awesome that a culture is emphasizing variety as much as they do.
The beverage that is the staple for the Japanese is green tea. It’s hot green tea, it’s brewed, it’s usually not sweetented. The number one beverage in the United States? Of course, soft drinks. A couple of videos ago I did one on cereal, and I talked about how cereal was the third most purchased food at the grocery store. Well, number one is soft drinks, so right there that shows you, between the Japanese diet and the American diet why they are getting so much less sugar in their diet. It’s because they are not drinking soft drinks all day long like we are. They are drinking unsweetened green tea which actually does have antioxidants in it.
There are certainly some great benefits and some great advantages of a Japanese diet.
No, it’s not perfect and we can absolutely learn some things from their diet and from the things that they do, and we can apply it to our lives and it can help up live happier lives, we’ll feel better, we’ll just be better overall. I encourage you to take this to heart and start trying these out.


Fae said...

I actually eat very similar to a japanese diet, because I LOVE japanese food! The bigest difference is I get more low-fat dairy.