The Japanese are amongst the healthiest people in the world. They have some of the lowest rates of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, and the highest average life expectancy in the world. Whatever the Japanese are doing to live such healthy lives seems to be working, so Craig's experiment was simple - eat and live like the Japanese for 12 weeks, and monitor his health in the process.
After a consultation with his dietician, Craig and
the film crew established 3 simple dieting rules:
1) No calorie-counting, skipping meals,
or additional excercise
2) Drink nothing but green tea and water
3) Eat all meals with chopsticks
The reasoning for these three rules was simple. To differentiate this experiment from other diets or fads, it was decided that there should be no dietary sacrifices such as foregoing meals or calorie-counting. Most diets also require a heavy exercise plan, so this experiment eliminated the need for countless hours at the gym. Craig wore a step counter during his two week research period in Japan, and the only additional exercise he would do for the remaining 10 weeks of his experiment would be to match his average daily Japanese step count.
Secondly, Craig's dietician pointed out the health benefits of green tea. The Japanese on average drink several cups of green tea each day, and it is readily available in most restaurants, diners and cafes. So swapping Craig's usual beverages of coffee and soda for green tea reflected a typical Japanese diet. An additional benefit of swapping coffee for green tea was the natural caffeine it contained, which suppressed Craig's coffee withdrawals.
And lastly, Craig's dietician suggested the use of chopsticks over forks for the duration of the diet. Her reasoning was this - there is around a 20 minute delay between food entering the stomach to the brain registering the stomach as being full of food. Eating his meals slowly with chopsticks prevented Craig from overeating, and kept his portion sizes small.
Most diets come with harsh sacrifices and strict eating and exercise plans. And in most cases, maintaining them is impractical. But what if there were a way to lose weight and live healthier without the strict regiment that comes with many of the diets we hear about today? What if there were a simple, effortless lifestyle change to better health?
The results of this dieting experiment were outstanding. Before the experiment, Craig weighed in at a hefty 138kg (304lb), and was at high risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. His liver enzyme levels, which measure the risk of heart attacks and strokes, were out of reference range, and his insulin levels were also off the charts.
After just 12 weeks on a traditional Japanese diet, with minimal exercise, Craig's weight reduced to 114kg (251lb). But the more impressive results were seen in his liver enzyme and insulin levels. These levels lowered back into reference range, and Craig is no longer at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
Images of some of the delicious dishes prepared for Craig's experiment are to the right. Please click the images for their descriptions.
An example of Craig's diet plan can be downloaded here.