Western diet contributing to Crohn’s disease surge in Japan

LONDON —

Western influence on Japan’s national diet has played a significant role in swelling in the prevalence of Crohn’s disease across Japan, and the trend will continue over the next decade, predicts the research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to the company’s new report, the number of prevalent cases will climb from 70,002 in 2012 to 88,735 by the end of 2022, representing an increase of just under 27%.

Of the 10 countries studied in GlobalData’s latest publication (the U.S., Canada, India, China, Japan and the five major European markets), Japan is expected to demonstrate the highest growth in prevalent cases of Crohn’s disease over the next decade. India is forecast to follow, with an increase of 16%, while the number of prevalent cases across Germany and Italy is expected to drop over the next 10 years (due primarily to small population decreases).

The report explains that the increased intake of fats and sugar by the Japanese population is a key contributor to the rising level of Crohn’s disease witnessed in Japan in recent years, as a poor diet enhances the risk of developing the condition.

GlobalData estimates that the number of prevalent cases across the 10 markets covered in the report will increase by 11% over the next decade, from 1.3 million in 2012 to 1.5 million by 2022.

  • 2

    Moonraker

    Is increased intake of fats and sugar really "westernisation" of the diet?

    Increased sugar in the diet of the English came with more income and cheaper access to a product the body believes through evolution is good for it. But since the English were ahead of the curve on this they could hardly have been becoming more westernised.

    When sugar became available cheaply in Japan it began to be added to everything in vast quantities. Same with animal products and by-products.

    On the other hand, if westernisation of diet is the case it also seemed to occur concurrently with longer life spans and increasing size yet there is a myth in Japan that the food is inherently healthy and any deviation from it is unhealthy.

    I am almost 20 years vegetarian myself but I am amazed how many times I am told by Japanese of all ages that I need to eat meat for my good health. It seems to be something learned in school.

  • 0

    ebisen

    I need to eat meat for my good health

    Yes, you do. It's nowadays a known fact that even the best and strictly controlled vegan diets can lead to a lot of health issues later in life, for the majority. Some people seem to benefit from such lifestyles, but they might be the exception.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/how-our-vegan-diet-made-us-ill-848322.html

  • -1

    cleo

    I need to eat meat for my good health

    Yes, you do. It's nowadays a known fact that even the best and strictly controlled vegan diets can lead to a lot of health issues later in life

    Mmm, no you don't. There's a world of difference between 'not eating meat' and 'eating a very restricted raw vegan diet' like the one described in your link which, while very strictly controlled, was obviously not best. The difference between not eating meat and eating a very restricted raw vegan diet is similar to the difference between crossing a quiet country lane on a pedestrian crossing in broad daylight after looking both ways, and doing the hokey-kokey on a busy expressway at dead of night, dressed all in black and wearing a blindfold.

    Probably what the article means is not so much Westernisation of the diet, as modernisation, ie the sudden increase in the amount of salt, fat and sugar consumed in the form of fast/junk foods and processed foods. To take one example curry is just healthy veg and spices (and maybe legumes) if you cook it yourself from scratch, but use the instant roux stuff everyone in Japan seems to think is the way to make curry, chuck in a panful of beast like most folk do, and you've got a spicy conglomeration of fats and salts that barely passes as food, never mind healthy food.

  • 1

    Nessie

    I'm surprised no-one's pointing the finger at wheat, which has been getting some attention recently in terms of GI issues.

  • 0

    ebisen

    the sudden increase in the amount of salt,

    Well, no. Japan (and other Asian countries) always consumed more salt than many western (European) countries. Is anything, now we notice a reduction in it's consumption.

  • 4

    lucabrasi

    Never heard sugar or fat blamed before. (I have a friend with Crohn's). It's always been blamed on genetics, excess animal protein, excessive hygiene (no exposure to parasites = weakened immune system) and smoking. But it's mostly genetic.

  • -2

    basroil

    Western influence on Japan’s national diet has played a significant role in swelling in the prevalence of Crohn’s disease

    On related news, the same diet practically eliminates beriberi, solves non-genetic anemia (more red meat), and even reduces diabetes (white rice increases risk).

  • -2

    marilu

    Basroil-

    there has been a sharp increase of diabetes in japan, coinciding with more consumption of western diets. Americans don't eat much white rice (at least not like Japanese do), yet have high rates of diabetes.

  • 1

    Charles M Burns

    Everything in moderation, that includes fish.

  • -3

    basroil

    mariluFeb. 14, 2013 - 04:31PM JST

    there has been a sharp increase of diabetes in japan, coinciding with more consumption of western diets.

    False, the only population that has increased in the 1970-2007 period are age 50+ individuals that are less likely to have western diets. The rest of the age groups actually show a mild decrease. Diet wise, white rice diets are bad (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57398765-10391704/eating-white-rice-daily-ups-diabetes-risk-study-shows/), as is overeating and having too much sugar (mochi and red bean paste ring any bells?)

  • 0

    25psot

    Probiotic drinks can eliminate inflammation by controlling bad bacteria inside gut. I make my own probiotic drinks and consume them daily. They help digest sweets, chocolate and fat , if I did not drink probiotic I likely would developed many health problems by now.

  • 0

    Speed

    EVERYTHING in moderation.

    A moderate increase in Western diet = good.

    A moderate intake of Japanese traditional foods = good.

    A little bit of meat to go with that vegetarian diet (contrary to the name) = good.

  • 0

    LiveInTokyo

    False, the only population that has increased in the 1970-2007 period are age 50+ individuals that are less likely to have western diets. The rest of the age groups actually show a mild decrease.

    No, it's not false at all. You can easily see that diabetes is increasing in Japan and many doctors use the word epidemic to describe the problem. It is very serious. Anyone can easily confirm this by using the internet and looking at various resources online.

  • 0

    pointofview

    Still blaming everyone else.

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