Why is it so Easy to be Thin in Japan?

Why is it so Easy to be Thin in Japan?


If you’ve ever been Japan, you may have
noticed that it’s really hard to find an obese Japanese person. In the United States, it’s quite a different
story. The rate of obesity among adults in America
is on average around 30% whereas the Japan obesity rate is only 3.5%. But what makes the weight of people in these
two countries so different? “Why Japanese people?” At first, I was thinking about things like… Japanese people drink a lot of green tea and
they get a decent amount of fermented foods like kimuchi or nattou which is great for
the gut microbiome. But, in this video I want to focus on a very
simple yet key point about Japan. The food environment is drastically different
from the US. As of 2017 there’s over 243,000 Fast food
establishments in America. There’s only 6,169 establishments in Japan,
meaning per person, there’s about 15 times more fast food restaurants in America. “Why macudonarudo?” Then again, in Japan, fast food, fried food,
chips, chocolate, candy, soda, and not so healthy things are still available wherever
you go. But there’s a huge variety of equally convenient
reasonably healthy food. Let’s say I’m the average busy person
in the states who would like to be healthy but doesn’t have time to cook at home. What’s for breakfast? Most people’s options are limited to things
like a McGriddle with Hashbrowns and coffee, or maybe an Egg and processed Cheese sandwich
with tater tots at Dunkin’ Donuts, or some pancakes at Denny’s if you have more time. Surely some people have more healthy options,
but I’m trying to think of what most people are going to have access to. So what’s a quick breakfast in Japan? While there’s more than 6000 fast food establishments
in Japan, there’s also 5000 “rice bowl” establishments. The big ones are Yoshinoya, Sukiya and Matsuya. And for 4 dollars at Sukiya, for breakfast
you can get Plain Rice, Miso Soup with Seaweed, an Egg, baked fish, and a small potato salad
comes with it. If I’m extra hungry maybe I’ll add some kimchi,
fermented soybeans and stewed beef for 4 more dollars. Or, you can put together a reasonably healthy
meal from a convenience store. At a Japanese convenience store I can get
a rice ball which is just rice, salmon and salt… a small salad, or a package of sushi,
or a thing of fish with miso… Or some soup. I was pretty impressed with how little junk
is in this: it’s basically just vegetables, pork and fish broth. And, there’s a bunch of different foods
like this – here’s what I can get for under 10 dollars USD. Compare this to what’s available in American
convenience stores – they’re limited to fried foods sitting under heat lamps or foods
loaded with trans fat, sugar, preservatives and unhealthy additives. If you’re lucky you might be able to get
a package of plain nuts with nothing added. So the items in Japanese convenience stores
are not top quality health foods, but they’re not bad. This is big because practically everyone has
access to these places, convenience stores like these are everywhere. Japan has about 55,000 convenience stores
meaning there’s about 10 times more convenience stores per square kilometer in Japan compared
to America. For most, these places are in walking distance. I understand that of course there are healthy
restaurants here and there in America and you can make a really healthy meal with ingredients
from the supermarket. But when it comes to cheap, convenient and
quick food – it’s almost always quite unhealthy. In Japan, for a quick lunch, I can go to burger
king, or right next door I can get some sushi. I can get a Hamburger and some Popcorn at
…Vandalism cafe (?), or I can go next door to Matsuya and get a bowl of spicy tofu soup
with a bit of beef, green onion and cabbage, some pork, a soft boiled egg, some mustard
spinach, rice and there’s free pickled ginger to go with it. And of course there are many healthier non-chain
places that offer many different types of cuisine. And this variety is important. It’s going to be much easier to stick to
healthier options if you aren’t getting bored of having to eat the same things at
the same places over and over. Even if you’re going out to drink with friends
at dinner time, there’s still a variety of good food choices. The standard place to drink at is an izakaya
– at 10,000 establishments, there’s almost twice as many izakayas as there are fast food
places in Japan. Replacing fast food for alcohol is not a good
strategy, but let’s see what one of the common izakaya chains have to offer in the
way of food. Let me point out one more time that there’s
of course much better quality food than what you get at convenience stores, rice bowl chains
or izakayas and this is not what most Japanese people eat on a daily basis. I’m not really recommending these places
either – Most Japanese people wouldn’t think of these places as “healthy”. But, this isn’t about optimal health. I just mean to point out that even someone
who puts minimal effort into being healthy can get some reasonable quality meals out
of these very convenient places. By the way, what’s everyone drinking with
and between meals? In America, more often than not it’s soda,
considering a survey of 80 countries found that America comes in at rank #1 for soda
consumption at 170 liters purchased per person in 2011. Japan came in at rank #56 at 32 liters per
person. In Japan most places serve tea with your meal
for free and in general it’s harder to purchase massive quantities of soda – there’s no
comically large big gulps at seven eleven, I haven’t seen these packs of soda here, and
Japan has the smallest “large” cup size at McDonald’s – An American medium size
drink is bigger than a Japanese large. Another factor to thank for keeping people’s
soda intake low is again: variety. What’s interesting is despite Japan drinking
5 times less soda than America, soda is available in vending machines everywhere in Japan. There’s 5.52 million vending machines, meaning
there is a vending machine for every 23 people in Japan – that’s the highest vending machine
per capita on the planet. So what’s in these vending machines? Why don’t we take a look at this vending
machine I came across on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Hakone. Among other things, They have black coffee,
six different types of unsweetened tea and water. A typical american vending machine offers
13 varieties of drink, the only non-sweet one being water. So convenience and variety – simple, but it
makes a difference. It’s easier to pick the healthy choices
when they are just as easy and convenient as the unhealthier choices. Now this is by no means the full story on
Japan and health, but I think these are two key factors. I’ll be doing another video on some of the
many other things that contribute to health in Japan, so if there’s a particular point
you want to hear discussed leave a comment below.

