As obesity continues to increase at a rapid rate across the world, people are trying various methods to lose weight. Obesity causes many deadly diseases and is a condition that must be controlled at the earliest. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that more than 2 in 3 adults in the US are considered to be overweight or obese.1 This is an alarming trend that must be addressed to prevent diseases and disorders.
People from different parts of the world practice different techniques to shed those pounds. Adopting some of the methods that are tried and tested by people across the world can help us to deal with weight-loss. Here we look at some of the weight-loss methods employed by people of various cultures.
1. Fasting – India And Indonesia
This first one is unique. While we are talking about what people eat to lose weight, this one is about not eating at all! In certain parts of the world, fasting is a religious practice. In India, people observe a fast for various ceremonies and religious observances. Sometimes, they consume nothing but water all day, and at other time may not even drink water. Similarly, in Indonesia, people observe Mutih, where they consume just white rice and drink only water. But, this practice is not meant for weight loss or to reduce the calories. The idea behind this practice is to give the digestive system an opportunity to take a break and recuperate. The resulting weight-loss is just a consequence of this practice.
However, most experts don’t recommend fasting as a method for weight-loss, as it can cause tiredness, lack of concentration, and mood swings if not managed properly. But, fasting in moderation can break the patterns of mindless eating and give the digestive system a much-needed break.
2. Eat In Vs. Eat Out – Poland
People of Poland usually prefer eating home-cooked food than eating food from outside. They typically spend only 5 percent of their budget on eating out. However, across the Atlantic, the US people spend 37 percent of their income at restaurants and fast-food joints. By eating at home more often, you can not only save money but also reduce the intake of calories. Eating home-cooked food is also much healthier than indulging in fast-food. People who eat out frequently are typically heavier than people who eat at home. This trend of eating outside food is one of the main contributing factors of obesity.
3. Rice And Beans – Brazil
Most Brazilians consume a traditional dish of rice and beans with almost every meal. Researchers found that a diet consisting mainly of rice and beans, which is low in fat and high in fiber, reduces the risk of becoming overweight. Rice and beans form a major part of a balanced meal, particularly if wholegrain rice is consumed instead of the traditional white rice. The other aspect is the size of the portion that has a positive impact on weight-loss goals. For a healthy balanced diet, rice and beans must be a part of the diet.2
4. Yoga – India
Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice that not only contributes to the overall health of the body and the mind but also aids in weight-loss. Scientists from the North Central University in America found that people who regularly practiced yoga had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who practiced other forms of exercise. Yoga helps build muscles and boosts the metabolism.
Practitioners of Yoga mention about the various Yoga poses that aids digestion and helps them to be more mindful when they are full. To lose weight, the body must burn more calories than it consumes, and one method to shift the balance is through more exercise. For optimum weight-loss results, people must make Yoga a part of their way of life and not expect to shed the pounds after just a few sessions of Yoga.
5. Physical Activity – Norway
In Norway, people are conscious of the food intake and give a lot of importance to physical activity. Norwegians are much more active than Americans. In Norway, people make use of the weekend to go on a hike with their families, especially during summer. However, during winter, the Nordic regions experience heavy snowfall. But, instead of staying indoors, they make use of this opportunity to do cross-country skiing and other winter sports. This gives them the opportunity to burn calories and spend quality time with their family as well. Norwegians value family activity, which is a huge part of their lifestyle.
6. Spicy Food – Thailand
People who have tasted continental cuisine will agree that Thai food is among the spiciest in the world. Hot peppers increase the metabolism, but the real benefit of consuming food that has a slightly high chilly-hot content is that it slows our eating. Research shows that most Americans eat too fast and tend to gobble up the food. Even before the body gives us the indication that the stomach is full, we would have overeaten. Eating slower, like the way the Japanese do, is a good weight-loss technique, and by making the food spicier, people tend to eat it slowly.
7. Pickles – Hungary
Hungarians are a population of vinegar lovers and consume copious amounts of pickled peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes. Many studies suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar promotes weight loss. A study performed on Japanese participants in 2009 found that people lost 2-4 pounds by drinking a small amount of diluted cider vinegar every day. Although this may not be the most effective technique, it does contribute to weight-loss albeit in a small way. Undoubtedly, there are better and healthier ways to lose weight for health and well-being. But, instead of eating fried products and junk foods, pickled salads and vegetables are a better option that may prevent you from piling on the calories.
8. Eating Smaller Portions – Japan
Interestingly, with just around 3 percent, the Japanese have the lowest obesity rate in the world. The main reason for their low BMI is probably because Japanese diets are rich in fish, vegetables, fruit, and healthy tofu. Moreover, the Japanese eat mindfully and slowly. But, the most important aspect of their diet is that they eat small portions and relish every bit of it. Their diets and extremely healthy because most of their dishes are either steamed or sauteed. Very rarely would one find Japanese foods that are deep fried.
9. Turmeric – India
Turmeric is a popular spice renowned for it numerous curative properties and its distinct yellow color. It is a common ingredient in most Indian dishes because of its many health benefits. Many studies point to the fact that turmeric also has fat-burning powers. One such study suggested that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, may suppress the spread of fat tissue by inhibiting new blood vessel growth necessary to build this type of tissue.3 4 Other studies also suggest that curcumin may regulate lipid metabolism. Turmeric can also act as a calorie-free alternative to oil, butter or salt.
10. Cycling – Netherlands
Cycling is a very common mode of transport in the Netherlands, with almost 36 percent of the people using the bicycle as their most frequent mode of transport on any given day. In fact, Netherlands has more cycles than people! Although Americans have bicycles, most of them lie unused in their basements and garages. The American population uses automobiles more frequently and this lifestyle habit prevents them from burning the calories. The average Dutchman cycles 541 miles per year. Even their traffic lights in most areas of Amsterdam are synchronized to match the speed of the bicycles. Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise and can help burn around 550 calories each hour.
|↑1||Overweight & Obesity Statistics. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑2||McCrory, Megan A., Bruce R. Hamaker, Jennifer C. Lovejoy, and Petra E. Eichelsdoerfer. “Pulse consumption, satiety, and weight management.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 1, no. 1 (2010): 17-30.|
|↑3||Aggarwal, Bharat B. “Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals.” Annual review of nutrition 30 (2010): 173-199.|
|↑4||Vyas Krupa. The Cure is in the Roots: Turmeric. Nutritional Disorders & Therapy. 2015.|