Go to China to Lose Weight
I think we've all noticed this effect when we travel abroad, whether it be Asia or Europe: we lose weight! It's interesting to note that many countries eat far more carbohydrates than Americans (notably China and Italy), and yet people from these countries weigh far less than Americans.
Much of this has to do with the fact that people in other countries tend to eat smaller portions, and they walk or bicycle everywhere. Plus, Americans react very poorly to stress, which increases the amount of abdominal fat on your body.
Since Asian countries have become more Westernized and affluent, however, their diets have included more meat and more fats. The Okinawans are the most long-lived people in the world, but unfortunately, younger generations of Okinawans are encountering health problems due to the consumption of fast food.
In China, there is a phenomenon called the little emperor syndrome, where due to the one-child policy "both parents lavish attention and resources on their one child, the child becomes increasingly spoiled and gains a sense of self importance and entitlement."
An effect of this syndrome has been overweight boys. The parents end up sending these boys tp physical education classes, much the same way as one here attends a cardio class or yoga class.
A culture's cuisine not only affects body composition, but the cultural psychology as well. Koreans tend to eat lots of meat, veggies and spicy food, and they're stereotyped as hot-headed. Many Indians are vegetarians, and as a result India produced Gandhi, Buddha and yoga. Coincidence?!
Or how about the Mongols? Meat and dairy. Very little carbs. And they lived the Old World's equivalent to the Hell's Angels lifestyle.
The effect of diet on psychology is quite profound. Consider the brainwashing techniques of the Russians. You would figure that starvation would break a person down and make his mind malleable, but it has the opposite effect: one becomes more focused. If you feed someone nothing but carbohydrates (no protein, no fat), then you fuck up his serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that modulates anger, aggression, mood and sleep.
Bottom line: eat a well-balanced diet. For mental health and longevity, a fish and veggies diet is the way to go.