Japanese women and breast cancer - what has been overlooked

ALS

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I lived in Japan from the late 80's to the later 90's. When I got back to the US, I saw a lot of misinformation in the hopes of selling more soy products to females in general to stave off the threat of breast cancer, which had grown to epidemic proportions in the US. The myth was Japanese women didn't get breast cancer (hardly at all) because they consumed a lot of soy. So the front men for the soy industry were saying.

What the corporate media overlooked in its zeal to sell Americans on the so called anti cancer benefits of soy, is that in Japan, birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods were never legalized or available in Japan. The main methods of birth control were either abstinence, condoms or spermicides.

Birth control pills have been available in the US since the 1960's. Women in the US were not dropping dead left and right from breast cancer until a couple decades later, which is probably those estrogenic chickens coming home to roost.

When I took a trip to Hong Kong in 1988, I went into a Watson's Pharmacy and found birth control pills being sold OTC on a rack in the store. No Rx needed. The rest of Asia was different in terms of what was allowed.

The amount of soy consumed in Japan was simply guessed at by the 'researchers' who were apparently working for the soy industry.

They do consume soy sauce the most, but that is fermented and I don't believe it has the phyto estrogens of tofu. Tofu is consumed but hardly in public. In fact, I rarely saw it except in low rent hole in the wall 'greasy spoon' type places, under the guise of Mabo Tofu, which is some sort of Chinese chili mac except with tofu instead of macaroni.

Boiled soy beans are a bar snack and you get about 6-8 pods. Kind of like peanuts here, but still not super common. In any case, not consumed by the bag as vegans in the US tend to do. Once in a while, a bar will have a small block of tofu as a side dish, but I only saw this once.

The Japanese diet has a fair amount of deep fried items, not just tempura, but many others. Deep fat fryers have been a main cause of house fires there. The very popular curry rice dishes are made with PUFA.

Rice is a big staple, and is stored with talc to keep it from getting wet and therefore spoiling. This is washed off during the
preparation, however, it cannot be all gotten rid of. There is some speculation that the talc is to blame for the astronomical number of cases of stomach cancer, both in Japan and also Korea as it is an irritant.

Japanese are not big consumers of dairy and the soil is low in calcium apparently because a lot of it is volcanic in origin (I'm not completely sure, but I did hear this). Japanese seem to have less robust bone structure than say, Koreans who seem to consume more dairy. Just an observation that I can't back up, but appears to me to be the case. Japanese will eat tiny fish snacks and other fish that has small bones in it, will consume the fish head as broth, I think this might make for some of the calcium intake.
 
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gaze

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do you think their diet has anything to do with the high suicide rates there ?
 

ALS

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do you think their diet has anything to do with the high suicide rates there ?
No. That's a mentality. They have no moral issue with suicide.

Japan is somewhat unforgiving of people who don't fit in - it may have to do with the concept of 'shame' - (however, not completely unaccepting, too long to go into here), and that may be a contributing factor. There is also a lack of empathy in some cases.

They have a belief in hierarchy, which at times can reach weird extremes. For example, I once read about two girls who were applying for jobs as strippers, one got hired 5 minutes before the other one. The one that got hired first used her 'status' to bully the other and have the second one hired wait on her. This is a mentality that is quite foreign to people in the US. I wouldn't say it's a rule there, but those two seemed to think it was 'normal' behavior.

After looking into narcissism, I discovered that covert narcissism is part and parcel of the culture and is encouraged as a way of coping. Don't ask me how that got started. This video, in fact, describes the Japanese really well (Japanese acting badly, that is) Narcissists employ a lot of shame when interacting with people. Japanese culture is known as 'the culture of shame' and not for nothing. I think this might be a reason some people there feel like they've hit a brick wall.



There is also a ***t ton of alcohol consumption, and that is a depressant and a neurotoxin. In spite of the fact that they lack the enzyme to process alcohol (like most east Asians) and they tend to vomit easily after drinking. Friday and Saturday nights you will find 'sidewalk pizzas' just about everywhere. They still enjoy getting wasted, go figure.
 
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ALS

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do you think their diet has anything to do with the high suicide rates there ?
I forgot to add - Japan's suicide rate is not even in the top 10 in the world, and isn't generally much higher than the suicide rate in the US. One thing I did notice when I was looking this up a few years ago, was that Japan was one of the few countries where women had a higher suicide rate than men. Usually males have a higher rate due to using more effective methods.

It may have been higher in the past for any number of reasons, and it may be that the phenomenon of kamikaze pilots, seppaku, and Aokigahara added to the mystique. They have Aokigahara, we have the Golden Gate Bridge, not much difference, really, except the setting and method.

