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    Archive for the ‘japan’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Omega-3s Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

    080708193249-largeWhat are your thoughts on the reported link between omega-3 intake and type 2 diabetes recently published in an article featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition?

    — xo2hearts
    (via Twitter)

    The AJCN is a well-respected, top-of-the-line journal, so it is no surprise that many of its studies resonate all over the Internet.

    This one, titled “Dietary omega-3 fatty acids and fish consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes” is particularly controversial, since its main conclusion is that there appears to be “an increased risk of type-2 diabetes with the intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, especially with higher intakes (more than 0.20 g omega-3, or more than 2 servings of fish a day.)”

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    Numbers Game: Answer

    JapanMapAdults in Japan consume approximately 7.5 times as many DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids per day as their United States counterparts.

    That can certainly help explain why, compared to the United States, Japan has a 40 percent lower rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease and a 70 percent lower rate of deaths from coronary heart disease!

    Don’t think this is solely attributed to high intakes of fish (while Japan’s consumption is high, it comes in third — China and Iceland’s intake is higher!)

    Japan, however, happens to have the hands-down-highest global per capita consumption of sea vegetables.  Not only are many sea vegetables excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids; they also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that help lower the risk of developing heart disease and various cancers.

    This is why I strongly support the “Mediterrasian” style of eating, which takes heart-healthy cues from traditional Mediterranean (i.e.: olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds) and Asian dietary patterns (dark leafy greens, fatty fish/sea vegetables).

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    Numbers Game: A World of Difference

    According to recent estimates, 30.6 percent of adults in the United States are classified as obese (Body Mass Index of 30 or higher,) while only 3.2 percent of the adult population in Japan falls into that category.

    With that in mind, here’s an interesting fact:

    Average caloric consumption in the US clocks in at __________ calories a day, whereas the average Japanese citizen takes in ___________ calories a day.

    (Sources: World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Health Data)

    a) 3,040/2,600
    b) 3,770/2,770
    c) 4,500/2,100
    d) 3,520/2,900

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Tuesday for the answer.

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