5 Reasons Why the Japanese Are All Thin

The Japanese eat a lot of rice, ramen and tempura. Carbohydrates are known to make you fat, so why are they pretty much all lean? Some think it depends on genetics but that’s not the main reason. It is a mix of things that must be sought in Japanese behavior in everyday life.

Here is a selection of 5 reasons why Japanese people are all thin. Mainly it is about eating habits, Japanese lifestyle and social culture. All factors that prevent most of the Japanese population from being overweight.

In addition, the Japanese also boast a long life expectancy thanks to their diet. Just think of the many Japanese centenarians, mainly inhabitants of the paradise islands of Okinawa. Let’s not forget that currently the oldest living person in the world is a Japanese lady, and she has recently reached the record age of 118 years !

But let’s see in detail the 5 reasons why the Japanese are so thin.

They Eat Single Dishes and Small Portions

The Japanese who come to Europe on vacation are often shocked to see our portions of food and the quantity of courses (appetizers, first, second, side dish and dessert), usually served in restaurants. They are mainly used to eating unique, even substantial, dishes at every meal.

If they order a bowl of ramen for example, which is usually giant, that’s enough. Their traditional cuisine, called Kaiseki, includes small tastings of different dishes, in many bowls. And they preferably dine with only fresh water, which in many restaurants is also free!

Even in the case of Sushi, they are not like us who gorge ourselves on all you can eat. Usually they order a few pieces and eat them, enjoying them, while the chef itamae prepares them at the moment in front of them.

Another thing, very important for the line, they eat little but often: one of the typical scenes to observe when in Japan are the restaurants that are always full at any time. From early in the morning, with people having breakfast with sushi or ramen, to late at night. We also specify that each restaurant has only one or a few dishes to choose from. First decide what to eat and go where they do what you want. Then maybe after 2 hours, you eat something else somewhere else.

They Drink Lots of Unsweetened Green Tea

Earlier we mentioned that most restaurants in Japan give you free fresh water. But it often happens that it is even tea (always free). Specifically sencha green tea. It is the type of tea most consumed daily by the Japanese and is always found in vending machines. It is never sweetened and has high content of beneficial vitamin C.

However tea in Japan, of any kind, is always found without added sugar or sweeteners. So it is both low in calories and perfect to accompany any sweet or savory dish.

The green matcha then, the traditional Japanese, is an amazing drink. It is rich in antioxidants and therefore naturally delays aging. And we know how much the Japanese are keen to stay young. They also say it helps you lose weight because it speeds up your metabolism. And it is also diuretic, so it makes a lot of healthy plin plin.

japanese lifestyle

They Walk a Lot to Go to School or Work

Most Japanese people take the train every single day of their lives. He does it both to go to school, for work or simply for shopping or errands. There are few who use the machine to do these things. Maybe they even own them, because they love cars aesthetically but never use them in everyday life. They can’t even have one if they don’t have a garage to keep it.

Taking the train to get around means going to the stations on foot. And even though in Japan there is a station or bus stop on every street, you still have to walk to it. The thing that in my opinion makes even more difference is what happens inside the labyrinthine metro stations. The larger ones are really tiring to cross, especially if we find sections without escalators.

During rush hour, the trains are always packed so you can’t even sit down. And even once you get off the train you have to walk to your final destination. It has been calculated that on average a person who uses the train daily in Japan walks about 1 hour a day. It is also quite common for Japanese students and office workers to cycle frequently.

It Is Illegal to Be Overweight

No one has ever been arrested for being fat, mind you. But since 2008 in Japan a law called the Metabo law (from metabolic syndrome ) has come into force, which has the health intent to combat obesity in the population. It states that men aged 40 to 75 cannot exceed 85 cm in waistline. While women cannot exceed 90 cm. For this reason, many companies in Japan have their gym workers do gymnastics every morning before spending hours sitting at a desk. And likewise physical activity in schools is highly regarded. All Japanese institutions, both public and private and of any grade, are fully equipped with gyms, swimming pools, baseball fields, basketball courts and so on and so forth.

If You Get Fat They Make You ‘Weigh’ It

Since there aren’t very many overweight people in Japan, those few tend to stand out from the crowd and can feel uncomfortable. The tremendous Japanese ijime bullying towards the plump schoolmate has unfortunately always been quite widespread in this country.

Even friends may incredibly make you notice weight gain. With us it is considered very rude to talk about a person’s pounds in his presence. But the Japanese, usually very discreet and respectful, make a very strange exception in this case. Perhaps because for them it is a way to make it clear that they care about the health of others.