Thursday, January 05, 2012

Lose Weight with Korean Diet

Dear Korean,

I have been trying to lose weight. I have lost some, but I am down to the last ten pounds, and can not seem to dispel the weight. Most of the weight loss information I obtain seems to be wrong, so I need a new perspective. I thought viewing weight loss through another culture's view point might help me. How can Korean diet help lose weight?


Given that weight loss is always high on the list of new year's resolutions, the Korean figured this is a good question to open up the new year. Can Korean diet help you lose weight? Allow the Korean to put it this way:  Korea is the thinnest country in the developed world, while America is the fattest. As of 2009, only 3.5% of Koreans over the age of 15 was obese. The same number in America was an astounding 34.3%. Obviously, there are reasons other than diet that Koreans are slimmer than Americans. (For one, ready availability of public transportation in most cities, leading to more walking. Genetics, for another.) But it should be equally obvious that Korean diet and eating habits have a great deal to do with the svelte figures of Koreans.

A few more caveats about Korean food and eating habits are necessary. First, as Korea is a country marked by rapid change, Korea's diet and eating habits are changing rapidly as well. For example, the unhealthy kinds of Western food are freely available in Korea, and Koreans have come to eat a great deal of them because they taste great. The Korean will present the healthy kind of Korean diet and eating habits here, but that is not to say that everyone in Korea eats in a traditional manner.

Second, even if we confined ourselves to traditional Korean food and eating habits, there are still certain things about traditional Korean food and eating habits that are rather unhealthy. An easy example is sodium -- generally, Korean food has a lot of salt. (Remember, kimchi is essentially salted cabbages, and Koreans eat a ton of it!) Another easy example is that the way Koreans drink, particularly as they eat. Again, the Korean will remind everyone that this post is not saying: "If you ate exactly the way Koreans ate, you will lose weight." Rather, the point of this post is to say: "there are a lot of healthy things that Korean food and eating habits have, about which people would do well to learn."

With that said, let's get right to it. How can you lose weight like a Korean?

1.  Eat Less

If you must only take away one point from this post, take away this point:  Koreans are slim because they eat less. Forget all those gimmicky diets for a minute, and focus on the obvious -- if you eat a lot, of course you will gain weight! As long as you lower the caloric intake enough, you can lose weight while eating nothing but Twinkies and powdered doughnuts.

Here is an alarming observation. Based on the Korean's experience, American portions are between 50 to 100% larger than Korean portions. This is particularly egregious at restaurants. The Korean is not small at all -- he is 6' 1", 195 pounds. Yet he can comfortably split, say, one order of fried rice from a nearby Chinese food into a full lunch and dinner. However, the Korean sees plenty of people around him in the restaurant, finishing the entire order in one sitting.

(More after the jump.)

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at

Just think about this -- for every meal, Americans eat as much as double the amount of food that Koreans eat. How could you possibly not get fat with that much food? Don't be deceived by "one order" of food in America -- nobody needs to eat that much. Split one order into two meals. Or if that is still too much temptation, immediately throw away half of the food that you ordered. The Korean absolutely hates wasting food as much as you do, but consider it as a price to pay to lose weight. Or better yet, do what Koreans do and . . .

2.  Cook at Home

If you cook at home, you can control the portion, adjust the level of unhealthy elements in food, and avoid the delicious but unhealthy things with which restaurants and processed food companies cram their food. As the Korean said earlier, Koreans' eating habits are changing, and fewer Koreans eat home-cooked meals. But it has been the Korean's experience that Koreans eat at home more frequently.

To be fair, the fact that Koreans are more likely to eat home-cooked meal is not completely positive, because it is women who are staying home to cook. But as far as health and weight loss is concerned, there should be no question that home-cooked meals are better.

But of course, it would depend on what you eat at home. So . . .

3.  Eat More Vegetables

For this point, a picture will be better than a thousand words. A little bit of background is necessary here. The Korean Parents visited the Korean's house in the winter of 2010, and the Korean Mother prepared a party meal for the Korean In-Laws and some friends. This is what the prepared table looked like:

First, notice the portion size. It may not look like much, but this much food plus a bowl of rice for each person fed eight fully grown adults. Second, notice what kind of food was being served. The Korean made it easy in the next picture. Red square is for meat, blue hexagon is for seafood, and green circles are for vegetables.

