Why is it so Easy to be Thin in Japan?

If you’ve ever been Japan, you may have
noticed that it’s really hard to find an obese Japanese person. In the United States, it’s quite a different
story. The rate of obesity among adults in America
is on average around 30% whereas the Japan obesity rate is only 3.5%. But what makes the weight of people in these
two countries so different? “Why Japanese people?” At first, I was thinking about things like… Japanese people drink a lot of green tea and
they get a decent amount of fermented foods like kimuchi or nattou which is great for
the gut microbiome. But, in this video I want to focus on a very
simple yet key point about Japan. The food environment is drastically different
from the US. As of 2017 there’s over 243,000 Fast food
establishments in America. There’s only 6,169 establishments in Japan,
meaning per person, there’s about 15 times more fast food restaurants in America. “Why macudonarudo?” Then again, in Japan, fast food, fried food,
chips, chocolate, candy, soda, and not so healthy things are still available wherever
you go. But there’s a huge variety of equally convenient
reasonably healthy food. Let’s say I’m the average busy person
in the states who would like to be healthy but doesn’t have time to cook at home. What’s for breakfast? Most people’s options are limited to things
like a McGriddle with Hashbrowns and coffee, or maybe an Egg and processed Cheese sandwich
with tater tots at Dunkin’ Donuts, or some pancakes at Denny’s if you have more time. Surely some people have more healthy options,
but I’m trying to think of what most people are going to have access to. So what’s a quick breakfast in Japan? While there’s more than 6000 fast food establishments
in Japan, there’s also 5000 “rice bowl” establishments. The big ones are Yoshinoya, Sukiya and Matsuya. And for 4 dollars at Sukiya, for breakfast
you can get Plain Rice, Miso Soup with Seaweed, an Egg, baked fish, and a small potato salad
comes with it. If I’m extra hungry maybe I’ll add some kimchi,
fermented soybeans and stewed beef for 4 more dollars. Or, you can put together a reasonably healthy
meal from a convenience store. At a Japanese convenience store I can get
a rice ball which is just rice, salmon and salt… a small salad, or a package of sushi,
or a thing of fish with miso… Or some soup. I was pretty impressed with how little junk
is in this: it’s basically just vegetables, pork and fish broth. And, there’s a bunch of different foods
like this – here’s what I can get for under 10 dollars USD. Compare this to what’s available in American
convenience stores – they’re limited to fried foods sitting under heat lamps or foods
loaded with trans fat, sugar, preservatives and unhealthy additives. If you’re lucky you might be able to get
a package of plain nuts with nothing added. So the items in Japanese convenience stores
are not top quality health foods, but they’re not bad. This is big because practically everyone has
access to these places, convenience stores like these are everywhere. Japan has about 55,000 convenience stores
meaning there’s about 10 times more convenience stores per square kilometer in Japan compared
to America. For most, these places are in walking distance. I understand that of course there are healthy
restaurants here and there in America and you can make a really healthy meal with ingredients
from the supermarket. But when it comes to cheap, convenient and
quick food – it’s almost always quite unhealthy. In Japan, for a quick lunch, I can go to burger
king, or right next door I can get some sushi. I can get a Hamburger and some Popcorn at
…Vandalism cafe (?), or I can go next door to Matsuya and get a bowl of spicy tofu soup
with a bit of beef, green onion and cabbage, some pork, a soft boiled egg, some mustard
spinach, rice and there’s free pickled ginger to go with it. And of course there are many healthier non-chain
places that offer many different types of cuisine. And this variety is important. It’s going to be much easier to stick to
healthier options if you aren’t getting bored of having to eat the same things at
the same places over and over. Even if you’re going out to drink with friends
at dinner time, there’s still a variety of good food choices. The standard place to drink at is an izakaya
– at 10,000 establishments, there’s almost twice as many izakayas as there are fast food
places in Japan. Replacing fast food for alcohol is not a good
strategy, but let’s see what one of the common izakaya chains have to offer in the
way of food. Let me point out one more time that there’s
of course much better quality food than what you get at convenience stores, rice bowl chains
or izakayas and this is not what most Japanese people eat on a daily basis. I’m not really recommending these places
either – Most Japanese people wouldn’t think of these places as “healthy”. But, this isn’t about optimal health. I just mean to point out that even someone
who puts minimal effort into being healthy can get some reasonable quality meals out
of these very convenient places. By the way, what’s everyone drinking with
and between meals? In America, more often than not it’s soda,
considering a survey of 80 countries found that America comes in at rank #1 for soda
consumption at 170 liters purchased per person in 2011. Japan came in at rank #56 at 32 liters per
person. In Japan most places serve tea with your meal
for free and in general it’s harder to purchase massive quantities of soda – there’s no
comically large big gulps at seven eleven, I haven’t seen these packs of soda here, and
Japan has the smallest “large” cup size at McDonald’s – An American medium size
drink is bigger than a Japanese large. Another factor to thank for keeping people’s
soda intake low is again: variety. What’s interesting is despite Japan drinking
5 times less soda than America, soda is available in vending machines everywhere in Japan. There’s 5.52 million vending machines, meaning
there is a vending machine for every 23 people in Japan – that’s the highest vending machine
per capita on the planet. So what’s in these vending machines? Why don’t we take a look at this vending
machine I came across on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Hakone. Among other things, They have black coffee,
six different types of unsweetened tea and water. A typical american vending machine offers
13 varieties of drink, the only non-sweet one being water. So convenience and variety – simple, but it
makes a difference. It’s easier to pick the healthy choices
when they are just as easy and convenient as the unhealthier choices. Now this is by no means the full story on
Japan and health, but I think these are two key factors. I’ll be doing another video on some of the
many other things that contribute to health in Japan, so if there’s a particular point
you want to hear discussed leave a comment below.


