Voices
in
Japan

have your say

How healthy is Japanese cuisine?

53 Comments

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

53 Comments
Login to comment

Depends on if it's prepared healthy or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

depends where you go, as it seems that they add meat and dashi to everything these days. dairy products and eggs. word of advise: vegetarians and vegans should cook their own chow. Tempura veggies and tofu are great as long as you prepare it yourself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

very healthy so long you enjoy the taste and don't visit a doctor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can anyone tell me if tofu is healthy? I often have a little bit of cold tofu ("yakko") each day but I hear conflicting reports about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who would know really? I think if what you eat is balanced, any country's "cuisine" is healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

everywhere you look fried foods (tonkatsu, tempura, yakisoba, agemono) and then don`t get me started on mayo on EVERYTHING!!!! yeah, right, healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ajino Moto is a killer. Plus a lot of salt and sugar is added to Japanese cuisine. Not so healthy. Sushi to said to be healthy - but we all know the mercury content is high. Maybe green tea is about the only healthy part of Japan's cuisine - but it is probably sprayed with chemicals. Oh natto must be healthy - I think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tough question. What constitutes "Japanese cuisine" these days? Is it the rice ball, sandwich, danish and energy drink that salary guys eat as their breakfast? Or is it all the diet supplements that women scarf down? In general, however, I'd say the average diet here has way too many empty calories, as well as too much starch and carbos, and not enough lean protein.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having white rice as a staple is a shocker. The processing of brown rice into white strips away the husk and the kernel of the rice grain - bothof which contain good nutrients and vitamins - leaving the starchy, near nutrient-free left over, which makes processed rice white. It's far healthier to eat organic brown rice. And ditch the white bread, which like white rice, is nearly nutritient-free. Otherwise, generally, J cuisine is very healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The traditional cuisine - lots of veggies, not too much meat/fat - was pretty healthy, though it had far too much salt from the miso and soy sauce. After the war it also had far too much sugar.

Today the typical Japanese diet has far too much meat, fat, salt, sugar and not enough veggies or complex carbohydrates. Sushi is mercury-laden fish on polished-to-death white rice in sweet vinegar with nary a veggie in sight. Whoever decided that was a healthy choice must have been eating really badly.

The healthiest way is to eat 'international' - Japanese once or twice a week, Italian ditto, Indian ditto, Mexican ditto, Middle Eastern ditto, whatever else you fancy or are good at cooking ditto. The pros and cons of the different styles should cancel each other out over the long term. And try to keep your carbs complex - brown rice in preference to white, wholemeal bread/pasta in preference to white, leave the skin on your spuds and apples.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Excellent post, cleo... Nothing but truth. Cheers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Compared to other sauces/dressings rich in animal and plant fat I think fish and soy bean derivatives for flavor are far more healthier as found in more traditional Japanese dishes. I would love to Eat like a Japanese Shinto Priest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We should ask this question in association with this news story: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japans-oldest-person-dies-at-114

It is very well known that the most elderly (especially those over age 70 or so) in Japan eat a very different diet than the younger population. Also, many of the elderly in Okinawa eat a diet that has become world famous for health and longevity. (refer to The Okinawa Program book and website.) But perhaps ‘cuisine’ and diet are 2 different issues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well I've been here 5 years, ate Japanese and gained 5 kilos! so I guess not too healthy!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure because I cover everything in Ajinomoto mayonnaise. Never thought Mayo and rice could taste so good. Im almost tempted to take a little bottle to my local sushi train.lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have no idea what could possibly be healthy about white rice, sugar-filled bread, tons of deep-fried foods, and everything covered in mayonnaise. :/ So, no.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Sushi is mercury-laden fish"

It is not. Sushi is the best fast food.

"mayonnaise"

Heh, heh, I recently heard a Japanese person say that mayonnaise is not food, and should not be eaten. This person may indeed be right, but I'm sure what this person would say about Miracle Whip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sillygirl at 10:00 AM JST - 4th May everywhere you look fried foods (tonkatsu, tempura, yakisoba, agemono) >and then don`t get me started on mayo on EVERYTHING!!!! yeah, right, >healthy

You should try "shojin ryori". Not enough red meat in it for me though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cleo beat me to the punch - too much salt in it for it to be healthy for me, not good for my blood pressure!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo at 11:02 AM JST - 4th May Sushi is mercury-laden fish on polished-to-death white rice in sweet >vinegar with nary a veggie in sight. Whoever decided that was a healthy >choice must have been eating really badly.

