Why are Asian Rice Eaters Thin?

Thin Rice Eater

It’s a common question. If carbs can make you fat, why were some populations (e.g. Japanese people) thin while eating a high carb diet?

Dr Peter Attia has written a nice post on this: The War on Insulin: How do some cultures stay lean while still consuming high amounts of carbohydrates?

I basically agree with his ideas, although I think there is a few more answers to this question: 

The three big reasons

Here are the main reasons why I think populations could stay thin on high carb diets:

  1. Low to insignificant consumption of refined sugar (fructose). This may stop insulin resistance from developing.
  2. Eating mainly unrefined starch (e.g. brown rice, root vegetables) that is slow to digest, due to high fiber content etc.
  3. Traditionally more physical activity then sedentary western population. Compare a Japanese rice farmer (in the field all day) to an American office worker with a car. If you burn more glucose (via physical activity) then less insulin is needed when you eat carbs.

If you avoid sugar (fructose) and refined high GI starch and stay physically active you can probably stay thin and healthy on a high percentage of carbs. Lots of populations have done so.

Three more factors

  1. Poverty: These traditionally thin populations were on average fairly poor by todays standards, meaning perhaps they could not always afford all the food they would like to eat.
  2. Food reward / addiction. This may be controversial but I think there is a point to all this food reward talk that’s been going on in the blogosphere. Our processed junk food and candy is carefully designed to artificially make it taste great and be addictive. It also contains a lot of sugar and starch. It’s like cigarettes: The nicotine makes people addicted, thus they smoke a lot and the smoke gives them cancer. Fast food and candy is also addictive, thus people eat more of it and the sugar / starch overdose makes them fat.
  3. Genetic makeup. Asians do not look like Caucasians or Africans. They have (on average) way less musculature, they have a thinner build. This means that comparisons between the weight of Americans / Europeans and Asians using BMI is misleading, it exaggerates the difference. Asians are often “skinny fat” or even get diabetes at BMI levels that are considered normal for Caucasians (e.g BMI 24).

What do you say?

What do you think about this common question and the possible explanations?

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285 Comments

  1. I think the answer to this conundrum lies largely in one word: snacking. Snacking is a luxury of the well-fed world, one that doesn't always recognise when enough is enough. The snack food industry is built on a bedrock of carbohydrates. At least if you don't snack between meals you are not flooding your blood with glucose every waking hour.
  2. Maggan A
    Chris 149

    If you eat fruit you dont avoid sugar. Fruit is water, sugar, some fibre and vitamins. But there is nothing in fruit that you cannot find a lot more in vegetables - except for sugar.

    The fruit does not do you any good - if it harms you depends on your health and weight. If you want tol loose weight and/or are diabetic a lot of fruit everyday is definitly a problem.

  3. I liked the article, so I thought I'd just add a point on the last factor of genetic makeup. Having lived and traveled in asia a lot, I'd have to disagree on this one.

    As the countries in the region become wealthier and they change to a more western diet (and in some cases start pumping iron) they are getting a lot bigger. People in Bangkok for example are noticeably bigger than 10 years ago.

    Of course it's not just about wealth. The wealthy may still keep a traditional diet which is certainly true for a lot of Japan, but if you go to the Philippines for example and hit the wealthy middle class areas of Manilla, which are very reminiscent of the US, in terms of it's eating culture, with their malls and huge number fast food outlets, (Phillipino food is not up to much, certainly compared to countries like, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand), the Philippinos there are literally just as big as Americans.

  4. There was a television programme last year - Horizon on the BBC. A British doctor met with an Indian diabetes specialist. Many Indians are "thin fat people" and often become diabetic. They appear slim but when tested, they have similar ratios of fat to those in the western world who appear obese. This then leads one to assume that the other bodily tissues of these people weigh less than their western world counterparts. (Bone, muscle etc.) Diabetes is rife and life is shortened in these areas and I suspect this may be true for much of this area of the world. The frames of these people are usually small.

    Birth weight is a clue. Many babies of low birthweight will become diabetic later in life.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4293509.stm

  5. Olga
    How about iodine? The typical Japanese eats 100X as much iodine compared to North Americans in the form of seaweed. Also, it seems to me that every successful carb eating society, ie Kitavan's, Tokelauans, etc. tend to live near the ocean. The soil around the great lakes basin, for example, has some of the lowest iodine content in the world.

