8 Principles of Nutrition That Make Japan One of the Slimmest Nations in the World
Japanese people hold an absolute record for life expectancy. Additionally, they are considered to be the slimmest nation in the world because only 3% of residents suffer from obesity. Their special attitude toward nutrition plays a considerable role in this situation. There is a special nutrition system that is recommended by the government and is actively used in Japan. It was developed in 2000 by several ministries and is famous by the name “Japanese food guide spinning top” ( after a popular kids’ toy).
Bright Side decided to figure out what is recommended to the Japanese for eating and how they should structure their diets. So here we are, ready to share the results with you.
- The main feature of the “Japanese food guide spinning top” is the predominance of carbohydrates over low amounts of fat. It’s also recommended to reduce the amount of salt, processed foods, sweets, and drinks containing a lot of sugar.
- All the products are divided into several groups — each of them has a recommended number of portions per day (the size of the portions depends on the age and gender of a person). The basis of the diet is cereals and grains, which are followed by vegetables (fresh, processed, and in soups), meat, and fish dishes. Fruits and dairy products are suggested at 2 portions per day.
- Not only is it important what we eat, but how we eat it. It’s traditional for the Japanese to enjoy their meals. Moreover, it’s recommended to find an optimal rhythm for your body and follow it, trying to have meals at approximately the same time daily.
- The diet is focused on local and seasonal products like rice or fish with the rare exception of including international dishes.
- Every meal should be well-balanced and contain products from several food groups. For example, a typical school lunch in Japan consists of rice, meat or fish, Miso soup, a glass of milk, and a fruit.
- Conscious attitude toward nutrition is formed from elementary school. Lunch is not a break but an integral part of education. During lunchtime, nobody hurries schoolchildren and after finishing their lunch, kids clean the tables themselves.
- It’s important to have moderate meals as well as keep a balance between the amount of food eaten and calories spent. The latter is achieved by different physical activities.
- Keeping ready-made food for a long time and cooking in advance is not something that is considered healthy in Japan. The focus is always on fresh products.
As you can see, the nutrition system of Japanese people is transparent and understandable. Give preferences to fresh products and dishes of your national cuisine, limit the amount of consumed fats and sweets, and relate to everything that you eat consciously. Despite being simple, these rules work very effectively. These research results have been confirmed and were even published in 2016. During this research, a group of Japanese scientists had been studying food habits of almost 80,000 Japanese people for 15 years. It turned out that the mortality rate was found to be 15% lower among those people who follow the official nutrition recommendations.
Do you agree with the recommendations of the Japanese government? What helps you to stay in good shape? Please share your secrets in the comments!