That "mercury laden" part was that veganosity showing. All fish are hardly "mercury laden" and you know that. Agree more veggies could help.

The healthiest way is to eat 'international' - Japanese once or twice a >week, Italian ditto, Indian ditto, Mexican ditto, Middle Eastern ditto, >whatever else you fancy or are good at cooking ditto.

Really good Indian usually has a pool of oil on top and a salt content that could burst your arteries. Mexican is considered the ultimate for the sodium, fat and cholesterol lover. The healthiest way is to eat a balanced diet. And by balanced I mean one that includes animal proteins.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really good Indian usually has a pool of oil on top and a salt content that could burst your arteries. Mexican is considered the ultimate for the sodium, fat and cholesterol lover. The healthiest way is to eat a balanced diet. And by balanced I mean one that includes animal proteins.

And that's your carnivorosity showing, Ossan. A diet can be balanced without having dead bodies in it.

I do a 'really good Indian' that doesn't have either a pool of oil on top or a mountain of salt inside. My veggie chili beans has very little cholesterol. If you eat restaurant food and take-aways on a regular basis, you're guaranteeing yourself an unhealthy diet, regardless of whether or not it has dead bodies in it and regardless of its ethnicity.

The occasional fatty, salty, sugary meal will do little harm, if daily fare is kept simple. It's when people expect to eat the rich stuff often and regularly that they have problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A pretty broad question. Let's see, there is the super salty ramen, sausages you don't have to keep refrigerated because of the preservative content, mercury laden dolphin meat and sashimi, all the fried foods like ton-katsu and many more unhealthy foods. I guess the thing that makes cuisine healthy for Japanese people is the fact they generally eat a third less than Europeans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Staple is white rice, lots of salt in pickles and miso and shoyu and lots of sugar in mirin and added sugar. Still probably on the healthier side but servings have increased, fried food has increased too. Not as healthy as Korean food is my guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really good Indian usually has a pool of oil on top and a salt content that could burst your arteries. Mexican is considered the ultimate for the sodium, fat and cholesterol lover.

Seriously? really good? It sounds like your only experience of these foods is Indian all you can eat buffet, and Taco Bell. Mexican food and Indian (mediterranean) food shares something in common with healthier Japanese food. The use of delicious and nutrient rich beans. Japanese food is really high in sodium, and to make things worse, they put fried meat in EVERYTHING. It's ironic, since my Japanese friends tell me how unhealthy "western" food is, while they fill up on kara-age curry, and other such fried foods. Another question, why is it that you can only find white bread here? white rice too. And why is it that Japanese versions of Western food use less healthy ingredients? Lard? seriously? MSG? no thanks. Preservatives? I'll pass. I don't really think Japanese people truly understand healthy living, at least not anymore anyways.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My twin brother eats a typical American diet and is 50 pounds heavier than me. As some state... very salty here and the modern cuisine is mashed up with western... Tokyo is very European with food. I would say the Japanese body (actual muscle which they lack) and blood pressure differs from westerners. I believe the young Japanese live off conbini and McDs... however traditional JN cuisine is great. To me personally the food here is overrated, like everything else here. The Japanese are similar to Europeans... they buy fresh fruits and veges daily when the yanks hit the grocery store once a week.... So freshness gets an A, however.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I`m always shocked at how my MIL puts a sliver of tomato and one lettuce leaf in a "side salad", a piece of carrot in the miso soup, 2 strawberries for dessert and considers that a diet "rich in fruit and vegetables".

I wouldnt say the supermarket food is all that fresh to be honest - US/UK supermarkets are usually delivered to straight from the farms, but the J system has many "middle-men" and produce sits in warehouses for several days before hitting the shelves. Thats partly why people shop most days.

I try to cook with tons of fruit and veg but it is very expensive here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wouldnt say the supermarket food is all that fresh to be honest -.....the J system has many "middle-men" and produce sits in warehouses for several days before hitting the shelves.

Looks like I'm living in a different country again....