    A paleo diet (which I more or less follow), unless you live near the ocean or supplement with lots of seaweed, would be a low iodine diet. Especially if you are using sea salt instead of iodized salt. Bread and baked goods (although devoid of nutrition otherwise) are probably the best source of iodine on the typical SAD diet because they contain Calcium Propionate, as a dough conditioner, and according to Dr. Brownstein, is a better source of iodine than iodized salt.

    Low iodine, low thyroid function, low metabolism. It may very well be a piece of the puzzle.

  6. Lorraine
    I can't believe all the stupid arguments and all the misspelled words! Yeah, you guys sound real intelligent-NOT!
  7. Dora
    The point about inactivity is really a good one. Even people who go to the gym for an hour a day are sedentary the rest of the time.
  8. Wade Henderson
    It seems as though people are casting about, trying to find some plausible reason why Japanese, Okinawans, and people in certain other areas of Asia (not all) are able to eat significantly more carbs and remain slender and healthy.

    I think one's outlook on this subject has more to do with how you approach the issue.

    If, as it appears, that most people here have or had some health issues when they began investigating "low carb" eating, then mostly accepted the idea, now view everything through the lense of a believer. That greatly affects how one views and accepts or rejects subsequent data, studies, and even things one can easily experience in the real world (nations, populations)

    Humans are simply amazing in their ability to see what they believe.

    How many people here who began looking into low-carb, were, at the time and throughout their life, slender, fit and free of any negative health condition? Thus with no need to see diet X, or diet Y as a salvation for their problem.

    The health of the people of Okinawa, for example, needs no strange or convoluted explanation.
    That it may contradict some, or many, of the precepts of low-carb eating just indicates that there is no single way that may be best for everyone. The older populations there and elsewhere lived their lives that way since birth, and hence didn't enter into a "fix-it" diet to accomplish something.

    So we have lifelong diets and "recovery" diets, While the low-carb diet model may be best for many as a "recovery" diet, that in no way indicates that it is the best or only healthy diet for billions of others, if followed from birth. Okinawans for example, never ate that way and yet are as long lived and healthy as anyone. (note that is changing for the younger generations who have adopted many of the modern Western habits)

    Having said the above, there appear to be some genetic differences that set some populations up for certain problems. The Indians (India) do seem to be particulary susceptable to diabetes.
    So everyone may have to find their way with no "one size fits all" thinking.

    Oh, with one exception. No population, no ethnicity or peoples, need soda-pop to survive.
    Less soda-pop would indeed be beneficial for all, except when used in religious ceremonies.

  9. There are two questions here:
    1) what is the best diet for obesity, DM2, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, GERD, depression, etc
    A) This is a low-carbohydrate diet, high in fat, green veges and animal food. There is already ample science to show this.
    2) What is the best diet for some traditional lifestyle?
    A) whatever the traditonal diet of that culture happens to be. If it's not broke, it don't need fixing

    Also,
    3) what is the worst diet?
    A) high in refined starch and sugar, lots of chemicals, most fats (if any) from refined PUFA oils, few or no green vegetables or unsweetened fruits, the good old SAD.

  10. Brittany
    If you have ever taken a biology class at its most basic levels (non majors in college) you learn about cellular respiration, or how the cells make energy. You also learn that glucose is the primary (and preferred) fuel source for the body. What I am starting to become upset about is the anti sugar cult with no basis for a biological understanding for the human body. Why does sugar get the blame? Also, you might want to do your research on Lustig, and find out who pays him. Look to several other factors that play in your body before you point the unwarranted finger at carbs, not just "sugar" it's about much more than the white stuff. Checkout how lipid peroxidation from PUFA blocks the cells from up-taking glucose, and how estrogen dominance can do the same. Are the complex carbs really much better for us? I think it also to be noted that many Americans are 80-10-10 vegans, and they are very fit and eat huge numbers of fructose. While I'll never think that is a healthy lifestyle, you need to think outside the box and find a better, more physiological explanation than just "sugar did it all, I am right, because I am right."
  11. Wade Henderson
    Brittany,

    "Also, you might want to do your research on Lustig, and find out who pays him."

