Over the years, an innumerable amount of fad diets and new approaches to eating have taken off across America and beyond. There’s been the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Blood Type diet, the Raw Food diet. Paleo, Keto, and Whole30. High-fat, low carb, plant-based…the list goes on and on.
It can be hard to keep track of all of the different dietary lifestyles that exist today, let alone which ones are right for you. But there’s one more diet to add to the list that’s entered the scene recently, this one hailing from Korea: it’s called the K-Pop diet.
We know what you’re thinking – K-Pop is short for Korean popular music, right? What does the phenomenon that is South Korea’s famous modern dance-pop have to do with dieting? As it turns out, a whole lot. So…what the heck is the K-Pop diet? Here’s everything you need to know about the Korean craze.
A diet inspired by Korean pop stars
The K-pop groups that have become so popular in Korea and around the world aren’t just known for their catchy music and sold-out shows. They’re also known for being in excellent physical shape, able to maintain low body fat and toned muscle that allows them to constantly train, perform, and dance their hearts out on stage.
And so, one more top hit has come from the idols of K-pop: the diet that keeps them strong, healthy, and fit. Based on the traditional Korean diet and the country’s staple foods, it’s a loose set of eating habits that K-pop stars have been following for years to maintain weight loss – providing an overall eating composition that helps keep the body full while reducing calorie intake.
The diet isn’t overly restrictive, focusing more on things like balanced meals and portion control rather than hard-to-achieve elimination tactics. And exercise is an integral part of the general guidelines; because these music groups spend so much time training, they burn tons of calories every day and need the proper sustenance to be able to perform the way they do.
How to follow the K-Pop diet
The K-Pop diet is an overall low-calorie approach to balanced eating that focuses on low-fat, high-fiber, and protein-rich whole foods. This means eating lots of fruits and vegetables that are either raw or steamed (rather than fried or cooked in fatty oil), whole grains, and lean proteins, while limiting fatty, fried, and processed foods and avoiding any added sugar altogether.
Because the diet is rooted in the traditional food eaten in Korea, it also stresses the daily consumption of fermented foods like kimchi and pickled vegetables, as well as soy-rich foods like tofu and edamame.
So what exactly is on the diet, and what isn’t? Here’s a breakdown to give you a better idea of what foods to focus on and what foods to avoid. And remember the overall rules to keep in mind: balanced meals, small or moderate portions, and regular exercise are all key.
|K-Pop Diet: What to Eat
|Fruits + Vegetables
|Essentially all varieties – and the more colors the better for added nutrients
|Oatmeal, broccoli, beans, vegetable soup,
|Eggs, chicken, fish, and seafood
|Kimchi, tempeh, miso, pickled vegetables
|Tofu and edamame
|K-Pop Diet: What to Avoid
|Packaged snacks, frozen or ready-to-eat meals, etc.
|Sweetened beverages and soda, candy, baked goods, sugary snacks
|Fried or oily foods, sauces, fatty restaurant food
|Pasta, bread, cereals
|Milk, yogurt, ice cream
Does the K-Pop diet work?
The question remains, which begs to be asked of any diet that’s gained steam: does it actually work? The K-Pop diet is specifically designed for weight loss and weight management, so how effective is it?
There are a few key characteristics of the K-Pop diet that do in fact help people successfully lose weight (normal people, too, not just K-Pop idols). First, the emphasis on foods that are high in fiber – like fiber-rich vegetables and legumes – go a long way to promote weight loss because they reduce hunger cravings and keep the body fuller longer. And the diet’s focus on portion control goes hand in hand with that, as well. The more adjusted you become to more moderate portions, the more likely you are to feel satisfied and lose weight by reducing your calorie intake.
And because the diet eliminates processed foods, fatty foods, and sugar, and limits things like wheat, dairy, and snacking, all while promoting more regular or daily exercise – these things work together to help the body successfully shed unwanted weight.
Health benefits of the K-Pop diet
The most important question is whether the diet is actually good for you. Does the K-Pop diet come with real health benefits or is it just an effective way to lose weight?
The good news is that this diet is viewed as a fairly healthy approach to eating, and it can offer several other health benefits aside from weight loss. These include a lower risk of obesity or chronic disease (thanks to being rich in fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary, fatty, and processed foods), as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a healthier gut (thanks to the emphasis on fermented foods).
The K-Pop diet is also believed to support healthy, clear skin and because it’s rich in a wide array of nutrients overall, it’s considered a sustainable, long-term approach to developing new eating habits.
The K-Pop diet is a low-calorie, low-fat, high-fiber approach to eating that’s been made popular by Korean pop idols who have used the diet to lose and maintain weight loss. The diet is based on traditional Korean foods, focusing on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and fermented foods.
Some K-Pop stars follow more strict, lower-calorie diets that aren’t necessarily recommended – but in general, most of the Korean pop stars that follow some form of the diet fall somewhere between an intake of 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day.
Kimchi, which is a Korean staple that’s made of fermented cabbage and other vegetables, is a low-calorie food that’s good for your gut and metabolism and is thought to aid in weight loss – as well as decrease blood sugar levels.