  1. If you spot a Fat Man there he might be with a Little Boy.

  2. Sumo is leaving the chat

  3. Because the food is expensive and the food tastes bland.

  4. Dude acting like we don’t have 7/11s

  5. America is a continent not a country.

  6. My friends think I am weird because I hate soda. Well, I hate soda because the carbonation stings my tongue and I am SO glad it does! I am by no means a fit person, but I am thinner than most of my friends who drink soda or energy drinks on a daily basis. All I drink on a daily basis is water and I don't go to fast food joints either.

  7. Well technically our 7/11 have sushi BUTTT eat at your own risk haha

  8. American economy and values + Japanese health culture = utopia

  9. Okay yes they are going to have more stores per kilometer the US is x50 the size of there island, side not we killed hundreds of thousands of people and ruined the cities land for decades after

  10. Easy. Japan eats to live and majority American liver to eat. Also, it does not help that consumers are bombarded with fatty greasy food advertisements every 10 seconds.

  11. this video made me wanna move to japan

  12. Americans eat like they have affordable healthcare

  13. I’m American and I’ve gotta say that Chinese and Japanese food is DELICIOUS!

  14. I totally agree I went there for 2 week my junior year of high school and list almost 20 pounds it was kind of crazy

  15. It’ll buff

  16. It's time to change the culture

  17. Theory: Radiation burns fat…

  18. vitamin J

  19. yeah im moving out of this hell hole called america and moving to japan


  21. I'm wondering if that has anything to do with their short stature if so, the nah I'm already as fit as it's don't wanna ruin my height potential.

