Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on August 27, 2022
Slow Meals in France
When you eat your meals slowly and savor them, like lots of people do in France, that may lead to fewer calories, especially for men. So take your time, and enjoy a nice, long meal with friends.
Smaller Portions in Japan
Little dishes typically mean fewer calories. Studies show that people who eat bigger portions are more likely to be overweight and less healthy. A soup starter, along with plenty of water, will help you walk away satisfied. And it’s not just the small helpings. The traditional Japanese diet doesn’t include a lot of red meat, and research shows that can be a good thing.
Spice It Up in India
Indian food is loaded with herbs and spices, such as turmeric, curry, ginger, and cardamom. These are full of antioxidants and other things that are good for you. They also can lend some heat to the dishes, which may help you eat less.
Greece: The 'Real' Mediterranean Diet
There are many cultures and eating practices throughout the Mediterranean, but the traditional Greek diet is the one that’s been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. It’s all about fruits and vegetables, more cheese than milk, more fish than meat. And, of course, drizzle everything in olive oil, which has the “good fat,” and wash it down with a little wine.
Drink Red Wine in Italy
Cheers! Studies show that moderate drinking can lower your chances of heart disease. But the key is moderation: one glass a day for women, two for men -- tops. More than that can be bad for you.
Fermented in Norway
If you let certain foods sit for a long time in water or salt, or other spices, the chemistry and taste change. This is fermentation, and fermented foods are natural sources of probiotics -- good bacteria that affect everything from digestion to mood. Cultures across the globe ferment vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat. In Norway, they ferment trout for up to a year and serve it uncooked. Hmm ... maybe start with vegetables.
Mix It Up in Korea
Here, a restaurant may serve you pickled vegetables, soup, dumplings, fermented cabbage (kimchi), meat, egg, fish, and pork -- all at a single meal! The different foods not only add interest, they also help you get more nutrients. But more variety can lead you to eat too much, so keep those portions small.
Break Bread in Sweden
It’s a good rule of thumb to watch your carbs, particularly with the American diet, but not all carbohydrates are created equal. The whole-grain rye bread common in Sweden is healthier. It tends not to spike your blood sugar levels as much as white bread -- and it has more fiber, which helps digestion.
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The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women.”
Advances in Nutrition: “Portion Size and Obesity.”