The people of Okinawa Island traditionally practice a kind of diet whereby they eat till they are 80 per cent full. The Okinawans are known to have been following this rule for a long time, known as “Hara Hachi bu”.
What is ‘Hara Hachi Bu’
This form of diet plan is derived from the Confucian teaching that instructs people to “eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full.” As per the diet, Okinawans are known to consume about 1800 to 1900 calories per day, which is known to improve life expectancy. Okinawa is known to have the world’s highest proportion of centenarians.
The diet is designed to restrict calorie intake. It keeps the average body mass index (BMI) low, due to the delay in the stomach stretch receptors that signal satiety. Research suggests their BMI is about 18-22 as compared to the typical BMI of 26-27 for adults over 60 in the United States.
An article in the Hindustan Times explains that when the stomach is not entirely full, it has extra space. This, in turn, allows the stomach to digest to food quicker.
Interestingly, this principle of eating is also known to be advocated by Ayurvedic medicine, dating back to the 4th century BCE, which suggests one should fill one-third of the stomach with liquid, another third with food and leave the rest empty.
Benefits of ‘Hara Hachi Bu’
According to Medium, this diet not only extends life expectancy but also delays the appearance of aging. By avoiding over-eating, this diet helps avoid obesity, acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems. It also promotes weight loss through balanced eating. Here are some foods you can eat to keep obesity at bay.
How to be 80 per cent full
Clinical psychologist and author Susan Albers mentions in a Cleveland Clinic article that when one begins to feel slightly full, they should stop eating. The idea is to feel satisfied and not hungry anymore, rather than full. So while you eat, it is important to slow down and allow the body to register how much you have eaten.
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