Sep 6, 2018
In general, I like to know what the nutritional value of my food is. This brings me to always look at the label. Back home in the United States it is a very simple task. Everything is put in a neat, tidy box on the package. Plus, the same nutrition information is always listed. Once I came to Japan, I looked at the back of my first package and to my surprise, there was no box...
Here is an example from my boyfriends chocolate flakes:
I actually do not like these! No idea why he eats these... Haha!
So just in case you can't read Japanese there are five categories:
The problem for me is that it shows no division between the types of carbohydrates or fats. The amount of sugar used is also conveniently not written. I actually didn't even realize the sugar part until my boyfriend and I were having a discussion about why juice is not healthy. I asked him how much sugar was in his juice and just stared at me in confusion.
For comparison here is an American nutrition chart:
Some of my boyfriends hot chocolate that I sent him last Christmas...
The American version is extremely more detailed. I mentioned the differences that were important for me above, but some more of them include the Japanese version's lack of information about: calories from fat, cholesterol, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
For many people, I guess the lack of information wouldn't matter, but it does pose a barrier for people who are looking to get certain amount of nutrients or avoid certain things. Personally, I think the lack of more information creates a problem for people trying to lose weight in a healthy way. (ME!) In order to keep myself full, I like to pay attention to fiber and to keep myself healthy, I like to pay attention to calcium and vitamins. The way I try to get around this is by eating the fruits and veggies that I know contain the things that my body needs.
The lack of information also shows a reflection on the Japanese perception of health and weight. When Japanese people try to lose weight, or at least the people I know, they tend to only pay attention to fat or calories. This happens in the West too, but I feel like it happens even more in Japan.
How do you feel about the nutrition information on food packages in Japan?
Teacher, Traveler, Dancer
Currently living in Gifu
I love Japan, dance, cats, food, and fashion!
I despise how some packages don't even provide ingredients! There is ample room, they just leave it out. I have a friend with a dairy allergy and could never send things that were delicious because we just weren't certain they did have butter or something.
@edthethe That's awful!! I just can't get over the fact that they don't list it!!!!