Why are people so Healthy in Japan?

PatJ

Forum Support Assistant
Messages
4,053
Likes
11,954
Location
Canada
That was an interesting video.

The comments about wheat ignore the high amount of wheat based noodles consumed in Japan.

The points about sugar consumption are important. A lot of North American food has extremely high amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Even bread and buns can have sugar added as basic ingredient, or as a glaze. I've read that even though Japan is a country with a well developed tradition of confectionery, it generally has a lower sugar content than what is found in western sweetened foods and is eaten in moderation.

Looking at many food labels in western stores you'll find different types of sugar listed so the manufacturer can get around the law that requires ingredients to be listed in order of quantity. By using multiple types of sweetener, a manufacturer can have sugar as the majority ingredient even though it isn't listed first on the label.
 

BeADocToGoTo1

Senior Member
Messages
342
Likes
614
Nice video. More real food, less sugar, smaller portions, more fermented foods good for the microbiome, more omega 3s elements stand out. More in the Primal direction.

Sugar content in US food is extremely high and mentioned by so many names. E.g. agave syrup, honey, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, fruit juice, lactose, milk powder, cane sugar or juice, ethyl maltol, caramel, glucose, malt, maltodextrin, sorbitol, treacle, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, natural sweetener, just to name a few.

The food pyramid in the US was corrupted by the food industry, and yet it is used to feed many kids at school.
Marketing along with its deceiving packaging and labeling has been so successful that kids and adults think the following example is a healthy breakfast:
  • Cereal, fruit juice, low fat milk, bagel with fake cheese, sugary peanut butter, or deli meat.
Bread is a particular pet peave of mine in the US where it is extremely difficult to find good bread. You can walk through tens of meters of aisles in a supermarket and find not one loaf that is good. Just the smell alone is to my nose chemically and disgusting compared with a real old-school bakery. Try to find one loaf that uses organic whole grain (i.e. with wheat germ and bran that contain the nutrients and fiber), no sugar or preservatives of any kind, and less than 5 ingredients. Proper bread should not last longer than one to two days before going stale.

Sodas and sugary hot and cold drinks are another obvious one where it is not seen as a once-in-a-while treat, but a daily or multi-daily standard. The sizes ar huge too. One "small" (0.5l) soda contains more than double, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended daily adult intake of sugar. Orange juice has almost the same amount of sugar.

And regarding antibiotics in food, most people are not aware that glyphosate, which is the most widely used herbicide, was first patented as an antibiotic.
 
Messages
2,226
Likes
4,526
Location
Japan
I've read that even though Japan is a country with a well developed tradition of confectionery, it generally has a lower sugar content than what is found in western sweetened foods and is eaten in moderation.
That's been my experience.

Bread is a particular pet peave of mine in the US where it is extremely difficult to find good bread. You can walk through tens of meters of aisles in a supermarket and find not one loaf that is good. Just the smell alone is to my nose chemically and disgusting compared with a real old-school bakery. Try to find one loaf that uses organic whole grain (i.e. with wheat germ and bran that contain the nutrients and fiber), no sugar or preservatives of any kind, and less than 5 ingredients. Proper bread should not last longer than one to two days before going stale.
The bread here sucks too. I wonder if these guys may have the answer to that? :) Joe goes on to talk about resistant starch in this video.

 

PatJ

Forum Support Assistant
Messages
4,053
Likes
11,954
Location
Canada
Try to find one loaf that uses organic whole grain
Long ago when I started looking into bread and baking I came to the conclusion that home-made sourdough bread from fresh ground heirloom grain is the only way to go for the healthiest bread.

1. Home-made because I know everything that goes into the bread: flour, water, sea salt, sourdough starter; and a little vitamin C to strengthen the gluten since I use whole grain flour which contains more fiber. The fiber in whole grain tends to slice the gluten strands.

2. Sourdough for better digestion, bioavailability of nutrients, increase in some nutrients due to fermentation, and natural preservation from acids that develop during fermentation.

3. Fresh ground whole grain to get all the nutrients and fiber available in the grain. Even most store bought 'whole grain' flour removes the germ because it goes rancid so easily. (This blog on Pleasant Hill Grain includes an interesting demonstration using vials of grain and grain parts which shows how much is stripped out to make white flour -- basically the most nutritious elements of the grain are removed. "At the opposite end is bleached white flour… as gleaming and nutritionless as industrial science can make it.")

4. Heirloom grain is important because it hasn't been heavily bred (or genetically modified) to increase protein content and growth rate.

I use an ME/CFS friendly no-knead method that just requires a few quick 30 second sessions of stretch-and-fold in place of kneading the dough. The total sourdough process takes quite awhile but most of that time is spent waiting for the fermentation to take place.

I pre-slice the bread and then freeze it to have during the week. Thawing a slice is done in a toaster, or toaster oven. Add some nut butter and it's a reasonably nutritious quick meal.
 
Messages
2,226
Likes
4,526
Location
Japan
Ive always read that Japan is one of the longest living and in many ways very healthy.
This video is one of the best I've seen, but still falls short on discovering why Japanese people are enjoying such longevity.

This is a puzzle. Older Japanese people are more likely to consume wild foraged vegetables, many of which are known carcinogens if not harvested properly. Here's looking at you Fukinoto.;)

Like other Petasites species, fuki contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which have been associated with cumulative damage to the liver and tumor formation.[3][4] It also contains the carcinogenic PA petasitenine.[4] The concentration of hepatotoxic PAs can be reduced to a concentration below detection limits with a proper extraction process.[5] Since many alkaloids are bitter, traditional methods of preparation may have evolved to remove them.
And I certainly hope they have, I consume Fukinoto in the spring before it becomes too bitter and it is a powerful spring allergy medicine.

But they also are one of the country with most me/ cfs?
I can't find anything suggesting that Japan has a higher incidence of ME/CFS. The only thing that comes to mind, is that Japan has previously conflated chronic fatigue from overworking with ME/CFS. :cautious:
 
Messages
5,004
Likes
11,974
Location
Second star to the right ...
I think it may also be a deeper sense of connection than we have over here (except in parts of what's left of the Midwest) to family, to history, to the continuation of ancestor's traditions in one form or another, to a greater understanding of the concept that everything is connected, including that rock, that cloud, this bamboo, this stream, that woman, this butterfly, that man, this mountain, and the ability that can give something inside of us to feel more Oneness and less Self-ness, which is always freeing.

That can't be bad for your health, even if it's just one brief fleeting moment out of all the many other moments of our very busy, very jangling day.
 
Last edited:
Messages
2,226
Likes
4,526
Location
Japan
I think it may also be a deeper sense of connection than we have over here (except in parts of what's left of the Midwest) to family, to history, to the continuation of ancestor's traditions in one form or another, to a greater understanding of the concept that everything is connected, including that rock, that cloud, this bamboo, this stream, that woman, this butterfly, that man, this mountain, and the ability that can give something inside of us to feel more Oneness and less Self-ness, which is always freeing.

That can't be bad for your health, even if it's just one brief fleeting moment out of all the many other moments of our day.
You should come to Japan. :D
 
Messages
2,226
Likes
4,526
Location
Japan
Somewhere that didn't start relentlessly modernizing in 1945?
Ask and you shall receive. :D
Shirakawa-go
Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances.
 
Messages
5,004
Likes
11,974
Location
Second star to the right ...
What a superlative link for an armchair traveler like me ..... I can visit all the places that seem to call to me, and still have running water and a functioning toilet!!

This was sooo thoughty of you ..... You're absolutely the best, C. Cat :cat: :thumbsup::thumbsup: :hug::hug::hug:!!!
 
Last edited: