Is one meal a day enough?

Stephanie Montes De Oca / Contributing Writer


It is finally summer season! People are hitting the gym to work out or trying new diets to get to their ideal summer body. Usually, people enroll in workout programs like Insanity and P90X, or switch their eating habits, like following the Biggest Loser diet or calorie intake diet plans. However, some programs prove to be difficult for some customers, while others don’t see the progress they want, so they decide to give up.

Diet plans can be tricky to follow – we’ve been taught to have three meals a day, making sure to never skip breakfast since it is considered to be the most important one. Over time, however, people begin to get busy and start skipping meals, which then usually results in quick stops at a fast food chain like Burger King or Dunkin’ Donuts. After a while, their health can begin to decline, which leads to them becoming stressed and depressed as they gain weight. This, in turn, causes people to go on many different diets or join gyms excessively in an attempt to get fit.

Given that weight loss is a high priority around New Years and during the summer, I believe that the following is a good question for this particular season. Can a Korean diet help you lose weight? According to a Korean blogger in 2009, only 3.5 percent of Koreans over the age of 15 were considered obese, while 34.3 percent of Americans the same age were. Of course, there are various other reasons aside from diet that make Koreans slimmer than Americans, such as genetics and the availability of public transportation, which encourages walking through most cities rather than driving. Korean eating habits and food intake is reasonably healthy either way. They always have a little bit of everything and most of their side dishes, known as banchan, are vegetables.

Just like the rest of the world, Korea has had many different diet trends, like the 1,500 kcal per day diet, which was used by popular K-Pop group Girls’ Generation. However, one trend that seems to be particularly popular among Korean citizens and celebrities, as well as those around the world who learned about it through the media, called the “one meal a day” plan. It doesn’t necessarily sound healthy – usually people will tell you to eat and healthier and more moderately in order to lose weight.

So how did “one meal a day” get started? A popular health book written by Japanese surgeon Yoshinori Nagumo, “We eat too much: Secrets on how to keep flawless skin and a slim waist until you are 100 years old,” has remained a best-seller in the health category since its release. In Japan, it has sold over 600,000 copies and has had a huge welcome in Korea.

The book argues the many health benefits of eating only one meal a day.

“Your stomach starts growling when you eat once a day, and the sound signals that your body starts using visceral fat. This is how you can achieve a slimmer waistline,” the doctor explained. “When fat is burned, a hormone called Adiponectin is released, which cleanses the blood vessels and is thus beneficial for people with diabetes or circulation problems.”

It is as simple as the name makes it sound – you simply have one meal per day. Many popular idols and actors in Korea have taken part in this fad. For instance, the members from Nine Muses, a popular girl group consisting of all models, revealed their unique take on the one meal a day diet, where they eat one very small meal consisting of rice and vegetables. If you decide to start this diet plan, you won’t necessarily have to do the same as Nine Muses. In the end, it’s up to you to decide how you want to diet,  You can have one huge meal per day instead of a small one, for example. Whether the “one meal a day” diet is or isn’t for you, the important thing is to feel satisfied, eat your veggies, drink plenty of water and keep active. But remember, you shouldn’t assume that any diet is one-size-fits-all. Before you make any major lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to your own nutrition, you should always consult a doctor.

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Sam Smith
The Beacon - Editor-in-Chief

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