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Lose weight with a Japanese healthy diet

Updated on January 5, 2015

Japanese healthy food

Most people know that a Japanese diet is healthy especially when you compare the health statistics with foreign countries, but most foreigners are not able to stomach a lot of typical Japanese food such as raw fish (sashimi), raw squid, octopus, eel, sea urchin, seaweed etc...

The majority of westerners are not really raw seafood fans but not all Japanese healthy food has to include raw sea creatures. Most Japanese food can be cooked from ingredients from you usual food store.

A lot of foreigners living in Japan have lost weight by simply including for Japanese style food in their diets which covers more of a spectrum of foods.

How to lose weight

Most foreigners assume that the size of the portions are simply too small however you will be rather surprised how you can get after eating very small portions of food in different varieties, it actually satisfies your hunger quickly without the heavy feeling of a big meal. I have always been used to having just a big plate of friend rice, or hamburger steak etc.

The typical meals are a small/medium bowl of plain rice, a bowl of sauteed meat with veg, usually mushrooms, Grilled fish (salmon), a small bowl of salad and Miso soup.

These are very frequent meals will help one me to lose weight with no exercise. With moderate exercise further weight loss can be achieved.

Have a go at separating your food into small separate bowls, dishes to share with your family instead of having a plate to yourself - see the change.

Sea food diet

Japanese and Koreans have a lot of sea food in their diet. Seafood in Japan is rarely fried so large quantities can be enjoyed without piling on the calories. Sea weed is also popular, it comes in two forms. 1. Nori - which is dried seaweed and flattened out like paper, it is wrapped around rice to make rice balls or Onigiri. 2. Wakame, the seaweed in its natural form is often used in soups.

High percentage of salad

In Japan, the salad and vegetables may occupy around 40% of the main meal which helps with a very balanced diet. Many Japanese like to snack on salad while drinking, whereas many people in the west may prefer to snack on potato chips or nuts.

Tips for healthy eating habits

Don't be surprised but there is a lot of unhealthy options in Japanese food too, e.g. the Ramen Noodles and even worse the soup itself.

1. Make sure you order water or green tea as soon as you sit down and stay far away from fruit juices and other drinks that are high in sugar that can bloat you out. There are many sweet and high calorie drinks in Japanese restaurants. Especially the Calpis which is a milky sweet drink.

2. Never skip the salad. In fact in most places you may get a salad with the meal, but if not make sure you order one. A combination of seaweed and cucumbers is one of the best combinations and low in calorie. Give yourself less room for the carbs later on.

3. Try eating with chopsticks as this slows down your eating for most foreigners. The slow you eat, the easier you can recognize when your stomach is full. Also, avoid appetizers, deserts and cocktail style drinks that are loaded with sugar. Japan has some very tempting deserts.

4. Cut down on the soy sauce. Soy sauce is high in sodium which is not good for people with high blood pressure. Many Japan like to mix the soy sauce with other ingredients such as mustard (good with spring rolls) or even chili sauce.

5. For the starers it is best to try to stick to vegetable and foods with high proteins rather than anything fried. The sashimi itself without the rice is a good starter as it is high in protein. The sushi is basically sashimi with rice and that would be a carbs overload for a starter. If you don't like raw fish that grilled fish, meat and vegetable would be the next option. Just avoid the fried items, even if they do look tastier.

6. Avoid too much rice in the main meal. Just half a cup of rice contains around 200 calories. Brown rice has a lot less but not always available, especially in Japanese restaurants where the sticky white rice is important for eating with the chopsticks.

Japanese food to avoid

Gyuudon - This is the Japanese Beef bowl which consists of just rice, onions and beef. Many foreigners think it's healthy, but it is basically a calorie overload. A typical size bowl has between 600 and 700 calories which is more than a Burger King Whopper. It may be good for an after workout re-fulling though.

Sukiyaki - This is even worse than gyudon due to the high amount of carbs, sodium and sugar. The sugar comes mainly from the broth when cooked. A typial serving many contain from 800-900 calories. Japanese definitely don't eat this every day.


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    • profile image

      Colin 3 years ago

      The Japanese do tend to eat healthy, and looks healthier too.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 7 years ago from Japan

      Brettb - Yeah they do tend to snack a lot. Especially in my office.

    • brettb profile image

      brettb 7 years ago from London

      I don't know about sushi but when I was in Japan I sure saw Japanese women eating a lot of cake, pizza and Pocky!