Our two big local supermarkets each have a 'local produce' corner where farmers can bring their produce direct - no middle man. And the local JA is 70% local produce, the farmers drop the stuff off on their way home from the fields.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like the wide variety of leafy greens available here, and the way that they are cooked in hotpot dishes seems very healthy to me. Recently a super-healthy form of brown rice, called "hatsuga-genmai" has started to become widely available. It's not cheap at the moment, but just wait for the price wars to heat up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too much salt, too much carb, saved by lack of gluttony. Insofar as Japanese eat better, it's because they eat less overall and avoid sugary drinks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It depends on whether you want to insert the word "comparatively" before the word "healthy" in the question. White rice may not be an ideal staple but compared to french fries, which seem to be the de facto staple in America, Britain, and to a lesser extent Australia, I'd suggest that it's pretty good. Similarly, green tea v coke stands up extremely well; given that Americans get over 20% of their daily calories from drinks, that makes a massive difference. That's more an issue of diet than cuisine though. And in general I'd suspect that the average Japanese eats a healthier diet than the average westerner. For example, I was in a cheap chain izakaya last night and we ate bamboo shoots, edamame, a seafood salad, fried chicken (sorry Cleo) and onigiri. I think that probably compares pretty favourably to what I would probably have eaten in a similar price range British pub - fish and chips, lasagane and chips, pie and chips, sausage and mash, or American bar - buffalo wings, french fries, ribs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is more a comparison between western fast food, and Japanese food. Western diets minus the fast food are very healthy. Organic vegetables, and organic breads, cereals, rice. The problem is, fast food has become an acceptable form of nourishment in, well, English speaking countries. The truth is, Japan is plagued with the same problems. the greasification of its food. I think American's get a worst-case scenario everytime this comparison is brought up. Truth is, American food goes beyond just hamburgers and fries. Meat has only recently become the large portions you see now. As well, America offers more variety in food available, than Japan. I'd much rather buy my produce shopping in an American grocery store, than a Japanese one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All you English teachers out there, ask your students what a typical Japanese breakfast constitutes, and I guarantee that there'll be a triumphant chorus of "rice, fish, miso, pickles!"

Then, ask them what they actually had for breakfast this morning (or any morning). Go ahead, just try it. You'll be surprised, and so will they.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Healthy" comnpared to WHAT?

Modern cuisine, IMHO, is Not heatlhy at all, not saying old cuisine was healthier as many food sources were not commonly available.

But than the medical proffession gets paid now by interest groups to scare us in to NOT eating X or Y or even worse to increase our uptake of W or Z.

ANYTHING taken in excess will result in health problems, had a friend that had Vitamin C poisoning.

One reason why Humans became the dominant species is that like Pigs(very intelligent) we are omnivores, thus designed to survive on a variety on foods. Which gave us the edge when shortage of other food-stuff drove other species into extinction.

So anything in moderation is good, IMHO.

HTH.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As many have said, the Japanese diet today has far too much salt, and everything in the shops are laden with MSG and sugar (my folks back home wonder how Japanese diabetics survive, and trust me, there are diabetics in Japan).

Can anyone tell me if tofu is healthy?

Of course it is. Just don't eat too much of anything - variety is the spice of life - whether you're a meat-eater or vegetarian. I know there is a minority who say that tofu is bad, but I'd take that with a pinch of salt, just like I do with the crowd that says milk is necessary. Traditionally, the East Asians have eaten a lot of tofu and practically no dairy products and yet they have low rates of osteoporosis - I don't see them dropping dead. Of course, today it's a different matter with the Japanese eating all sorts of junk food.

And be very careful of cookies made in Japan - trans-fat shortening is in practically all the products. I do think that the Japanese know far less about nutrition than others - in the US and UK, you get a lot of obese people, but you also have access to a wide variety of healthy food. And I wish the Japanese would stop trumping this fifth taste called umami - utter BS, used to peddle MSG.

White bread, white sticky rice, white pasta are the staples here. Japanese white rice is so over-rated. Good luck finding wholemeal bread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the average american diet is far healthier than the average japanese diet in terms of the balance of nutrition and lack of fats. costco hamburger? 90% lean. j ham/pigburger (aibiki for the unitiated) is 50% lean and half of that fat is lard. where it falls down is that for some reason americans have gotten in the habit of eating twice on average of what would be a reasonable caloric intake daily.

no osteoporosis in asia? come on, haven't seen all those old men n ladies bent over that cant stand up? ?

japanese people live longer for two reasons. one is that they are just smaller on average. small people live longer, just like poodles live longer than st. bernards. the second is that people with lower daily caloric intake live longer. there have been many studies to these points. with the sudden increase in hormone laden milk and beef will soon bring the life expectancy here into line with the western countries as the average size of people increases.

finally, the healthiness of a diet has to take into consideration of the safety of the food. any benefits from a lack of red meat is far more than made up from the parasites, 0157, pesticides etc...

great post by tessa, the average j person has a diet far different than the diet they claim to have.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no osteoporosis in asia? come on, haven't seen all those old men n ladies bent over that cant stand up? ?

