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Low carb diet and Japan? 2011/2/24 19:33
I'm traveling to Japan in April for two months, and I've been on a low carbohydrate diet for quite a while. Now, I know there's white rice and noodles just about everywhere, and I'm wondering whether I'll have to change my eating habits during my time there, or just cook everything myself... How (im)possible do you think it would be to keep up my diet in Japan? Do you think people would look at me weird if I said I can't eat rice et cetera? :D (Yeah, I know they'll look at me weird anyway.)
by Hana (guest)  

. 2011/2/25 11:00
Meat, cheese are expensive in Japan. Fish and seafood not too bad, but it will be difficult.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/2/25 13:08
Fish and seafood can be more expensive than meat and cheese - at least chicken are not so expensive.

It is do-able, I think.
When eating out, go to family type restaurants (such as Denny's, Skylark, Gusto, Jonathan, etc.), order for meat plate (sauteed chicken, steak) and avoid the side dish (potato, rice).
Prices are reasonable and can be cheap.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2011/2/25 14:16
A low carb diet while traveling in Japan will be difficult in some situations but it's very doable.

For the most part, Japanese meals tend to separate meals into various food groups anyway so with the exception of "donburi" and "yakisoba", the main carbs are separated anyway so it's easy to just ask for no rice.

Convenience stores will be good for single-serving soups and salads. They also will have a small selection of (albeit fried) prepared proteins - mostly chicken or pork. Oden is another way to eat a well balanced low-carb (though high sodium) meal.

As for restaurants, izakaya, yakiniku, toriyaki, and yakitori as well as various family restaurants (Saizeriya, Gusto) will have lots of low/no carb options.

You really shouldn't have trouble unless you're in some rural area where the only food option is the typical udon/katsu-don shop that seems to be near every temple or shrine.

by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Just to add 2011/2/25 22:18

I totally agree with kyototrans, except that I'd like to add one thing.

Meals in Japan are usually designed to be eaten with rice or bread. In other words, the chef might feel that their cooking will be ruined if you skip the carb.

But there is an exception. In Japan, when you drink alcohol, you are expected not to eat carbs at the same time. People believe that alcohol beverages and carbs don't match. So they usually eat non-carb food with beer or wine, and then after they finish drinking, they move on to the rice and soup, but quite often they end up skipping the whole rice/soup routine as they get full before that.

In other words, if you go to drinking places, you can easily avoid carbs without being frowned. You can also say the same thing about places where chefs have less pride.

Note however, that for this reason, you might end up taking in too much percentage of salt if you eat out or buy prepared food and not eat the carb.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

I am also low carb! 2011/2/27 02:21
I share your concerns! I will also be in Japan in April, and I have been eating low carb for several months. I am a diabetic and I don't want to compromise my tight blood sugar control by indulging in too much rice and too many noodles!

I guess I am going to bring some nuts and other low carb snacks with me so I can have something to eat while out and about. And I will do my best at meals. Although there will be some sacrifices made in the name of cultural appreciation! (basically, because this will be an opportunity to experience Japanese culture, I am going to eat some traditional dishes, but balance these times with many other 'on plan' meals and eat the carbs in moderation when I eat them).

Good luck! I hope we both find many good LC options there!
by starlotus rate this post as useful

.. 2011/2/27 03:53
Thank you all for your help! I will keep all of these things in mind :)
by Hana (guest) rate this post as useful

Reserve and tell in advance 2011/2/27 09:26
starlotus and to anyone with health conditions,

If you're diabetic or allergic or have any sort of special health conditions, you should try to tell the restaurants in advance by making reservations. The chefs will almost always try their best in answering your needs.

Especially if you're diabetic, I don't think it will be a good thing to take in all that salt as well as the sugar contained in a lot of Japanese cuisine dishes.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Thanks! 2011/2/28 05:40
Thanks for the tip! I will do that (luckily I will be with people who speak Japanese, just in case) when possible. Otherwise I am going to try to do my best if the circumstances don't allow for calling ahead. I may end up having a lot of yakatori with no sauce;) And of course sashimi...

I am also looking forward to (budget permitting) trying Kobe beef.

I am also going to carry protein bars and nuts in my purse for emergencies.
by starlotus rate this post as useful

No worries 2011/3/2 02:24
Anybody travelling to Japan usually ends up thinner & healthy & strong legs. This is due to a lot of exercise(walking), low cal foods(udon, soba, rice, etc.), etc.
Japanese foods are usually well balanced with vege., too(i.e. shabu-shabu) so eat anything including meat, tempura and eat as much as you want.
This is almost a guarantee based on many forum replies in other travel sites.
This is a different & opposite story in US, though.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

me too 2011/4/21 15:52
I really worry about this too, because I will be working in Japan, and also have tight blood sugar issues. Thus I'm afraid the people like coworkers/boss might not let me fit into the company well, because I may 'stand out' too much... I guess in this case, it really is preferable to be travelling, and not have to mind so much if people get offended or not...
by Ueiota (guest) rate this post as useful

some experience.... 2011/4/22 10:33
Okay, I would like to give you some input. My partner and myself visited Japan for 2 weeks last year. We are both heavily into fitness and like to maintain a low carb diet whilst not doing any resistance training (which we did in Japan).

So what we did whilst away, we took a box each of low carb protein bars and canned chicken with us. However it's quite easy to find low carb alternatives in Japan. Chicken is cheap, so are eggs, we also bought canned chicken over there. Not to mention Yakitori, which is meat on a stick, was also perfect.

I guess your best bet it just to avoid eating out, because there will be a lot of carbs on the menu haha.

by Ketosis (guest) rate this post as useful

really easy 2011/5/1 18:43
It;s so easy to eat low carb out...
Izakaya can be easily all meat and vege if you want, same for yakiniku, yakitori,sashimi even yoshinoya I think has a meat plate instead of their usual beef / pork on rice.
You can get plain yoghurt at almost any convenience store for a snack. Not sure what the carb content of bars like Soy Joy is like.

Set menus include rice - almost always - but you can always say no rice thanks or half size rice. The price may not change, but at least it's not wasted.

For all the carbs in the diet here, people are not particularly fat...
by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

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