Thursday, August 25, 2011

Japanese Diet vs. American Diet

Livestrong features a nice article outlining the key differences between the Japanese diet and the American diet. Some thing I want to point out is that many Japanese eat mostly white rice. For those who want to opt for a healthier meal, they should replace white rice with brown rice, pearl barley, or mix different grains into their white rice, also known as zakkokumai or kokumotsu gohan.

Another thing I want to mention is that after World War II, most Japanese are strictly taught not to waste food. It is considered good manners to completely finish your meal and not leave anything to be wasted. So, when the article mentions that Japanese tend to “stop eating before they’re full” this is not necessarily true. It is true, however, that portion sizes are much smaller in Japan than in the US, so it is much easier to finish a meal set.

One factor the article does not take into account is that the Japanese drink a lot of green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, which helps in the breakdown of fat. Wine, especially red wine, also contains a lot of polyphenols and is a theory behind the French Paradox. There are other fruits and vegetables that contain polyphenols.

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