Do you have proof that osteoporosis is just as prevalent or more in East Asia, compared to western countries? Because I don't. And I am also talking about those people who haven't been brainwashed yet into believing that dairy products are essential for a healthy diet.

I'm going to hazard a guess that those old women and men who can't stand up are.......OLD!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One thing I can't fault the Japanese for is their wonderful habit of drinking green tea all day, every day. If you haven't acquired the habit yet, then start! You're certainly in the right place for it, after all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo at 07:42 AM JST - 5th May The healthiest way is to eat a balanced diet. And by balanced I mean one >that includes animal proteins. And that's your carnivorosity showing, Ossan. A diet can be balanced >without having dead bodies in it.

I prefer the term omnivorousity myself. I eat dead animal bodies and dead plant bodies equally.

I do a 'really good Indian' that doesn't have either a pool of oil on >top or a mountain of salt inside. My veggie chili beans has very little >cholesterol. If you eat restaurant food and take-aways on a regular >basis, you're guaranteeing yourself an unhealthy diet, regardless of >whether or not it has dead bodies in it and regardless of its ethnicity.

Certainly can not disagree with that. Almost all restaurant foods place a priority on taste over health. And pre-made foods in the supermarkets place a priority on shelf life over health. Just about anything you can make at home from fresh ingredients with yourself in control is healthier for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

jam_sandwich at 11:29 AM JST - 5th May Seriously? really good? It sounds like your only experience of these >foods is Indian all you can eat buffet, and Taco Bell.

Never been in either my entire life.

Mexican food and Indian (mediterranean)

OK, I give up. What's Indian (mediterranean) food?

food shares something in common with healthier Japanese food. The use of >delicious and nutrient rich beans. Japanese food is really high in >sodium,

In Kanto yes, in Kansai no.

and to make things worse, they put fried meat in EVERYTHING.

Fried meat in everything? The only "fried meat" I can think of in Japanese cuisine is the ubiquitous Tonkatsu and the Chicken Kara age. Other than that I can't think of any "agemono" involving meats.

It's ironic, since my Japanese friends tell me how unhealthy "western" >food is, while they fill up on kara-age curry, and other such fried >foods.

Junk food. Katsu-Karee. Never seen Karaage on Curry but sure some fast food place like go-go curry might do something like that. If this is an example of your appreciation of Japanese cuisine, I don't think you should be making blanket statements.

Another question, why is it that you can only find white bread here?

Because that's what they like in Japan. But you can find alot of other breads in Japanese bakeries and depachikas.

white rice too.

White rice was the highest form of rice that Japanese could eat prior to the Meiji era. It was eaten by the nobles and wealthy. The average peasant ate mixed rice and in many cases not even rice; millet.

And why is it that Japanese versions of Western food use less healthy >ingredients? Lard? seriously? MSG? no thanks. Preservatives? I'll pass.

Perhaps you could provide some examples?

I don't really think Japanese people truly understand healthy living, at >least not anymore anyways.

I guess that must be why their average lifespan is much higher than the west.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OssanAmerica, I agree with you on most points for once, but times are changing.

The average lifespan in Japan was due to their mostly vegetarian diset supplemented by oily fish in certain regions. Until recently Soy Sauce was not so widely used, this is one of the downsides of Japanese foods with its high salt content. Luckily i hate it, unless aonly a small amount used.

As for the main topic, traditional homemade Japanese food is very healthy compared to other nations and the fact that probably half or more Japanese still eat homemade food of this type means obestity,diabeties and other mainly Western problems are still low.

Looking at what is happening with "modern" Jpaanese food, we see too may additices, fried foods , MSG and other nasty things. The amount eating this junk is growing and Japans health problems will increase if there is not an effort to promote healthy eating in the young and "busy" housewives. Japanese fast food is very bad, so Japanese need to be educated about this or healthcare costs will rocket in the near future unless either a tradional diet/health conscious/ mediterrainian or similar diet is not encouraged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stevecpfc at 05:27 AM JST - 6th May OssanAmerica, I agree with you on most points for once, but times are >changing. The average lifespan in Japan was due to their mostly vegetarian diset >supplemented by oily fish in certain regions.

