When it comes to health, generally, the Japanese diet is much healthier than the American one. American obesity is above 30%, whereas Japanese obesity is less than 5%.
Indeed when I was in the States, there were so many times I was shocked about how American people ate so unhealthily.
In Japan, there are lots of access to reasonably healthy food while America not so much. A balanced meal is what helps make Japanese people stay healthier., that in turn helps them stay thin.
Fish consumption in Japan is obviously pretty high due to things like sushi and sashimi. In principle, experts believe that a higher intake of fish than meat is better for your general health.
Also in general, Japanese meals tend to contain more vegetables than American ones, and in Japan, it’s easy to get, even from instant or frozen food.
Another food for thought (excuse the bad pun😆), in Japan we eat a lot of rice rather than wheat. According to some studies, wheat gluten increases body fat, inflammation, and insulin resistance. So a higher intake of wheat may not be as beneficial.
Also, snacks like chocolates have less sugar and are less sweet in Japan compared to their US counterparts. According to studies, sugar intake as a whole is much less in Japan than in America (which would explain why the US Starbucks Frappicino I had was super sweet compared to one back in Japan).
Also, another thing to consider is location, especially if you are in Tokyo, you end up probably walking a lot more to get around which should help you stay lean. Public transportation is impressively developed in Tokyo, so this makes car ownership low, that in turn makes people walk more than to get around the districts than people in more rural areas in America that need to drive to go almost everywhere.
Next, portion size in Japan is almost half the size of the American one. While I admit, I was a bit unsatisfied and disappointed about the size of the meals when I initially came back to Japan, but recently I’ve gotten used to eating less food and don’t feel like eating more than the meal that’s provided.
In Japan, drinking tea and water is more common than carbonated drinks like cola or soda, while in America many people drink such kind of drinks. Here, tea is usually unsweetened so probably better for you, but I still remember when I was in America, I drank sweet green tea for the first time and I was surprised since I’d never heard of sweet green tea…
Another thing I was shocked about food in America was about school lunch. I was surprised at very unhealthy food for kids at those schools. In Japan, school meals are planned by nutritionists and cooked from mostly from scratch from local ingredients and served in classrooms by students. Students are usually allowed to drink milk only, so they can’t drink soda. I believe this is much better than the school meal in the states.