100 thoughts on “Why is it so Easy to be Thin in Japan?

  1. My girlfriend lives in Hawaii so I come there a lot, I’m actually there right now. Hawaii is mostly it’s own separate culture from the rest of the US and it also gets a ton of influence from Japanese immigrants. I’ve noticed that it’s a lot easier for me to lose weight here like you talked about in the video. There’s just so much more healthier options like lau-lau, kaliua pig, adobo, chicken papaya, and lots of rice. And even when you go out to eat there’s still a lot of at least decent options on menus.

  2. The thing is before cars everyone would have to walk everywhere. Walk all the way to the butcher, walk back to the laundromat, then walk forward AGAIN to the grocery.

  3. We shouldn't underestimate the genetics explanation. Asians just have better gens when it comes to weight and body mass index.

  4. I think a few other reasons are is that in Japan, fruit is considered your dessert. Baked goods contain significantly less refined sugars, people walk waaay more and its substantially more warm, at least compared to where I am. Living there I lost a ton of weight and I never considered anything I ate, came back home and so did the weight…sigh..

  5. Better food is only 50% of the reason that Japanese are thinner than Americans. Japan doesn't fluoridate their water. Fluoride destroys the thyroid, making us fat and tired. It's also why the #1 disease in America is hypothyroidism. Because fluoride destroys the thyroid.

  6. Working in a giant retail outlet mall for 9 years, where the clientele is more than 80% Chinese and Japanese, I noticed they would swamp the McDonald’s at the food court. I always wondered how they could eat that and still be thin. No doubt they were eating it as a treat and nothing more.

  7. Same reasons its so hard to stay thin in the USA. They dont have a Mcfat on every corner and advertise sugary treats all over.

  8. I NEVER understood how anyone could eat pancakes/chicken and waffles or literally a BURGER for breakfast?? My breakfast is a cup of coffee, maybe a yogurt and that's it lmfao

  9. Dude wtf kimchi isn't a frigging japanese food. They eat it as a foreign food like every other country. Get ur countries right?

  10. Cause Japan isn’t anywhere near mexico so the Mexican culture isn’t fattening them up like the American women near the border

  11. what does the japanease people think of sushi and the way we view sushi in scandinavia/ west?

  12. Also they don’t eat Thier meal all at once I noticed that they order their meal separately
    Explanation : they order soup eat it and then wait couple min have a talk or anything then order rice and such and anything some order 15 times
    ALSO: they don’t sell a lot of soda cuz they have water that have taste and I been drinking then and they’re AMAZING and they have these enrgy proteins healthy jelly things
    ALSO they don’t have a lot of seats in like streets so they walk a lot and don’t sit much

  13. I HATE how the US is so reliant on meat products. It’s so difficult to find non meat or healthy vegetable options that don’t cost twice the amount

  14. The food industry in the US gets away with things tobacco industry could only dream of. No idea why other than lobbying and likely a massive and long running disinformation campaign.

  15. Video: "It's considerably more difficult to eat healthy in the States"
    Commenter: '"It's considerably more difficult to eat healthy in the States"
    Replies: "how DARE you INSULT my LAND of the FREE I once saw a LETTUCE back in 74"

  16. I think portions contribute also. When we were in America, my little brother and I would split what's considered as 1 serving. The portions in America are huge per person in comparison to Asian countries.

  17. That is what i notice in america because my friend jean is 130 kg but im 35kg and we are the same age but she is considered normal weight

  18. Omg🤢 so much parasite infested food🤮
    Y’all fish( and other creatures) from the ocean almost always have parasites in them.