Disagree. The biggest change in the Japanese diet occurred under the Meiji government (late 1800s) which literally "forced" people to eat meat and dairy products.What you describe is the Japanese diet up to and including the Edo period.If a Japanese person is 100 years old that means they were born in 1910,well past the major change in the Japanese diet. In fact by 1910 the meat dishes well known today, like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu were already well established.

Until recently Soy Sauce was not so widely used, this is one of the >downsides of Japanese foods with its high salt content. Luckily i hate >it, unless aonly a small amount used.

As far as I am aware the wide use of soy sauce in Japanese cooking goes back to the Kamakura period (1192). Most of the major brands of soy sauce known today were in existence as soy sauce makers during the Edo period.

As for the main topic, traditional homemade Japanese food is very >healthy compared to other nations and the fact that probably half or >more Japanese still eat homemade food of this type means >obestity,diabeties and other mainly Western problems are still low.

Fully agree with this.

Looking at what is happening with "modern" Jpaanese food, we see too may >additices, fried foods , MSG and other nasty things. The amount eating >this junk is growing and Japans health problems will increase if there >is not an effort to promote healthy eating in the young and "busy" >housewives. Japanese fast food is very bad, so Japanese need to be >educated about this or healthcare costs will rocket in the near future >unless

Yes, agree this is happening in Japan. It has already happened in the United States and basically is happening all over the world.

either a tradional diet/health conscious/ mediterrainian or >similar >diet is not encouraged.

What's with this "mediterranean" diet? What are we talking here? Squid in it's ink? Pasta? Boulliabaise? Couscous? Souvlaki? What "mediterranean" food and why is it "healthy"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In fact by 1910 the meat dishes well known today, like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu were already well established.

Depends what you mean by 'established'. People knew about them of course, and liked to eat them occasionally; but even as late as the 1970s when I first came to Japan, they were very much a 'special' dish to be brought out only for purposes of celebration and/or seduction or to impress the gaijin guest. They, and other meat-based dishes, were not a significant part of the regular Japanese diet. (Neither, as an aside, was tuna - that too was for special occasions only, not the 'staple' it has become today).

What's with this "mediterranean" diet? What are we talking here?

The principal aspects of this diet include high olive oil consumption, high consumption of legumes, high consumption of unrefined cereals, high consumption of fruits, high consumption of vegetables, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate to high consumption of fish, low consumption of meat and meat products, and moderate wine consumption[6]. More than any other food ingredient, olive oil represents the Mediterranean diet. (Wiki)

and why is it "healthy"?

Olive oil is also nutritious and contains a very high level of monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid. Epidemiological studies suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked to a reduction in coronary heart disease risk.[7] There is also considerable clinical data to show that antioxidants in olive oil can provide additional heart health benefits such as positive cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol reduction, and that it exerts additional anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects in humans. (also Wiki)

Tastes good, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OssanAmerica, My mother in law lived in rural Hyogo from early 40`s . As a child she would have dairy produce only a few times a year as a treat and most food was cooked with vegetable stock and Soy sauce was not used so much. Her other family memebers also recall dairy/beef/pork to be an infrequant treat. This diet may have been encoutaged but may not have been affordable or accessable to all.

Most Japanese foods that include meat were for the better off, many living away from the sea also did not have fish regulary except for preserved (usually salted or pickled) fish. Even though they had a small variety of foods to choose from the diet was healthy and lifespan as we know was long.

The problem with Japanese food is the wide gulf between traditional and modern food in the way of healthy eating/nutritional value. Packet foods in Jpaan are to be avoided, containing looks of nasty stuff in most cases and as yet healthy varieties are not available, but low calorie and reduced salt version are starting.

As for meditteranean diet, usually it is regarded as using olive oil for almost all fat needs, only fresh veg, pastafresh sea food and grains. Really it means traditional, but not French with all those rich sauces.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is fairly healthy from what I can see. My in-laws eat little meat, a lot of fish and vegetables. The Western diet has far more fat and meat in it, which cannot be good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stevecpfc at 09:49 AM JST - 6th May OssanAmerica, My mother in law lived in rural Hyogo from early 40`s . As >a child she would have dairy produce only a few times a year as a treat

From the early 1940s? Meat was definitely a "special treat" moreso in rural areas than cosmopolitan centers. Income levels also made an enormous difference. Milk was a part of the elemtary school kyu-shoku by the mid 1960s. Older folks would not have had dairy products the way the children did at the time.

and most food was cooked with vegetable stock and Soy sauce was not used >so much.

Very typical Kansai cooking. My mother in law is from Kyoto and her cooking is the same way.

Her other family memebers also recall dairy/beef/pork to be an >infrequant treat. This diet may have been encoutaged but may not have >been affordable or accessable to all.

The nabe dishes were (and are to a lesser degree) almost always infrequent treats. There is a huge difference in meat usage from the early 1970s onwards when you start seeing Japanese teenagers start topping 175-180cm in the 1980s in the trains.

Most Japanese foods that include meat were for the better off, many >living away from the sea also did not have fish regulary except for >preserved (usually salted or pickled) fish. Even though they had a small >variety of foods to choose from the diet was healthy and lifespan as we >know was long.

Agree with that. The catch is that a great many old Japanese folks have been far away from that old kind of diet for quite some time but Japan still has a very high average lifespan.

The problem with Japanese food is the wide gulf between traditional and >modern food in the way of healthy eating/nutritional value. Packet foods >in Jpaan are to be avoided, containing looks of nasty stuff in most >cases and as yet healthy varieties are not available, but low calorie >and reduced salt version are starting.

Agree that packahed Japanese "convenience" foods aren't healthy at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo at 09:47 AM JST - 6th May "In fact by 1910 the meat dishes well known today, like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu were already well established." Depends what you mean by 'established'. People knew about them of >course, and liked to eat them occasionally; but even as late as the >1970s when I first came to Japan, they were very much a 'special' dish >to be brought out only for purposes of celebration and/or seduction or >to impress the gaijin guest.

True, they were well known. But they are both nabe-dishes which fundamentally are not frequently eaten but rather "special treats". Incidentally when I was in Yokohama last year I was invited to a Sukiyaki house that claimed to be the first to serve it in Japan in the late 1800s. It was called "niku nabe" at the time.

They, and other meat-based dishes, were not >a significant part of the >regular Japanese diet.

How about the ever present Tonkatsu?

(Neither, as an aside, was tuna - that too was for special occasions >only, not the 'staple' it has become today).

When was tuna ever for "special occasions"? I belive "Tai" the Red Japanese sea bream, salt grilled, is the fish for special occasions. Tuna was considered a cheap unclassy fish and was eaten by the workers in the Edo period metal forging mills, hence the name "Tekka" for maki and donburi. But fully agree that with the advent of affordable kaiten-zushi joints as well as the increased global demand due to the worldwide popularity of sushi, Tuna is definitely taking a beating. Even a stroll through the fish departments of a Japanse supermarket these days shows a disproportionate amount of tuna being sold amd bought.

What's with this "mediterranean" diet? What are we talking here?

