Recently we did a trip to Japan and we were quite surprised by the lack of a obesity in the community. Although genetics and exercise must play a part in the Japanese physique, we made some observations of their eating style that may have been contributing to this lack of obesity.
We were amazed by the variety of foods presented at each meal, including breakfast . For example, our breakfast consisted of small bowls of miso soup, fermented vegetables,a small omelette, potato with bacon, fermented soybeans, a small piece of salmon, pumpkin and rice . The key here was the diversity of the foods presented in small quantities . The breakfast was typical of a traditional Japanese meal. This usually consists of vegetables which are rich in fibre and antioxidants, seafood which contains lots of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, fermented foods which help with the proliferation of beneficial gut bacteria, soy based products that contain phyto-oestrogens helping both male and female hormone profiles and substantial amount of protein to help with blood glucose control and providing the body with essential amino acids. These aspects of a traditional Japanese meal provide a variety of foods in moderation and during a typical day a Japanese person consumes about 15 to 20 types of food, if not more. A typical Japanese meal consists of one soup and three dishes besides the main carbohydrate. The soup helps with the sensation of feeling full to prevent over indulgence. At the end of the meal, typically green tea is also consumed which is full of antioxidants and other compounds that have been shown to help with brain function, weight loss, cancer prevention and anti bacterial. Seaweed and sea vegetables are used liberally in Japanese cuisine which contains beneficial minerals and vitamins including valuable iodine for proper thyroid function to maintain metabolism. There is a distinct lack of sugars in the many traditional Japanese meals.
Diversity in the diet improves the diversity of your microbiome which appears to be associated with improved health.