    Why not save us the trouble and tell us, or at least point us in the right direction (link)

    I'm trying to think who would pay him to say sugar is bad. The stevia consortium?
    Who makes money when less sugar is consumed? Bathing suit manufacturers?

  12. Paid is the wrong word. There are many other reinforcers, the major one being government funding and sitting on the panels of health agencies. Demonizing sugar is the USDA, NIH, AHA smoke-screen for not facing real carbohydrate restriction which if Lustig used it would give him real success and make him an outcast. Of course, he is all over the place and says he is not opposed to low-carb diets but, in the end, he would never use it.
  13. "You also learn that glucose is the primary (and preferred) fuel source for the body"

    If you learned that, it was wrong.
    Why does the body store so much energy as fat? Because fat is the primary (and preferred) fuel source of most cells with mitochondria. Including the heart muscle.
    In fact most cells seem to run on a mixture of fuels most of the time, but a more detailed study of metabolism teaches that fat is by far the predominant default fuel, if only because of the limited storage for glucose, which is mainly required by the brain and the red blood cells.

    Reply: #200
  14. Gaba
    Being a Chinese, I noted that the older generation likes to consume lot of fatty pork and its organs not rice. Fatty pork and organs meat to them is always the best while rice is just an addition to "top-up" the "fullness". Lard, pig-oil, is used liberally for all cooking. So is salt.

    Hence, my late grand-parent and relatives of the older generation are all lean. There is no such things as high-blood pressure, cholesterol-problems, CVD and so on. My uncle who is in his mid-80 now, is still strong and lean. Seeking medical treatment is rare. He don't consume processed foods, only cooked whole food. McDonald hamburger is "alien" to him. So is Organic foods. Going to Supermarket will be like a fairy land to him.

    Do the African Masai worry about high-cholesterol or high blood pressure? Do the Eskimo, before modern food goes into their diet, have all or some of our modern day disease? Do the Okinawan, Japan, create "The Okinawa Diet" to live long and healthy? Think about it.

    Before the evolution of Medical Technology, all the modern day diseases which we are facing now are rare if not, non-existence. As for medical screening such as cholesterol level, high blood pressure, etc, are they scientifically proven or just another commercial marketing "lifestyle"?

    Do we need to have everything scientifically-proven to determine what is our correct healthy diet and lifestyle?

    My fore-parent do not need scientifically-proven food/medicine to live long and healthy. They don't even attend school to study the science nor have health screening to determine whether they are healthy or not.

    So I asked: "What is wrong with our present day diet/lifestyle?" Why are we, at present, have so much food/health problems?

  15. Abi
    Well, the bit about Asians eating brown rice is bull. Mostly, they eat white rice. Period.

    And I'm with you, Brittany.

  16. Gaba, I could not agree more. Beautifully put.
  17. Abi,
    Perhaps now they eat mostly white rice. And today there are horrible epidemics of diabetes in Asia.

    India, for example, have as bad a diabetes epidemic as the US, with about 12 percent of the adult population suffering from diabetes. Coincidence? I think not.

  18. Wade Henderson
    Sorry Doc, but the logic in your last post is sorely lacking.

    1. " Abi, Perhaps NOW they eat mostly white rice. And today there are horrible epidemics of disbetes in Asia"

    Folks, I've been traveling in Asia since the early 70's, forty years. For decades, as far back as I know in that century, they've been eating 99% white rice. To try to connect the recent surge in diabetes in Asia specifically to white rice is absurd. Many other things have changed during the past few decades.
    Urbanization, wealth, activity levels, etc. etc.

    2. "India, for example, have as bad a diabetes epidemic as the US, with about 12 percent of the adult population suffering from diabetes. Coincidence? I think not."

    Doc, you say, "I think not" referring to the term conicidence, but fail to spell out what the rise in diabetes is conincidence with.

    What are you saying? that the Indians are now eating far more rice than they did 40 years ago?
    Are you certain that is true? What other changes have happened in their diet during that time?

    They do have a problem, that is for sure. They seem to be even more prone to diabetes than Westerners. And rice may be part of that problem.
    I just don't like connections thrown about without any facts to back them up.

    BTW, I just saw the second episode a local TV news doctor is doing here in San Francisco on the Paleo diet. She is totally sold on it.
    However the "experts" she provides, are themselves a very strange mix, with some borderline (and over) quack ideas.

