After Korean food, fashion, movies, dramas and music, it’s Korean weight loss diet, also known as the K-pop diet that has gained much momentum recently. It’s believed to be the secret to their beautiful skin, lithe figures and boundless energy. That’s how Blackpink’s Jennie, BTS’ V and IU stay in shape.
Korean Weight Loss Diet is inspired by traditional Korean cuisine. It primarily relies on whole, minimally-processed foods and a lot of vegetables. You can eat them raw, cooked, or fermented. Rice, and some meat, fish, or seafood is allowed. You are expected to eat plenty of kim chi, a fermented cabbage dish that’s a staple in Korean cuisine. In addition to a list of foods you must include in each meal, the diet also stresses on physical activity that in some manner ensures efficient weight reduction.
The Korean diet has several food restrictions. It does not recommend consuming wheat, sugary, highly processed, fatty, and dairy products. That means milk, cheese, fries, butter, and other foods are a strict no no. Wheat-free dumplings and pancakes and noodles made of mung beans are suggested as a good alternatives to wheat. Tofu, dried shiitake and king oyster mushrooms are often replaced for meat in Korean recipes which make them suitable for vegetarian or vegans.
The K-pop stars, who are part of a well-known South Korean musical genre, are known to adhere to the K-pop diet which also claims to help clear up the skin and optimize long-term health.
A typical Korean meal
To understand the Korean Weight Loss Diet it’s important to get to know the Korean way of eating. Bab or cooked rice forms a large part of most meals in Korea. Rice is had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even as a snack. Kim chi which is prepared by mixing cabbage, radishes, or scallions in brine with ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and fish sauce, then allowing everything to ferment is another constant on the plate. But the main aspect of the Korean meal involves eating large amounts of fresh or cooked vegetables (namul). Seasonings are liberally used, especially fermented soy products like doenjang (soybean paste), kanjang (soy sauce), and gochujang (red pepper paste). The meal is also characterised by the use of herbs such as green onion, garlic, red pepper and ginger.
How to follow the Korean Weight Loss Diet
You can start by increasing the amount of vegetables on your plate suggests nutritionist Shweta Shah, Founder of Eatfit24/7. “Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. The water and fibre in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories.” Though the diet doesn’t specify portion sizes or a strict daily calorie limit, it suggests relying on Korean recipes, soups, and plenty of vegetables to cut calories without feeling hungry.
Eating less fat is another way of tiptoeing into the Korean Weight Loss Diet. “Fats are high in calories, and consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain. Choose to grill, bake, poach or steam rather than frying or roasting. Limit eating out and insist on home cooked meals,” suggests Shah. The diet also advises on minimising added sugars. This could mean replacing soda with water and cookies, sweets, ice cream, and other baked goods with fresh fruit. And lastly avoid snacks. Snacks are considered unnecessary on this diet and should be avoided.
Since the Korean diet restricts the consumption of wheat Shah suggests introducing millets into the diet. “Millet is a good source of protein, fiber, key vitamins, and minerals. The potential health benefits of millet include protecting cardiovascular health, preventing the onset of diabetes, helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and managing inflammation in the gut,” she says.
Can the Korean Diet promote weight loss?
The Korean diet may have the potential to promote a healthy weight because of its dietary principles of increased vegetable consumption and minimising fat and sugary foods believe nutritionists. Vegetables are included in weight loss plans because most of them have low-calorie counts and high fibre and nutrient content. According to a review published in the Journal Nutrition Reviews, high-fibre foods curb hunger and cravings, while also improving satiety. This in turn is said to keep weight gain at bay. However, experts warn against relying only on vegetables. According to Medical News Today, a healthful weight loss meal should comprise 50 per cent fruit and veggies. The rest should be 25 percent whole grains and 25 per cent protein.
This diet also restricts snacking and foods high in fat, added sugar, wheat, or dairy, which helps you consume less calories overall. That said, considering, the diet also keeps a tab on your workout routine, you’re most likely to shed some kilos over time.
More than weight loss
Aside from weight loss, the K-pop diet also promotes general wellness. “The base of the diet is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables which are known to guards against chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and more. It may also aid in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels because it forbids the use of processed, greasy, and fatty foods,” says Shah. Moreover, it includes a lot of kim chi, a popular Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables. Fermented foods improve gut health by boosting your number of beneficial gut bacteria, also known as probiotics.
Most importantly the K-pop weight loss diet encourages people to practice mindful eating, which can help improve digestive health and is an important aspect of any weight loss regime. Listening to the crunch of an apple, tasting the depth of flavour in a sandwich or noticing the feeling of salivation as you eat a piece of chocolate makes eating a celebration of the senses.
Things to remember: Korean weight loss secrets in a nutshell
- Include more veggies in your diet
- Pay attention to calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than you burn)
- Exercise regularly
- Limit fatty, processed, and sugary foods
- Avoid snacking and binge-eating
- Eat in moderation and control portion sizes