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  • The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

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    Old 06-25-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
    JohnR41
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    The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    The following percentages are by weight:

    ......OKINAWANS:........................ ...........AMERICANS

    Meat/poultry/eggs: 3%.................................29%

    Calcium-rich foods
    (e.g., dairy, seaweed): 2%.............................23%

    Vegetables: 34%..................................... .....16%

    Fruits: 6%...................................... .............20%

    Flavonoid-rich foods
    (e.g., soy): 12%..................................... ......<1%

    Grains: 32 %....................................... ..........11%

    Omega-3 foods
    (e.g., fish): 11%..................................... .......<1%

    This information is from the book: "The Okinawa Program". There was no date for when this information was compiled but the book came out in 2001.

    The Okinawa food pyramid recommends: "Rice, noodles, breads, and other whole grains" (7 to 10 servings)

    In chapter 3 the authors have a lot to say about the benefits of eating a variety of whole grains. They list many that they think are good to eat but I'm not sure if all the listed grains are eaten by Okinawans. Perhaps somewhere in the book they do state which grains (other than rice) are eaten by Okinawans but I couldn't find it in a quick review (whole wheat and barley among others I suppose?).

    Notice (above) the Okinawan diet consists of 32% grain by weight. That's a lot of grain. And pre-agricultural man didn't eat grain.

    What do you make of it? I would favor vegetables over whole grains but I need whole grains to balance the protein in legumes (beans 'n' lentils).

    Notice that the above diet is mostly a plant based diet with only 3% coming from animal protein. Correction: it could be as much as 10 to 15 % when you add in dairy and fish.

    Last edited by JohnR41; 06-29-2009 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Made correction concerning total protein for Okinawans

     
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    Old 06-25-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
    tjlhb
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JohnR41 View Post
    Notice (above) the Okinawan diet consists of 32% grain by weight. That's a lot of grain. And pre-agricultural man didn't eat grain.

    Notice that the above diet is mostly a plant based diet with only 3% coming from animal protein.
    11% from fish probably includes more than 3% of animal protein.

    32% grain by weight probably includes mostly "wet" grains like steamed rice, cooked noodles, etc. which are much heavier for a given carbohydrate amount than "dry" grains like dry cereal, bread, etc.. Also, if I remember correctly what I heard about Okinawan diets, their total food intake was modest.

    The percentages listed for Americans can't be right. They add up to 100%, but it leaves out stuff like added sugar, added fats/oils, alcohol, and junk food (sugar alone is probably 20-25% of the typical American diet).

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 10:56 AM   #3
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    tjlhb,

    I agree that 3% for animal protein is incorrect because it leaves out fish and dairy. I spoke too soon on that.

    Yes, their total food intake IS modest. They have a rule that they eat until they are 80% full. Never completely full or stuffed.

    The chart could use some improvement, I agree. Americans eat something like 100 pounds of sugar per year, if I remember correctly.

    Last edited by JohnR41; 06-27-2009 at 10:57 AM.

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 09:33 PM   #4
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/November05/Findings/USFoodConsumption.htm says that US per capita sugar and sweetener consumption was 142 pounds per year in 2003. Fats and oils are listed at 86 pounds per year in 2003.

    It may be interesting to note how many pounds of sugar equivalent of artificial sweeteners were also consumed in addition.

     
    Old 06-28-2009, 02:50 PM   #5
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    I don't like the impression that such general statistics give, as nutrition is not as simple as just these groups. :/

     
    Old 06-30-2009, 09:18 AM   #6
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robf123 View Post
    I don't like the impression that such general statistics give, as nutrition is not as simple as just these groups. :/
    To: robf and tjlhb

    Thanks to your replies I now understand how I got this thread off to a bad start. The heading I used set up expectations that I would give the complete diets for both Americans and Okinawans. But it wasn't complete.

    The information I gave came from page 71 where I found two pie charts. One was for Okinawans and one for Americans. I couldn't post the pie charts so the information took on another form. The pie charts have more visual appeal and make more sense in the context of the whole chapter (3).

    Chapter 3 provides "Guidelines for Healthy Eating Okinawa-Style" and a comparison of American and Okinawan food pyramids, among other things.

    I got the idea for this thread because someone (Auntjudyg?) wanted to know what grains are eaten by Okinawans. The guess was "mostly rice". Well, that turns out to be correct. <removed>

    Last edited by mod-anon; 06-30-2009 at 12:09 PM. Reason: Do not copy material directly from another website.

     
    Old 07-02-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    Wow, I could not eat that way or I'd definitely gain weight. I agree that increasing vegetables is a good idea since many people don't get enough of them, but I do very well eating a lot of lean meat, such as chicken breast. It's low in calories and fat and very satisfying. I avoid too much grain as well because it upsets my stomach. I eat a lot of fruit, but mostly from berries. I've done really well eating this way. I also have a sensitivity to soy and can't have it in large amounts. Even a cup of soy milk will likely bother my sensitive stomach. I am down to my goal weight and a very healthy person!

    Maybe this could work for some, but not all. I know some people who can eat differently than I do and lose weight just fine. I think it really depends on the person! I know some people who are opposite of me and hate to eat meat, even though they aren't vegetarians.

     
    Old 07-02-2009, 01:20 PM   #8
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    PS, I don't like to eat too much rice because the healthy brown rice and wild rice is often very high in calories. A serving of rice without anything added to it had more calories than a larger piece of chicken I had for dinner. I was surprised and now just save rice for every now and then. I'd rather have a grain that I enjoy more than rice for all the calories. It had almost 200+ for a serving.

    Last edited by tUrRrRa; 07-02-2009 at 01:20 PM.

     
    Old 07-08-2009, 10:04 AM   #9
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    tUrRrRa,

    200+ calories for a serving of rice? I thought the calories were a lot less than that. I thought it was more in line with the calories in a slice of bread (around 100 to 125). I have a serving of rice every day. I measure a 1/4 cup dry and then let it soak overnight. I'll check to see how many calories that comes to. Seeing is believing.

     
    Old 07-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #10
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    Re: The Okinawan elder's diet compared to the American diet.

    update: 1/4 cup (dry) of Yoga organic whole grain rice contains 170 calories.

    1/4 cup (dry) of Mahatma natural whole grain rice contains 150 calories.

     
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