Just look at the amount of vegetable involved at a party table. Volume-wise, the Korean would say at least 80% of the total food served was vegetables. Compare this to, say, a typical Thanksgiving dinner, where the massive turkey is the highlight of the meal. (And even the vegetables involved in a Thanksgiving meal is soaked in butter and/or sugar.) Note that this party table is not anything special, but just a larger version of an everyday Korean meal, which is comprised of a bowl of rice, some soup, and a few side dishes. And the vast majority of such side dishes are vegetables. 

One must remember that traditional Korean cuisine is born out of poverty, not opulence. Because of that, most of Korean cuisine is not very rich, nor do they require extremely sophisticated cooking methods, unlike Chinese or French cuisine, for example. But such heritage of poverty actually makes Korean cuisine the perfect diet food, precisely because it relies so much on vegetables. There are over a thousand edible herbs in Korea, and Korean cuisine completely maximizes their use. In fact, regardless of the popularity of Korean BBQ (a distinctly American phenomenon of meat-loving,) traditional Korean cuisine is nearly vegetarian. This is the right way to eat.

(Aside: Here is another reason why the Korean hates David Chang -- he apparently "had no idea there were such endless varieties of namul," or vegetable side dishes, until he visited Korea recently. Namul is the backbone of any Korean cuisine! What a fraud.)

The Korean does understand the difficulty that Americans face when it comes to eating vegetables -- they are just so darn plain. How many different kinds of salad can one eat in a row? To make vegetables a permanent part of your life, it is not enough to like vegetables. You have to be addicted to vegetables. And to be addicted to vegetables, you should . . .

4.  Use Spices

Here is another defining characteristic of Korean cuisine -- it uses tons of spices and condiments. In fact, some of the spices and condiments are themselves a complicated dish. For example, this is how to make bean paste (doenjang 된장):  boil beans, grind the boiled beans into pulp, shape the ground beans into large chunks, dry the chunks in a warm room, hang the chunks in the sun for a few months, soak the chunks in water for a month, then add salt and ferment for a few months. All this, for just one condiment!

The result of using so many spices and condiments is that although Korean food utilizes mostly simple, vegetable-based ingredients, the finished dish (when done correctly) ends up having a complicated, layered flavor profile. And this is what makes Korean vegetable dishes not just delicious, but addictive. This is especially true with kimchi, probably the most complex Korean vegetable dish. (One Washington Post food writer called kimchi "cabbage crack," although regrettably she got her start with a recipe from David Chang. Gaah!)

Okay then, just what are you supposed to cook and eat? The Korean will get to that in the next post in the series.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Not all of the Korean food is healthy. As mentioned, there is a lot of salt, fried rice and pork meat. Take a look at Samgyeopssal 삼겹살 for example, very fatty. And on the other hand there is a whole lot of fabricated instant food such as various kinds of ramyeon, curry and various sauces.

    It is not about food itself, it is about habits. The rule is simple. Eat as much as you move. Food is there to give us energy, just like cell phones need battery. So we should get as much energy as our physical activities require.

    And there is NO FAT LOSS WITHOUT SPORTS! Or at least not an efficient one. If you wanna lose fat in a healthy way and KEEP your slim figure, there is no diet that will make you succeed as much as sports will. So you should study and focus on the ballance between physical activity AND food, but certainly not only diet itself.

    I've lost 10kg in one year BEFORE departing to Korea. I was living in Croatia (southern Europe, north Mediterrainean) and I had never ever had the chance to even try Korean food. I had lost weight eating the European way and I didn't follow any particular diet. I was just riding the bike everyday plus some home exercises and I was only careful at what time I was eating which food. For example, sweets and high energy food was absolutely eaten only in the morning and as the day was comming to an end, the meals would get lighter. And I was careful not to make my stomach so full that it hurts, I was eating until I felt just comfortable. I've lost even more weight in Korea too, but I just kept my healthy habits, more or less.

    Food and genetics might be one of the reasons for Koreans being slim, but don't forget about their environment full of hills and mountains. Walking up the hill is a cardio training, which, in fact, makes your body to lose weight. Also, I see a lot of people running or riding the bycicle by the rivers. Either old or young. Not to mention public and free open air aerobics every summer and all of the free and public fitness tools that you can find every here and there at the parks.

    Besides that, the youth gets a big mind pressure by watching, adoring and wanting to be like their favourite pop stars.

    So it's not Korean food itself. It is the habits.

    One more tip is, try to eat food or supplies full of Omega 3 and the vitamines of the B group (vitamine B complex). They will help your body to produce fat in a healthy way, placing it at the right parts of your body, which will make you look slimmer, lose bad fat faster and make your skin softer and smoother. Speaking by personal experience.

    And btw, quotating from the text: "Obviously, there are reasons other than diet that Koreans are slimmer than Americans. (For one, ready availability of public transportation in most cities, leading to more walking. Genetics, for another.)"
    It is maybe a common thinking, but you can't compare it with the "American genes" because the real, native Americans are Indians, the whites were the English who occupied their territory. And nowadays you got people form aaaaaaall over the world, as well as Koreans and other Asians, living in America, so what do people exactly mean when they are comparing a nation genes with the "American genes"?

    And btw, I dunno about the portions in American resaurants, since I've never been there, but I'd say the portions in Korea are not small at all either....

    1. This was so interesting!!! even more than the article itself! =)
      thank uuuuuu

    2. Living in America, I can tell you the portions are absurd. They are humongous in all the wrong ways. You'll go to a restaurant, get an 11 ounce steak, easily 2.5 cups of delicious and buttery mashed potatoes, and maybe half a cup of steamed and buttered vegetables. And we eat the whole plate. As one meal. Rinse and repeat. The reason there as stereotypes about the way Americans eat is because it's true. We eat like a bear trying to hibernate for winter, only all year round. And we are a sedentary people. We sit in front of our TVs, laptops, etc, and we drive everywhere even if it's only a quarter of a mile away with cities like New York being the exception. Except for the eating. We're disgusting. All you have to do is think can. The origins of McDonald's and you'll just go, "oh, no wonder they're fat pigs." There are even drive thru windows on the sides so we don't have to get off of our fat asses and risk elevating our heart rates

    3. I guess if you have no portion control. I almost always opt for children's servings (which are indeed sadly what a normal adult serving should be 80% of the time) or break it into two meals or share with someone one full meal. The problem I think beyond just portion control is like Laura wrote, what is in it! It should be 70% natural veggies, with maybe 15% carbs and 15% meat, and all of that sizing should be smaller. Like anything over 6 oz of meat is ridiculous... But even then, I know people that eat that portion and are thin and not very active, and other people that eat half that and aren't very active and are overweight... There are a lot of factors.

    4. Sorry, I have to disagree; a person's dietary habits are entirely the only effort required to lose weight. Combined with sufficient protein intake to retain muscle mass, the person will lose weight primarily from fat loss. I lost over 30 pounds without ever exercising at all.

      However, I would agree that weight loss results will be enhanced when exercise and diet are used together because the person is changing their body composition and becoming more physically fit. Now that I am exercising, I am benefitting from changes to my body composition, better sleep and better mood, greater fitness, more energy, and so many other things. I do powerwalking on a small incline, and basic bodyweight exercises for muscle tone while eating around 1200 to 1500 calories a day.

  2. And btw, the pictures in this article just look delicious. Especially once you experience the taste for yourself. ^_-

    But oh my, who's gonna wash all of those dishes.... u_u

  3. Great points, I think you covered all the bases. One thing I would add is, most Koreans don't automatically have beverages with their meals, which can make a difference. Americans could knock of a lot of calories just by not having syrupy soda beverages or alcohol with every meal. Ditto with desserts - the Korean idea of dessert is usually just some fresh fruit after dinner.

  4. I can't really agree with eat less - metabolism is not as simple as calories in = calories out.

    Rather, eat the same amount but make sure its healthy food and not something high in sugar or carbs.

    Sugar is fat, if you eat foods that are "low fat" they are usually pumped up with sugar, which turns into fat eventually, and you know theres sugar in almost everything american.

    Fat won't make you fat, its something that's been propagated around forever but isn't based on a good study, its sugar.

    That's why Koreans can stay slim in their diet of fried chicken and sam gyub sal.
    Do check this out sometime if you have time, its really informative.

    1. The current dietary guidelines (put together by experts who know more than you or I or most of the people writing on the internet) are that one should get 45% to 65% of one's daily calories from carbohydrates, 10% to 35% of one's daily calories from protein, and 20% to 35% of one's daily calories from fat.

  5. I think it should be pointed out that there are other reasons why Koreans (women in particular) are really skinny. They are the same reasons that the majority of girls have plastic surgery before they've barely graduated from high school. The most recent popular plastic surgery in korea involves cutting the nerves in your calf to basically make your calf muscle atrophy and die thus making your legs look skinny (emaciated) and straight. Unfortunately, you can also no longer really run after this surgery. But if it makes your legs skinny, many women find it's worth that price. So, while I love Korean food and hate leaving Korea everytime knowing that I won't have this kind of food (both healthy and unhealthy) until we can come back, it's important to note that it's not necessarily food that's making Koreans skinny. Im so grateful to have a progressive 시어머니 who cares about health very much (which is her motivation for her 'lose weight, please' comments 99% of the time), but also loves and embraces eating great food. (also, I don't know what I did to delete my last comment - I'm bad at the internets and posting this from my phone. Anyways, the above is what I originally posted)

    1. That sounds awful. I'd rather have muscular legs than chicken legs. I work hard on my legs and like a lifted, nicely rounded butt. Women everywhere need to stop being afraid of getting muscle.

  6. I too eat a Korean diet since coming to korea. I lost 10kg shortly after moving here. The I discovered soju and samgyeopsal. It's all downhill from there.

    But seriously, great article and the real answer will always be #1, EAT LESS!

    @Dac X Lee, yes the samgyeopsal, ramyeon, fast food and so on are very calorific, but keep in mind that (most) Koreans don't eat those dishes every day. If they eat at home like The Korean mentions they are probably getting some soup, rice, some veggie side dishes and maybe a little meat or seafood.

    I also think the Korean was a bit generous by allowing the "genetic" argument. Certainly, there are some people out there with a thyroid problem or some sort of genetic disposition that will lead to obesity. However, the vast majority of people using this excuse in America are probably just eating to damn much.

    It perhaps should also be noted that with the large amount of vegetables most Koreans eat and the high cost of meat that Koreans obviously have less protein than a typical western diet. Unfortunately, I cannot find the article since I can no longer remember the title, but I did see an article several months ago about increases in obesity rates throughout South Korea. In addition to this they also noted that, when compared to an American at the same weight, Koreans tend to have higher BF%'s than the American counterpart. I don't know if this has more to do with protein consumption levels or exercise, but just some food for thought.

  7. Also! I have noticed that if my Korean (female) friends tend to over-eat at one meal, they will not hesitate to simply skip the next meal. Skipping meals is often unthinkable to most Americans (at least the ones I know).

    @Violinist with a Band -- I think you start to make an interesting point that there are both social and cultural pressures that make affect a Koreans calorific intake. For example, I would say that 99% of Koreans, especially students, are busier than their American counterparts. They work longer and study longer. When I find myself very busy I find that there's no time for snacking and occasionally I'll miss a meal without realizing it (maybe this is the real reason for the Korean greeting 밥 먹었어?). Additionally, there is just a different mental image of what fat and skinny are here. These mental images are vastly different than the are in the US.

  8. I wonder who are the Koreans who eat less and at home. Everyday I see my Korean colleagues eating huge piles of rice, fatty meat and oily vegetables at the local buffet for lunch, and 분식 restaurant for dinner. Above the 10 000 won threshold, meals at restaurants become significantly better. Below that it's a mess but it seems to be the diet of the regular employees around here.

  9. wgensel, I was explained by my Korean teachers that the greeting you mentioned was from the period when they were poor and could't eat properly.
    So, if you ate, it means you're fine.

    Just as we have "How are you?", same meaning.

  10. My comment is bit off topic, but this is an interesting and curious observation:

    "One must remember that traditional Korean cuisine is born out of poverty..."

    Can anyone direct me to where the Korean TK has discussed this before or sources outside the blog... Origin narratives or origin histories greatly interest me in general.


  11. From the article you linked on David Chang:

    But he vehemently dislikes being tagged a Korean chef: "I'm an American chef."

    He certainly is not an authentic Korean chef, so I don't know who is trying to label him as if he is. Not really a fan of him either.

