While it is the way of the world that nothing ever goes according to plan, once we pass 40, one thing we gradually begin to lose control of with age is our body shape.
According to study “Fields Yoka Survey 2018” (*1) conducted by FRI, as expected, the more they age, both men and women become much more concerned about their health. For a healthy body, a healthy body shape should likely come first.
（The Ratio of Individuals Concerned about their Health）
Despite persistently making efforts to maintain my body shape, switching from beer to high-balls, starting off my meals with a salad, going jogging three times a week, my body weight, body fat percentage, BMI, and visceral fat levels did not improve at all…
After this sort of trial and error, and some Googling, I discovered that “Low-Carb” diets were popular. I decided to try it right away, and report several things that I learned in this Winter 2018.
■Modern Society Makes a Low-Carb Diet Difficult
A Low-Carb diet means reducing, or do not including the type of carbohydrates except dietary fibers. Essentially, it means dieting by cutting out foods such as rice and bread, noodles, potatoes, and of course sugar (carbohydrates) from your everyday meals.
This is quite difficult in two ways. The first is simply a matter of willpower. These sorts of carbohydrates are thought to have the same addictive qualities as alcohol and tobacco, and if one abstains from them, they will start to have strong cravings to eat them.
The second problem is very important. Within the culinary environment of Japan, the act of simply having a carb-free meal itself is very difficult.
The main item at convenience stores is onigiri, a ball of rice, and rice also makes up half of any type of bento-box style meal. Bread, sandwiches, and burritos are all flour, as are most types of noodles such as udon, ramen, soba, pasta, etc.
Leaving the convenience store, whether you go to a diner, a gyu-don place, a ramen or soba shop, or try to get delivery, everywhere you look its rice, rice, rice, flour, flour, flour.
Within modern society, most people are in an environment where they have no choice but to have a meal centered around carbohydrates.
■The Emergence of Low-Carb Menus
With an increasing number of individuals struggling to find Low-Carb options, convenience stores have begun to offer steamed chicken breasts, or “salad chicken”, as an ideal protein source, and gyu-don shops have created “Low-Carb” menus and a service where customers have the option of substituting tofu for their rice.
Meanwhile, at some ramen shops, which, up until now, had been off-limits to dieters, a “noodle-less menu” has begun to appear.
Also, at hamburger shops, MOS Burger has a menu which replaces the bun with lettuce, and the chicken at KFC, while being high in fat, is very low in carbohydrates.
■New Saviors: “BASE PASTA” & “Bran Bread”
However, while the fact that that we can now truly get by without eating any carbs may seem ideal at first glance, in fact it is not. Now we must face the greater issue of “enduring our desire to eat carbohydrates”. (So, we’re back to problem #1.)
If you force yourself to continue to live a life of extreme abstinence, it can have a massive effect on you mentally before you reach your desired body shape. The two products I introduce here, the completely nutritious pasta product “BASE PASTA”, and “Bran Bread” which, instead of flour, is made from bran flour created using the outer shells of wheat flour, answer the demand of people wondering if there is a way to even slightly relieve their suffering.
I will start off by saying that both of these products contains carbohydrates, but they allow you to eat them while taking in less than half of the carbohydrates that you would if you ate regular noodles or bread.
However, that is the point. No matter how much you “reduce carbs”, it is not healthy for our bodies if we do not take in the minimum amount of carbs needed to survive. This amount is around 100 grams, (*although it varies by age, weight, and gender) in other words, it is fine to take in that amount of carbs.
With pasta, a single serving usually contains 70 grams of carbs or more, and if you were to eat two slices out of a six-slice loaf of bread, that would contain 150 grams — Completely over the limit.
These products reduce the carbs contained in pasta by around half, and for bread, only contain one sixth the amount of carbs found in regular bread. If you eat these, around one serving a day contains an acceptable amount of carbs.
■Ok! Time to Try it!
So, I went ahead and bought these products to try them out.
These are raw noodles rather than dried, deep brown in appearance, containing noticeable medium-sized grains. As for the texture, honestly, while it does have a sort of dull, dry feeling to it, raw pasta itself tends to be like that. If you imagine eating juwari-soba (100% buck-wheat soba noodles), it’s very similar to that. The grains are chia seeds, which crunch in your mouth. If we’re just thinking of reducing carbs, there is also a pasta product from another brand which contains fewer (a dry pasta), but what is great about BASE PASTA is that this one serving contains one third of your daily nutritional requirements for the day, alleviating the need for a side-dish.
‘BASE PASTA’ containing noticeable medium-sized grains.
Boiled ‘BASE PASTA’
‘BASE PASTA’ with sauce
(Sample 2：Bran Bread)
In appearance, this is also brown. As for its texture…there is absolutely nothing odd about it. As artificial sweeteners and sugar are not used, the bread does have a very simple taste. Also, there is a faint scent of something unfamiliar that is not flour. However, while this may be a rude way of putting it, I thought it was at a perfectly acceptable level for bread from a convenience store.
Taste-wise, I cannot say that either one of the products was exceptionally delicious, however, you can eat them normally perfectly fine.
But more importantly, what I thought was best was that now I can eat bread and noodles, which had previously been off-limits. Also, I can think of them as delicious, it’s ok for me to think of them as delicious. This simple fact filled me with joy and happiness. I think that is where the significance and wonderfulness of these products resides.
It’s now been three months since I went “Low-Carb”. My weight, body fat percentage, and visceral fat levels, which for the past two years didn’t drop at all,
have gone from, weight: 74kg→71kg (a loss of 3 kg), body fat percentage: 18.5％→16％（2.5％ reduction）, visceral fat levels: 10.5→9（down 1.5 levels）in these three months, and the impatience I had felt until now disappeared as though it had been a lie.
Dieting must be done in a way that can be continued for the rest of our lives, because it is a life-long challenge. Thinking “I’ll lose weight if I don’t eat”, is something that would be extremely difficult to keep fighting with for the rest of your life.
Trying it out, I thought, if I keep things like this, I should be able to go on living my life with these Low-Carb foods.
One day, if I go to a convenience store, an Italian or Chinese restaurant, or any place, I won’t have to struggle to find these sorts of foods, at least one-third of the menu will contain Low-Carb options…that is the future I wish for.
…And I’ve found good news. On the back of the Lawson bran bread that I introduced before says, “Why not start Low-Carb?”. When I check out the announcement URL printed, there are a lot of great Low-Carb products…With this I can hope to have high expectations of the future. Society is coming to accept Low-Carb culture. It’s a wonderful thing.
In summary, the products I’ve covered here are a very simple solution to the problem of: “I must suppress my desire for these foods = failure at the diet” and changing that to: “I do not have to suppress my desire for these foods, so I can keep going = success at the diet”. I am very grateful that these products have emerged, and that society is slowly coming to accept us carb-cutters.
So, everyone, what do you think? Would you like to try a diet with a normal happy lifestyle?
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.
（*１）Fields Yoka Survey 2018
A web survey carried out in December 2017 which surveyed 11,642 people across the nation from elementary school age to 69 years of age. It queried their behaviors in relation to and their sense of values regarding free time.