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JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
"Doctor's Restaurants" Combine Food and Health
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A tasy and healthy meal. ©Tokyo Food Theater 5+1


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The restaurantís wide-open interior. ©Tokyo Food Theater 5+1

Everyone enjoys eating tasty food, but many people worry about the negative effects on their health caused by frequent dining-out. A new type of eatery called a "doctor's restaurant," which caters to such people, is becoming popular in Japan. Such restaurants provide menus that have been certified by physicians from a medical standpoint.

Doctor-Chef Collaboration
Growing interest in lifestyle-related illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure is reigniting people's interest in healthy living. Diet is believed to be closely connected to lifestyle-related illnesses, so much attention is focused on food that is good for people's health. Restaurant food has an image of being high in calories and, therefore, not especially healthy, however "doctor's restaurants" are contrary. They were conceived specifically to tap into the public's interest in healthy living.

One such establishment is Tokyo Food Theater 5+1, located in Tokyo's Akihabara district. Medical specialists were involved in planning this restaurant's menu. The "anti-aging and beautiful skin" course, for example, was developed under the supervision of Professor Shirasawa Takuji, who teaches a course on anti-aging medicine at Juntendo University, Graduate School of Medicine. These healthy and delicious dishes are the results of collaboration among top chefs, medical experts, and nutritionists. The restaurant also offers cuisine designed around such themes as low sugar content and combating osteoporosis.

Osaka, meanwhile, is home to a restaurant called Chishoku Shunsai ETSU, whose cuisine is designed specifically to be safe and healthy for people with diabetes. Diabetics face limited diet, so the floor staff in the restaurant are all nutritionists or registered dieticians and are available for consultation. This restaurant goes out of its way to cater to diabetic customers, including provision of a private room for those customers who need to give themselves a shot of insulin before their meal. In addition to popular foods like curry and spaghetti, the menu also features low-calorie cakes for dessert. The restaurant itself plays up the fact that people can enjoy a tasty meal while watching out their health, such as diabetics as well as anyone who wishes to lose weight.

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The insulin room. ©Chishokusyunsai ETSU

French Cuisine in a Hospital Restaurant
Hospital food is a prime example of food that is prepared with the health of the eater in mind, but the food served in hospitals has a seemingly universal reputation for blandness. Perhaps because of this, few restaurants inside hospitals are especially popular.

At least one restaurant, however, aims to reverse such reputation. Mikuni Minceur is located inside the Yotsuya Medical Cube in Tokyo's Yotsuya district, and it serves mainly French food under the concept of providing customers with "beautiful, delicious, and healthy cuisine." This restaurant's cuisine minceur features a variety of tastes contained within low-fat foods. For those on therapeutic diets, the hospital's registered dieticians provide the best possible meal within the constraints imposed by each patient's illness and symptoms. The lunch menu features an "anti-aging" dish, while the dinner menu has a vegetarian menu and a "vitamin" menu. (August 2008)


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