5 Benefits of Shoku Iku

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Shoku iku is a diet plan that is most well known in Japan. The basic idea of shoku iku is the elimination of unhealthy foods, by gradually increasing the number of healthful foods in the diet.

If you are familiar with the USDA’s food-based dietary guidelines that school children have traditionally been taught in the United States (‘The Food Pyramid’, or ‘MyPlate’), similarly, Japan has used shoku iku as a way to educate the public on healthful eating. The introduction of this dietary plan was in 2005, with the “Basic Law of Shoku iku”, with an expansion of the project in 2008 (‘School Health Law’). This was primarily taught in Japanese public schools and focused on a balance of small and large meals that focus on nutrition and satiating hunger healthfully.

1.Shoku Iku Is Japan’s Official Standard of Diet, and The Japanese Have a Long Life Expectancy

Prior to 1990, Japan had never been in the top 100 countries that had a long life expectancy. Today, it is second in the world for long life expectancy, with the average Japanese person living to a ripe old age of 85. The introduction of shoku iku as a national diet plan in 2005 might not be the reason behind this, but it might contribute to these good reports in years to come.

2.Shoku Iku Is Especially Good For Cardiac Health

Heavily emphasizing foods that are low in cholesterol, such as tofu, seaweed, rice, vegetables, and miso (fermented bean paste), shoku iku is considered heart-healthy. The inclusion of high cholesterol shellfish and ramen (fried noodles) are the two standouts in a standard list of foods considered to be consistent with the diet.

3.Shoku Iku Has Been Shown To Combat Some of The Main Causes of Death In The US

The main causes of death in the United States are among the diseases that this eating plan directly combat. Type 2 diabetes, cancers of all kinds, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and heart disease are all less common in people who follow diets similar to the shoku iku plan of eating.

4.Shoku Iku Is Useful For Reducing Weight And Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Portion control is emphasized in shoku iku, but there is no counting calories or keeping track of carbohydrates or fats. The foods are naturally leaner and lower in simple carbohydrates (sugar) and fat – which are usually responsible for obesity in many cases. Being hungry isn’t something that is part of this eating plan, but alternating large meals with small meals throughout the day is encouraged. Binging and then going without meals is not encouraged in shoku iku.

5.Shoku Iku Has Been Shown To Significantly Lower The Incidence of Premature Death

The basic shoku iku diet focuses on planning meals a week at a time. Combining a list of foods that are known to benefit good health, and emphasizing the use of five colors to diversify the types of food that are combined to make a well-rounded meal. Meals are cooked at once, some to eat now, and others saved for later. Large meals and small meals are alternated to curb appetite and avoid binge eating. The different taste qualities of bitter, salty, sour, umami, and sweet are combined equally, to further diversify the kinds of food eaten.

Although these ideas are very foreign to the ways westerners eat, they provide a great role model for healthy eating: junk food is essentially squeezed out of this diet, and sugary, fatty, or junk-carbohydrate-rich foods are barely eaten. Shoku Iku is certainly worth looking at and could be adjusted to more common foods that Westerners enjoy if fat, carbohydrate, and protein counts are taken into consideration along with an abundance of plant-based, whole foods.

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