Latest diet plans focus on slower, healthier ways to slim down

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Latest diet plans focus on slower, healthier ways to slim down

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Left, the interior of VB Diet Lab, in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. Right, the diet application Noom Weight Loss Coach. Diet lab picture provided by Amore Pacific and the app is a screen capture

Korea is one of the least obese countries in the world but people are getting fatter. An annual health survey conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government last year on 23,062 Seoulites found that one in four people are obese.

As more people deal with weight gain and bloated bellies, diet plans are becoming diverse. In the past, a common but covert way to shed weight quickly was signing up for dansikwon, or a place where a group of people go on a fast while living and exercising together for at least a week.

Diet trends come and go, but the latest diet plans emphasize slower and healthier ways of losing weight.

One of them is a low calorie boxed meal delivery service, which is an effective way for those who want to shed weight in a short period of time, although the meals are costly.

Eat Slim, run by Pulmuone, which is the nation’s best known processed food company, Calorie Box and Slunch are brands that are favored by customers.

They offer similar services but prices depend on the types of food. For example, Eat Slim costs 740,000 won ($644) per month. Experts prepare three meals a day for four weeks that contain lower daily amounts of sodium and calories.

For instance, a boxed meal for one breakfast of Eat Slim consists of baked potatoes and broccoli, chicken wrapped in tortillas, sliced cabbage salad and watery broccoli soup.

Consumers should be careful when making their choices, because some provide shoddy foods for cheaper prices, though.

VB Diet Lab is another interesting place to check out for those who want to go on a diet this summer. Run by Amore Pacific, a cosmetics company, the three-story building located in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, is packed with everything you need for a healthy diet.

The first floor is a cafe with assorted beverages and food, from smoothies to pizza, but all are low in calories. For example, Berry Flat Bread, which is a thin pizza topped with berries, is drizzled with prune sauce instead of sweet and creamy sauces, for better digestion.

All the beverages and food are based on the VB Program, the diet products of Amore Pacific, which are believed to reduce one’s body fat.

The second floor is where you can use diverse workout tools, analyze your body type and search the diet examples of other dieters who have similar body shapes and life habits. On the third floor, you can work out with a personal trainer. The cafe is open to anyone, but parts of the second and third floors are for members only.

Diet phone apps are another smart and cheap way to lose weight. Of the sea of diet applications, Noom Weight Loss Coach is probably the most analytic one.

Once users set a goal, the app sends a notification of the recommended daily intake of calories. When users type in details of what they have eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the app reminds them how many calories are left for the day.

The app classifies dangerous foods, from those high in calories but low in satiety, to safe foods, then counts your steps and shows how many calories you have burned for the day.

Since the app is based in New York, it doesn’t have calorie information about everyday Korean foods such as doenjang guk, or soup made with fermented soybean paste.

Korean diet apps, however, have a vast list of calories for Korean foods, even those from franchise bakeries.


By SUNG SO-YOUNG [so@joongang.co.kr]

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