    Have you heard of these guys

    Jack Kruse MD, who on his website avdocates taking baths of ice water, including packing 20 to 40 pounds of ice around his body. Who says, with his methods, you can lift incredible weights with out working out, and can run marathons with no training.

    Lane Sebring MD, who on his website says you can clear heart arteries by using EDTA delievered via suppositories along with Tetracycline and vitamins.

    She puts these guys forth as her experts along with the usual cast of advocates.

  19. George Henderson
    India has always had diabetes, unusual in traditional cultures.
    3 old reasons:
    - Sweets are important in Indian quisine, where sugar has long been available (jaggery);
    - the hindu vegetarian diet is very high-carb;
    - India/pakistan/afghanistan were good areas for growing sweet fruits and large amounts were eaten

    In other words, the classic diabetic cocktail of high fructose plus high carb.

    one new:
    indians are increasingly replacing ghee with the dreaded "heart healthy" oils like canola.

  20. Alexandra M
    Sorry, WHITE rice, not brown, is the traditional staple. Asians have been parboiling their rice for centuries. Even Confucius wrote about the preferability of white rice. As I linked above, the traditional parboiling actually improves the nutritional value of the rice.

    "Asians discovered millennia ago that the nutritional value and resistance to spoilage of rice were greatly improved by parboiling and then milling. That's why they do it. There are nutrients in the husk, but they are not as available to the body, being bound up as they are in the indigestible fiber.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parboiled_rice

    The same is true of wheat: leaving the bran, which contains oils, makes the grain more susceptible to spoilage. Also, the high bran content of the bread made from it speeds the journey through the digestive tract, reducing the absorption of nutrients. So it's a trade off. "Whole" grains may contain more nutrients, but it's harder for the body to get any benefit from them."

  21. Alexandra M
    Also, as George Henderson said earlier:

    "1) what is the best diet for obesity, DM2, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, GERD, depression, etc
    A) This is a low-carbohydrate diet, high in fat, green veges and animal food. There is already ample science to show this.
    2) What is the best diet for some traditional lifestyle?
    A) whatever the traditonal diet of that culture happens to be. If it's not broke, it don't need fixing."

    Perhaps it's not possible to deduce from the cure what the cause was and in that case it's best to say, "We don't know."

    There's another thing I would indict in the obesity epidemic: Dieting. As almost anyone who has even lost weight on a calorie-restricted diet knows, it's one of the best ways to gain weight. And who hasn't looked in the mirror or planned to go to a reunion or a wedding and said, "I have got to lose 20 pounds or die trying!" And then they're in the death spiral. They lose the weight, they feel great, the weight comes back plus some, the weight gets harder and harder to lose on every successive diet...

  22. Gaba
    In ancient China, brown rice was commonly eaten. Then the discovery of milling rice or polishing it till white. Due to additional processing and hence, cost, white rice or polish rice is eaten only by the rich. Moreover, white means purity. Hence, ability to consume white rice is a sign of prosperity of any family. Consuming brown rice was viewed to be poor even till today.

    Overtime, due to the advance in milling technology and affordability, many Asian eat white rice but only a minority of older and HEALTHY generation who understand the correct preparation of brown rice are still consuming them.

    Brown rice need to be soaked over-night till germination aka sprouting before cooking. That was the correct preparation of brown rice, to enhance its nutritional benefit, before cooking and consuming it. Many modern Asian who begin to be health-conscious, are consuming brown rice but lack the know-how of properly preparing it. Hence, they do not enjoy the nutritional benefit of brown rice but may, in the other way, compromise their health due to the presence and consuming of phytic acid in brown rice which are anti-nutrient.

    My late grand parent and mid-80 Uncle, eat white rice. Eating sugary dessert are occasionally. Even if eaten, it was mild to moderate quantity. Diabetes does not exist in them.

    Present day Asian eat lot of sugary products, regularly and in some, big quantity, especially the younger generation. It is no wonder that there is an increase in diabetes not only in Asia but all over the world.

  23. @ Alexandra M.

    "Perhaps it's not possible to deduce from the cure what the cause was"

    exactly. It's a syllogism to assume that cures can do anything but suggest possible causes.
    Poisoning is rarely caused by the absense of an antidote.

