I don't think the Greeks eat their yogurt so much plain as with honey or sweetened fruits. It's good!Weight Loss Tips From Around the World
Nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Our rate of weight gain is escalating faster than anywhere else on earth, particularly in children. What's happening to us? The obesity epidemic in our country has only been a problem in the 50 years or so, when food has become both cheap and abundant - so the "genetics" of obesity can't explain much about this (genetic changes don't happen in a couple of generations!)
What are we doing wrong in America? We have more â€œdietâ€ foods in the US than anywhere else in the world, and weâ€™re among the top heaviest nations.
We can learn a lot from the eating habits of people in other countries. That's the topic of my Today Show segment (check back later for the video).
There are a lot of world-wide diet tips, but I've picked 4 countries to represent these trends:
Japan, France, Italy, and Greece. For comparison, the Japanese have an incidence of obesity of about 3% - that's 10 times less than in the USA, where we weight in around 30% of obesity among our adult population. Let's take a look at why this might be so. And, please post your ideas on this topic!!
Take a look at this info and see how different this can be from typical American eating. Healthy weight fundamentals in other countries include:
Portions are small and controlled
Reliance on fresh, unprocessed foods
Enjoying food as a social occasion, with friends and family
No foods are off limits â€“ no â€œgoodâ€ or â€œbadâ€ foods
No meal skipping
Very limited snacking
Activity of daily living â€“ a lot of walking!! (20 minute stroll = 1 mile = 100 calories
Interested in some specific tips from particular countries? Read on!
Broth-based soups -fill you up before a meal
Soy as major protein source - low in fat and calories (tofu, edamame)
Very limited use of red meat, used more as a garnish than â€œmain dishâ€.
Rice/veggie combinations replace protein â€“ not add to it
Variety of veggies for a colorful plate
Sushi â€“ lean protein (fish) or veggies with small amount of rice â€“ good nutrient balance
Food quality, not quantity is important
"Iindulgenceâ€ means small quantity of a special food, not more food
Fresh, flavorful foods in small portions
No meal skipping â€“ regular meal intervals
All foods in moderation â€“ even dessert
No eating on the run â€“ relaxed eating as social event (ie, no cup holders!)
Meals are social and a celebration of family and friends
Longer, leisurely meals are the norm â€“ more social, less food
Limited portions, even for pasta! (5 oz is normal in Italy - double that in the US!)
Red wine and olive oil reign - and natives consume the fruit as well (grapes and olives).
Abundant fresh tomatoes, garlics, herbs and spices provide fabulous flavor and satisfaction.
Wine is part of meal, or serves as dessert.
Flavorful aged cheeses â€“ like parmiagiano â€“ provide lots of flavor with a smaller serving size.
Mediterranean focus on abundant fresh produce: tomatoes, onions, eggplant, spinach, artichokes are favorites
Olive oil is chief source of fat
Meat as â€œextenderâ€ â€“ not a big hunk â€“ rather, stuffed grape leaves â€“ with chopped lamb or beef and rice.
Use of tangy, intensely flavored feta cheese â€“ lots of flavor with a small amount (and fewer calories)
Chick peas and nuts are protein sources
Use of plain strained yogurt (concentrated flavor â€“ most water removed); eaten plain or as a base for sauces
I found this about 13 years ago in Prevention magazine:
Habits from around the world:
1. Increased physical activity
2. They didn't snack all the time
3. They didn't eat as many fatty foods (meat isn't as big a part of their diet)
4. Their portions were smaller
5. Grains/starches starred in their meals
6. They didn't routinely eat desserts/sweets (but they didn't eliminate or avoid them, either)