Japanese Diet Plan

 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

japanese diet plan

Have you compared obesity levels in Japan and the US? It’s safe to say that the Japanese have a pretty good handle on diet and nutrition. So, what’s the Japanese diet plan?

There is no one “Japanese diet plan.” However, there are some standard features worth noting. For example, the Japanese diet includes foods that balance protein, carbs, and healthy fats.

Another vital principle of the Japanese diet is balance. You should try eating various foods daily to get all the nutrients your body needs. Aim to eat smaller portions slowly to enjoy your food better.

A Japanese diet is a healthy option that easily fits many lifestyles. Continue reading for a simple yet highly nutritious diet plan filled with the best Japanese dishes.

Japanese Diet – An Overview

Did you know only 4% of Japanese adults are obese? That’s a deep contrast from the 40% in the US. So, what do the Japanese eat, and how do they stay so healthy?

The Japanese diet includes various food items such as rice, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Here’s what to have (and not to) in a Japanese diet.

What Foods Do They Eat?

The most common foods in a typical Japanese diet are

Rice: The Japanese enjoy lots of gluten-free carbs like rice, which tops the primary Japanese staple foods list. It’s typically eaten with every meal and makes up a large portion of the Japanese diet.

Fish: Fish, a vital part of the Japanese diet, is a good source of protein and omega-3.

Seafood: Besides fish, you’ll find different seafood items in a typical Japanese diet, including shrimp, crab, and lobster.

Vegetables: Vegetables are an essential part of the Japanese diet. They’re typical with meals as side dishes.

Fruits: Fruit is often a snack but sometimes forms part of a meal. The most common are strawberries, melons, kiwi, pome fruits like nashi, citrus-like mandarin oranges, and stone fruits like peach.

a crate of fresh peaches

Noodles: Noodles are a Japanese diet that comes from wheat and includes sauces and toppings when prepared. Besides rice, noodles are the most popular starch, with Ramen being the leading type. 

Soy products: Soy products, like soy sauce, miso, edamame, and tofu, are a standard part of the Japanese diet. They’re a good source of protein and suitable for different dishes.

Tea: Tea is a popular beverage in Japan that complements meals. The Japanese especially like green tea rich in antioxidants. Typical Japanese teas include Matcha, Hojicha, Sencha, Mugicha, Kombucha, Sobacha, Gobocha, and Genmaicha.

Sake: Sake is a type of Japanese rice wine. It’s typically consumed with meals and used in toasts and celebrations.

What Foods to Avoid?

Dairy products can be challenging to digest and cause bloating and gas. Examples of dairy products include milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Poultry and red meat are high in fat and cholesterol, hence avoided. They can make it hard to manage weight while posing other health risks. Examples include beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and duck.

Eggs are another food to avoid as they’re high in cholesterol and may contribute to cardiovascular issues. Whether fried, made into an omelet, or boiled, eggs aren’t a typical addition to this diet.

Avoid excess oils, fats, and sauces, as they can cause weight gain and other health problems. Examples include cooking oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and butter.

Baked goods are often high in sugar and calories and aren’t ideal when trying to lose weight or eat a healthy diet. Baked goods include muffins, cookies, cakes, bread, croissants, and pies.

Processed or sugary foods contribute to weight gain and some health problems. Hence, they aren’t ideal candidates for this diet. Examples include cereal, candy, soda, and granola bars.

Benefits of the Japanese Diet

Wondering, “why are Japanese so healthy?” Their diet provides various health benefits, from improved cardiovascular function to weight management, better digestion, and more.

bowl of ramen with eggs and shrimps

Here’s a keener look into the merits of the Japanese diet.

Provides Well-Balanced Diet

Treat yourself to a well-balanced diet with the traditional Japanese diet. The Japanese diet involves pairing foods like rice with vegetables, noodles and fish, soy with fruits, and other healthy options.

Rice is a good source of carbohydrates, which your body needs for energy. Besides carbs, noodles are a good source of protein, which your body needs for growth and repair.

Fish and other seafood have plenty of omega-3, which is good for your heart and brain. Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, involved in antioxidation and immune activities. Soy is a good source of protein and fiber, which your body needs for good digestion.

A Japanese diet taken in moderation can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and function properly.

Helps With Digestion

Fiber is a vital part of any diet, and the Japanese diet is no exception. Rich in fiber-rich foods like vegetables and fruits, the Japanese diet helps promote regularity and keeps things moving smoothly through the digestive system.

Anti-inflammatory ingredients are also essential for gut health; the Japanese diet is full of them. Foods like ginger, turmeric, and green tea are all excellent sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants.

Additionally, how the Japanese pair their carbohydrates with other foods can help improve metabolism and lower caloric intake.

For example, many pair rice with fish or vegetables. Carb pairing helps slow down sugar release into the bloodstream and prevent blood glucose spikes.

Japanese dishes are an excellent choice for a leaky gut diet. They’re full of gut-friendly ingredients that promote regularity, fight inflammation, and help improve metabolism.

Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight

A Japanese diet is a healthy way to maintain your weight because it has healthy foods. The diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It’s low in saturated fat and sodium and doesn’t include processed foods or sugary drinks.

mid section of a fit woman in white clothes

One benefit of a Japanese diet is that it encourages food alternation. You eat various foods throughout the day, which can help reduce your overall intake.

Studies show that people who eat many foods tend to eat less overall than those who eat the same foods daily.

The Japanese weight loss diet includes many fiber-rich ingredients. These ingredients can help induce fullness, leading to reduced calorie intake.

