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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Trip to South Korea: Hidden reasons for the leanness of its people

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In September last year (2012) I went to South Korea to communicate about nonlinear knowledge analysis with WarpPLS (citeN=citeN+1document.publish(Amount(citeN))), to begin with for enterprise and engineering college and students at Korea College in Seoul, and then as a keynote speaker at the HumanCom 2012 Convention (citeN=citeN+1document.publish(Number(citeN))) in Gwangju. Considering that Seoul is in the north element of the country, and Gwangju in the south, I had the chance to see really a good deal of the land and the people in this stunning nation.


(Korea University’s primary entrance, Anam campus)


(In entrance of Korea University’s principal Business School creating)

Korea College is 1 of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. In the fields of enterprise and engineering, it is arguably the most prestigious. It also has a reliable international status, attracting a big quantity of highly competent foreign pupils.

I desired to get this possibility and try to comprehend why weight problems prevalence is so low in South Korea, which is a frequent attribute between Southeast Asian international locations, even though the caloric intake of South Koreans looks to be comparatively higher. Meals that are wealthy in carbohydrates, such as rice, are also substantial-calorie foods. At 4 energy per gram, carbohydrates are not as calorie-dense as fat (nine calories for every gram), but they confident include up and can make a single overweight.

Dependent on my observations, explanations for the leanness that are as well evident or that concentrate on a particular dietary item (e.g., kimchi, green tea and so forth.) are likely to overlook the level.

Permit us just take for instance a normal South Korean meal, like the one depicted in the photographs beneath, which we had at a restaurant in Seoul. If you are a foreigner, this kind of food would be hard to have with out a neighborhood accompanying you, due to the fact it is not easy to make oneself recognized in a traditional cafe in South Korea speaking everything other than Korean.


(Main things of a classic South Korean meal)


(You cook your personal meal)

The meal started out with thin-sliced meat (with some unwanted fat, but not significantly) and veggies, with the compulsory facet dishes, notably kimchi (citeN=citeN+1document.write(Amount(citeN))). This part of the food was low in calories and substantial in vitamins and minerals. Then we had two substantial-calorie minimal-nutrient objects: noodles and rice. The rice was utilized in the conclude to soak up the broth still left in the pot, so it ended adding to the diet worth of the food.

Simply because we started the meal with the lower-calorie high-nutrient products, the meat and vegetables, our use of noodles and rice was not as higher as if we experienced commenced the meal with those objects. In a food like this, a great chunk of calories would come from the carbohydrate-wealthy things. Nonetheless, it appears to me that we ingested loads of calories, sufficient to make one particular excess fat over the lengthy run, taking in these varieties of meals routinely.

A facet note. As I explained below prior to, the caloric value of protein is much less than the typically listed 4 calories for each gram, in essence since protein is a multi-purpose macronutrient.

In our meal, the way in which at least one of the carbohydrate-prosperous items was well prepared perhaps lowered its digestible carbohydrate articles, and hence its calorie content, in a important way. I am referring to the rice, which experienced been boiled, cooled and stored, way before it was re-heated and served. This very likely turned some of its starch content material into resistant starch (citeN=citeN+1document.write(Quantity(citeN))). Resistant starch is primarily treated by our digestive method as fiber.

Another aspect to think about is the reduction in the glycemic load (not to be confused with glycemic index) of the rice. As I famous, the rice was utilised to soak up the broth from the pot. This soaking up method significantly minimizes the rice’s glycemic load, since of a exclusive residence of rice. It has an amazing ability of absorbing liquid and inflammation in the method.

This was a single of several classic Korean foods I experienced, and all of them adopted a similar pattern in conditions of the buy in which the meals products had been consumed, and the way in which the carbohydrate-rich products ended up well prepared. The purchase in which you consume foods influences your calorie consumption due to the fact if you eat substantial nutrient-to-calorie ratio foods prior to, and go away the reduced nutrient-to-calorie types for afterwards, my experience is that you will try to eat less of the latter.

Another attainable hidden reason for the minimal price of weight problems in South Korea is what appears to be a cultural resistance to industrialized foodstuff, particularly amongst older generations a sort of protecting cultural inertia, if you will. Individuals meals are gradually becoming adopted – my go to still left me with that impact – by not as swiftly as in other nations. And there is overpowering evidence that intake of highly industrialized foods, specifically people prosperous in refined carbohydrates and sugars, is a major trigger being overweight and a host of other difficulties.

Cultural resistance to, or cultural inertia against the adoption of, hugely industrialized food items among expecting mothers boundaries one’s publicity to those food items at a notably essential time in one’s existence – the nine-thirty day period gestation period of time in the mother’s womb. This could have a major influence on a person’s propensity to become obese or have other metabolic derangements afterwards on in life. Some refer to this phenomenon as a vintage example of present day epigenetics, whereby obtained traits seem to induce innate attributes throughout generations.

An additional explanation I was fired up about this journey to South Korea was my desire in desk tennis. I needed to know far more about their desk tennis “culture”, and how it was influenced by their common tradition. China dominates contemporary table tennis, with such prodigies as Ma Lin, Ma Long, Wang Hao, Wang Liqin, and Zhang Jike. South Korea is not considerably driving two of my all-time favorite South Korean players are Kim Taek-Soo and former Olympic winner Ryu Seung-Min.

An additional facet notice. The ideal table tennis player of all time is arguably Jan-Ove Waldner (citeN=citeN+1document.publish(Number(citeN))), from Sweden. I talked about him in my book on compensatory adaptation (citeN=citeN+1document.create(Quantity(citeN))). Waldner has been a single of the number of gamers outdoors China to be ready to constantly defeat the very best Chinese players at times when they had been at the prime of the online games, like Ma Lin (citeN=citeN+1document.write(Variety(citeN))).

But, as I soon learned, as much as sports are involved, it is not table tennis that most South Koreans are fascinated in these times. It is soccer.

A nice shock throughout this vacation was a tour in Gwangju in which we frequented a studio that converted normal motion pictures to stereoscopic 3-dimensional types (image beneath). These people were acquiring a great deal of business, specifically from the United states of america, in a industry that is very aggressive.


(A normal-to-3D film conversion studio in Gwangju)

Let’s get again to the health angle of the post. So there you have it, two feasible “hidden” reasons for the lower prevalence of obesity in South Korea, and possibly in other Southeast Asian international locations. One is the way in which foods are geared up and eaten, and the other is cultural inertia. These are not quite commonly discussed, but future investigation might alter that.

Title: Trip to South Korea: Hidden reasons for the leanness of its people
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