Is Asian Food Healthier than Western Food?

The traditional Asian diet has long been associated with preventing diseases and increasing longevity. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats, and low in sweets, processed foods and animal products. In contrast, the Western diet includes large portions, excess sugar, and high calorie counts. The constant allegation that consumption of Western-style fast food is the cause of obesity in Asia needs to be re-examined.

An examination of the frequency of fast food consumption shows a contradictory pattern. This new observation will facilitate the development of an alternative framework necessary to improve the health of the Asian community. In fact, several local Asian foods provided as much energy and total fat in a single meal as Western-style fast foods. Largely plant-based diets have dominated these parts of Asia for centuries, and only recently have Western foods—mostly processed, meat-based, and high-fat—penetrated the culture. The dietary principles described here are based on historical diets in rural areas of Japan, China, and other Asian countries. Asians have historically had low rates of osteoporosis, but other factors may be involved.

If you consider what Chinese, South Korean and Japanese diners like most when it comes to food, you can imagine suckling pig, roasted goose, Korean barbecue, wagyu beef or tonkatsu. The United States has developed the Food Guide Pyramid to show healthy eating patterns for people over the age of two. This is a useful tool for understanding how to balance your diet with a variety of foods from different food groups. It is important to note that while the traditional Asian diet is believed to be healthier than the Western diet, it is still important to practice moderation when consuming any type of food.

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