No announcement yet.

Howcome Asians have rice as a staple and live long and prosper

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Howcome Asians have rice as a staple and live long and prosper

    Healthy skinny lives

  • #2
    Because even with their rice they still eat less carbs, and calories in general than Americans. If you give up breads, pastas, and refined sugars, a little rice here and there is nothing. Their diets are much better than ours. They eat plenty of fish, sea weed, and various vegetables.


    • #3
      Hey, how come those vegetarian buddhists in the Nepalese Himalaya eat so much Yak meat?
      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


      • #4
        The notion that Asians eat boatloads of rice is rather inaccurate.

        In Japan in particular(which I'll discuss since it's Japan that's generally cited with high life expectancies), it's typical to have a small to moderate-sized serving of white rice with lunch and/or dinner. But overall, these meals are balanced

        If I were to characterize a typical Japanese diet and lifestyle compared to our own - this is first-hand experience from living in Japan for about a year and a half:
        -The Japanese Diet is quite high in fish
        -A wide variety of vegetables are regularly consumed
        -Non-fish meats are consumed, but they tend to be in moderate quantities. The Japanese generally prefer fattier cuts of meat to leaner cuts - go to a supermarket in Japan and you'll see that the leanest meat is often the cheapest - opposite of the USA
        -The average lifestyle in Japan and other asian countries involves more walking and less sitting than in the West(there's that "move slowly" thing)

        Now, to be totally honest and balanced in my discussion, I need to add Japanese grocery stores also contain a huge amount of processed junk - comparable to our own here in the USA, and they have their fair share of non-nutritious on-the-go snacks/microwaveable meals that are fairly popular too. But in general the average lifestyle there is probably healthier than it is in the USA.

        This last part is speculation, but it's quite likely that there is some genetic component to it, in my opinion - different populations have likely evolved over time to be a bit better adapted to a diet that those populations have been eating for generations. As one might imagine, my Northern European heritage might not be as well adapted to rice as someone from southeast Asia, or as well adapted to citrus fruit as someone whose ancestors lived in tropical climates.
        Last edited by jsa23; 01-14-2012, 11:04 PM.


        • #5
          You're focusing on macros. Polished white rice is actually fairly well tolerated by a lot of individuals. If you're healthy and already lean, if you're not metabolically deranged and insulin resistant, then the macros stop being as big a deal. See also: Kitavans, who eat tons of carbs. Of course, those carbs are turning to palmitic acid in their digestive tract....

          Paleo/primal is focused on food quality. You can use understanding of macros to lose weight this way, and certainly people sell paleo as a great way to lose weight, but that's not what it's all about. Grains, sugar, and legumes can be tasty, but nutrition- and health-wise you're getting more bang for your buck with meat, veggies, and fruit.

          Time and time again when you find cultures that make you say, "Hey, how come X can eat Y??" the answer is "because their food isn't processed crap". Introduce processed crap into those societies, and watch them start developing the same diseases we do.

          If your goal is to lose weight, then do try dropping the carbs down to <50g. Fat and protein will help you feel satisfied and to not overeat. If you have an autoimmune or other disorder, then avoid grains like the plague; there's good reason to believe they helped triggered your disease. If you're at perfect body weight for your height, then enjoy your 20%. You lucky dog.

          That said, it's not "magic"; if you're a 5'3" female and 160 pounds and you eat 2500 fat and protein calories daily, chances are you're not going to lose much weight. But I will say, it's much harder to overeat when you're limiting your carbs. (Not impossible. Just harder.)

          It's like a friend of mine says -- she doesn't binge on whole grilled chicken breasts. But boxes of powdered sugar donuts? No problem!
          Last edited by onalark; 01-15-2012, 02:16 AM.
          My Primal Meanderings


          • #6
            The problem with rice is that it contains traces of arsenic. Enough to cause problems to..

            Unfortunately the modern asian diet is now filled with American junk food and they are getting fatter from it to!.


            • #7
              One portion of white rice a day is fine on primal if you're exercising plenty. I consider it a safer source of carbs than fruit.

              The Japanese example shows it is safe to eat, within the context of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
              F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


              • #8
                At my old job, I visited my companies factories in Asia. There, the people actually live AT the factories, with dorm-type rooms. They live, eat, bathe, work, all at the same place. I was able to observe them for about a week.

                So, mealtime comes. Twice a day, not three. They do not get a breakfast. At lunchtime, and at dinner (the exact same food), they sit at large round tables, and the cooks bring out these huge round stainless steel bowls. Each person has a medium-sized bowl and a set of chopsticks, plus a tea cup. In the SS bowls: One bowl is tons of veggies with a little bit of protein; it might be meat, fish, etc., depending on availability). The other bowl is a huge bowl of white sticky rice. Each person takes one serving of each. Twice a day. That's IT. We asked the management silly questions, like what about dessert? He laughed, and said "We never eat dessert".