Several African countries lead the way in suicide for women. Russia is number 1 for men these days. South Korea is much higher than Japan for both sexes. List of countries by suicide rate - Wikipedia

The idea that Japan is problematic vis a vis suicide is due to crap aka sensationalized reporting.
 

ALS

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They also have a lot more iodine in their diet
I don't know how those numbers are arrived at, and that also may be a false premise, though sea creature consumption is certainly higher than here. What is popular is curry rice (low protein, lots of PUFA) S&B Golden Curry Medium Hot Sauce Mix 3.5oz
and ramen (PUFA and MSG).

Always check whatever claims are made about Japan, or other east Asian countries. They tend to cover up their faults in order to save face, and you may not be getting information that is honest. When a foreigner looks at what is going on, they may be operating from a naïve POV or ignorance.

Their education system is based on the Prussian model, and that in itself is not good nor effective. Their education system beyond grade school is a joke, the universities at undergrad level don't even require attendance to graduate.

Hashimoto's disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid issue, was discovered in Japan. Hashimoto found it in women who lived on the coast and overconsumed sea vegetables. (his opinion).

Rice is the most common feature of the diet there, in any case.

The hyaluronic acid craze began with a village - Yuzuri Hara - whose inhabitants did not eat a lot of rice (as I recall). Yuzuri Hara is also up in the hills. I don't know how much of this story stands up to scrutiny - Hyaluronic Acid and The Village of Long Life - ABC News Article
 
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MrGilbert

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Sea vegetables tend to be the richest source of iodine, no?
I don't think it's disputed that the Japanese like their sea vegetables.
 

ALS

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Sea vegetables tend to be the richest source of iodine, no?
I don't think it's disputed that the Japanese like their sea vegetables.
Trying to go on facts here, not on what someone 'thinks'.
It's hard to say how much of it anyone eats there without some stats.
You will find seaweed in Japan in some salad bars, you also find burdock root. However, I got the impression they were far more fond of corn.
 

MrGilbert

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Trying to go on facts here, not on what someone 'thinks'.
It's hard to say how much of it anyone eats there without some stats.
You will find seaweed in Japan in some salad bars, you also find burdock root. However, I got the impression they were far more fond of corn.

Okay, here are some facts:

Seaweed is served in approximately 21% of Japanese meals [25] with 20-38% of the Japanese male and female population aged 40-79 years consuming seaweed more than five times per week, 29-35% three to four times per week, 25-35% one to two times per week, 6-13% one to two times per month, and 1-2% rarely consuming seaweed [26].

 

ALS

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Okay, here are some facts:

Seaweed is served in approximately 21% of Japanese meals [25] with 20-38% of the Japanese male and female population aged 40-79 years consuming seaweed more than five times per week, 29-35% three to four times per week, 25-35% one to two times per week, 6-13% one to two times per month, and 1-2% rarely consuming seaweed [26].

Seaweed on food is more like a condiment than a substantial part of the meal in most cases. Americans got introduced to seaweed as a snack a few years ago, and for some reason think Japanese consume it by the bucket load.

You left this out - "it is believed that consumption of wakame and nori have made up for the decline in kombu consumption. Both nori and wakame have relatively low iodine contents compared to kombu. Seaweed consumption frequency differs from person to person in Japan, resulting in a constantly fluctuating iodine intake." AND "Due to variation of iodine content from one seaweed species to the next, along with confusion stemming from wet and dry weight terminology, many inaccurate assumptions have been made regarding the amount of iodine the Japanese actually consume from seaweed...Interpreting information to determine Japanese seaweed consumption and resulting iodine intake is a difficult task, and with ever changing diets, a close estimate is all that can be made."

The study also doesn't cover other parts of the diet that may contain iodine. Dried squid is quite popular and probably consumed more often than fish because it's generally cheaper.
 

MrGilbert

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A 'condiment' that is is eaten with approximately every 1 in 5 meals...

In fact, wakame contains approximately 42 mcg of iodine per gram, which is about 28% of the RDI (2Trusted Source).

The iodine content in nori varies between 16–43 mcg per gram, or about 11–29% of the daily value (8Trusted Source, 9).
 

ALS

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So, you don't seem to agree with these scientists' conclusion that ascertaining the amount of iodine consumed via seaweed in Japan is 'a difficult task', as they put it.

As I stated, probably more likely derived from other sources. You can go with whatever you 'think'

Re: mcg of iodine - Iodized salt accounts for 150 mcg per 1/2 tsp.
 

MrGilbert

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No, I agree it's a difficult task. But it's safe to say high seaweed intake = more iodine.

Oh so you 'think' it's more likely derived from other sources without any facts to back that up? huh.

