Japanese Diet Linked to Longer Life

Jessica Heskett

Article Summary

Sarah G. Miller, writer for Livescience.com. Article published on March 22, 2016.

Japan’s government produced a set of recommended dietary guidelines, named the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top. This set of guidelines is in the form of an inverse pyramid and includes these food groups, in descending order of importance in diet: grains, vegetables, fish and meats, milk, and fruits.

A study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Japanese diet. This study included over 78,000 participants, who lived in Japan. These participants were given a Food Frequency Questionnaire every 5 years for 15 years. The data was analyzed and provided shocking results. Participants who followed the government’s dietary guidelines the closest were at a 15% lower risk of dying over the 15-year period than those who did not. These participants were also 22% less likely to die of stroke during the same time period. The conclusions of these findings are that diets high in grains and vegetables, along with a sufficient intake of fish & meat may reduce an individual's risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Along with providing dietary evidence for increased longevity, the study has brought to attention that the life expectancy in Japan is among the highest in the world. Following this research, more studies on Japanese diet and increased lifespan are expected to follow.

Article Critique

The author studied Biology at Hamilton College and is a staff writer for LiveScience.com. Though the author does not have a specific background in nutrition, she does have a scientific background. This is particularly important because the author interprets a research article, along with its results. Since she has a background in a comprehensive science, she is likely to have been exposed to research studies often. This would increase her competency to interpret research studies and subsequently write a report on them, much like she does in this article. This leads me to believe that the author is capable of reporting on this type of information

LiveScience.com published the article, and this website is run by the company Purch. This company is a media corporation that operates a significant number of popular websites. The stories on LiveScience.com are often also published on large news company websites, such as Yahoo!, MSNBC, AOL, and Fox news. When browsing the article and website, I noticed that the website has an excessive amount of advertisements. This seems a little suspicious, but I think the stated evidence supports the website’s credibility rather than opposes it.

The major problem I found with the article is that the study, for which the article is based, is not cited. I do not know if the article is not yet published, or if LiveScience.com does not have the rights to display the study on its website, but that is a major cause for concern.

In summation, though I think LiveScience and the author are reliable, I find the article unreliable because it does not cite the study on which all of its content depends. The information could be made up, and the reader has no way to check the author’s sources.