    Because low-carb diet cures many degenerative diseases and eating disorders, some low-carb people are too quick to discount the possible roles of toxins, allergens, pathogens and micronutrient deficiencies in causing them.

    Paul Jaminet paraphrases Tolstoy; All healthy persons are alike, but an unhealthy person is unhealthy after their own fashion.

    Why mill rice?
    In a word - fuel. Milled rice (and husked dhal) cooks faster. In 1942, a British escapee from Hong Kong walked 200 miles across China without seeing a single tree or shrub.
    Deforestation caused by the need for cooking fuel, and the shortage of such fuel, was a major problem in highly-populated countries before the discovery of fossil fuels and electricity.
    This may be why Confuscious promoted it; in the interests of preserving Chinese society.

  24. Maggan A
    Gerogre Henderson

    a low carb diet does not cure anything. It just bring things back to normal.

  25. Alexandra M
    "...a low carb diet does not cure anything. It just bring things back to normal."

    But that is the very definition of a "cure."

    When things are deranged, like bood sugar management, (which is what Type 2 Diabetes is) a diet that brings blood sugar under control is a "cure."

  26. That's right. "Cure" is a loaded word.
    Some people might say you're not cured of diabetes till you can safely eat 10 twinkies a day.

    But I think it is telling that increasingly people are leaving zero-carb paleo diets to graze on "safe starches" and finding this doesn't make the disease(s) return.

    Because I'm pretty sure that most of them would not have managed so well with a direct switch from SAD or low-fat diet to said starches. Not in my own experience.
    So the low-carb diet appears to restore carbohydrate tolerance, at a moderate level, for many people.
    If it was a drug, we'd say it keeps working when you stop taking it.

    You're not really cured if you need to keep taking the treatment (arguably);
    the fact that low-carb can often be relaxed in this way, with continuing benefits, after a "course" of treatment,
    shows that it works like drugs we do consider cures;
    penicillin "cures" gonorrhea; you don't need to keep taking it,
    but you should probably start practicing safe starch.

  27. Galina L.
    My list of cures ifs quite long. I use ketosis to manage migraines, but since I went on a LC diet at Nov.2007, I stopped having pre-menopausal hot flashes and mood swings, leg edema disappeared in one day, I don't need an asthma inhaler any more, other allergies got better ,since 2007 I had no one seasomal flue, yest infection or urinary tract infection , it used to be a problem. There is more, too long to mention everything. Most of all I am happy that I got cured from frequent uncontrollable hunger, I had to plan my life around my eating, carry emergency snacks in my purse. I am finally free now.
  28. Maggan A
    Alexandra M

    Yes, it's like to "cure" sore feet with better shoes ;-)

  29. The Lower BMI and the Asian culture getting Diabetes from this shows that although they do not become morbidly obese with out the Modern Diet of Fructose they still are not optimum health.Meaning with the Factors you are speaking of they still develop the same problems just later in life making it look as just old age if lets say they have a heart attack.The Okinawan peoples live longer on Pork and pork fat mostly with some sea food than the high Carbing Asian cultures.One of my favorite Warriors in history was Miyamoto Musashi if I had a time machine I would go back in time to convince him to eat HFLC.Who knows what other great works he could have accomplished if he had that advice :P
  30. Why are Asian Rice Eaters Thin?

    Duh!

    Have you ever tried eating with chopsticks?

  31. Roxie
    Mr Henderson, I have switched from a western diet to an asian diet and I eat precisely as you have stated in your posts. I have been researching this way of eating for a while, and such data is is difficult to find because mostly, the information on the web is very much westernised. Posts like yours are invaluable for me.

    My weight rapidly decreases when eating the 'asian' way with a little beef or chicken cooked in animal fat, a cup of rice + a handful of cooked vegetables for each daily meal. I have reduced by 95% all of my sugar intake except for 3 - 4 tsp sugar and/or 2-3 fortune cookies per day. I will work on these later on as I find them difficult to eliminate. I also drink green tea or water. But I don't overdo it. I feel much better than I have in the past, no more migraines, no more sugar highs/lows, and much less body weight. I move around alot, but I don't exercise - just walk more for the daily chores.

    This manner of living works for me.

