The Great Natto Fraud of Heisei 19

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UPDATE: marxy beat me to the punch!

Just a day after my posting of the top 100 natto-related searches, I see that Hakkutsu! Aruaru Daijiten’s producers have admitted to making up the whole story!

Some of the lies and distortions of the truth made by the program included:

1. Some people in the USA did lose weight on a diet program based around boosting DHEA levels, but the before and after photos the program used to illustrate weight loss were of totally different people!

2. A foreign professor from Temple University in Japan was interviewed in English and he did actually make the translated comments attributed to him, but thanks to selective editing, some of his caveats or qualifications of his statements were omitted.

3. They said that two of the eight people they tried the natto diet out on saw drops in their cholesterol levels, but in fact their levels were never measured.

4. They claimed that people eating just one pack of natto per day had lower isoflavone levels than those eating two packs, but they in fact just invented these numbers.

5. Similarly, DHEA levels in the blood of their eight volunteers were also invented!

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The Great Natto Famine of Heisei 19

UPDATE: This diet does not work!

I’m sadly unable to find any surveys related to the biggest buzz on the English-language internet last week, the release of Apple’s iPhone, so instead I’ll report on goo Ranking’s look at the biggest buzz on Japanese web sites, namely what keywords people are using in goo’s search engine to look for natto. The data was collected between the 7th and 16th of January 2007, or Heisei 19 in the Japanese calendar, thus the title.

Natto is fermented soya beans, and if you search YouTube for natto you can see rather a lot of foreigners (and one cat) trying to eat it. (link flood coming up!) The shortage of natto has been widely blogged about, and was sparked by Aruaru Daijiten, a popular health (and quackery) show, who in their first show of the New Year introduced the natto diet, which is basically one pack of natto before breakfast and evening meals, then eat just as much as you normally do, assuming the natto hasn’t put you off your food altogether! The most beneficial way to eat natto is to stir it at least 50 times then leave it to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. It’s something to do with assisting the production of DHEA to increase your metabolic rate, apparently.

In other related news, World Net Daily (I can’t believe I’m linking to that rag!) reported how soy beans turn you gay; natto may be one of the most potent soy bean products, if this video is to be believed! (Note – not really recommended for viewing at work, and probably highly offensive to the typical World Net Daily reader)
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What’s on top of your natto

One of the foods that gaijin don’t eat is, of course, natto, which as any visitor or resident to these shores will tell you is one of the stock food questions to foreigners, “Can you eat natto?”, along with “Can you eat Japanese raw fish?” and “Can you eat anko?” I myself love anko, but natto… Interestingly enough, natto is mostly a Tokyo or Northern Japan delicacy; many (I think the majority, if I could find a survey!) of people from the Kansai area turn their noses up at it, including, thankfully, my wife, although she finds many other unpalatable items to make up for it! I’ve tried it once in a cooked dish and managed to get through about a third of it before giving up.

So, goo Ranking took a wee look at what people put on top of their natto. goo Ranking offer now a service to cut and paste their original survey into your blog, so I’ll add that for those who want to see the original results. I’ll also add an English translation, of course! As usual for goo Rankings, 100 points is awarded for the top vote-getter, and the rest awarded a percentage representing how many votes they got relative to the winner. “Nothing” was perhaps not one of the answers allowed.

If the following table completely destroys your browser, sorry…
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