Reading Japanese Food Labels

Supertaster
Bento-ing from: Boston › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 43 weeks ago.

I live in Japan and have trouble reading and understanding everything on food labels. Do you know if partially hydrogenated oils are used in Japanese foods, such as packaged cookies? Do you know what the word for it or "trans fat" is in Japanese or how to write it? Thank you!

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maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 1 day ago.
Re: Reading Japanese Food Labels

I really hate to say this, but mass produced snack foods in Japan are just as bad for you as they are in other countries. So, yes they do use partially hydrogenated oil, trans fats and all that. Only a few specific things are labeled 'trans fats free' (and only in the last year or so really) - they say トランスファットフリー, which is a direct phonetic version of the English term trans fats free. You can see トランスファットフリー on some margerines and things like that.

Traditional snacks like (o)senbei (rice crackers) don't use fat, except for fried rice crackers like okaki, kabuki-age, etc. (if it has a crinkly surface and tastes fried, it's fried) so they could be better for you. However, they are still not diet food or 'health food' really, since they are made from white rice, salt and so on.

As with any snack food from anywhere, Japanese snack foods and prepared foods should be eaten in moderation if you're concerned about health, weight loss, etc.

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Supertaster
Bento-ing from: Boston › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 43 weeks ago.
Re: Reading Japanese Food Labels

I guess I need to not automatically assume that things in Japan are always healthier because they're Japanese or because everyone walking around is so stick thin! It's very hard to go into the grocery stores here and walk past the freshly fried food area and not buy something, even the "healthy" fried fish (sakana furai) and vegetable tempura. Thanks for the info!

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