The Asian Diet has been named a Top Diet by US News and World Report
Every year, US News and World Report ranks the best diets. In 2013, The Asian Diet made it on the list. They refer to it as the “Traditional Asian Diet” because there is not just one specific Asian Diet and because the diet is Asia is changing lately as the Western diet is creeping into their culture (with disastrous effects). But my book, The Asian Diet: Simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well, was a main source that US News and World Report consulted in evaluating the Traditional Asian Diet. 22 experts evaluated 29 different diets. Read the whole article here at http://health.usnews.com/best-diet . Here’s what they had to say about the Asian Diet.
Overall, this diet plan was ranked at #11, but came in 4th among plant-based diets. One reviewer wrote “the nutritional balance is better than most other plant-based or vegan diets”. Some of the negative aspects the reviewers pointed out reflect their interpretation of the traditional Asian diet and do not reflect the Asian Diet as it is explained in my book. I will discuss them later.
Will it help you lose weight? Probably. Research suggests people in Asian countries who follow this dietary pattern weigh less than their Western counterparts. That’s likely because it’s high in healthy foods that keep hunger at bay: whole grains, vegetables, and bean products, for example.
Is it good for cardiovascular health? It’s likely. Asian diets are low in fat, especially the saturated variety, and high in fiber, due to an emphasis on fruits and veggies, whole grains, and rice. And they’re in line with the medical community’s widely accepted definition of a heart-healthy diet that keeps cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay.
Is it good for prevention or control of diabetes? The diet appears to be a viable option for both. Studies have shown that this type of diet can improve glucose tolerance as well.
Is it safe? The experts found no possible harmful effects of following this diet plan.
Is it nutritious? Absolutely. Following the Asian Diet, you should have no trouble staying within the recommended amounts for: Fat, protein, carbohydrates, salt, fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. No supplementation is necessary when following the Asian Diet.
Is it easy to follow? The authors said that if you don’t like rice, noodles, legumes, and vegetables, then it may be hard. But, it is hard to be healthy if you are avoiding vegetables. We don’t just feed our tongues, so one of the things we need to do in order to improve our health is to increase the variety of foods that we eat. If you don’t like vegetables, suck it up and eat some anyway.
Will I be hungry? No. With so many fiber packed foods, and with no calorie cap, you shouldn’t go hungry.
A write-up of the reviewers work stated that you should eat a lot of Asian vegetables in order to follow this diet. This is absolutely not what I advocate. One of the principles that all the Asian cultures follow is that they eat locally-produced food.
Another problem is that they were not sure that this diet could lead to sustained weight loss. But they also said it is hard to follow and that Asians abandon this type of diet when they come to America. When they do this, their incidence of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer all go up. The food marketers of America have great influence and we need to be diligent to keep our diets good and balanced. I have a lot of Asian patients who were raised with an Asian diet, adopted the American diet for themselves and have suffered the consequences. When they return to the Asian Diet, they lose weight, feel better, and have fewer health problems.
Another slight against this diet was that it can be more expensive to follow. There is a great Italian proverb that says, “It is better to pay the grocer than the doctor.” We literally are what we eat. Every day, millions of our cells die. We make new ones from the raw material we put in (food). If you were building a house, you would want to get the best lumber you could get, right? It’s the same thing with feeding yourself. Invest in good building materials and your body will be much stronger and more resilient.
Another negative was that it is not a clearly-defined plan. I address this in my book. People love being told exactly what to do- for a while. The South Beach Diet was very popular for this reason. But after about six weeks, people start resenting being told what to do and abandon these very-prescriptive diets. The Asian Diet is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It gives you the principles and leave you free to figure out how to implement them. However, in the next edition of the book, I may add a sample, suggested plan for people to model their own plans after.
Overall I am thrilled that US News and World Report has included the Asian Diet in their rankings and rated it well. I am glad that more people will get exposed to these principles; and I am grateful that they used my book in their research. If more people ate this way, we would not have such grave concerns about the growing health crisis in our country. If you have not yet read it, check out www.theasiandiet.com today and order your copy.