Weight loss Blog - BetterMe

Take 1 Min BMI Quiz

Select your gender:

Male Female
Weight Loss » Asian Weight Loss: Can It Help You Shrink Back Into Shape?

Asian Weight Loss: Can It Help You Shrink Back Into Shape?

asian weight loss

Why Should You Consider Asian Weight Loss Diet?

A lot of people fall prey to the misconception that weight loss is only possible if you eat bland food, exclude fat, and banish carbs. When in actuality, force-feeding yourself tasteless salads and smoothies is a surefire way to fail. With all these nutritional plans that we have an open access to, anyone can slim down while enjoying their favorite food. And for those who are big on Asian cuisine, Asian weight loss diet might be just the perfect choice.

Get Ultimate 28 Days Meal & Workout Plan

Because such east Asian countries, like Korea, China and Japan have some of the lowest obesity (5) and overweight population rates (6), people continue drilling down into their weight loss secrets, desperately hoping to stumble upon a magic fix. Two of the major factors that contribute to that rate are their lifestyle and diet. In this article you will learn about the main principles of the Asian diet. Is it good for weight loss and what are the Asian weight loss secrets that help people stay in prime shape?

The Concept Of Asian Weight Loss Diet

The main focus of this Asian weight loss diet is Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine. Despite their differences, there are certain things that they have in common. Such practices as eating in smaller portions, consuming rice instead of bread, eating more fish and veggies are a common part of the nutritional habits of people from East Asian countries. However, they are not that common for the western diet. So, based on those practices, you can conclude what an Asian weight loss diet is like. 

The main rules of the Asian weight loss diet are to increase the consumption of foods rich in healthy nutrients and consume less food by decreasing the size of your portions. You are also highly encouraged to drink lots of water and tea. You may choose special Asian weight loss tea blends, but if you want to make sure your diet is authentic, then go for plain unsweetened green tea. Asian weight loss diet doesn’t limit your caloric intake, but Asian people believe that you should eat only until you feel 80% full. This dietary plan is quite well-balanced, and provides you with all the essential nutrients, and it also has certain food recommendations and requirements, such as (2):

asian weight loss diet
Shutterstock
  • Increase the consumption of fruits and veggies
  • Eat more nuts and legumes
  • Eat proteins like soy, fish and shellfish (you can also eat meat, but not as the centerpiece of the meal, rather as a garnish)
  • Consume more whole grains

Another must of this nutritional plan is to eat slowly and mindfully. You should concentrate on your food and savor every piece of your meal.

Lean and toned up body isn’t just a far-fetched fantasy. Check out the BetterMe app and watch it propel your weight loss journey into high gear!

What To Eat On Asian Diet For Weight Loss?

So, now that you know the main rules of Asian weight loss diet, it is time to take a closer look at what you are allowed to eat while following this nutritional plan. The traditional Asian weight loss diet includes the following:

  • A great variety of vegetables

Vegetables are filled to the brim with essential nutrients and fiber. Fiber has proven to prolong the feeling of fullness (15), which is super beneficial if you are trying to slim down by reducing the amount of consumed food. Some of the most health beneficial vegetables include spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, sweet potato, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell pepper, seaweed, and others (12). Although seaweed is often an ingredient of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dishes, you will not come across it in the western diet. Seaweed, including kelp, nori, wakame, kombu, and others, is packed with nutrients and extremely low in calories. It can provide you with protein, fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, iodine, and vitamins A, B, C, E (9).

Fermented vegetables are also an inseparable part of Asian weight loss diet. They promote a healthy gut and add to overall wellness (10).

asian weight loss diet plan
Shutterstock
  • Fruits

Asian weight loss diet includes the consumption of a great variety of fruits, which play the role of a dessert. Unlike desserts in the western diet, Asian desserts are light and relatively low in calories. They are also consumed in smaller portions and consist mostly of fresh fruits. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and can provide you with lots of fiber and water. Some of the healthiest fruits include the following (8): citruses (lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes, and others), apples, pomegranate, pineapple, bananas, and various berries.

  • Rice, noodles, and whole grains

Rice and noodles are the staple foods in Asian diet. They are consumed as a substitution of bread, and like vegetables, are a part of almost every meal. Noodles are consumed either as a part of stir-fried noodles, as a separate dish, or in soups. You can also consume rice separately or use it as an ingredient in various dishes. Rice, white and brown, is a great source of complex carbs and proteins. Brown rice is rich in fiber and such micronutrients as manganese, magnesium, niacin, thiamin, and selenium (13).