  32. Wade Henderson
    Roxie, sounds like that diet may suit your needs. Everyone is different.
    I would caution you to not skimp on vegetables. If you'd like to eat more than a handful, go ahead.
    You've already reduced 95% of your sugar, you don't need to go to zero.
    Please make sure you eat enough food and don't let your weight go too low.
    Enjoy your food and your health. It sounds like you are doing well.
  33. char
    All I know is I lost 30 pounds on Dr. Gott's ( yes, he is a real doctor) no sugar, no flour diet and have kept it off for almost 2 years now. I cut out all meat and fish 1 year before that due to my personal beliefs. I do eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, and grain that has not been turned into flour . I actually eat very little rice, as it is not a favorite food of mine. The doctor had been worried about my cholesterol and my blood sugar, which are both in healthy ranges now, without medication. I was on 2 blood pressure pills and am down to the lowest dose of 1. I will probably be off even that one after my next doctor visit. Could it be that the one thing all healthy diets have in common is that they are low in refined sugar and processed carbs?
  34. Wade Henderson
    Never heard of Dr. Gott before. However his very simple diet seems to be one that would indeed be beneficial for 90% of those folks who have weight to lose.

    Whether you are in the low-carb or low-fat crowd, Dr. Gott seems to have aspects that would improve your diet.
    After all, who could argue against low or no sugar.
    And who is against cutting out refined carbs.
    No, it isn't as pure as most low fat and low carb types would deem perfect, but its way better than the diet that 90% of Americans are now on.

    Not sure one needs the book. You can read the 94 Amazon reviews and get your own idea.

    Best part of his plan is that it is ultra simple. I'd say staying on it for a few years would bring many benefits to most people.

  35. Gemma
    It's about metabolic typing. Although its easy to lump cultures in one bundle it's about the very intricate way the HUMAN metabolizes food and turn it into energy. The body is a complicated system of many systems. I happen to be Asian (Filipino) and a protein type. I do well on the LCHF diet. I am also a reactive hypoglycemic and the LCHF diet supports that. I would die in any area where I couldn't choose my food, and even be harder to exist in a country like say Japan because they are heavy carb types. Metabolic tying and Atkins and LCHF saved my life.
  36. Simon
    What is really interesting having lived in and out of Japan for 25yrs, that when as a foreigner I go for a medical check up I have been told I was obese, as they compare you to the local Japanese population. Where as a medical check in the west and I am at a healthy weight! By the way Japanese people rarely eat brown rice, almost always white as the whiter it is the "purer" it is as relates to religious ceremonies etc. over the years I have noticed due to the western influences of fast food establishments the overall size of Japanese to be getting larger, more fat people than in the past that's for sure. However still nothing like the size of westerners, interesting the doctors talk more here about internal body fat than external, and many slim looking Japanese businessmen have MRIs as part of their medical check and often find huge amounts of dangerous internal body fat, so looks are definitely very deceiving!
  37. Rice farmer vs a american office worker with a car? If this person isn't completely naive to the ways of the world, he would realize there are many more people who work office jobs in japan. Asians tend to have professional jobs than North Americans, we just happen to focus on balancing diet, healthy lifestyle choices (ie. walking on average 1-2 hours every morning before work), and less lazy regardless of being technologically advanced and ahead of north americans.
  38. Jing
    This article is quite misleading and very generized. It is not because of eating rice that makes most East Asians thin...IT'S ALL ABOUT PROTION SIZE!!!! PORTION SIZE!!!

    Most Japanese eat what they call "Bentos" they are basically squares with a variety of vegatables, shrimnp, rice, wassabi in SMALL PORTION! The Chinese also eat in small portions (southern and central Chinese more than northern). Some Shanghai resturants only serve small protions of food and a small bowl of soup.

    VS.

    American food come in large portions. Most Americans consume ALOT of calories in large amounts. Not to mention most Americans eat mostly simple sugar groups like soft drinks (alot of Carbs), candy., etc. They also consume ALOT of animal fat beef, pork, greased up french fries which is bascially starch!

    This author obviously did not ever travelled to Asia or did any reserach to post this generalized false article.