                We Americans (about 70 of us) seemed HUGE in comparison to them. Our average weight might have been, say, 145 for females, 190 for males. Their average weight would be, if I'd guess, around 90 lbs. for females, 120 for males. And their heights much smaller too. Average female there was probably 5'0; average male around 5'4".

                They just don't eat as much, in my observation. Now I realize these were factory conditions, but they were actually clean and quite nice, relative to what we saw outside the factory. We even toured their dorm rooms: looked, actually, like any American dorm room. Two twin beds, pushed up against walls, 1 small dresser, and a community toilet. Very clean, and the people even came out after we were done touring to "thank us" for their jobs. They applauded us, as they said without us marketing their products, they wouldn't have these "wonderful" jobs.
                Truly Paleo since 1/1/2012 (Doing Leptin reset)
                Turned 50 on 3/8/2012 !!!
                5'2" Female
                11/27/2011: 162.8 lbs.
                7/15/12 : 148.6 lbs.
                Clean Paleo diet: Lots of CO, Meat, Seafood, and doing CT 5x/week, 40 mins @ 50-52 degrees F


                • #9
                  When anybody says Asians eat "so much" rice what are they imagining in their heads? A typical American portion? At my house, when we had stir-fry, we had a mountain of rice on a large plate covered in a mountain of stir-fry. Then we had seconds. When we go out to eat at a local Japanese restaurant, they give us a rather large bowl heaped like they inverted a 2nd bowl of rice on top. Probably about 2 cups of rice for each person. I don't think they eat quite that much over there. I have a Chinese friend who's a great cook who has had us over for dinner and she never serves any rice. It's all vegetables and meat and interesting flavors and spices.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                  • #10
                    Also, back in the day, rice used to be fermented with salt for preservation - which is how sushi was derived. I would guess that smaller portion sizes and fermentation play a large part.


                    • #11
                      I've found this in both China and Italy with regards to pasta. In the UK and US the plate is piled high with the starch component (rice or pasta) with small amounts of protein on top. I remember hearing a nutritionist say we should pile our plate high with rice because it is low in fat and only have a small amount of lean protein. This is not the way Chinese people eat. Same with pasta. In Italy pasta was only a small proportion of the meal. They ate plenty of meat, vegetables and full fat dairy. Carbs in themselves are not evil, it's a case of how and when you eat them, and of course how much. Sadly there has an increase in obesity in both countries since the introduction of foreign foods. It's called the 'American disease' in Spain.
                      My website:


                      • #12
                        I feel there are some strong cultural and socioeconomic factors at play in terms of how much various nations are willing to spend on their food as a proportion of their disposable income. It is more expensive to up the protein and fresh vegetable components and cut down on the cheap starch.

                        Continental Europeans have historically been much more inclined to invest in eating healthily as it's such a valued part of their heritage, even for those on low incomes. Whereas their UK counterparts have increasingly tended to fill up on cheap crap as that leaves them more spare cash to bling on their cars, homes and mass entertainment - the shallow status symbols. The rot is now spreading to continental Europe. 'American disease' is probably accurate. No offense to Americans intended - it's the powers that be there rather than the citizens who have earned my contempt.
                        Last edited by paleo-bunny; 01-15-2012, 03:12 PM. Reason: typos
                        F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


                        • #13
                          Just saw this great comment in another thread so copied it here:

                          Originally posted by Dracil View Post
                          As an Asian who actually grew up in Asia, those kind of statements just make me go huh? We use meat as condiments? That's news to me. If anything, we didn't eat nearly as much rice as they serve in restaurants (anywhere from 0-2 small bowls of rice, I usually did one and it didn't go past the top of the bowl). Often had a whole fish or more at the table as well (for 3 people). Maybe they should also eat more intestines, chicken feet, chicken hearts, pig ears, pig's feet, squids and octopi, and all sorts of eggs (preserved duck eggs, salted duck eggs, tea eggs), if they wanna eat more like us.

                          Weird, that doesn't sound very vegan after all.

                          A steak a day keeps the doctor away


                          • #14
                            In addition, I'd add that SOME Asian cultures put a huge emphasis on being thin, which results in a lot of eating disordered behavior, particularly in young people, and especially in young women. Note: I am not saying every skinny Asian is anorexic. Merely remarking that eating disorders are one factor in the thinness of some Asian people.

                            I would agree that genetics are a factor as well. I'm an American-raised Asian. I can eat carbs and calories like freakin' crazy... MAD crazy... and gain about a half pound a year.
                            Female, 40 yrs old, 5', 120 lbs (post-pregnancy)
                            Went Primal January 2, 2012!

                            Paleo Cooking for Cavekids cookbook


                            • #15
                              Because Asians do it better