  22. Kimchi 🤷‍♂️

  23. Japan is great

  24. and then Sumo happens…

  25. Simple, the Japanese make really creepy McDonalds ads so people are scared to go there

  26. Nice, Abe Hiroshi at 4:53 😂👍

  27. I lived in Japan for 14 years… and even without trying, I remained reasonably healthy and slim. Wish I could live there again. It was a great place. When I returned to America, I started gaining a considerable amount of weight. A few contributing factors I realised were the HUGE portion sizes in America, frequently 3x, or more than those in Japan. I also noticed how large the spoons are. They seem to be meant to shovel as much food as possible in our mouths before our brain triggers satiety. Whereas in Japan eating with chopsticks and a smaller spoon, I ate enough to be satisfied and get the nutrition and energy I needed but didn't overeat. Not to mention so many foods in America now are treated with additives that inhibit satiety, so you just keep eating more and more. The food companies don't care about our health, only their money. I also noticed I exercised more there. I walked from my home to the train station. From the station to my destination. Walked all around the place I was going and then walking on the return journey. In a single day, I would easily walk three or four times more than here in the States where most walking is done primarily to and from the car. The lack of exercise, higher sugar intake, eating too much too fast combined with the belief that satisfied means stuffed to the bursting point are all things which are fattening and killing America. I ate and was satisfied with far less food volume when I lived in Japan than I am now.

  28. Don't worry, America has the best bariatric surgery

  29. We need to learn from Japan

  30. Me, A European between America and Asia:

    Wait then what am I-

  31. Japan best country in the world! Or possibly South Korea

  32. Japan is the best country on earth..

  33. is that why they have smalls dicks?

  34. I have heard that "Shoku-iku" (flavour paring) is the secret to health and fatloss in Japan. Thats supposedly a huge reason. You should check it out!

  35. Because Japanese people walk

  36. It’s not an access issue, it’s a personal-choice issue.

    I can have breakfast cereal and milk every day for breakfast but I choose the less healthy options often.


  38. It’s more of a genetic thing for them to just generally be more thin

  39. Japanese girl basically become skeletons because of assholes who call them fat

  40. I wish the president would subsidize the offering of cheaper, healthier options to promote the general health of our entire nation, we'll all be much happier lmao

  41. While comparing the amount of fast food restaurants, creator obvious miss the different amount of people between two countries. Well, yah excessive size and unhealthy foods occupies the US, but I think another main reason for Japanese' moderate figure is because averagely Japanese people aren't as rich as thr Americans. Most Japanese struggles in their lives.

  42. Miso soup is nasty🤮

  43. Truth is because you never really acquire a taste for household pets no matter how many of them you eat!

  44. 👍 number one reason: portion control and lots more walking 🚶‍♂️

  45. No bread

  46. I was in Japan for travel in a week and lost a bit of weight from walking around alone –

  47. The scene on 1.20, which movie is it? Anyone please?

  48. 4:23 can anyone tell me a place that looks like this? i.e. sit down to eat with the wall covered in those japanese written papers? I lived in Tokyo for 3 weeks but didn't get to visit an izakaya that looked as traditional as that.

  49. Its definitely easy to stay thin in North Korea 😂😂😂😂😂

  50. You could jump straight to the end about soda and that's your answer.

  51. Yeah but Japan is small. They probably won’t be able to get 200k fast food places because they are 50 times smaller than America.

  52. The population of japan is 127,000 and the USA IS 350000 or so

  53. Prove that people are fat because they eat too much

  54. Seafood, fishes, food moderation, no cars but walking, healthy Asian foods…

  55. Eating healthy in the US is so expensive compared to eating unhealthy. I’d like to see a comparison of the cost of eating healthy to unhealthy between the US and the rest of world.

  56. You will get fat if you eat too much ramen
    Sushi is OK, instead Shari will be less

  57. In the US we eat too much, too much fat, too much meat, and especialy too much heavy processed food. Things like preservatives and ehat not get stored in your bodyfat.

  58. The reason why is cause Japanese don't eat wheat-based food or sugar in every meal like the west does. Best way to get fat is to combine Gluten, sugar and fat – ergo Hamburger from McDonald's with Fries and a soda.

