View Full Version : East Asian Diet

06-26-2005, 01:14 PM
Alright, so we all know about the things prosthelytized by nutrition gurus and specialist like Dr. Berardi and Lyle McDonald, but I have yet to hear any decisive explanation concerning the impacts of an East Asian diet. As a soon-to-be East Asian Studies grad student, I've spent significant time studying the culture, history, language, and yes, even food and diet of East Asia - most specifically Japan, but also China.

These cultures consume refined white rice at every meal. They consume significant amounts of fried foods. They consume less meat than we do. Yet, when looking at the physique of most Asian men and women, very very few would ever traverse into endomorphic territory.

In essence, these individuals are not following any sort of "bodybuilding" approved diet. These individuals (as has been scientifically proven) are predisposed to carrying a higher percentage of body fat. Yet, we see consitently, they have far fewer issues concerning physique maintenance.

My hypothesis? Two.

1. These cultures stress moderation, simplicity, proper social behavior, and aesthetics in an other-oriented sociological paradigm. The group in essence comes first. Hence, going to dinner in Japan, people simply don't wolf down gobs of food. The portions are well balance and while filling, you will never have a "take home" box. In essence, caloric restriction. It's seen as rude or uncouth to continue eating and consuming food, especially to the detriment of others. No one would want to be see as a gormound. Confucianism's influence on food preparation and general philosophy deters excessive consumption.

2. Omega-3/EFA consumption. In Japan, seafood is eaten consistently, and at most meals. In the States, seafood is insanely costly and just not viable as a consistent food source unless you 1. fish yourself, or 2. have money to burn. I live in Seattle, RIGHT next to the Pacific Ocean, and salmon, which we have everywhere, including a hatchery literally 2 miles from my home, is $20 + a pound. We're just now discovering the benefits of having high, consistent levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, and this could be key in the carbohydrate sensitivity Asians express in their phenotype that allows them to consume high amounts of carbohydrates without suffering adverse effects to their physique.

3. Dairy. 30% of Japan is lactose intolerant or displays some sort of food allergy. I'm convinced that moderate to significant dairy consumption is the cause of much gastro-intestinal distress and allergic reactions that goes unnoticed by most of the population. I personally conducted a self-experiment of sorts on myself. I abstained from dairy consumption and then took in significant dairy 10 days later. Results? Horrible gastro-intestinal distress, bloating, and general 'stuffiness' I have yet to overcome - and it's 2 days later.

While I think individually these facets may only contribute to some of the success of East Asian diet and nutrition, I believe together they paint a picture that may show its advantages of traditional western consumptive habits.

I know it may be iconoclastic to rub against the trad. bodybuilding grain, but any comments on this?

06-26-2005, 01:55 PM
Well, on your last point, excessive dairy consumption may contribute to bloating and the GI distress you talk about, but dairy sources of calcium also contribute to fatty acid mobilization and aid in fat loss. So, although I wouldn't go gorging on it during a cut, I wouldn't completely eliminate it either.

06-28-2005, 07:58 AM
hehe interesting post zdrax.

1. over here... food consumption depends on who we're eating with and who's footing the bill. if we're having dinner with anyone other than close family, we usually think of group first and restrain from being a pig in front of everyone. if we're not the ones footing, same. if we're eating with close family and we're the ones paying, we're not embarassed to be as piggish as we want to be. sometimes we do have take home boxes. and for me........ if i don't get enough at the table.... i go home and eat more.

2. there're expensive types of fish here too, like salmon, pomfret, kurau etc. cheaper types would be mackeral variants. my family eats fish only maybe twice or thrice a week. the carbohydrate sensitivity thing is intriguing... i didn't know asians were seen as comparatively insensitive to carbs...

3. errr i'm not sure about this. i consume lots of dairy myself.