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The Japanese Diet: Controlling Portions and Eating a Variety of Healthy Foods

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The obesity epidemic may be a worldwide issue, but according to WebMD.com, Japan’s obesity rate of 3 percent is the lowest in the industrialized world. Many researchers claim that Japan’s obesity levels are so low due to their healthy diet consisting of balanced foods and controlled portions.

The Japanese diet has also been linked to overall healthier and longer lives. Japanese people are known to have the highest life rates, and webmd.com said, “They can also anticipate an average of 75 years lived healthy and disability-free, the World Health Organization reports.” Because the Japanese diet contains a variety of low-fat and low-calorie foods, individuals gain many health benefits and are at a lower risk for health issues related to a poor diet.

Rather than piling foods on a plate, the Japanese find it important to arrange meals in an appealing way. Everydiet.org explains that when food is thoughtfully displayed, individuals are more likely to fully enjoy each bite. Savoring food and eating slowly can also cause people to eat less because they have more reaction time to register when the stomach is full.

Portion control is another significant part of the Japanese diet. On WebMD.com, Naomi Moriyama, co-author of "Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen," said that unlike serving a lot of food on a large plate in America, Japan divides food among smaller plates and bowls. Eating smaller servings forces individuals to eat recommended food servings while also cutting overall daily calories. When portions are smaller, it is also less tempting to overeat because just the right amount of food is set out rather than too much food. According to WebMD.com, “Research shows that when we’re served more, we tend to eat it - whether we planned to and were hungry for it or not.”

Japanese Diet Foods

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that because so much of Japan’s land is filled with forests, mountains, cities and rice fields, the country uses the sea as a main food resource. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines and tuna are staples in the Japanese diet.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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