Rice is not your only option if you pick Asian diet for weight loss. You may eat millet, barley, soba noodles, and whole wheat flatbreads.

asian diet for weight loss
Shutterstock
  • Seafood

Seafood is one of the main sources of protein on the Asian weight loss diet. Fish and shellfish are filled with healthy fats, including Omega 3 fatty acids. The most health beneficial fish include wild-caught salmon, tuna, rainbow trout, pacific halibut, mackerel, cod, sardines, herring, and others (11). Seafood has proven to boost your overall wellness and health (7) and plays a prominent role in this nutritional plan. However, you need to be careful while consuming seafood, as it often turns out to be an allergen for a lot of people.

If you haven’t tried some types of seafood before, and there is a possibility that you are allergic to that type, you should be extremely careful and follow all the safety requirements when trying it for the first time. Mercury contamination in seafood is also a concern, especially for pregnant and lactating women. They should avoid or limit certain types of fish with the highest mercury contents (1).

  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

Another rich source of protein – beans, legumes, and nuts, are widely consumed all over Asia. They have also proven to be effective at weight loss and provide you with a great variety and amount of essential nutrients. One of the most popular legumes in Asia is soy (4). It is also an inseparable part of Asian weight loss diet. There is a great variety of soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, miso, and others. This legume is packed with such nutrients as protein, fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and thiamin. Consumption of soy may help you manage obesity, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and breast cancer, and add to the osteoporosis treatment (14).

what asian receipes are good for weight loss
Shutterstock

What Foods To Avoid On Asian Weight Loss Diet?

Asian weight loss diet doesn’t restrict the number of consumed calories, but it does recommend avoiding the following foods:

  • Dairy

Dairy is not a common food in the Asian diet. You don’t necessarily have to avoid all the dairy. Try to cut back on fatty cheeses, milk, and flavored yogurts. If you are a dairy lover, you can consume low- or no-fat yogurts, cottage cheese, and other dairy products, but in moderate amounts.

  • Meats

Like in the case with dairy, you don’t have to completely exclude all the meat from your diet. You may eat lean meat, but in small portions. Also, try to avoid red meat.

  • Sugary and greasy foods

These two types of food include fatty desserts, junk food, unhealthy snacks, sugary drinks, and others. They significantly increase your caloric intake, but don’t provide you with essential nutrients, and therefore should be avoided.

what do asian countries use for weight loss
Shutterstock

Asian Weight Loss Diet Plan

As there is no one standard Asian weight loss diet plan, you can modify it to your taste and needs. Here is a sample of a 1-day Asian weight loss diet plan (3):

Breakfast

  • Chinese scrambled eggs, a cup of unsweetened green tea
  • 1 egg, ¼ cup crumbled tofu, ½ cup spinach, ½ tablespoon oil, ½ cup broccoli, ½ teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • Nutritional value: 290 calories, 18g carbs, 29g protein, 18g fat

Lunch

  • 2 Vietnamese kale spring rolls, 1 cup tom yum soup, ½ fresh pineapple
  • A handful of kale, 2 large shrimps, 1/8 cup vermicelli noodles, ½ cup bean sprouts, ¼ avocado, ¼ chopped tomato, 1 tbsp fresh basil, 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • Nutritional value: 573 calories, 52g carbs, 50g protein, 23g fat
curry
Shutterstock

Dinner

  • 1 cup vegetable curry (carrots, cauliflower, beans, peppers, onions, spices and cashews), 1/2 cup basmati brown rice, 1 cup steamed bok choy, ¼ piece naan bread, 1 small pear, a cup of unsweetened green tea
  • Nutritional value: 428 calories, 58g carbs, 14g protein, 11g fat

Total daily nutritional value: 1,291 calories, 128g carbs, 93g protein, 52g fat

Pros And Cons Of The Asian Diet For Weight Loss

Pros

The Asian weight loss diet is a healthy option for those who want to trim a couple of inches. It is well-balanced and offers a sustainable weight loss result. Increased consumption of vegetables and seafood, along with the reduction of fatty and sweet foods, may significantly improve your health and decrease the risk of various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Cons

This diet is not the best option for people who don’t like fish or rice. It may also be quite costly and requires more time on food preparation.

Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!

smaller portions
Shutterstock

Asian Weight Loss Secrets

You don’t necessarily have to follow an Asian weight loss diet plan in order to shed pounds. If you are not fond of Asian cuisine, you can simply incorporate some of the recommendations into your diet. Asian weight loss secrets include the following:

  • Use smaller bowls and eat smaller portions

Asian plates and bowls are in general smaller than those in western countries. Eating from smaller plates can promote weight loss, as in such a way you are less likely to overeat. If you start to eat from smaller bowls and plates regularly, with time you will notice that you began eating less. 

  • Eat with someone

If you go to an Asian restaurant, you may notice that they serve a family-style meal. They don’t serve individual portions of a meal, rather offer you dishes for sharing. By sharing your food, you are limiting your consumption and control how much you eat at the same time. You also tend to eat slower when you are eating in someone’s company, which promotes better digestion.

  • Never skip breakfast

3 meals a day is a widespread practice in Asian countries. They consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, so it should not be skipped no matter what. Having a fixed meal schedule should regulate the energy levels of the body, which may be beneficial for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

asian weight loss secrets
Shutterstock
  • Eat more soups

Soups are not only great for digestion, but they also promote weight loss. They are filled with nutrients, while being relatively low in calories. In Asian countries, this type of food is a must, asians consume it at least once a day. Most Asian soups consist of herbal ingredients that boost your health and enhance body functions. Porridges are also a common meal option in the Asian diet. They contain rice mixed with water, which is similar by texture to the soup and provide you with energy and nutrients for the day.

  • Don’t snack

The before mentioned 3-meals-a-day rule also serves as a reminder that snacking is off-limits. Although some people may find it easier to diet when they have a snack or two during the day, one of the Asian weight loss secrets is that they do not snack. You should treat your body as a sacred temple, and each meal should be consumed during certain hours. This practice prevents overeating and reduces daily caloric intake.

  • Eat the leftovers

Asian people are very frugal, and they are against wasting any food. Rice that they didn’t finish today serves as an ingredient for the next day’s fried rice. If you stop throwing away leftovers, and start eating them instead, it will increase your discipline, and ensure that healthy foods won’t be wasted, just like your efforts.

Get Ultimate 28 Days Meal & Workout Plan

Conclusion

Asian weight loss diet is a perfect option for those who want to slim down and enjoy Asian cuisine. This diet is rich in fish and seafood, vegetables and fruits, beans and legumes, soy, in particular, whole grains and rice, and tea. Thus, you should eat in smaller portions and focus on what you eat in the process. It is quite an effective way to shed pounds, which encourages healthy nutrition habits, and thus promotes a sustainable weight loss. If you don’t like Asian cuisine, you can simply incorporate some of the Asian weight loss secrets into your current diet. For example, try to eat more vegetables and fruits, eat slower, consume more soups, and keep away from snacks. However, before making any changes in your current diet, please consult a doctor.

Sticking to a healthy diet based on your health needs, allergies and preferences is a great idea, however when combined with a workout plan that meets your goals, it might bring you significant benefits. Better mood, stronger muscles and endurance are just some. Check out the 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home below.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Advice about Eating Fish (n.d., fda.gov)
  2. Asian Diet (n.d., health.usnews.com)
  3. Asian Diet Recipes (n.d., health.usnews.com)
  4. Asian Diets: Health Benefits and Risks (n.d., asiandiabetesprevention.org)
  5. Noncommunicable diseases | Obesity among adults (2017, who.int)
  6. Noncommunicable diseases | Overweight among adults (2017, who.int)
  7. Seafood Consumption and Components for Health (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Top 12 healthful fruits (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
  9. What are the benefits of seaweed? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  10. What are the best fermented foods? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
  11. What are the best fish to eat for health? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  12. What are the most healthful vegetables? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  13. What to know about rice (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
  14. What to know about soy (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
  15. Why do we need dietary fiber? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
Nikki Midland

Nikki Midland

Nikki is an experienced writer who specializes in nutrition, weight management and overall health. Due to her personal struggles with weight in the past, she has also developed a keen interest in fitness and exercising. Nikki believes that since she started doing sports, not only her body, her whole life has drastically changed for the better. Nikki has a great passion for helping people achieve their weight loss goals. She stands firm in her belief that tackling challenges is the only way to become a better version of yourself that is why she urges her readers to never give up.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

Add comment

Fill The Form And Get Free “28 Day Keto Challenge” Book