American-born ‘Western Diet’ conquers the East

Since we Americans started this mess; we should now make things right.

Born in the USA, then Japan, now China. Earlier this week, I reported information in a blog outlining how the American diet has changed in the past 100 years. A summary:

  • Our consumption of grain is down 50%
  • Our consumption of potatoes is down 50%
  • Our cow’s milk consumption is up over 100%
  • Our beef consumption is up over 50%
  • Our chicken consumption is up 280%
  • Meanwhile, our cost of health care is up about 500%

Sadly, we’ve also spread our bad habits around the world, beginning with Japan after World War II. In an article (see link below) entitled True Health Care Is A Proper Education by Dr. Mamiko Matsoda, we learn about how that happened:

  • Ever since KFC and McDonald’s were brought to Japan in early 1970, Japanese dietary habits have changed radically. They now eat 18.4 times more dairy products, 9.3 times more meat and poultry, 6.1 times more eggs, 2.0 times more fish and 3.9 times more oil than they did in 1950.
  • Death rates have increased since 1950. There are now 111.6 times more deaths from prostate cancer, 55.5 times more from lung and respiratory cancers, 11 times more from colon cancer, 7.5 times more from breast cancer, 12.3 times more from heart failure, and 23.6 times more deaths from cerebral infarction.
  • Leading causes of death. Currently, one out of three Japanese people dies of cancer, the number one killer in Japan. Another one out of three dies of cardiovascular disease (heart disease or stroke). And the other one out of three either dies from kidney, liver or respiratory failure, or in an accident, or by suicide. Only 2.3% of the people die of natural causes.
  • Diabetes. In addition to that, one out of three adults in Japan has diabetes or prediabetes, which is higher than the American rate. Also, 71% of Japanese adults have high blood pressure (over 140/90) or pre-high blood pressure with over 130/85. One out of three adults has metabolic syndrome, which is almost the same as in the United States.

Mamiko Matsuda, PhD

Dr. Matsuda grew up in Japan right after WWII and has witnessed all of the above first-hand. Fortunately, she learned the truth about nutrition along the way and is now a best-selling author on diet and health. She has published many books on natural health and healing in Japan; two of them are available in Korean and Chinese as well.

She has also translated Dr. Fuhrman’s “Fit For Life” and Dr. Campbell’s “The China Study” into Japanese.  She conducts numerous seminars, nutritional classes and workshops in the U.S. and Japan. She teaches that everyone can get 100% slim and healthy if one chooses a healthy diet and lifestyle.

She is now a contributing author on our T. Colin Campbell Foundation website, where you can read her complete article mentioned earlier and read more about her background. (See links below)

Cause and effect. As she says about what has happened in her native Japan, “This phenomenon is an excellent example of the law of “cause and effect.” The alarming increase of these medical conditions is the result of a shift after the war from the traditional Japanese-style diet (which used to be plant-based) to the Western-style diet (animal-based). As she said in her article:

These diet changes are the result of education by the Japanese government, doctors and dietitians, teaching the entire population to eat a “well-balanced diet” including animal products, saying the traditional Japanese diet based on plant food was not well-balanced due to its lack of animal products. Having grown up in Japan right after World War II, I can tell you exactly what I have been taught at school.

On to China and beyond. Sadly, as in the USA and Japan, the same harmful diet is being adopted in many developing countries around the world. They have recently begun to imitate the American way of eating, just like Japan has been doing for the last 60 years. Dr. Matsuda continues:

China has also made the grave error of starting to follow a typical American diet and lifestyle. The Chinese government has begun campaigning to make the nation drink milk every day. One TV ad shows a famous Chinese Olympic gold medalist drinking milk and says that he was able to win the gold medal because he was drinking milk every day. This is the Chinese version of the milk mustache ad seen in the U.S.

The Bottom Line. We all know that our current way of eating is not only harmful, wasteful and cruel—it is also completely unsustainable. There is simply not enough land, energy or water for this lifestyle to continue much longer. For a current view of just how far this madness has spread, check out this earlier blog: Burning trees in the Amazon — to feed pigs in China

Until reading Dr. Matsuda’s article, I had not realized how bad things have already become in Japan. It is time for action NOW. And for that, we need a healthy combination of leadership and funding. See links below for more about Dr. Matsuda.

True Health Care Is A Proper Education — by Mamiko Matsuda, PhD.

Read more about Dr. Matsuda on our Foundation website.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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