Eating in the Japanese Kaiseki style is a simple way to stay slim and also help you live longer that anyone can do.
If you pay attention, in Japan, apart from Sumo, you rarely see any obese Japanese in Japan, it’s not only observation but also actual survey, with 32% of people being obese in the US. in Japan that figure is only 3.6%.
It is also quite reasonable that the Japanese people have a relatively simple lifestyle, they exercise more (because cars are quite expensive, so they mainly walk or cycle) and also because food is also expensive.
Besides that, there are other reasons but mainly related to the concept of Hara Hachi Bu (a Confucian phrase roughly translated as “eat until you’re full for 8 (out of 10) portions”).
Stopping eating when you’re about 80% full is seen as a sign of self-control and it’s an appreciated trait.
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How to keep fit with the Kaiseki method
Hara Hachi Bu was created by the Japanese practicing a culinary tradition that is hundreds of years old, it is called Kaiseki and while it has many variations it is basically related to starting the meal. Eat with vegetables and then protein and finally carbs.
Eating this Kaiseki method will help you eat less for reasons we’ll talk about later, but it’s actually a smart and scientific way to eat.
The Kaiseki method improves insulin sensitivity and improves an age-accelerating process called Glycation, which combine to help you stay in shape with ease while also helping you live as long as an Okinawan.
There are two types of Kaiseki, one that starts with meat and ends with rice, and the other is a frugal meal of Sen no Rikyu (a 16th-century Japanese tea master). The second type is the main type discussed in this article.
The Kanji characters used to know the word Kaiseki literally translates to “chest pocket kick,” and the concept comes from Zen monks, who would place warm stones in the front folds of their robes to Simulate satiety and thereby help reduce fat.
Although there are many variations of Kaseki, they usually start with a light soup or broth, then vegetables, then a protein-rich dish, and end with rice.
Soup and broth used to set the level of the meal. You’ll start off by going slow with a digestive-friendly meal, which also helps control the hunger pangs you’re experiencing so you don’t get hungry as you go through the next dishes.
With their high fiber content, vegetables will help your body start to feel full and allow you to keep the concept of Hari Hachi Bu.
Next, with protein and fat and when you are 8/10 full, finish with a small serving of starch.
It sounds like this Japanese way of keeping slim with the “last carb” method is quite practical, but the truth is that there are scientific studies to support this way of eating.
The Science Behind Kaiseki Meals
Back in 2017, Alpana Shukla and colleagues demonstrated that eating the protein and vegetable components (pâté, lettuce, and tomatoes) of a hamburger 10 minutes before eating the carbohydrate portion (bread and butter) ) leads to a much lower rise in postprandial sugar and insulin.
Given that eating a hamburger in such a way is impractical and bizarre, Shukla, et al. conducted another study, this time using a more realistic eating pattern.
They gathered 16 subjects with type II diabetes. All 16 isocaloric meals consumed had the same macronutrient composition on three separate days, one week apart, after a 12-hour fast. Three meals based on the following conditions:
- Participants ate carbs first (ciabatta bread and orange juice) over a 10-minute period. Then they rested for 10 minutes before eating protein (skinless chicken breast) and vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers with Italian vinegar), and they would again in 10-minute intervals.
- Participants ate protein and vegetables first. They started with protein and vegetables eaten in 10-minute intervals, followed by a 10-minute rest period, and then finished with carbs (bread and orange juice), eating again in 10-minute intervals.
- Participants ate vegetables first. Again, they had 10 minutes to finish the first serving. They then rested for 10 minutes, then ate protein and carbs at 10-minute intervals.
All study participants had their blood drawn just before mealtime and every 30 minutes to three hours after the start of the meal.
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As effective as using blood sugar drugs
Eating carbs ultimately slows insulin response as effectively as acarbose and nateglinide, two commonly used blood sugar drugs.
Consuming protein and vegetables first in a meal resulted in the lowest postprandial glucose elevations, while veg alone had the lowest insulin response, and postprandial glucose responses were also nearly as low as the first strategy with protein. and vegetables.
The researchers found that a decreased insulin response was associated with “delayed gastric emptying.” More precisely, the fiber in the vegetables acts like the rods that control the nuclear reaction in a nuclear reactor, reflecting the concept behind the style of eating kaiseki.
Shukla also found that eating carbs ultimately lowers ghrelin, a hunger hormone, thus suggesting that the Japanese “last carb” approach may cause you to eat less when it’s time for your next meal.
Improves skin and internal health
You start life with baby smooth skin, but you end up looking like a wilted apple. This is largely due to a reaction called glycation, which is simply the binding of proteins to sugars. It’s almost the same as what happens when you bake a burger.
It is also roughly the same as what happens in your body when you regularly keep your blood sugar above what the medical profession considers the normal fasting range (70 to 99 mg/dl).
Once this blood sugar begins to fluctuate above 85 mg/dl — long enough, high enough, and often enough — glycation begins to become an issue. In other words, you start to “cook” yourself; you start aging prematurely and your face looks like an old one starts earlier than it could.
Constantly high blood sugar not only causes you to “cook your body slowly” both on the outside and in, but it also leads to a host of metabolic problems, including insulin resistance and obesity.
Obviously, glycation is something you want to improve on, and a kaiseki-style ultimate carb eating strategy will probably do the trick.
How to apply the Japanese way of eating “the last carb” in practice?
Obviously eating vegetables, protein first and eating carbs later won’t work when it’s an unhealthy food, like a hamburger, and that “weird” way of eating can also get you whispering all the time. later period.
However, with a casual dining situation like sitting down for dinner, and leaving the rice for last is quite easy to do. Eat non-starchy vegetables first, then meat, and finish the meal with rice or pasta.
You don’t have to eat all the vegetables on the table before eating meat, you can eat vegetables and combine some meat and then eat vegetables again. You also don’t have to do the same research with eating 10 minutes at a time, it’s impractical and also makes many people look at you with suspicious eyes.
So do you need to eat soup before the main course, it’s good but it’s not really necessary, if you eat soup first, don’t make it into noodle soup or rice soup, just use broth or vegetable soup.
The most important lesson learned from the Japanese way of keeping slim through eating kaiseki and Shukla’s experiments was simply eating carbs last. This simple strategy can allow you to maintain insulin sensitivity and keep your waistline slim, in addition to avoiding premature aging.
- Okumura K. The Order in Which to Properly Eat Food, Inspired by Kaiseki-Ryori. Medium. Oct. 22, 2020.
- Shukla AP et al. Carbohydrate-last meal pattern lowers postprandial glucose and insulin excursions in type 2 diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2017 Sep 14;5(1):e000440. PubMed.
- Shukla AP et al. Food Order Has a Significant Impact on Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Levels. Diabetes Care. 2015 Jul; 38(7): e98-e99. PMC.
- What is Kaiseki? Complete Guide to Beautiful Art of Japanese Cuisine. Japan Wonder Travel Blog. 2021/09/08.