  12. The minute I started gaining weight was in highschool when I got a car and started to eat out at all the TGIF's and such. And then dorming in college - all that fatty starchy college food - the pounds just stuck on like white on rice.
    Until then, I had Korean food almost daily at home w/ my family and I would eat as much as I want, but would never gain weight.
    Thankfully the freshmen 15 was lost by sophomore year.
    Now, I try to eat more Korean food than American food simply b/c it is more veggies and generally is filling but doesn't leave you feeling so blah.

    And for people that think it's wasteful to not finish your restaurant plate - I always think "it's better to go to WASTE than to WAIST!"

    1. Or you could just... take the rest to-go. If you have that option, wasting it for the sake of vanity is rather disgusting.

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  14. I've been in and out of Korea for the past 30 years - and it seems like lately, Korean kids are getting fatter by the minute. I attribute it to the tendency of many of them sitting at a computer all day playing games - as opposed to going outside and playing.

  15. Is most Korean food spicy hot? If so, that can also burn calories.

  16. Here are a few examples of how portion sizes have changed over the past two decades:

  17. My husband and I would love to know how my Korean girlfriends can eat more than either of us and still stay a size 0. We wonder where it all goes but it happens every time we eat out together. We don't get it. They don't exercise except for the walking which is a lot in Seoul. I'd love to know their secret.

  18. I always thought the Japanese were the thinnest in the developed world? They certainly eat small portions.

    My experience of eating Korean food was that it took a lot of time for my stomach to get used to: I always prided myself on being open-minded with regard to food, but I found that I would still be hungry after eating Korean dishes, even if I ate a lot. The stomach acquires certain expectations early on, and you can't just move from one food culture to a completely different one without side-effects.

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  20. Much of the Korean food eaten by Koreans at home and outside is homestyle cooking, but there are other areas of Korean cuisine like royal court cuisine and Buddhist temple cuisine that aren't quite so simple and use more sophisticated techniques than found in homestyle cooking.

    Sure. But such areas are not within the mainstream of Korean cooking.

  21. Korean food is pretty tasty. The table setting with all those sides are pretty typical of how people in Brazil eat too. However to a Brazilian dinner isn't dinner without a serving of rice and beans to go with all those sides. We also eat fresh fruits for dessert especially some type of citrus fruit since they believe it "cuts the fat" out of the meat. Brazilians used to be very trim before the advent of Americanization though.

  22. Portion sizes are out of control in America.

    There's unhealthy Korean food too though, obviously such as fried things or meat.

    Koreans (like many developed countries) stay true to tradition and use fresh ingredients in season. Koreans often keep vegetable gardens.

    Plus, they eat fermented foods, which Americans don't eat enough of.

    And the desserts are light if any - usually fresh fruit.

    A lot of those traits though, I see in other cultures such as French, German and Japanese culture. And they all don't have obesity issues like the U.S.

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  24. Whether eaten widely or not, royal court cuisine and Buddhist temple cuisine have left an indelible mark on Korean food eaten today. Gourmet food may not be eaten by the masses, but as high culture, it is still a critical part of the culinary culture.

    I agree that they left "a" mark and are "a" part of Korea's culinary culture, but they are more of an afterthought rather than a "critical" part that left an "indelible" mark on Korea's culinary culture. I recommend reading the books by Hwang Gyo-Ik when you have time -- he lays the significant disconnect between royal cuisine/Buddhist cuisine and traditional mainstream Korean cuisine in fine detail.

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  26. My Korean sources disagree with you. No doubt they are different, but did leave their mark.

    What do you read? And would you mind giving some examples of such marks? I am genuinely curious.

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  28. tastingkorea -- 미안하지만 님 블로그는 관제 블로그 냄새가 너무 나네요. 궁중음식연구원 자료를 그대로 가져다쓰면서 궁중음식이 한국 음식문화에 필수불가결한 영향을 끼쳤다 이런 식으로 주장하는 건 신빙성이 떨어지죠.

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  30. I use a variety of sources on my blog, so it would be a bit presumptuous for you to assume anything just by reading one post.

    1. 님 블로그가 관제 블로그라는 직감은 예전부터 있었습니다. 이번에 언급할 기회가 생겨서 얘기한 것뿐이죠. 그냥 솔직하게 말씀하세요 -- 관제면 어때요. 속이는게 문제죠.

    2. 님이 달랑 포스트 하나를 링크 거신 다음에, 포스트 하나만 읽고 속단하지말라 라는 말씀을 하시는 건 좀 우습군요.

