Korean diet: nutritional rules for the world’s slimmest nation

Korea is among the countries with the lowest rates of obesity in the population. And in many ways, this is due to the peculiarities of the traditional diet of the inhabitants of this country. What do Koreans eat to always stay slim? And should we adopt their eating habits? We understand together with nutritionists.  

According to the report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) “ Obesity Update 2017”, in Korea, the proportion of obese people aged 15 years and older is only 5.3%. This is one of the lowest rates among developed countries. Moreover, according to OECD, the average level of obesity in the world is quite high and amounts to 19.5%. Organization experts suggest that these alarming numbers will grow even more by 2030. However, in Korea, by contrast, the proportion of obese people will continue to decline. “The low level of obesity in Korea is largely due to the peculiarities of Korean cuisine. Korean cuisine is a balanced diet of rice, soup and vegetables. The diet is rich in all the essential nutrients, such as the right carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, ”explains Lee Xie Hwan , plastic surgeon, head of the plastic surgery department at Grand Medical Center . Yandex.Direct INFINITI for 30% of the price Assistance in the selection of financial services / organizations Different sounds constantly in your ears? According to nutritionist Natalia Afanasyeva, following the principles of Korean nutrition is really good for health. At the same time, as the expert emphasizes, it is important to distinguish between the Korean diet and the Korean way of eating. Korean diet is a kind of low-calorie nutrition plan aimed at weight loss. According to the expert, this is an unhealthy diet, with a very dubious set of products, which leads to a malfunction and a rollback in weight back. In contrast to diet, the Korean type of nutrition is good. “According to the results of last year’s European Congress on the Treatment of Obesity (ECO), the Korean diet is recognized as one of the most balanced and complete,” the nutritionist notes. Let us examine in more detail what nutrition rules make Koreans easy to stay slim. The abundance of vegetables and herbs. “Our microbiota needs to be fed and each strain of our microorganisms eats its own type of fiber. The more diverse the vegetables, the better we feed the microbiota , which means the health of our intestines, ”commented Natalia Afanasyeva. Fermented food. “Healthy, fermented foods are very popular in Korea: kimchi (spicy seasoned pickled vegetables), twenjan (soya paste), kelp, sea kale,” said Lee Xie Hwan . According to Natalia Afanasyeva, fermented food is rich not only in fiber, but also in beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which it contains even more than in the usual “milk”. The basis of the diet is rice. “Rice is primarily absorbent. It helps the intestines get rid of toxins and undigested food. Such a soft bowel cleansing occurs, ”explains Natalia Afanasyeva. At the same time, as a nutritionist notes, the Korean diet lacks wheat and yeast, traditional for Europe, rich in “fast” carbohydrates. An abundance of spices. As the expert explains, spices play the role of natural dietary supplements. “They not only make food tasty, but they also saturate it with microelements, vitamins,” she notes. Lee Xie Hwan also emphasizes the special benefits of ginger, red and black pepper. “According to research at Columbia University, ginger stimulates the digestive system, suppressing appetite and enhancing the feeling of satiety. It also helps diuretic activity, stimulates the stomach, reduces cholesterol absorption. As a result, metabolism is accelerated and weight is reduced, ”says the specialist. Red and black pepper also contribute to fat burning and improve digestion. The main protein products are beef and fish. Fish is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and iodine. “Beef is healthier than pork, for example. Pork has more cholesterol, its protein contains transgenic structures that are dangerous in terms of oncology, ”notes Natalia Afanasyeva. Bean Wealth. As a nutritionist emphasizes, legumes are an excellent source of fiber, healthy vegetable protein and B vitamins. The concept of “Slow Food.” “Slow food” is food prepared in the traditional way, using natural fermentation, not factory production. Typical examples of slow food – sauces are naturally fermented soy paste doenjang , soy sauce kandzhan sauce and red pepper gochujang “- says Lee Se Hwan . Lack of fatty and fried foods. “Korean cuisine has less fat than European. Koreans prefer steaming, boiling or stewing, which is much more useful than frying, ”Lee Xie- hwan comments        . Aesthetic food culture. As Natalia Afanasyeva emphasizes, Koreans eat slowly and in small quantities, enjoying the taste. In addition, due to the abundance of aromatic spices, emotional appetite is satisfied, first of all, so overeating does not occur. 

Who should not get involved in the Korean diet? According to Natalia Afanasyeva, it is worthwhile to be careful with Korean dishes for those who are diagnosed with gastritis, acute renal, liver failure, acute hepatitis, hypertension, gout, as well as urolithiasis or cholelithiasis . In any case, the expert recommends undergoing at least a minimum medical examination before starting to change your diet. General tips for those who want to lose weight with the help of Korean food: Do not strive for a quick loss of kilograms. “With a sharp weight loss, the elasticity of the skin decreases, voids are released – wrinkles appear. A decrease in body weight of more than 5 kg per month weakens the body and accelerates aging. Weight loss should be taken seriously and not in a hurry, ”said Li Xie Hwang . The doctor advises to lose a maximum of 0.5-1 kg per week and not to forget about regular physical activity. Do not starve yourself. “If in an effort to reduce the amount of food, you eat only once a day – there will be a breakdown, because the body will try to get the missing energy. It is better to reduce the serving size to half or two-thirds of the usual. If you sharply reduce the amount of food, then the metabolic rate will also decrease and the numbers on the scales will die for a long time, ”says the expert. Change your diet gradually. “Any transition must be smooth in order for the body to adapt. At first, it’s better to simply include certain Korean dishes in your traditional diet, gradually changing it, ”advises Natalia Afanasyeva. Choose a diet in accordance with the state of health. “Any food system should be correlated with energy consumption , lifestyle and the state of health of a particular person. For example, if you have a violation of carbohydrate metabolism, then rice, noodles are better to eat in the morning, and in the evening there are heat-treated vegetables, ”says the nutritionist. Focus on positive emotions. “Since stress is usually the cause of overeating and excessive alcohol consumption, you need to learn how to avoid it. Replace negative emotions with positive ones. 

local_offerevent_note June 1, 2020

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