the standard American diet has wreaked havoc on what used to be one of the healthiest groups of people in the world, the Okinawans. Diet-Blog’s got the skinny:
This has all changed - and I was shocked to read that Okinawa Island now has the highest rate of obesity in Japan (almost double that of the rest of Japan). Diabetes affects 8.2% of Okinawans compared to 5.7% nationally (via am New York).The Okinawan’s aren’t the only ones ravaged by the introduction of Big Macs and Krispy Chicken. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman tells the sad tale of the Cretans:
After World War II Okinawa was under US administration for 27 years, and during that time a number of large military bases were established. Along with the military came American food - burgers, soda, and french fries.
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.For more on the Okinawan research, visit The Okinawa Study.
Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
1. Kafatos, A., A. Diacatou, G. Voukiklaris, et al. 1997. Heart disease risk-factor status and dietary changes in the Cretan population over the past 30 years: the Seven Countries Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 65 (6):1882-86.