Shed pounds with one meal a day

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Shed pounds with one meal a day


“One Meal a Day” by Yoshinori Nagumo has been a bestseller in the health category since its release in September. It argues that eating just once per day has many health benefits. Provided by Wisdom House Books

With the economy and publishing industry in the doldrums, Koreans simply don’t purchase many books any more. But that’s not true for one popular health book written by a Japanese surgeon. With a windy yet tempting subtitle that reads, “We eat too much: Secrets on how to keep flawless skin and a slim waist until you are 100 years old,” “One Meal a Day” by Yoshinori Nagumo has remained at No. 1 in the health category since its release in September.

“About 200,000 copies have been sold so far,” said Kim Ji-yeon, who promotes the publication at Wisdom House Books.

Since the nation’s publishing industry has been stagnant for so long, publishers call a book a hit if it sells 10,000 copies.

Nagumo is a surgeon whose main specialty is restoring or shaping breasts for women who had cancer. He wrote in his book that he started eating one meal per day because he wanted to stay alert while on duty.

In Japan, the book has sold over 600,000 copies.

After its release, the book received an enthusiastic welcome from people in all walks of life in Korea even though the book contradicts common practice of eating three meals a day.

A number of people who recently gathered at Mount Cheonggye in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, are among some of the book’s biggest fans. Though they are different in almost every possible way, these people have two things in common: They eat one meal a day and have shed about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) on average over six months.


Kang Eui-seok, 49, is an ardent follower of the one-meal-per-day diet. He lost 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in five months. By Kim Su-jeong

On that day, the members of an online community dedicated to the book and its diet finished hiking around 3 p.m. and then ate their first and last meal of the day.

Among the online community members, Kang Eui-seok, 49, lost 20 kilograms in five months using the diet.

“It’s not physically challenging at all even though I didn’t eat anything for breakfast and lunch. I feel much lighter than before,” Kang said.

The online community is one of 10 similarly-themed groups but has the most members at 18,000. Each keeps a journal recording what they eat each day.

Wang In-jeong, 39, who runs the online community, said she’s been practicing the diet for four months.

“I feel much lighter than before and I also lost about four kilograms. All the members kind of keep an eye on each other to see whether we stay true to the diet,” she said.

Followers of the one-meal-per-day doctrine say its greatest virtue is the dramatic decrease in calorie intake. By eating one meal, a person who used to consume up to 2,000 calories per day would only take in between 600 and 800 calories. So of course they are bound to shed pounds in a short period of time.

Most nutritional guidelines recommend that healthy adults eat between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day.


“Since I only eat one meal, I find myself trying to consume healthy local foods instead of junky instant foods,” Kang said.

Nagumo said that people can burn more calories by eating just once per day.

“Your stomach starts growling when you eat once a day, and the sound signals that your body starts using visceral fat. This is how you can achieve a slimmer waistline,” the doctor explained.

When fat is burned, a hormone called adiponectin is released. It cleanses blood vessels and is thus beneficial for people with diabetes or circulation problems, he added.

The benefits of the one-meal diet go on, according to the author.

The activation of the sirtuin gene can help reverse aging, and limiting food intake can also benefit the skin.

Nagumo himself may be evidence of these effects. He looks 40-something but is actually 58.

Not everyone agrees with Nagumo’s theory, though.

Park Yong-wu, a doctor of family medicine at Reset Clinic, said the diet could lead to nutritional imbalance.

“No matter how much you eat once a day, you won’t get the suggested daily intake of vitamins and proteins,” Park said. “In addition, protein is a great source of rejuvenation because it helps formation of muscles, skin, bones and hair. A sudden decrease in protein consumption will make people lose muscle because bodies use protein from muscles when there is not enough being consumed.”

Kang Jae-heon, a professor of family medicine at Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, said the diet might lead to eating disorders.

“If you ignore hunger, the body continues to tell your brain that you need to eat. Ignoring the feeling simply increases the possibility of binge eating or other issues.”

Park Min-seon, a professor of family medicine at Seoul National University, actually believes that eating just one meal could lead to weight retention.

“If the hunger state continues for more than 20 hours, our brain accepts it as a state of emergency. Thus the body tries to hold fat,” Park explained.

And Professor Kang of Inje University had some advice that he believes is more sensible: simply eat less across the whole day, he said, instead of all at once.

“The benefits of eating less have been proven by research over the past few years. You can be healthier and feel younger when eating less. But we don’t have any long-term data on the one-meal-per-day diet yet. Eating small meals three times a day is the best way to slim down.”

By Bae Ji-young, Sung So-young []
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