    Reply: #191
  39. @Jing

    Americans (and Canadians) eat mostly _lean_ meats. The fear of saturated fat (animal fat) is strong here. All meat vendors trim off the fat by default. Even Angus beef meat (the fattest beef naturally) is trimmed before packaging. Chicken breasts are more expensive and more popular than thighs. Chickens have been bred for larger breasts. Pork is trimmed by default, pork filet (very lean) is now very popular. Ironically, except for Angus beef meat, all fat meats is less expensive than lean meats. Lard was replaced with hydrogenated vegetable oils for frying. Margarine and various vegetable oils, have also largely replaced butter and lard for cooking at home. Our diet is not high-fat, it's about 60-70% carbs, mostly refined carbs like sugar, HFCS and wheat flour.

    Maybe it's about portion size. But then, when you cut carbs, you spontaneously eat less of everything. So maybe it's about the carbs too.

  40. Asian
    It's about PORTION size. Most skinny immigrant whom came into the US will gain weight.. a lot by eating American-serving size. When they go back to their country, they lose weight quickly as well. I went back to my hometown and couldn't believe their portion is like a left over of American dish.
  41. Asian
    I agree...it's a portion size... go to Japanese or SEA countries and you'll see how much they eat or need to eat. Though the serving size for USA according to FDA is not much different but in the restaurant every dish is about 1.5 or 2 minimal servings... remember that.

    "Would you like to make it large for ONLY 50 cents extra?" that's the supersizing scheme we all are pushing to american consumer.

  42. @Asian

    Alright, let's say it's about portion size.

    Are you suggesting that Asians and Americans can't stop eating? But Asians are smart and they know they can't stop eating, so they eat smaller portions to control how much they eat? If you eat a small portion, and you're still hungry, what are you going to do next? You're still hungry. Are you going to stay hungry?

    Alright, let's turn it around.

    What if Asians are just less hungry for some reason? If they're less hungry, of course they'll eat less, right? Asians are smaller, shorter, lighter, they weigh less, right? If they weigh less, then they have less weight to carry around, then they spend less energy, right? If they spend less energy, they're going to be less hungry at mealtime, right? And if they're less hungry, they'll eat less.

    What do you think makes more sense? Let's put it differently.

    Why do we grow fat?
    Because we eat more.
    But why do we eat more if we're not hungry?
    Because the food tastes great.
    But you said it's about portion size.
    Yes, the portions need to be bigger, because the food tastes great, so they want to eat more.
    But you said it's about portion size, not because they want to eat more.

    Look, when you're not hungry, does it matter if the food tastes great? You're not hungry, you won't eat more. So why do we still want to eat more? It's not the taste, it's not portion size, it's something else. There's something that makes us eat more, and that's why we want bigger portions. Bigger portions of what? We don't eat more meat or more fat. But we do eat more carbs, sugar and flour particularly. Do Asians eat so much sugar and flour? No, they don't. But they're getting there, and growing fatter.

    Reply: #196
  43. What if the antibiotic residues remaining in intensively produced meat/dairy or the acellular nature of industrially overprocessed foods were promoting the growth of gram negative pathogenic gut flora and these
    Bacteria control host appetites?
  44. Steve
    I am Chinese and we DO NOT eat brown rice. I once cooked brown rice for my family and they looked at me strange.

    Honestly, have you ever been to a Japanese or Chinese restaurant and served brown rice?

  45. Zepp
    My ex girlfriend is Chinese, from northen China, they didnt eat rise, but sweet potato and pork!

    Her favorite dish was pigs ear in ginger sauce!

  46. Roxie
    I eat only rice with meals 3 x day with a little meat, moderate vegetables, some fruit and a little sugar treat (mainly in a coffee). Late night rice cakes and a slice of cheese if I'm studying late into the evening.

    Now, whenever I replace any of the rice meals with a bread, or pasta, or potatoes, within a couple of hours I'm sleepy and very lethargic. This includes breakfasts of toast or cereal + mllk. However by the time the next meal is due, I'm so hungry I think I'm about to pass out. I absolutely MUST eat in between meals in order to get to the next meal. I'm so ravenous by the time I sit down for the meal that I very consciously put extra food on my plate.

    Because of this, I decided a long time ago to exclusively eat in an asian-style manner (white rice, vegetables, a little meat, a little animal fat) and amazingly, I actually CAN last to the next meal without snacking. My rice portions have decreased to about 1 cup of rice per sitting and believe me, that's alot of rice after I add the vegetables and the little meats. When I go out with my Australilan friends, I'm the only one who cannot fit a second serving of anything. They eat up to 5 extra servings to make their money worthwhile. It's really quite disgusting, but I don't think they can help it. They eat alot of cereal, sandwiches, pastas and garlic breads everyday, so my suspicion is that it's something in the wheat they consume. They are also very large people.

