The Okinawa Diet Plan is based on the eating patterns of a group of elderly inhabitants of Okinawa, which is a collection of over a hundred islands off the coast of Japan.
These people are reported to have some of the world’s longest life spans and best health.
Studies show that Okinawans who eat a traditional diet do not gain weight as they age and in addition their rates of heart disease are 80% less and of cancer are 50% less than Americans.
The Okinawa Diet Plan promises dieters that they will become leaner, live longer and never feel hungry by following the ten dietary principles of the Okinawan people. It may even help to reduce wrinkles due to the high antioxidant content of the diet.
The diet plan is based on four groups of foods that are categorized according to their caloric density:
The concept of the diet plan is on limiting calorie intake by emphasizing high volume, high nutrient foods with a low caloric density so the featherweight and lightweight foods will make up the majority of the diet.
It is important to restrict the tendency to overeat as occurs in Western diets. One of the major principles of the Okinawan approach to eating is to only eat until 80% full. If after 10-20 minutes you are still feeling hungry it is acceptable to eat more of the recommended foods if desired.
Okinawans eat on average 500 calories less per day than other social groups however the diet is not simply about calorie restriction but also emphasizes the selection of highly nutritious foods. The recommended foods are low in calories but high in flavor and nutrients. Low glycemic carbohydrates are included and these sustain energy and help keep dieters feeling full until the next meal.
Calorie restriction is a major key to increasing longevity however the authors state that this does not necessarily mean that dieters have to go hungry. Dieters are assisted to gradually phase into the Okinawan style of eating with an eight-week plan.
This is designed to limit the feelings of frustration and deprivation that may occur when attempting to change eating habits too quickly and dramatically.
Broth based soups such as miso soup are eaten before each meal so as to reduce the tendency to overeat.
Sweet potato is a staple food and is recommended for its high content of antioxidants.
Other foods that are particularly recommended include green vegetables, edible seaweed, tofu, fish, brown rice and green tea.
Okinawan blueberry pancakes
Sweet and sour mustard baked tofu
Raw vegetable crudités
The Okinawa Diet Plan book retails at $14.95.
The Okinawa Diet plan fails to adequately address the complete array of lifestyle factors that may be involved in the exceptional health and longevity of the Okinawan people such as physical activity, a sense of community, and general ways of coping with stress.
Nonetheless, this is a highly nutritious eating plan that will provide dieters with the knowledge necessary in order to reduce calories without sacrificing their nutritional intake.