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Time-Tested Effective Japanese Foods for Weight Loss

Updated on September 23, 2012
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Japanese Foods for Losing Fats and Keeping Obesity at Bay

There are plenty of Japanese foods for weight loss.

In fact, these Japanese foods for weight loss have already become part of what is widely known in the western part of the world as the Japanese diet.

Some of these Japanese foods for weight loss are konnyaku, shirataki, natto, and okara .

These Japanese foods for weight loss, together with other healthy Japanese foods, have been credited as the main reasons for Japan’s relatively low obesity rate.

In recent studies, international researchers revealed that Japan has one of the lowest obesity rates among developed nations of around 3% of its total population, much lower than the obesity rate of the United States of around 30% of its total population.

Recent introductions of western-style foods like caloric hamburgers, deep-fried French fries, and loaded pizzas into the Japanese people’s diets might likely increase Japan’s obesity rate in the near future.

Notwithstanding recent trends in the Japanese people’s diets, there is still wisdom to be learned from traditional Japanese foods that can actually facilitate weight loss and keep weight in check.

Some of the top Japanese foods for weight loss are discussed below.

1. Konnyaku – the Japanese Food that Sweeps the Intestines Clean

Arguably the quintessential Japanese food for weight loss that the Japanese people have been eating for the past 1,500 years is the konnyaku, a virtually zero-calorie food that fills up the stomach very quickly.

This Japanese food for weight loss is made from the dietary fiber glucomannan and is composed of 97% water and three percent fiber.

Glucomannan helps clean the impurities in the intestines of humans.

Because of its glucomannan content, konnyaku has long been regarded as the “broom for the stomach” in Japan.

Other than the fact that it is very low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and has practically no fats, konnyaku also:

  • aids in averting diabetes
  • helps prevent high-blood pressure
  • facilitates in normalizing cholesterol levels
  • gives minerals like calcium
  • has the benefits of an alkaline food

2. Shirataki – the Noodle Version of the Japanese Food for Weight Loss Konnyaku

The noodle version of the Japanese food for weight loss konnyaku, shirataki is a kind of especially thin and translucent noodles that are fantastically low in carbohydrates.

Shirataki noodles are made from the Konjac plant that is widely grown in Japan and parts of China.

From the flour of the Konjac plant, shirataki noodles are made.

Just like konnyaku, this Japanese food for weight loss contains the dietary fiber glucomannan that is extremely low in calories, high in fiber, and is definitely filling to the stomach.

On their own, shirataki noodles are bland, making them an excellent mix with other foods like vegetables, seafoods, spices, and herbs.

They are also chewy and have a texture that is far different from western-style pastas.

3. Natto – a Distinct Japanese Food for Weight Loss

A Japanese food for weight loss with an incredibly sharp smell and distinct taste is natto, a food made from steamed and fermented soy beans that have grown healthy bacteria called natto bacillus.

Natto is a Japanese food for weight loss that can throw many people off and strike horror in their minds because of its smell and taste.

However, natto has been eaten in Japan since the country’s feudal days over 1,000 years ago and has survived up to the modern times to become a staple breakfast for many Japanese people.

While its smell and taste might be pretty strong, natto actually facilitates digestion because of the cellulose that it has, making it an indispensable part of any serious diets.

Other than its weight loss benefits, natto is also:

  • rich in Vitamin K2 that substantially prevents bone loss
  • loaded in Vitamin K that suppresses blood clotting, enhances proper functioning of the liver and facilitates the flowing of urine
  • high in soybeans that keeps the skin looking supple and glowing

4. Okara – the Soy Pulp that can Help People Lose Fats

Eaten in East Asia since the early 20th century and now a part of many Western vegetarian diets, okara has become a Japanese food for weight loss.

Okara is made from the off-white pulp of soybeans found during the production of soy milk.

Because it has soybeans as its main ingredient, okara is low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in nutrients like calcium, iron, protein, and riboflavin.

This Japanese food for weight loss can be eaten as cookies, burger patties, and ingredients in stews.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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    • JIN1128 profile image

      JIN1128 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I love Japanese food but natto is not my favorite.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Ben Zoltak Hi there! If you've got an authentic Japanese restaurant over there, then I'm sure they'd have natto. Just try to brace yourself, however. It won't smell good at first. You've got to get used to the taste, too. So that might mean eating natto several times before actually liking it :)

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Natto! Ah so that's what it is! Very good, I love it, it sounds like it would be difficult to find here in Wisconsin, USA but there are some Japanese restaurants so I will look for it. It sounds like, just like authentic miso, real Natto needs to be fermented like yogurt, voted up and awesome!


    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Kathleen Cochran Congratulations, you're losing excess pounds! Good for you :) As you know sushi comes in a staggering variety so it's really difficult to say which ones are for losing weight. In general though, sushi is an excellent source of low-calorie, high-quality protein. It's also low in saturated fats and cholesterol :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I've recently gotten hooked on Sushi. I have it for lunch two or three times a week, and I swear I'm losing weight without changing anything else in my diet. Is sushi one of your "losing weight" Japanese foods?

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Susan Ng Natto rolls? That's something new for me. Thanks for mentioning. I heard that some people really think natto is too nasty for them so they try to make it into something palatable, say natto omelet. I guess they could get the same nutrition by doing that, if not more, but I think they have to take care not to add any ingredient that is too fatty.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I've heard of natto rolls but I've never tasted them. I'd really like to try all these foods you mentioned one day though. :) Unfortunately, I suck when it comes to cooking so I'm going to have to wait until a restaurant has it on their menu. Hehe. ^_^

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @rjsadowski Thanks for the compliment :) Hope you found the article and videos useful.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 6 years ago

      I am always interested in food from all over the world and my daughter loves anything Japanese. The videos really add to our understanding.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @VENZKHVAM Thousand thanks for leaving a well thought-out comment. Really appreciate the time you put into writing it. I'm also happy that you found this hub useful. Hope you can try out some of the dishes here. They're super healthy :)

    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Dear kerlin ,

      Frankly telling you this is one of the delicious hub I had ever read till now.I am a food lover basically that made me slightly 10 kg over weight also.

      Such a nice foods like Konnyaku in Szechuan Style, NATTO all are really watering my mouth .

      I am definitely bookmarking this hub and pass it to my friends.

      MOREOVER this time tested weight reducing foods is indeed a gift to all the hub readers .

      I here by appreciate you for this wonder full hub with lots of nice pictures and videos WHICH is very useful to obese people specially.. voted up and useful.


    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @nanospeck Really glad you found this hub informative. Appreciate your comment :)

    • nanospeck profile image

      Akhil Anil 6 years ago

      great info. this is a precious guide to people looking to reduce weight.