    3. 그리고 님의 독자들을 위해서 영어로 된 자료를 쓴다는 설명은 납득은 가지만, 님 본인이 한국 음식에 대한 자세한 블로그를 운영하시면서 한글 자료를 하나도 안 읽으신다는 건 말이 안되죠. 게다가 아까 제 코멘트에 반응하신 모양을 보니 한글을 못 읽는다거나 하신건 아니겠고, 또 앞서 댓글에서는 "My Korean sources disagree with you"라고 쓰셨죠? 그 한글 자료를 좀 알려주시라는 부탁입니다. 궁중음식연구원같은 너무 뻔하게 관제 자료가 아닌 걸로요. 이건 정말로 더 배우고자 하는 호기심에서 하는 얘기입니다. 설마 관제 자료만 읽으시면서 한국 음식문화를 논하시는 건 아니겠죠?

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  32. 푸흡. 관제 블로그인게 찔리니까 황급히 코멘트 지우는 건 뭔가요? 코멘트 아무리 열심히 지워도 님이 스스로 쓴 코멘트를 지웠다는 사실은 남아요. 코멘트 내용도 제 블로그 대쉬보드에 그대로 남아있구요. 아이피 추적 한번 들어가볼까요?

    It is pretty arrogant and presumptuous of you to think that I don't read Korean sources when you haven't done your own research.

    "한글 자료를 안 읽으실 리가 없으니 자료 좀 보내주세요"라는 말을 "한글 자료를 안 읽는구나"라고 이해하신다는 것은 우습다고 생각 않으세요? 자료 하나만 추천해주시면 끝나는 일을 왜 이렇게 키우세요?

    Yes, I'm very passionate about Korean food and promoting information about it, but that doesn't mean it is a "secret conspiracy". Exactly, what would that be, anyways? To promote Korean food. Oh yes, you got me there. LOL.

    지금 현 정권에서 한국음식세계화라는 명목으로 같잖은 꼴을 워낙 많이 봐와서요. 한국 음식문화를 다루신다는 분이 이 정도는 알고 계실텐데?

  33. @noe

    Thank you very much for the link! I really enjoyed watching it!

  34. Really Korean food is really testy. There are over a thousand edible herbs in Korea, and Korean cuisine completely maximizes their use. In fact, regardless of the popularity of Korean BBQ (a distinctly American phenomenon of meat-loving,) traditional Korean cuisine is nearly vegetarian. This is the right way to eat. Thanks.

  35. I very much want to eat vegetables but, like you said, they are so incredibly plain it's almost painful! I end up choking them down, eating them first to get them done and over with. The majority of vegetables in America are simply steamed or boiled and then some are salt and peppered or even lathered in butter. I gave up on trying to hide the taste as my taste buds changed and I couldn't do it anymore (mayonaise to hide the taste of brocolli as a child).

    I also can't eat anything seafood, pork, and generally get instant headaches with the majority of spices (garlic, onion, peppers are high on the list). Is there anything that could be recommended for someone like me in the Korean diet who has a way too picky system?

    I'm a new reader of this blog and find everything completely fascinating. I look forward to reading more posts in general.

  36. These days many Koreans are not so slim now.

    Six children out of every 30 children in Korea now are OBESE - and not just slightly, but very Obese.

    Koreans are changing, lots of fast food from McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc and and Koreans LOVE greasy fried chicken and pork.

    Why did Koreans used to be slim? In the 70's and 80's due to poverty.

    In the 90's due to too much work, study and not enough time to sit down to a proper meal.

    Korean food ain't that healthy, the grease, salt, etc in Korean food makes Korea Number ONE in stomach cancer and colon cancer.

    Want to lose weight? Exercise more, it will burn off those calories and fasten your metabolism.

    Korean food isn't that hot either, it is a myth invented by Koreans.

    Foreigners who visited Korea and ordered dishes of bimbimbap, ramen, soups etc, found the food was placed in front of them still boiling, and when the host would ask, why they were not eating, the foreigner would reply, "It's too hot" (temperature hot).

    Koreans started spreading the myth, that foreigners couldn't eat Koreas hot & spicy foods.

    Total myth, because even Americans eat hotter food than Koreans such as Mexican foods, tabasco sauces etc.

