why are the Japanese so slim?

Why Are the Japanese so Slim?

When you go to Japan you might think “Wow. The Japanese are so slim.” Well, I did too. Japan’s obesity rate is actually just 4.2% – one of the lowest in OECD-countries. Compare that to the 40% in the United States. Something must be different. Are the Japanese really so healthy? And why are the Japanese so slim? I have lived there and know why. So, here are 7 reasons why the Japanese are so slim and healthy.

Table of Contents

Why Are the Japanese so Slim?

There are 7 main reasons why the Japanese are so slim compared to people in the west.

  1. Japanese food is generally more healthy.
  2. The Japanese don’t drink suggary beverages.
  3. Portion sizes in Japan are smaller.
  4. The Japanese use many small dishes which is said to decrease appetite.
  5. Japanese people don’t snack.
  6. Western fast food chains have to compete with healthier, cheaper and sometimes even faster taditioniol restaurants.
  7. Lastly, many Japanese eat on the floor which is said to prevent people from overeating.

I’ll now go into more detail on each of these points and show you why the Japanese are so slim and healthy.

1. Japanese Food

why are the Japanese so slim?

The first reason for why the Japanese are so slim obviously lies in their food choices.

Japanese food is generally known to be healthy. They don’t add much sugar, don’t apply much sauce and the things they eat are generally less calorie-dense than the foods we eat in the West.

But the Japanese also care a lot more about what they eat. As I described in an earlier article, every Japanese meal has to include carbohydrates (rice), protein (fish, meat, tofu) and healthy fats (beans).

2. The Japanese Don't Drink Soda

why are there so many vending machines in Japan?

Despite there being over 5.6 million vending machines in Japan, almost no one drinks soda. Most drinks you find in a vending machine don’t have any sugar in them. Japanes people simply prefer drinking a green tea or a hot coffee.

So not drinking any soda is another reason for why the Japanese are so skinny.

3. Japanese Portion Sizes

Just compare the small coke you get at a McDonald’s in Japan to the one you get a cineplex in the USA. It should be obvious why the Japanese are slimmer than people in the United States…

And those smaller portion sizes might be the reason for the comparatively low number of calories the Japanese consume a day.

An average Japanese person consumes about 2800 calories per day. That’s 1000 calories less than an average citizen of the United States takes in!

4. Japanese Dish Sizes

Japanese people don’t put their whole food on one big ass plate. They divide everything into small plates. One benefit of doing that is that it makes everything look nicer but also makes you eat less because it makes you think that you’re eating more than you actually are.

Why do the Japanese use so many plates?


5. The Japanese Don't Snack

Snacking isn’t really a thing in Japan. And when they do, they don’t eat unhealthy snickers. The Japanese eat a healthy onigiri which is a triangular-shaped rice ball wrapped in seaweed with something inside it, e.g. tuna or umeboshi.

Of course, there are many kinds of snacks in Japan but most of them aren’t as calorie-dense as snacks in the West.

6. Japanese Fast Food

In Japan there are many family-run restaurants which serve only one menu which changes every day. They are called 食堂 shokudo and you can go in there, sit down and already have the meal ready in front of you.

Restaurants in Japan offer great healthy food for low prices. So why would you ever go to a McDonald’s if you could get this for even less?

7. Eating on the Floor

The last reason why the Japanese are so slim might be because many eat while sitting on the floor. Sources claim that sitting on the floor to eat can prevent you from overeating. That might be true, however I think sitting on the floor is just uncomfortable which makes you want to stand up as fast as possible. This will then make you eat less.

Related: Why Do the Japanese Eat and Sleep on the Floor?

That’s it. These were the 7 reasons why people in Japan are so slim.

Do you have any questions left regarding the Japanese diet? Then feel free to ask them in the comment section.

If you also want to cook as healthy as the Japanese, I can recommend these Japanese cookbooks: https://amzn.to/3dWbDCt

I hope you liked this article, and if you did consider sharing it with your friends, thank you!

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Why Are the Japanese so Slim?

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