How do you know what Japanese products will aid in your personal fitness goals?
Fitness products are confusing. It’s often hard to sort through all the options and terminology swirling around the supplement industry. Now imagine trying to figure out which of the many products are best for you in a foreign country.
How do you know what you should and shouldn’t be taking? Everyone is different with different goals and it’s important to listen to your own body before supplementing. So, here is a basic outline of products commonly available in Japan to help you weigh your options.
When starting out, nutrition coaches will often ask their clients what their favorite health foods are to get an idea of how to program an eating plan that doesn’t drive them insane. One of the more common answers to this question is protein bars. However, these are far from being as universally “healthy” as people believe them to be.
What do they do? Despite being marketed as “protein,” it’s generally secondary for these products. While not as catchy, they are actually more useful as a fast-acting carbohydrate source to fuel your workouts. Fast-acting carbs are foods that can be broken down into glucose quickly to be used as fuel. The closer to glucose it already is, the faster it can be used as fuel. Basically, they’re desserts that are filled with extra nutrients.
How do they help? If you’re going for long runs, these are good for a quick boost to keep you going and fight off hunger. But, if you’re looking for a way to supplement protein these aren’t the best option. They have more protein than most snacks, but still less than something like an egg, and at twice the calories.
Where can I find them? You can find a section dedicated to protein bars and drink pouches at almost any store in Japan. Many of the Japanese brands have several added vitamins and minerals listed, but if you’re looking for nutrient rich, you’re better off choosing fruit. And, if you want some extra protein in your diet, there are products from companies that specialize in regular foods with added protein.