  37. I've personally noted that mixing different tastes and textures in a meal increases satiation. For example, a ham sandwich with a bit of mayo, a half-cup of cottage cheese and a half-cup of cottage cheese is more satisfying than two ham sandwiches with a bit of mayo. It's easy to imagine being stuffed after eating modest portions of 8-10 foods that are all quite different from one another.

  38. I had went to california and I have lost 8 pounds without trying um I think there's something about when you go to a different environment your stress levels tend to be very low your more happy you're more excited you eat less but actually I kind of ate a lot anyway but my habit did change but i did things that I've never done when I was at home anyway and I was very active at home so it is very funny that I have lost 8 pounds in a week in california um I had went walking alot took the train and didn't think about how tired i was till it was time to go back to the hotel. So that's why I like traveling unless u can keep that sake perspective when you get home.

  39. Why do some people seem so upset by the fact that people think Korean foods are healthy/delicious? "Actually, Korean food is greasy & salty" blah blah blah. "All the Korean people I know go out to eat fatty fast food" blah blah. Jeez. Do you find people enjoying Korean food offensive? Yes, it is actually quite healthy! The vegetable to meat ratio is healthier. They do consume a lot of fresh/fermented veggies which are healthy! They walk a ton. Yes there are fatty greasy foods available, but many people eat those things as a treat or when out with friends. The majority of the time, people eat ban chan at home. Being mixed Korean and having lived in/visited Korea many times, I would know. Those people who don't/never have lived there or visited and think themselves authorities on "how it actually is" need to chill out. My goodness. If you don't like it, then don't eat it. Don't hate on it.

  40. I want to learn how to cook Korean food...please.. can someone tell me some tips? This looks so delicious *_*
    I always wanted to try something like this!

  41. Whe I switched over to Korean food (and I was not an over eater before) I lost 20 pounds in several months without adding exercise. A Chinese friend swears that the red pepper speeds up the metabolism. Maybe.

  42. Yeah, I was hungry after gorging on bibimbap at Mandu. I'm going with the smaller portions and eating more veggies tip now.

  43. i think koreans are thin because on average they don't eat as much, example being how koreans don't eat much for breakfast which makes them burn more calories in the morining and causing a defect and a main point you didn't mention was that the korean diet is very low carb high fat.

    Bulgogi,Samgyupsal,fried chicken,ddeokbokki,etc these foods are quite high in fat and low in carbs, it's already been proven that low carb high fat diets are what make you loose weight because if fat is the majority once your body finishes using the carbs as energy it will go to the next source of energy fat and everyone knows when it comes to rice or noodles koreans try not to make it the majority in meals.

    That's actually the main reasons how koreans get fat just like western countries they take in too many carbs,some of the fat koreans i know when it came to eating were over fed with rice as kids and loved instant noodles which are quite bad for you and normal noodles which are suppose to be taken in moderation. When eating carbs you need more to make you full.
    Another example that you did mention is how they put veggies more in there meals which helps the body to get essential nutrients to burn calories faster. Since the Korean diet is so filled with a wide variety of veggies and with the protein in meats and essential fats you don't need carbs to be full.

    with that there are faults, even though i love Korean food stands they make thing with too much grease and fat, i used to love certain korean food but with my diet change now i can't tolerate them because of the access grease and don't get me started on salt,yes they use much less compared to western countries but that tends to be with the pizza's while stews on the other hand.... and what Kento said is right high saturated fats and salt are what cause colone cancer that's why it's high in korea.

    the last thing i noticed is that koreans when eating out, always eat with friends which would make food consumption less like i mean you don't want to be the one that stuff your face plus how a majority of the dish you are sharing stops the extra calorie intake plus that koreans tend to eat when it's time to eat rather than 90 medium sized meals a day.

