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Unhealthy Eating in Japan – 5 Foods & Drinks to Avoid

Japanese food is considered healthy in general but there are a few foods you might want to stay away from. In this article, I will highlight 5 foods and drinks you should not eat too often and introduce better alternatives.

Convenience Store Bread

Every convenience store has a shelf with yummy looking bread. Convenience store bread is very convenient for breakfast as it is cheap and easy to eat on the go. Unfortunately, most bread sold at convenience stores contains lots of sugar. The lesser sweet versions usually contain a lot of simple carbs and saturated fats. On top of that, the bread contains lots of preservatives as they sit on the shelves for several days. 

If you are looking for cheaper breakfast options in convenience stores you might prefer the onigiri section, as onigiri are made fresh and some come with vegetables and healthy fish as filling.  

Deep Fried Foods

Even though Japanese cuisine is considered healthy there are a lot of fried options that are not so healthy. In every izakaya you can get karaage (deep-fried chicken) and in a lot of curry shops, you can order katsu (deep-fried meat coated in breadcrumbs) as topping for your curry. Deep-fried foods have a lot of calories and fats and tend to increase your appetite. If you want to stay in shape you should choose these foods only in moderation.

Sweet Drinks from Vending Machines

Everywhere in Japan, you can find vending machines for drinks. Especially in summer, they come in handy for staying hydrated while exploring Japan. Unfortunately, a lot of the drinks you can get from vending machines contain a lot of sugar. If you want to stay on the healthy side, you should stick with green tea as it usually contains no sugar. Other options are sugar-free coffee and zero calorie drinks.


Ramen seems to be one of the top favorite foods of the Japanese but it is actually not good for your health. Just like fried food they are high in calories and saturated fat. On top of that, they come with a very high sodium content. If you choose the instant options, they come with a lot of food additives most of the time. In Japan going for a bowl of ramen after a night out drinking is a very common habit but one of the worst things you can do for your health. If you like noodles, soba noodles are a healthier option that provide healthy carbs and protein.

Premade Bento Boxes

Premade bento boxes can be found in every convenience store and supermarket. They are a cheap and fast way to get something for lunch or dinner. When eating bento, a lot depends on your choice. There are healthier options that contain a lot of vegetables, fish, and low-fat meat. Most of the bento boxes, however, come with a huge portion of rice, deep-fried foods, and little to no vegetables. As these bento boxes are freshly made, they do not come with a lot of preservatives, but you might want to balance them out by buying an additional salad. Bento boxes are best when you make them yourself and balance them according to your diet.

I hope I provided some useful information for your next Japan trip and don’t forget the above-mentioned foods are OK when eaten in moderate amounts and as long as you follow a balanced diet overall.

READ MORE : For Gluten-free Eating Tips in Japan

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