  59. I was gonna say… They don't drink nearly as much soda. All the other facts help, and are totally interesting.. I Didn't know! But yeah. I did the math once as a kid… Soda is terrible. 44 grams of sugar in a 12oz drink?? That's like putting 11tsp of sugar in a 12oz coffee! The avg person puts like 2 or 3 in coffee, which is very very sweet to me.

  60. So the government is to blame again XD

  61. Every time I go into the grocery store I want to buy healthy snacks, but when I see that the healthier options are ridiculously high and the junk food is cheap, I kinda just stand there, stuck. Do you wanna go broke and be fit or have some money in case something happens and be fat.
    It's not that Americans want to be fat it's just we are so damn backwards on everything we do

  62. They walk more. And don't drink a lot of pop or no pop

  63. fish

  64. Quick answer: low bread and butter usage.
    Bread will make all your body curves grow, do you want to know what a cracker is!?? Compressed bread! So those little crackers are usually 1/5 the size of bread.

  65. 70% genes 25% convenience and price 5% social pressure

  66. 3.5% of the obese are the sumo wrestlers.

  67. Those giant food company only care about their profits.

  68. Seed oils! Stop eating all seed oils and EVERYTHING gets better!

  69. Japanese have different DNA thats all, nothing to do with food.

  70. If i’m going to be honest, if i get a great paying job i might just spend most of my vacation time in japan

  71. Rice is actually not too healthy man

  72. I'm Chinese and I can relate, too. I gained 20 pounds the first year I came to the States for school without having eating disorders. Every summer I go back to China, I lose a few pounds of weight without intentionally changing my diet or exercise routine….

  73. kimchi is korean food… correct it…

  74. I get the munchies every day.

  75. Please tell me you don't think this is japan specific. I'm from china and this is everywhere.

  76. 面白い動画でした(*ˊᗜˋ*)

  77. you think they drink a lot of green tea ARE YOU GAY FAGGOT OR WHAT? its simple. input calories compared to consumed calories

  78. brainwashed by advertisements as a kid.

  79. In this regard India stands out…if u wish to be healthy u can get very healthy food widely available at low cost😘

  80. Because in united states its cheaper to get fat with unhealthy food

  81. Am i the only super underweight american

  82. I get the point you're making but also look at the portions of meat. Rice or vegetable are way more than meat on a dish like in most countries. Americans just eat too much meat usually some friends 7 times a week sometimes even at dinner.

  83. American GMO food is really all one needs to say. The body doesn't recognize GMO food so it stores it.

  84. Being fat is a profession in Japan. Only the Sumos get to do it! 😀

  85. American's hate healthy food. And actively avoid it!

  86. Salt and sugar in everything in American food.

  87. Japanese ppl find strange that I drink coke with my food, for them its more like a desert.

    But I also suspect that they think soda can steal the flavour of their food

  88. Kimchi??? It's a Korean food not a Japenese food

  89. Its easy because all his food give you cancer so youll be losing weight cause of the tumor

  90. There are no elections in china! It is not a democracy! Xi jiping is a dictator! China needs to end

  91. I’m Kinda embarrassed to be American, there are a lot of dumb people here and there’s a lot of unhealthy food.

  92. 1) Higher emphasis on physical activity.
    2) Less corn syrup in literally everything.
    3) High doses of cultural shame, dishonor, and family embarrassment for being overweight (unless you’re insanely rich, or a sumo wrestler).

  93. Aren’t Asians biologically and typically smaller in general?

  94. It’s about self control, stop blaming the vendors. It’s like saying broadcast companies are the reason people don’t learn anything from watching the Tele’.

  95. Japan doesn’t suffer from mental illness that promotes fat acceptance, faggotry, and multiculturalism.

  96. … makes me want to libe in japan just for this. I cry everytime thinking that when I want to eat healthy the choices are so low

  97. Looks like there's alot more iodine in the Japanese diet which keeps the thyroid healthy. Also, alot of sodium, too!

  98. Expect for Katsudon.

  99. Man I love Japan

  100. how about sumos?

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