    With how hard koreans work and focus on image it is no surprise that they are thinner than most countries, the korean life style isn't perfect but it does the most important thing for diet
    lowers carb intake
    portions fat,protein and carbs
    cuts out excessive snacking(most people who to Kfood stands are looking for something to hinder there hunger most of the stands are high in fat or protein with the walking they do, they end up burning most of it)

    sorry if i wrote to much but this is something i've noticed x)

  44. Um. The food portion is not exactly small in my opinion...Im not surprised it fits 8 people...O.O the maid/mother will have a sad life washing i pity him/her. In my opinion, as long as you exercise more and keep to "healthy"(to me its more like my favourite food but according to all the weight loss things ive seen...its healthy) diets with more fruits(ie APPLESSSSSSSS<3<3<3) and water and exercises and veggies(at least they are better than meat...*shudders*) and have adequate sleep(believe it or not, it boosts your metabolism! My mom advised me to sleep more and I became thinner. Shocked?XD), you will be all healthy. And this may be gross but detox your body everyday. And try to cut out unhealthy snacks(imagine all the oil inside...) like potato chips and french fries and as such. If you really want to eat meat, eat beef as it provides the most nutrients your body needs and it contains fibre which boosts metabolism. Healthy breakfast is important-it controls your appetite(actually im not really sure about this point because for one I have only ever skipped lunch for projects). And do NOT crash diet like not eating for a long period of time because although it makes weight loss faster, it makes your body go into starvation mode and after you reach your targeted weight and decide to eat more you will actually gain back the weight faster and worse,exceed the initial weight. Unless you are going to maintain it for the lifetime. But it will be very unhealthy-trust me.

    1. meat does not contain fiber, it's all connective tissue. only plants contain fiber...and undigested plant matter in cows or any other animal does not count either

    2. Really? Idk my mom told me otherwise. That's nice knowledge though, thanks!

  45. How do I find the continuation to this post? I have tried by search window and had no luck there.

  46. I like Korean food, it's sort of like Italian - in that there is the satisfying simpler home cooking and then the more elegant food. But for weight loss SOUP! I finally decided that I never had to eat bread and pasta again, I never cared much for them and now I cant even stand the smell. I have an autoimmune disease that makes soy out of the question, and have a complicated relationship with grains, so I eat meat. And I do eat Asian noodles (rarely), but they have a different texture and smell. Anyway, I started making spicy soup, usually with some sort of fish or egg, vegetables and lots of green onion for breakfast and switched to rice. There is something very filling about hot soup and the spice makes it even more filling. If you like it fish sauce is a great quick soup base, I love anchovies. Anyway, I lost 14 pounds in a short time without even thinking about it. All of a sudden my pants were falling off. Spice also seems to take the craving for sweets away for me. But I like savory best, so that might just be me.
    My mother used to say the best exercise for weight gain is pushing the plate away and a lady always leaves plenty of her plate showing. In other words small portions. I will say again, soup, even if its just a broth (spicy) before meals, it will fill you up. And use lunch plates, never dinner plates.

  47. Funniest thing I read in a Yelp review about a Korean BBQ joint. The reviewer was saying Korean food is not friendly to vegetarian. I was like WHAT??!

    Korean food until a few decades ago was ALL vegetarian. There was hardly any meat in regular diet. But I guess some people just don't know...

  48. there going to be a part 2?

  49. This surprises me. I spent 3 weeks in Korea in 2013 and was floored that I was smaller than most women there. I am petite by American standards but I was shocked to see some thick Korean girls everywhere. We hung out with a Korean- American family while there and the wife mentioned to us that she couldn't believe how "fat" Koreans were getting, after not having been in Korea for several years. Also, I've never eaten as much on an international trip as I did in Korea. I found portions to be huge and they kept bringing food to you. When we eat at a Korean restaurant here in the US, I leave feeling bloated and ill because they bring so much food to you. And me being an American, I eat it all because it's there. ;-) Maybe that's the difference. We don't stop when we're full.

    1. I haven't been in Korea but by watching documantaries and films i think the same, most Koreans are not skinny at all... I think it's only the ideal image they have that they try so hard to promote but real people are not like that, I can imagine how hard it must be for them to be constantly criticized..

    2. It's been almost 4 years i've been living in Korea, and yes. Koreans get fatter and fatter. Why ? More American food (addictive !) and more sugar and fat in their own korean meals... It's sad but in 2013 I lost weight, and without changing my diet I won all the kilos back during the last year...
      I've never been to America, but for me, as a French person, I think Korean people eat a lot !!!! A LOT ! And when they go out at night, they are able to eat different meals in a raw while drinking alcohol.
      Yes they are more fat people, even though the society isn't yet prepared to accept them...

  50. Hi Korean,

    I have tried all methods but not able to lose weight. I will definitely try your methods. Thanks for sharing the post. It’s truly amazing. I will try to make the diet food plan. whatever you says. Thanks


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