So ~50mcg per gram. Americans eat on average about ~3g of sodium per day.
Let's say that's all iodized, that would equate to ~150 mcg... Not much.
 

nikotrope

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I lived in Japan recently and I think dashi (fish and kombu stock) might be the biggest source of iodine in Japanese diet. It’s hard to estimate the content of iodine in dashi but I was (and still am) using dashi on a daily basis.
 

Perry Staltic

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I lived in Japan recently and I think dashi (fish and kombu stock) might be the biggest source of iodine in Japanese diet. It’s hard to estimate the content of iodine in dashi but I was (and still am) using dashi on a daily basis.

Kombu can contain up to 3 mg iodine per 1 g kombu.

In Japan, where approximately 20 different types of seaweed are consumed, the majority being wakame (Undaria spp), kombu (Laminaria spp), and nori (Porphyra spp), iodine intake varies from 0.1 to 20 mg/d (average intake, 1–3 mg/d), which can exceed the upper tolerable limits of 600 µg/d (EFSA) and 1100 µg/d (World Health Organization)


Apparently kombu is added to soy milk

Kombu contains extremely high levels of iodine. While this mineral is essential for normal growth and development, the levels in kombu can cause overdoses; it has been blamed for thyroid problems after drinking large amounts of soy milk in which kombu was an additive.

 
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I lived in Japan from the late 80's to the later 90's. When I got back to the US, I saw a lot of misinformation in the hopes of selling more soy products to females in general to stave off the threat of breast cancer, which had grown to epidemic proportions in the US. The myth was Japanese women didn't get breast cancer (hardly at all) because they consumed a lot of soy. So the front men for the soy industry were saying.

What the corporate media overlooked in its zeal to sell Americans on the so called anti cancer benefits of soy, is that in Japan, birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods were never legalized or available in Japan. The main methods of birth control were either abstinence, condoms or spermicides.

Birth control pills have been available in the US since the 1960's. Women in the US were not dropping dead left and right from breast cancer until a couple decades later, which is probably those estrogenic chickens coming home to roost.

When I took a trip to Hong Kong in 1988, I went into a Watson's Pharmacy and found birth control pills being sold OTC on a rack in the store. No Rx needed. The rest of Asia was different in terms of what was allowed.

The amount of soy consumed in Japan was simply guessed at by the 'researchers' who were apparently working for the soy industry.

They do consume soy sauce the most, but that is fermented and I don't believe it has the phyto estrogens of tofu. Tofu is consumed but hardly in public. In fact, I rarely saw it except in low rent hole in the wall 'greasy spoon' type places, under the guise of Mabo Tofu, which is some sort of Chinese chili mac except with tofu instead of macaroni.

Boiled soy beans are a bar snack and you get about 6-8 pods. Kind of like peanuts here, but still not super common. In any case, not consumed by the bag as vegans in the US tend to do. Once in a while, a bar will have a small block of tofu as a side dish, but I only saw this once.

The Japanese diet has a fair amount of deep fried items, not just tempura, but many others. Deep fat fryers have been a main cause of house fires there. The very popular curry rice dishes are made with PUFA.

Rice is a big staple, and is stored with talc to keep it from getting wet and therefore spoiling. This is washed off during the
preparation, however, it cannot be all gotten rid of. There is some speculation that the talc is to blame for the astronomical number of cases of stomach cancer, both in Japan and also Korea as it is an irritant.

Japanese are not big consumers of dairy and the soil is low in calcium apparently because a lot of it is volcanic in origin (I'm not completely sure, but I did hear this). Japanese seem to have less robust bone structure than say, Koreans who seem to consume more dairy. Just an observation that I can't back up, but appears to me to be the case. Japanese will eat tiny fish snacks and other fish that has small bones in it, will consume the fish head as broth, I think this might make for some of the calcium intake.
I love your post and observations overall. I grew up in Japan (from 1988 to 1996), and then Japanese school under the embassy, so Japan has been a part of most of my life. I cook mostly washoku (Japanese food) at home, and Cookpad (the biggest recipe app in there) is my "to-go" place.

One thing I can't agree with you is the consumption of tofu products by Japanese people. In general, you won't see much tofu in restaurants, but we all know, restaurant food and what's served at home is completely different. I personally think it's enormous part of their diet. Take abura-age, which is fried tofu strips, or tofu is ALWAYS in their miso-soups, and as you know, miso is a staple food.
Japanese women add tofu to a lot of dishes as it's a "healthier alternative" to meat. They add tofu to minced meat "to add volume";
what about tonyu - soy milk? They add it literally everywhere.
 

reaching

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I think people here would get a kick out of this: an omega 3 and iron supplement together. I have been seeing these around at convenience stores. Image from google.

 

LucyL

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I think people here would get a kick out of this: an omega 3 and iron supplement together. I have been seeing these around at convenience stores. Image from google.

LOL, that would be like garlic for Peatarians 🧛‍♂️:vamp:
 
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