Eat Until 80% Full, Live Longer

Image Credit Geoff B|
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This simple way of eating could be all you need to keep the weight off, be healthier, and live longer.

• Health: Diet • Health: Food & Nutrition • Health: How-To • Health: Tips & Tricks • Health: Weight Loss

Did you know that Japan has one of the world's longest life expectancy rates? Depending on who you believe, the average life expectancy for somebody in Japan is somewhere in the 82-89 range with 85 being a rough average. Compare that number to somebody in the United States and the number tends to average somewhere in the higher 70's. Of course, even that varies a lot by state / region in the USA.

But why do those Japanese live so darn long? Fount of youth? Some sort of super vitamin? It certainly isn't their air quality! It's often though that the secret is as simple as the practice of Hara hachi bu, which essentially translates to "belly 80% full".

We've all learned that it takes 20-30 minutes from the time you eat food for your brain to tell your body it's full. On top of that, most of us were brought up with the idea that you eat until you've cleared your place. Put both of those together and we're pretty much all over eating, except the Japanese because that practice Hara hachi bu.

Sure, they also generally probably have better diets with more fruits and vegetables but stopping your eating before you're full might be just as important.

So how does it work? Simple, eat until 20% of your food is left on your plate. Just stop for 30 minutes and see if you need more food. Once you get used to that (it can take 15-25 days for your body to get used to this new way of thinking) you'll also want to take smaller portions, take smaller bites, and eat slower. But simply starting out by leaving 20% of your food behind is the easiest way to re-train your brain.

Obviously, if your stronger willed you can simply only put 80% of the food on your plate to begin with but if you're like me it's easier to start with a "normal" portion that you're used to and leave the rest behind. Yes, it's wasting food but in a few weeks you'll be using far less food.