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Why do Koreans eat one meal a day?


Korea is known for its unique culture, and one of the most interesting things about this culture is their eating habits. Koreans are known for eating one meal a day, which may seem extreme to some people. This article will explore the reasons why Koreans eat only one meal a day and how this practice has become a cultural norm.

History of Korean Diet

Korean cuisine has been influenced by various factors, including geography, climate, religion, and social norms. In the past, Koreans had a limited supply of food due to natural disasters and wars. This led to the development of a simple and frugal diet that included rice, vegetables, and kimchi. As time passed, Koreans began to adopt more complex diets, but the tradition of eating one meal a day remained.

Health Benefits

There are several health benefits associated with eating one meal a day. For example, it can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, it can promote weight loss and improve digestion. However, it is important to note that this practice may not be suitable for everyone and should be done under medical supervision.

Spiritual Significance

For some Koreans, eating one meal a day has spiritual significance. Many Buddhists follow this practice as a way to show self-discipline and connect with their faith. Eating one meal a day is also seen as a way to purify the body and mind.


In Korea, eating one meal a day can be convenient for those who have busy schedules. It allows them to save time and money by not having to prepare multiple meals throughout the day. Additionally, it can be easier to plan meals and avoid overeating.

Social Norms

Eating one meal a day has become a cultural norm in Korea. It is seen as a way to demonstrate self-discipline and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, it can be a way to bond with family and friends over a shared meal.

Types of One Meal a Day Diets

There are several types of one meal a day diets that Koreans follow. Some people eat only one large meal in the evening, while others eat a small breakfast and lunch before having a larger dinner. Some people also incorporate intermittent fasting into their one meal a day diet.

Criticism of One Meal a Day Diet

The one meal a day diet has received criticism from some health experts. They argue that it can lead to nutrient deficiencies and may not provide enough energy for physical activity. Additionally, it may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions.

Alternatives to One Meal a Day Diet

For those who are interested in Korean cuisine but do not want to follow the one meal a day diet, there are many alternatives available. Korean cuisine includes a variety of dishes that can be enjoyed throughout the day, including soups, stews, and snacks.

Cultural Significance

Eating one meal a day is deeply ingrained in Korean culture. It is seen as a way to show respect for food and appreciate the value of each ingredient. Korean cuisine is also known for its emphasis on balance and harmony, which is reflected in the one meal a day diet.

Global Influence

The one meal a day diet has gained popularity outside of Korea in recent years. Many people are interested in this practice as a way to promote health and wellness. Additionally, it has become popular among those who practice intermittent fasting.


In conclusion, the one meal a day diet is an interesting aspect of Korean culture that has many benefits and drawbacks. It is important to understand the cultural, spiritual, and health reasons behind this practice before deciding to adopt it. Whether you choose to follow the one meal a day diet or not, Korean cuisine offers a wide variety of delicious and healthy dishes to enjoy.

How do Koreans eat so much but stay so skinny?

Koreans maintain a healthy diet that includes a well-balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats, with an emphasis on appropriate portion sizes. They also incorporate physical activity into their daily routine to avoid overeating and stay healthy.

Why do Koreans eat rice with every meal?

In Korean cuisine, rice is more than just a basic food staple. It is a symbol of life and prosperity, and there are many different varieties of Korean rice that are commonly used in Korean dishes.

Why do Koreans sit down and eat?

In former times, it was customary for Korean families to sit on the floor while eating their meals. This practice was believed to promote a peaceful and serene state of mind, as well as foster a sense of togetherness and belonging.

What is a typical Korean daily diet?

The Korean diet, which consists of vegetables, fermented foods like kimchi, soups, rice, and meat or seafood, is considered healthy. Some nutritious Korean food options include kimchi, various vegetable dishes, bibimbap, and konggusku, among other choices.

Why do Korean sleep on the floor?

The practice of sleeping on the floor became widespread in Korea after the introduction of ondol floor heating. Prior to the availability of HVAC systems, households had to find alternative methods to keep warm and cool. Ondol floor heating utilized fireplace smoke to heat the entire house from underneath the floor.

Why do Korean have clear skin?

Koreans have been focusing more on skincare than makeup since ancient times, using natural and gentle ingredients such as green tea, snail slime, bamboo extracts, propolis, and honey in their skincare routines. These traditional practices have been passed down through generations.

Another reason why Koreans eat one meal a day is to reduce food waste. It is common for Korean households to only purchase and prepare enough food for one meal a day, which helps to minimize leftovers and reduce food waste. This practice aligns with the Korean value of environmental conservation and sustainability.

Moreover, the one meal a day diet has become a symbol of Korean identity and culture. It is a unique aspect of Korean cuisine that sets it apart from other cuisines around the world. Many Koreans take pride in their cultural heritage and view the one meal a day diet as an important part of their identity.

In recent years, the one meal a day diet has also been studied by researchers for its potential health benefits. Some studies have found that eating one large meal per day can help to improve insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of this eating pattern on overall health.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that while eating one meal a day may be a cultural norm in Korea, it is not the only way that Koreans eat. Many Koreans also consume multiple meals per day, depending on their personal preferences and lifestyle. As with any dietary pattern, it is important to consider individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.

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