    Eating this way assists me to drop about 1 kg per week very easily. I actually have to eat a extra to ensure that I don't lose it too fast. But if I replace the rice with bread, pasta etc, I PUT ON the weight up to about 2 kg in a week!

    I don't play with my metabolism. I know what is right and what is wrong too eat. The problem is when I have to eat out and there are not many places where I can buy similar meals. The food outlets near where I work, are mostly the likes of McDonalds, KFC, and cafes selling pastries and junk. I take my own lunch.

    Roxie

  47. HeatherTwist
    Thing is, Americans who start eating an "Asian diet" generally lose weight. And Japanese eating American food gain weight. Even matched for exercise levels, Chinese guys eating *more* calories per day than Americans, are skinnier.

    Oddly, a lot of people talk knowingly about "Why Asians are thin" and theorize about the diet and lifestyle, but few of those people actually seem to know much about Asian food.

    So I started experimenting with Asian cuisine. It's really interesting. It's not just about "carbs" ... it's about the combinations of food and spices and vegetables and the types of proteins. I can say that I am way more satiated on Asian food, than I am on typical American fare. Even though I don't really know how to "cook Asian" so I'm just guessing and following recipes. Some food items they eat a lot ... like eggs ... have a specific impact on appetite and glucose handling that has now been documented pretty well. Others, like fermented bean paste, also have a big effect on appetite and have specific health effects (like all that Vitamin K in natto).

    I've never met an Asian who ate brown rice though, except very recently where someone was on a health kick. They are getting into agave syrup too, which is certainly not part of the culture.

    To get an idea of "what they really eat" try reading "What I Eat", which is a gorgeous pictorial essay on just that subject. And "Chinese revolutionary cuisine" shows a general take on what they eat in Hunan.

  48. Hi everyone, it's my first pay a quick visit at this web site, and post is actually fruitful in support of me, keep up posting such posts.
  49. Osku
    Asians eat lot of fat and meat,chicken,pork seafood, vegetables make really full stomach, and they dont eat bread.

    In plate have meat,vegetables and rice its ok.

    my ex-girlfriend from thailand can eat lot of chicken and meat in nighmarket , but she can not eat pizza slice or hamburger.

  50. David
    "You also learn that glucose is the primary (and preferred) fuel source for the body"
    "If you learned that, it was wrong."
    It is taught in basic biology and chemistry class that glucose is the primary sourc of energy. When you get into more advanced chemistry, biology, and biochemistry, you will learn more about the metabolism of fatty acid and amino acid, and catabolism and metabolism of nucleotides and such. However, don't be confused with the statement of primary source, as the primary source do not equate to the only source.

    "Why does the body store so much energy as fat?"
    Your body stores unused energy (mainly glucose) as fat. When input of energy greatly exceed output, the excess energy ha to go somewhere; in the human body the unused glucose is converted to fat in the form of glycogen. When glucose level is low and your body is in need for energy, it will break down the stored glycogen and use it for energy. Anyone can get fat by eating and not doing anything. However, if one person is constantly active and spending energy, it doesn't matter how much that person at a long as that person's output exceeds input of energy. People just do not seem to understand this. Which person burn more calories: on who go to the gym 1 hour a day, three day a week? Or on that work in the rice field for 12 hour a day for 7 day a week and that person's mean of transportation is not a car?

    "In fact most cells seem to run on a mixture of fuels most of the time, but a more detailed study of metabolism teaches that fat is by far the predominant default fuel, if only because of the limited storage for glucose, which is mainly required by the brain and the red blood cells."
    You need to break down the different types of fat available and the source of the fat. Fat in the American diet contain a lot of uneeded cholesterol and saturated fat (and trans-fat), and lower on both unsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid in a monounsaturated fat. Probably one of the most prominent study that led to the discovery of the o-3 FA was the question about why Eskimos (I think) have such low risk of (I think) heart disease when they consumed a lot of fat in their diet. This led to the discovery of o-3 FA. Also important to note is that there should be a balance between consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 FA. There should b a 1:1 ratio of the two, however, the average American consume more o-6 than o-3 FA.

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