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Old 09-15-2008, 06:34 AM   #113
Darryl Shaw
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 681

Originally Posted by Derek Weaver View Post
That's interesting about the Japanese, and good news to me (I'm 1/8 Japanese... not much, but with longevity being prevalent on both sides of my family something is working in my genes to extend lifespan).
Good genes might give you an edge over the rest of us but you shouldn't get too complacent about your diet and lifestyle because it appears that as Okinawans have adopted more of an American diet their life expectancy has dropped and the incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes has increased.

Metabolic Syndrome Impairs Longevity in Okinawa, Japan.

Couple of questions though. How many of the centenarians are on Okinawa and what kind of population increase has Japan experienced in the last 40 years that centenarian population has increased?
I'm not sure if there have been any significant changes to the Japanese diet or lifestyle over the past 40 years that might have lead to the increased number of centenarians today. Perhaps improved medical care or the increased awareness of the link between salt and stomach cancer would explain some of the increase but todays centenarians would have been 60 back in 1968 so I suspect that if they were going to develop diabetes, cancer or heart disease they would have done so years ago. I can't find a detailed breakdown of the statistics relating to the number of centenarians in Japan vs Okinawa but I suspect that the high number of Okinawan centenarians might skew the statistics re. longevity somewhat in Japans favour.

I think I remember seeing a post by Robb one time noting that the Okinawans eat less rice and soy and have a tuber similar to a sweet potato. Carbs aren't bad, empty ones like rice are though.
It is true that sweet potatoes (imo) used to be the Okinawans traditional staple carbohydrate and rice is a fairly recent addition to their diet but their overall diet is quite similar to that of mainland Japan in most other respects. They do eat a lot less salt than in mainland Japan though so they would have a lower incidence of stomach cancer and strokes but the main difference between Okinawa and mainland Japan is calorie intake; amongst those eating traditional diets the Japanese eat 20% fewer calories than Americans and Okinawans eat 10 - 20% fewer calories than in mainland Japan.
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