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How Do Koreans Lose Weight? (6 Hidden Tips To Try)

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

When seeing the street food that fills urban centers throughout South Korea, you may wonder how Koreans keep so fit and thin. 

K-pop and K-drama stars have amazing figures to boot. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see some young and pretty girl chomping on a Korean Corn Dog.

So how do Koreans lose weight and keep it off? The keys are portion control, consuming a heavy amount of produce, and keeping to a regular exercise regimen. When you can do this, then enjoying a greasy, fried treat on occasion won’t cause massive weight gain.

Recent attraction to Korean culture has revealed the Korean Weigh Loss Diet or the K-pop Diet. Korea has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world. 

Only 4% of adults are obese, with 30% being overweight

Let’s dive deeper.

6 Key Tips for Korean-Style Weight Loss

Somi Diet & Weight Loss

To lose weight similarly as Koreans do, there are specific tips to follow. 

While consuming more kimchi is probably a good idea, it will take a little discipline. With time, it will become easier and more natural.

1. Food Choices & Portion Sizes

The most important thing about dieting is to eat right and well. 

This means avoiding as much excess fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar as possible. It also requires paying attention to how much you eat of something. 

You can eat fruits and vegetables all day long, and it will be the best option if hunger cravings set in.

The main takeaway here is to make fruits and vegetables a larger portion of your daily diet than meat, starch, sugar, and snacks. 

For some people, this is easier to say than do. So, it’s all about mind over matter.

2. Observe Nutritional Facts

Always read the nutritional facts label on every package of food you purchase. 

If you can, and if it’s available, read the nutritional facts provided by the restaurant you want to go to prior to entering the door. 

It’s a good practice to devise a plan of action of what you want to order ahead of time.

Be meticulous about sugar, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and, of course, calories. 

This means determining a set number of calories you will allow yourself to have each day.

3. Determining Daily Caloric Intake

As much as possible, pay attention to how many calories you consume daily. You can download many calorie counters as an app for a computer or smart device. 

Start by recording what you eat every day and calculate the total of what you’re consuming in a typical week.

Women should stick to 2,000 calories per day and men around 2,500 to 3,000. 

The reason why the numbers are higher for men is that they expend more energy than women do each day. 

Of course, regardless of gender, the calorie limit will depend on what activities occur at work and/or regular sports.

But, the trick is not to immediately drop to that limit. For instance, let’s assume you are currently consuming 3,500 calories per day, and you want to lower that to 2,000. 

Don’t shift your caloric intake right away lower it in 500-calorie increments. 

This will prevent hunger cravings, and your body will adjust better to the changes.

4. Devise Substitutions

Don’t opt for snack cheese, potato chips, grilled sandwiches, or breaded meats for lunch. Choose a rice bowl, salad with some meat, or a light soup. 

If you love to snack, switch out potato chips for carrot sticks and roasted seaweed crisps, for example. Keep red meat to a minimum and eat more fish and/or chicken.

5. Engage in Regular Physical Exercise

In order for any diet to work, exercise must be at the top of the priority list. Going for walks and hikes are ideal. 

They’re easy, readily accessible and you can do it at just about any time. You can walk through the local mall, park, the block around your home, or repetitions traversing your staircase.

If the idea of lifting weights or going to a gym doesn’t jazz you, consider alternatives. 

Try to find other fun activities to do that will help you lose weight and have a blast at the same time. 

Attend a yoga class, learn how to belly dance, take a pilates seminar or find someone to teach you kickboxing.

6. Regulate Alcohol Consumption

While imbibing on some alcoholic beverages are fun on occasion, it’s imperative to be sparing. 

Beer, makgeolli, and mixed cocktails have the highest calories. However, things like vodka, soju, whiskey and gin are quite low in calories, sugar and fat.

When you do consume alcohol, limit yourself to only a few drinks. Have more when you want to reward yourself for following your diet so well.

K-Pop Diet & Korean Diets in General

The 7 Day Korean Celebrity Diet For Quick Weight Loss

There are three components to the daily diets of most Koreans: nutrition, variety and exercise. 

The idea is to lessen sugar, fat and processed foods while increasing an intake of vegetables, fruits and wholesome food. 

This will not only provide weight management but also better skin with long-term health results.

The typical daily Korean diet includes lots of rice and many dishes with broth. The water, fat and warmth of broth helps to burn calories faster. 

They often use sesame oil when cooking with food as well, which is highly nutritious.

But, the star of the Korean diet is kimchi, which are fermented vegetables like cabbage, radish and tomatoes. 

The fermentation has excellent probiotics and other micronutrients like phosphorus, sulfur and lactic acid.


These tips and tricks are a guideline for beginning a diet similar to that of Koreans. By watching portions and adhering to daily caloric intake, they lose weight and keep the weight off. 

Since Korea has the lowest number of obese and overweight people in the world, there’s definitely something in it for people in the West too.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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