  19. I agree with the small portion size and reasonably healthy food. Don’t forget that the Japanese walk a lot. At least folks in Tokyo. Let’s not underestimate the power of public transportation.

  20. Japanese tea taste like dirt water lol. Japanese are slim because there actually isn't much variety. Everything is the same everywhere you go here

  21. This is a super late comment but I'd also like to point out the culture of obesity the US has. Especially with men, "fat and proud" seems to be a really big deal here in the us

  22. i would go to japan or china but my sister went and people were taking photos of her since she’s black. i know why but i mean i would be so uncomfortable if people literally asked to take a photo with me over my skin colour

  23. Everyone worried about eating rice because of carbs and soy bc of “manboobs” yet the county built on these staples continues to stay thin.

  24. I don't understand why US delis are so behind the world. Same with huge department stores. Like learn something from Asia and put the 2-3 basement floors as food/drink shops so people can have something to drink or eat while they shop! jesus christ

  25. Japan doesn't have the mentally ill Leftists advocating 'body positivity' there, they understand that a 300 lb woman is not healthy nor is she attractive.

  26. lets not mention overly long working hours low salary which makes people work for longer times and eat less since not that affordable seeing how they have children in school ects. so yeah.

  27. Buying a sirloin steak in Canada vs America is a huge culture shock. Canadian meat tastes like mwat. American meat tastes like cardboard.

  28. I can’t cook many things for myself cuz my disability so I I got to eat frozen vegetarian food pretty often. I’m not sure if that food would make me skinny but maybe I’d be smaller.

  29. America is a fat continent, mostly surrounded by land. Japan is a skinny island surrounded by water and fish.
    Fish is lower cals than starchy crops and cows, this why they are skinnier. People ain’t importing fish to middle America for cheap.

  30. I think there is just an underlying cultural difference. Its not just coincidence that they have better food options… these are all part of the culture. USA culture is hot dogs, nachos and hamburgers.

  31. Obesity will never be obliterated. Big companies not profiting from the cancer drugs etc what a joke. There is too much money to be made with people being fat. On something that is still urgent to talk about (environment), Iceland supermarket in the UK couldn't take out palm oil out their products because it would effect their profits. So it is all about money, we don't get fat, we don't get diseases, drug companies can't make money etc. It's all about money. Humanity has become so evil it's disgusting. We will kill ourselves off and we deserve it.

  32. America: Sugar products = Fat people = Obesity = Hospital visits = Drugs/Medication = Money = Happy Pharma Industry. ( Repeat Cycle )

  33. I find it easier to gain weight in America only because the cost for unhealthy food is significantly lower than the healthy food. Your average American will just buy the unhealthy option because it's convenient and you get more for your money.

  34. When I lived in Japan, I slimmed down because of all the walking and biking. Oh and the small portions relative to high food costs. Rice balls for about $1 was my go to breakfast though. Filling and cheapish.

  35. I meam it makes sense, whenever I don't have time to cook a meal the fastest cheapest options are the fatty preservative poisoned foods.

  36. I wanna move to Japan.. If I can so easily find foods and drinks like this in Norway I would've been more excited to go outside.

  37. can we get a list of sources links that you used in the video? i would like to read some of them myself and i think it could add much more to the reliability of your videos, if you were to add them in the description box .

  38. You can go to Lawson's next door, grab a shrimp, noodle, and cheese dish thing made fresh. They will even heat it up for you in the microwave 😋. Delicious, healthy, cheap, and convenient.

  39. You didn’t mention that almost everyone walks and not drive, they walk to the train and the streets are almost empty next to the us, there metabolism are faster because they walk,

  40. Serving size is an issue too. Rice for instance. Rice is very starchy and you really don't need a full cup of it. The extremely high amounts of protein from the Japanese diet's fish and the colorful vegetables have lots of fiber which balances out the starchy rice. We know how to do it but for some reason, many here still see that as wimpy, unfulfilling food. I've even heard out of the mouth of a major grocery chain's grocery department manager say, "Oh you mean the 'foo foo foods'. " He claimed there were too many of those so they were cutting back in stocking those.

  41. SKINNY PEOPLE ARE FAT ON THE INSIDE. THEY WILL DIE JUST LIKE THE REST OF US. DIABETES, CANCER DO NOT CARE WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU EAT.

  42. It's not really a Japan thing, it's an USA thing. Japan doesn't make you think, America makes you fat. I'm in Brazil and literally everyone I know who spends any significant ammount of time in the states comes back noticibly fatter. Your food and lifestyle are just extremely unhealthy when compared to most other nations.

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