In Japan, it’s polite to eat until you’re around 80% full (Hara Hachi Bu). This practice can help to prevent overeating and promote a healthy weight.

Moreover, most of the components of a Japanese diet are low in calories. Low-calorie constituents help to avoid weight gain and promote a healthy weight.

Protects You from Chronic Diseases

The Japanese diet may help deter issues like heart disease, stroke, and cancer. 

Fish is a significant component of the Japanese diet and is good omega-3 food. These fatty acids participate in blood pressure control and reduce triglyceride levels. Also, Omega-3 helps lower the risk of abnormal heart rhythms.

The Japanese diet is also high in fiber, which reduces stroke risk. Fiber helps to inhibit cholesterol absorption, thereby lowering levels and keeping the arteries clear.

Due to the rich supply of antioxidants, this diet may help prevent cancer. Antioxidants help in damaged-cell repair and reduce cancer-cell-formation risk.

Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Many factors contribute to cardiovascular disease, but diet is one of the most important. The traditional Japanese diet is low in calories and fat and high in fish, vegetables, and rice.

woman sewing clothes near the window

Studies showed that Japanese foods lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. People who follow diets like this have a lower incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems.

There are several reasons why the Japanese diet is so effective at preventing cardiovascular disease.

The Japanese diet is high in omega-3, which benefits heart health. The Japanese diet has few saturated fats and unhealthy cholesterol. These reduced levels help counter heart disease threats.

Besides, the Japanese diet is high in fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The diet is rich in antioxidants, which protect the heart and blood vessels from damage. The high intake of vegetables and fruits in the Japanese diet also benefits heart health.

Helps To Increase Longevity

The Japanese diet is famous for its healthy and longevity-promoting properties. The life expectancy in Japan is among the highest in the world.

In 2019, the life expectancy for Japanese ladies was 87.5 years, whereas men had 81.4. This expectancy is better compared to an average life expectancy of 82.6 years for women and 79.8 years for men worldwide.

The Japanese diet may impact the high life expectancy of the Japanese population.

Reports have shown that such dietary leanings are associated with a lower risk of fatality from all causes, cancer and heart disease included. The Japanese diet may also help to hamper cognitive decline and dementia.

These health benefits may be partly due to the Japanese diet’s healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants.

How To Follow the Japanese Diet

The Japanese diet is about eating the right foods in the right amounts and enjoying your meals. Here are some tips for following the Japanese diet:

happy woman drinking water
  1. Take ample water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to hydrate.
  1. Eat adequate fruits and vegetables. The Japanese diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, an essential part of a healthy diet.
  1. Include fish and seafood in your diet. Fish and seafood are a staple of the Japanese diet and are rich in nutrients.
  1. Limit your intake of red meat. Red meat is not a standard part of the Japanese diet and is typically only eaten in small amounts.
  1. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are not a part of the Japanese diet. Stick to whole, unprocessed foods for the most health benefits.
  1. Eat slowly and mindfully. Take your time to enjoy your food and chew slowly. Doing this helps you to digest your food better and absorb all the nutrients.
  1. Get active. The Japanese diet is not only about food but also about being active. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to stay healthy.

Sample Japanese Diet Plan for A Week

Now that you know a little about the Japanese diet, here’s a simple 7-day diet plan you can use to get started.

Day 1Noodle soup, green tea, and a piece of fruitMiso soup with tofu, seaweed, and vegetablesSoba noodles with chicken and vegetables
Day 2udon-noodle soup, pickled vegetables, and shrimp Salmon and vegetable sushiTempura shrimp with rice and vegetables
Day 3Japanese-style omelet with rice and vegetablesRice porridge with salmon and vegetablesChicken teriyaki with rice and vegetables
Day 4Ramen noodles, vegetables, fruit, and green teaVegetable soupTuna and rice salad
Day 5Miso soup with seaweed, steamed rice, and vegetablesclam soup, seaweed-wrapped rice balls, marinated tofu, and veggiesNoodles, edamame, fish cakes, and vegetables
Day 6Rice with boiled egg and vegetablesshiitake-mushroom soup, seared scallops, rice, and steamed vegetablesRamen noodles with salmon and vegetables
Day 7Soup with tofu, seaweed, and vegetablesSushi and sashimiGrilled fish with rice and vegetables

Japanese Diet FAQs: What are People Dying to Know?

person holding a plate of tofu dish

Can I Lose Weight on a Japanese Diet?

You can lose weight on a Japanese diet as it includes many healthy Japanese recipes for weight loss. The diet mostly features lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. These foods are filling and nutritious, making you less likely to overeat.

Who Should Follow the Japanese Diet?

Those seeking a weight-management or healthy eating style should follow the Japanese diet. The Japanese diet is suitable for people of all ages.

This diet is low in calories and fat but high in fiber and nutrients. The Japanese diet is good for your heart and can help prevent various ailments. Plus, it may help you revamp your eating habits, hunger urges, and food choices in the long term.


The Japanese diet is amongst the world’s healthiest thanks to a few crucial aspects. It promotes portion control and is low in calories. 

The Japanese diet relies on the principle of eating whole, unprocessed foods. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.

Moreover, it’s rich in antioxidants that battle free radicals, keeping your cells healthy. The diet is high in healthy fats and proteins. This combination helps to keep you full and satisfied.

Unsweet tea is one of the top beverages you can incorporate into your Japanese diet plan. But, before you dive into this hydration powerhouse, find out the answer to one of its most asked questions: “Does unsweet tea have caffeine?”

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