When traveling outside of the US – it doesn’t even really matter where you go – chances are, you’ll find out that Americans the world over are know for being overweight. And it’s no surprise, considering America has the highest obesity rate in the world at more than 35 percent of the population. Clearly, we have some things to learn from our international neighbors on diet and lifestyle.
Here are a few weight loss secrets from other countries:
According to the USDA, only 44 percent of Americans regularly eat breakfast. And of those who don’t, 22 percent are obese. But in Germany, 75 percent of people eat breakfast everyday. Experts say that the first meal of the day is most important because it fuels your metabolism and makes you less inclined to binge or make unhealthy food choices later on. While eating breakfast is a good practice, Germany still has a 22 percent obesity rate.
Mexico is just behind us as far as their obesity rate goes, but there is one weight loss tip we can learn from them: make lunch your biggest meal. While Americans usually eat their largest meal at dinnertime, Mexicans do at lunchtime, giving them more time to metabolize the calories before going to bed. By not eating your largest meal close to bedtime, you also wake up hungrier, making you more likely to eat breakfast and reap the health benefits of that meal.
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark enjoy obesity rates around 10 percent – some of the lowest rates in the world. There are many cultural differences that account for this major difference in obesity rates between our countries, but one Scandinavian practice could be part of the reason for their healthy weights: saunas. Spending time in saunas is one of Scandinavia’s favorite activities. And some of the benefits sauna use provides are increased heart health, relief from pain and depression, and, of course, weight loss.
No discussion of weight around the world would be complete without a look at how the French maintain their figures. After all, they’re known for being a very weight-conscious culture, with an obesity rate at around 15 percent. One of the reasons why it’s believed that French people are generally thinner than Americans is because they linger over their meals. They take the time to enjoy the food and each other’s company, as opposed to Americans who have a habit of rushing through meals. As a result, the French notice when they’re full before we do, so they tend to eat much smaller portions.
Do you follow another culture’s diet or lifestyle for its health benefits? Tell us about it below.
Sources: besthealthmag.ca, ufl.edu, medicinenet.com, pbs.org, oecd.org, statisticbrain.com, thelocal.de, cdc.gov, physiciannexus.com, and and smh.com.au