Unhealthy Koreans

Back in Canada, I used to think that in general, North Americans were, much more unhealthy (more than 50% being overweight, more than 50% being on medication) relative to other populations on Earth.

Now that I’ve stayed in Korea for nearly 2 weeks, I am shocked at how I’ve been wrong. Koreans are on the same path.

Korea has always had very low rates of obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Such “modern” was only present in royal palaces, where the kings and queens ate a diet high in animal foods and refined foods. The others usually suffered from influenzas, epidemics, and physical injuries – the poor did not suffer from the Western diseases.

How do I know this? Well, first of all there’s data that these modern diseases were very rare in traditional Korean societies, and secondly, there’s living proof in the countrysides of Korea. The oldest people of town (80~100 years old) are often the healthiest people.

Obesity in OECD countries

back in the days…

image source


what the people ate/ (i) eat – full of veggies & delicious nutrients

But the people I see in Seoul today are so different from what I remember or have imagined. The people are unfit, often fat, with  even  young teenagers exposing their chubbiness. To add, most of them are addicted to coffee, cigarettes, and other stimulants.

Overweight Rates


The term ‘vegetarian’ unheard of; in fact it’s almost impossible to find vegan options in most places in Korea. Every food I order is drenched in oil, some sort of animal product, and full of MSG and/or other artificial flavorings.













Of course, I’m not saying non-vegetarians are unhealthy. The truth is however, 99% of restaurants in Korea specializes in some sort of beef, pork, or chicken. The other 0.9% is probably for pizzas, pastas etc, and the other 0.1% are those that have vegetarian options. Koreans are also starting to demonize their true fuel, rice, and are beginning to favor meat over complex carbohydrates as their “diet foods.” At the same time, Korea’s obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease rates are increasing sharply. This is not just a simple “correlation.” I think we can see the cause here.

Besides meat consumption, there has also been increase in the consumption of refined sugar (sodas, snacks) and refined grains such as wheat. All together, the new diet of Korea is slowly killing the once-healthy Koreans. We are becoming more and more like the fat, tired, and sick Americans (sorry).

Diet of modern koreans













Are you thinking that’s tasty? By the way that’s pork belly coming from a filthy, germ-filled factory farm, carrying all the stress hormones the pig would have had, being charred to increase its chance of causing cancer. It came out when I typed “improper foods” in Korean in google.












The funny thing is, the reality I am describing to you now is so different from what the media displays as “ideal” koreans:


My conclusion of today’s post? I’ll leave it up to you.

The change in Korean diet, and the change in people’s health – it has multiple causes, indeed. I am just too shocked at how unhealthy Koreans are becoming, and how ignorant most people are of their health and well-being. Sigh.

We need this back in Korea:


Not death.

Coming up: living vegetarian in korea


One thought on “Unhealthy Koreans

  1. Gina says:

    Koreans aren’t healthy. You should have seen the food they served at my school cafeteria – pork fried in oil and soaked in some sugary sweet sauce, soup full of MSG and sodium, “pasta” in “tomato sauce” (similar to the pasta served at PW)… The street food is horrible, for example the chicken skewers with fake chicken… And it shocks me how many people (a lot of my friends) still LOVE pork belly; it’s so oily and disgusting. Also, Koreans don’t really know about “whole-grain,” they only know brown rice. Many of my friends think eating “less” is the only option. This is one of the reasons I don’t want to go back to Korea.

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