Okinawa diet

Okinawa diet

The Okinawa diet is a nutrient-rich, low-calorie diet[1] from the indigenous people of the Ryūkyū Islands. In addition, a commercially promoted weight-loss diet (which bears the same name) has also been made based on this standard diet of the Islanders.


Indigenous islanders' diet

People from the islands of Ryūkyū (of which Okinawa is the largest) have a life expectancy among the highest in the world.,[2] although their life expectancy rank among Japanese prefectures has plummeted in recent years.[3] Their unusual longevity has been attributed in part to the traditional local diet, but also to genetic inheritance, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Generally, the traditional diet of the islanders was 20% lower in calories than the Japanese average and contained 300% of the green/yellow vegetables. Although the traditional Japanese diet included large quantities of rice, in Okinawa, rice was consumed in smaller amounts and the staple was instead the sweet potato. The Okinawan diet has only 25% of the sugar and 75% of the grains of the average Japanese dietary intake.[1] The traditional diet also includes a relatively small amount of fish (less than half a serving per day) and somewhat more in the way of soy and other legumes (6% of total caloric intake). Pork was highly valued, and every part of the pig was eaten, including internal organs. However, pork and fish were primarily eaten on holidays, and the everyday diet was almost exclusively plant based.[4] Cooking was sometimes done with lard. Their overall traditional diet would be considered a very-high-carbohydrate by modern standards, with carbohydrates, protein, and fat providing 85%, 9% and 6% of total calories respectively.[5] The consumption of pork in Okinawa in 1979 was 7.9 kg (17.4 lbs) per person per year.[6] This may be contrasted with the average consumption of meat in the United States, which, by 2005, included 62.4 lbs of beef, 46.5 lbs of pork, and 73.6 lbs of poultry per person per year.[7] Virtually no eggs or dairy products were consumed.[8]

An Okinawan reaching 110 years of age has typically had a diet consistently averaging no more than one calorie per gram of food and has a BMI of 20.4.[citation needed]

In addition to their high life expectancy, islanders are noted for their low mortality from cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Willcox (2007) compared age-adjusted mortality of Okinawans versus Americans and found that, during 1995, an average Okinawan was 8 times less likely to die from coronary heart disease, 7 times less likely to die from prostate cancer, 6.5 times less likely to die from breast cancer, and 2.5 times less likely to die from colon cancer than an average American of the same age.[8]

The traditional Okinawa diet as described above has been practiced on the islands till the end of the World War II. Since then, dietary practices have been shifting towards Western and Japanese patterns, with fat intake rising to 27% of total caloric intake and the sweet potato being supplanted with rice and bread. [5]

Commercial weight loss diet

The diet consists of a relatively low energy intake and contains similar foods to the traditional Okinawan diet. The principal focus of the diet consists of knowing the food energy density of each food item.

The proponents of this diet divide food into four categories based on caloric density. The "featherweight" foods, less than or equal to 0.8 calories per gram (3.3 kJ/g) which one can eat freely without major concern, the "lightweight" foods with a caloric density from 0.8 to 1.5 calories per gram which one should eat in moderation, the "middleweight" foods with a caloric density from 1.5 to 3.0 calories per gram which one should eat only while carefully monitoring portion size and the "heavyweight" foods from 3 to 9 calories per gram which one should eat only sparingly.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Walford, Roy; Walford, Lisa (2005), "The Caloric Limitation Principle", Review: The Anti-Aging Plan: The Nutrient-Rich, Low-Calorie Way of Eating for a Longer Life--The Only Diet Scientifically Proven to Extend Your Healthy Years, Cambridge, Mass: Da Capo Press, pp. 26–27, ISBN 1569243832 
  2. ^ Boyle, Marie A.; Long, Sara (2008), Personal Nutrition (7 ed.), Stamford, Conn.: Cengage Learning, pp. 11–12, ISBN 0495560081 
  3. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (April 4, 2004). "Love of U.S. food shortening Okinawans' lives / Life expectancy among islands' young men takes a big dive". Hearst Communications, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  4. ^ Hiroko Sho (2001). "History and characteristics of Okinawan longevity food". Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr. 
  5. ^ a b D. Craig Willcox et al (2009). "The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Load". Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 
  6. ^ Economic Structure of Local, Regional and National Hog Markets in the Self-Sufficient Region-Okinawa's Case
  7. ^ "Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005". 
  8. ^ a b Willcox, B. J.; Willcox, D. C.; Todoriki, H.; Fujiyoshi, A.; Yano, K.; He, Q.; Curb, J. D.; Suzuki, M. (October 2007), "Caloric Restriction, the Traditional Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging: The Diet of the World’s Longest-Lived People and Its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1114: 434–455, doi:10.1196/annals.1396.037, 
  9. ^ The Okinawa Diet Plan, Bradley Wilcox, MD, D. Craig Wilcox, PhD and Makoto Suzuki, MD, copyright 2004.

Further reading

  • Gavrilova, N. S.; Gavrilov, L. A. (2011). "Comments on Dietary Restriction, Okinawa Diet and Longevity". Gerontology. doi:10.1159/000329894. PMID 21893946.  edit

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Okinawa Prefecture — Okinawa redirects here. For other uses, see Okinawa (disambiguation). Okinawa Prefecture Japanese transcription(s)  – Japanese 沖縄県  – Rōmaji Okinawa ken Okinawan transcription(s) …   Wikipedia

  • Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology — Established 1 September 2005 …   Wikipedia

  • Okinawa Social Mass Party — (沖縄社会大衆党, Okinawa Shakai Taishū tō?) is a local political party in Okinawa, Japan. The party s name is abbreviated as Social Mass Party (社会大衆党, Shakai Taishū tō …   Wikipedia

  • Okinawa At-large district — may refer to: Okinawa At large district (House of Councillors), a current electoral district for the House of Councillors in the Diet of Japan Okinawa At large district (House of Representatives), a former electoral district for the House of… …   Wikipedia

  • Okinawa At-large district (House of Councillors) — Okinawa At large district is a constituency of the House of Councillors in the Diet of Japan (national legislature). It consists of the entire prefecture of Okinawa and was created in 1970 following the agreement between US president Richard… …   Wikipedia

  • CRON-diet — The CRON diet (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition)[1] is a nutrient rich, very low calorie diet[2] developed by Roy Walford, Lisa Walford, and Brian M. Delaney.[3][4][5] The CRON diet involves calorie restriction in the hope that the… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Okinawa — Part of World War II, the Pacific War …   Wikipedia

  • Zone diet — The Zone diet is a diet popularized in books by biochemist Barry Sears. It advocates consuming calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat in a ratio of 40%/30%/30%. [ [,2933,257620,00.html Mexico s Half …   Wikipedia

  • Political Group of Okinawa Revolution — The nihongo|Political Group of Okinawa Revolution|政党そうぞう|Seitō Sōzō is a local political party in Okinawa, Japan. Seitō means political party , while sōzō may mean nihongo| creation |創造 or nihongo| imagination |想像. Contrary to what its official… …   Wikipedia

  • Okinawan cuisine — This article is part of the series …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.