How to Eat Like the Worlds Thinnest People

By Amy O'Connor | April 15, 2008

WagashiWhile the rest of the world gets fatter, the Japanese—who are already the worlds thinnest people—seem to be getting even thinner, especially young, urban Japanese women.

While there are many unhealthy reasons for this, including high smoking rates and social pressure, a popular Japanese food blogger, Makiko Itoh, says that the Japanese also move a lot more than Westerners do, and they eat smaller portions.

Then she added another plausible explanation: "Japanese people usually dont have dessert." Hmmm.

Itoh says that the traditional Japanese meal never includes a dessert course, and that the Japanese eat sweets, called wagashi, infrequently.

In an effort to nudge down my burgeoning BMI and broaden my culinary horizons, I decided to adopt this unorthodox approach to weight loss. I headed to a Japanese bakery near my office and bought a few wagashi.

They looked like round, fossilized sea creatures and tasted sort of like sweet, chewy potters clay. "My palate doesnt even recognize this as edible," one of my colleagues lamented. I was amazed by the exotic texture.

The Japanese are not fond of cream, chocolate, butter, or the fattening ingredients that comprise the typical Western dessert. Their treats are made from rice flour and adzuki beans (Itoh includes several recipes on her blog if you have lots of free time on your hands) and are sometimes garnished with sesame seeds.

If you get the chance, try wagashi. Theyre an unusual taste treat. And once you chomp your way through one, your cravings for Western-style desserts—or anything else, for that matter—will be sated for hours.


Comments (2)

The following content represents the opinions of Health.com users. It is not editorially reviewed for medical or factual accuracy. It does not constitute medical advice. See your doctor for medical advice.
  • Anna Frasier

    Im not even Japanese, and I recognise this comment as erroneous: The Japanese are not fond of cream, chocolate, butter, or the fattening ingredients that comprise the typical Western dessert. The Japanese diet is generally healthier, however, the Japanese LOVE this type of food! But, social pressure to stay slim is so much stronger. For example, I am a US size 6, and yet I had difficulty finding clothing to fit in Japan.

  • Loretta

    The Japanese are not fond of cream, chocolate, butter, or the fattening ingredients that comprise the typical Western dessert.
    Phew! Just as well the Japanese butter shortage isnt affecting anyone then.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3746900.ece

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