PARIS: From the classic burger to pizza or a cheese fondue, many traditional dishes are best enjoyed in moderation, if only because they are particularly high in calories.
But there are equally tasty dishes that can help you combine nutrition, health and pleasure. Yes, it’s possible!
In any case, South Korean researchers have discovered that this could be the case for kimchi, a traditional dish from the land of K-pop, based on fermented vegetables – usually cabbage or radish. In fact, this Korean classic could help combat weight gain.
Based on previous studies showing that two bacteria found in kimchi – Lactobacillus brevis and L plantarum – may have an anti-obesity effect, the researchers set out to investigate the effects of regular kimchi consumption on the overall risk of obesity.
To do so, they analysed data from 115,726 people aged 51 on average, taken from a large-scale Korean genome and epidemiology survey.
Participants were asked how often they ate certain foods, including kimchi (featuring ingredients like cabbage, radish, mustard greens) – never, rarely or up to three times a day.
Lower risk of obesity
This culinary experiment involved measuring the height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of the participants.
The scientists specify that a BMI of 18.5 is defined as underweight, between 18.5 and 25 as normal weight, and over 25 as obese, while abdominal obesity is associated with a waist circumference of at least 90 centimetres for men and at least 85 centimetres for women.
Published in the journal BMJ Open, the results suggest that regular consumption of kimchi – up to three servings a day – is associated with a lower risk of obesity in men.
According to their findings, radish kimchi is linked to a lower prevalence of midriff bulge in both sexes.
However, the scientists point out that they obtained a J-shaped curve, ie, a line that drops at the start and then gradually rises until it reaches a point higher than the starting point.
According to their findings, this could be linked to the fact that higher kimchi consumption is associated with higher intake of total energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, sodium and cooked rice.
As a result, participants who consumed five or more servings of this Korean delicacy daily had larger waist circumferences and were more likely to be obese.
“Since all results observed a ‘J-shaped’ association, excessive consumption suggests the potential for an increase in obesity prevalence.
And as kimchi is one of the major sources of sodium intake, a moderate amount should be recommended for the health benefits of its other components,” the researchers conclude in a statement.