The Okinawa Diet

The Okinawa Diet is based on scientific evidence that shows the people of Okinawa, Japan, have exceptionally long life spans and enjoy considerably better health than some of their Western counterparts. The Okinawa Diet seeks to help Western dieters enjoy longer lives and increased functionality into their golden years by incorporating Japanese dietary principles into Western eating habits.

The Premise

The Okinawa Diet plan promises that by eating more like the native residents of Okinawa, Japan, Western dieters can maintain a healthy weight and enjoy a significantly reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. The Okinawa Diet maintains that since the natives of Okinawa live longer and enjoy better health than most other residents of the world, it would stand to reason that eating a similar diet can offer similar health benefits.

The Diet

The Okinawa Diet identifies four types of food that are organized according to caloric density. Featherweight foods include green tea and many fibrous vegetables. Lightweight foods include brown rice and fish; middle weight foods include legumes and lean red meat. Heavyweight foods include sweets and high-fat foods.

The Okinawa Diet seeks to limit calories, but not nutrients. The residents of Okinawa, Japan, eat nutrient-rich foods, but they consume fewer calories than their Western counterparts. Scientists and medical professionals believe that a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet contributes to better health and longer life.

On the Okinawa Diet, you’ll eat about 500 less calories per day. You’re instructed to eat a balanced meal made up of recommended foods until you feel 80% full. If, 10 to 20 minutes after your meal, you still feel hungry, you may eat more recommended foods until you feel more satisfied. 

The Okinawa Diet helps dieters incorporate Japanese dietary principals into their lives over an eight week period. Dieters are instructed to drink miso soup, or another broth-based soup, before meals to prevent overeating. Sweet potatoes are a central part of this diet; they’re filling and high in antioxidants, but low in calories. Other recommended foods include seaweed, fish, brown rice, tofu, vegetables and fish.

What to Get Excited Over

Scientific evidence supports the Okinawa Diet’s claims that it can help you live longer and enjoy better health longer into your golden years. The Okinawa Diet is a well balanced diet that provides plenty of vegetables, fruits, essential fatty acids and lean proteins. This diet can greatly reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and you can sustain it for the rest of your life.

The Okinawa Diet can be customized to fit vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. The Okinawa Diet plan offers more than 150 recipes that use both Western and Japanese foods.

Things to Consider

In order to experience the full benefits of the Okinawa Diet, you’ll have to follow it for the rest of your life. The Okinawa Diet doesn’t educate dieters on the importance of exercise to good health, and it doesn’t address psychosocial factors that may contribute to longevity. The foods used in this diet may not appeal to the American palette, and you may have to permanently give up breads, dairy products and desserts.

The Verdict

The Okinawa Diet is a nutritionally balanced diet that can lead to weight loss and great health benefits, especially if you’re willing to follow it in the long term.


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