Thanks for that. I make quite a few Italian (Northern) and Greek dishes as well as dishes like Babaganush so I'm familar with the description. I've been doing so for "taste" reasons rather than "health" but I won't complain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i don't think cuisine will do much or even do a thing to our health at all. nutrition imbalance can be bad and sometime deadly to anyone, favor any cuisine in the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love it when Cleo and Ossan get together.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As long as there is heaps of soya sauce, lard in certain dishes and fried bento I would say that Japanese cuisine is not very healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would say pretty bad. Really bad really. I study nutrion a great deal. I am an avid fan of bodybuilders. I would say on average Japanese food is simply horrible. On the good side of the spectrum they eat healthier food than America. On the other hand, in America I feel that we view fried food as a special thing. once in a while. Here it seems fried food is indeed a very common staple. I could bring up whole grains, rather the lack of. Their love of simple carbs. Their love of alcohol. They eat a lot of vegetable, but for the jury is still out to the nutritional value of the veggies they eat. Onions and cabbage aren't really loaded nutrition. Fiber maybe, but thats about it. But who am I to say anything. they are a lot skinner than me, and I eat 7 small meals a day, head to the gym, run, eat vitamins and supplements by the fist full, and eat less calories than a Jr High student. Yet 99% of them are skinner than me. I guess is 99% genetics and they seem to metabolize junk food and turn it in to golden meat and absorb vitamins out of the air. so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Am I to understand that the mainstay of Japanese diet is NOT found at a conbini then? Wow, could of fooled me... Seriously, the fatty kids being churned out now in schools will rival those of America. Traditional Japanese food nutritious? Miso soup (salty but full of nutrients), pickled vegetables, (not fresh, but still vegetables), and rice, lots and lots of rice. Highly calcium and protein deficient there. Given fish wasn't consumed daily,and meat even less so, I am to assume the reason why Japanese live so long now is because of the introduction of Western food. Another reason for longevity is behavioural (particularly Western machoism). Many people, especially men, have a distrust of the medical profession, and therefore avoid medical attention, this is true in both America due to its price, and even other countries with good health care, Canada. Japanese people on the otherhand trust doctors wholly, and therefore, tend to vist more often when sick, and follow their advice closely. The real reason I think Japanese food is "healthy", is misconception, combined with a penchant for Japanese to embellish things about their culture. (Nipponichism). I think the health claims of Japanese gets embellished for this reason. Food may be a factor, but a variety of other things factor into the longevity of Japanese, one of the most important one is universal health care, and a good focus on preventative measures for sicknesses, rather than relying on pills. The J-gov has gone so far as to decree how many times people need to chew their food for chrissake! Living on a "Western" or in my case North American diet is no less healthier than a Japanese one. I have access to the same amount of fresh vegetables (in fact a larger variety), leaner meats, low fat yogurts, cereals, whole grain bread etc. So is Japanese cuisine? In my opinion, yes definitely, is it healthier than that of Western cultures, not likely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it depend. our maincuisine is healthy. fast foodsare unhealthy. one thing i know is that japanese cares too much about weights and healths. jam sandwich...mc donalds are scary.that french fries crap dosnt rott even 8 week pasts.wonder what is in there :}

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How are Japanese people amongst the healthiest people on Earth when their food contains lots of salt and sugar? Especially sauce, like sauce for yakitoris, but also red bean paste is like half sugar.

7 Secrets to the Way the Healthiest Japanese Eat

The traditional Japanese diet does not consist of a lot of sugar and salt. The traditional Japanese diet is the way the Okinawans eat (whose lifespan is among the longest in the world.)

Portion control - the actual amount of food consumed helps determine both your weight and your overall health (a typical traditional meal contains probably 1/2 the portion size of an American diet.)

Balance - a traditional Japanese meal consists of soup (with kelp), vegetable, grain, protein, and fermented pickle at the end of a meal. This meal is both balanced and nutritively complete.

Diet contains probiotics, which increase digestion. Sometimes the meal will contain three probiotic elements, i.e. Natto for protein, miso soup with digestive enzymes, and fermented or pickled food at the end.

White processed sugar was essentially introduced into the Japanese diet in the 1880s, with a subsequent rise in all forms of degenerative disease. It is not typically included in a traditional Japanese diet.

Sodium is necessary in our diet, and a traditional Japanese diet contains sodium that occurs naturally in various foods, i.e. miso, soy sauce, and tamari. It is not, however added commercial grade salt, found in the diets of many westerners. This type of salt is cut with aluminum and is far more harmful than salts derived from the sea (which are full of a wide variety of minerals.)

There is a pattern or way in which to eat. Starting with the miso to begin the digestive cycle, then protein, going to the grain, then to the vegetables, then to sea vegetables, and lastly to the fermented pickles. Compare this to the way most Americans eat.

Chewing. Typically traditional Japanese dining consists of much chewing. I wondered why, then saw this YOU ARE "HOW" YOU EAT “chewing stimulates the release of parotin hormones, which encourage the thymus to create T-cells, the protectors of the immune system. Parotin hormones are released by the parotid glands, located on each side of the jaw behind the ears.” - this from scientific studies by Dr. Tomozaburo Ogata of the Schooll of Medicine at the University of Tokyo.

I have adopted the ways of eating for the past 25 plus years and have been blessed with good health, stamina and the ability to follow and manifest my highest dreams.

As I saw the results of others, and watched my own health grow, I was inspired to study Macrobiotics, the art of eating for longevity. It is based upon the way the traditional Japanese ate/eat. (Macrobiotics means big or large, life, or a life that includes all the elements consciously balanced.)

I hope this has helped someone.

Peace and Bon Appetit!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites