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经济学人文艺新闻在线试听:长寿的秘诀 日本健康零食

比目鱼 于2016-06-27发布 l 已有人浏览
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想知道延缓衰老的秘籍,不妨学学冲绳岛的原住民。冲绳岛群岛位于日本西南部,岛上居民自古以鱼和大豆为食,平均期望寿命居全球之首。
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Healthy snacks in Japan

The joy of soy

Defying Western food imperialism

If you want to learn how to live longer, look at the people of Okinawa, a string of islands in south-western Japan. Raised on a diet of fish and soyabeans, their life expectancy is among the highest on Earth. There is a natural control group; many Okinawans fled to Brazil and Hawaii after the second world war, where they switched to a meatier diet of steaks and burgers. All have been studied regularly by Japanese researchers over the past three decades to prove that a soya-rich diet can prolong life. Now it is time for the taste test: can a healthy bag of soya nibbles sweep the fatty potato snack off the table?

Kaoru Yamada, a young food specialist at Otsuka Pharmaecutical, a Japanese drug company, has risen to the challenge. She dislikes the taste of soya, so she invented a lightly baked soya pastry that tastes of cheese, is crispy, has soyabeans rattling inside it and can sit on a desk—or even on a bar—for months without going soggy. Called SoyCarat, her creation went on sale in Japan this month. Otsuka, which also produces a big-selling health drink called Pocari Sweat, sees it as part of a counter-offensive against Western snacks that are making Asians fatter.

The science is compelling: research, albeit part-sponsored by Otsuka, suggests that eating soya protein quickly lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The company notes that the average American eats less soya in a year than the average Japanese eats in a day. Otsuka is not alone in Japan in trying to use science to sell consumer products: for instance, Uniqlo, a clothes retailer, sells hi-tech underwear that it says makes sweat dry quicker.

But the marketing may be a problem. Sophisticated diners insist that soya is scrumptious, but others vehemently disagree. Gary Larson, a cartoonist, once drew three disgusted lionesses spitting out the wobbly flesh of “a tofudebeest—one of the Serengeti’s obnoxious health antelopes”. It struck a chord.

SoyCarat’s brand name is tricky: whatever the spelling, it evokes the idea of two things children shun and adults munch only reluctantly. Perhaps it should be portrayed as something laid back and Okinawan instead, like a bar snack. After all, what could be better than a life-enhancing glass of Orion beer in one hand, and a life-extending bag of soya snacks in the other?

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