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Japanese Guts Are Made For Sushi

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the weed-eaters dept.

Idle 309

cremeglace writes "Americans don't have the guts for sushi. At least that's the implication of a new study, which finds that Japanese people harbor enzymes in their intestinal bacteria that help them digest seaweed, enzymes that North Americans lack. What's more, Japanese may have first acquired these enzymes by eating bacteria that thrive on seaweed in the open ocean."

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You'll take my sushi ... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772348)

... from my cold, dead digestive tract!

Re:You'll take my sushi ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772418)

... from my cold, dead digestive tract!

I take it you've been eating Fugu?

Re:You'll take my sushi ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772698)

Captain Fugu, is that you???

Re:You'll take my sushi ... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772760)

Something about revenge being a dish best served... cold.

Bowel obstruction (5, Interesting)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772798)

Speaking of cold, dead digestive tracts: A few years ago, I got terribly ill while on vacation. Loss of appetite, waves of tremendous abdominal cramps, and vomiting. My intestines had plugged up and it took some intervention to get them moving again.

I put some of the blame on a sushi lunch I ate that day. I'd eaten sushi often before, but this restaurant used a lot more seaweed in the dishes than I was accustomed to. Even as I was eating, I had second thoughts about whether what I was putting into my mouth was actually edible. But I figured it seemed strange to me only because that Japanese restaurant was more authentic than the Americanized sushi places where I usually dined.

Now I wonder whether that seaweed would be edible to Japanese guts, but truly was inedible to mine.

Re:Bowel obstruction (5, Funny)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772922)

Some with weaker constitutions would flinch, but I'd give you a mod point if I had any at the moment. As an Alaska'n fisherman, let me tell you that North Pacific bull kelp will rip you up pretty good, but I mix mine with jelly fish for that extra zing! Prepare your bull kelp and brown snot looking jelly fish with vinegar and high voltage, about 30kV or so should do the trick - just enough to evaporate it within a minute. Any longer than that and it starts to get a funny after taste.. Once it has cooled, sprinkle it on smoked tuna or sockeye salmon. Wash it down with orange Jolt and Bacardi 151 - of course, you should only do this on shore at the local tavern. Feel free to experiment with other beverages suitable to your taste if you want to whimp out.

You're welcome to take mine. (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773138)

Enjoy yourself.

YUK!

Americans (0)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772362)

I'm not surprised. Most Americans don't have the stomach for it.

beef, its whats for dinner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772420)

yum!

Stomach cancer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772372)

I wonder if that bacteria is (part of) the reason stomach cancer is a major killer in Japan. Lost a friend to it.

Re:Stomach cancer (2, Interesting)

gomiam (587421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772558)

Bacteria (helicobacter pylorii, more specifically) are related to a lot of ulcer-induced stomach cancer. As the bacteria they talk about live in the intestines (that's what gut means) I don't think they have much to do with it. I may be mistaken, though.

Re:Stomach cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772610)

I wonder if that bacteria is the reason the average lifespan in Japan is greater than most other parts of the world.

Re:Stomach cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772980)

I wonder if bacteria causes small penis in the average Japanese male compared to other parts of the world.

Re:Stomach cancer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773064)

So how many penises have you sucked on to be able to make that conclusion?

Re:Stomach cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773062)

I wonder if that bacteria causes the institutionalized pedophilia among all Japanese males compared to other parts of the world.

Implications (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772380)

This doesn't seem evolutionary so much as it appears that they grew up eating the bacteria. If I'm wrong, would somebody please tell me where my thought process is hitting a disconnect?

Re:Implications (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772502)

Enzymes aren't the same as gut bacteria--our body actually produces them. I've been told that whether a person produces a given enzyme (like lactase) partly depends on their habits (if they continue drinking milk throughout their lives), but I believe there's also a strong genetic component.

Re:Implications (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772650)

I would say it's even less than growing up with. Who here remembers the story about gut bacteria in fat people being different and that it could process fat/carbs more efficiently (and extracting all the calorie value from it) and futhermore that the bacteria % could change in a span of 16 hours?

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=107514 [medicinenet.com]

I assume some people eat probiotic yogurt for similiar reasons? I would think that if you eat more and more sushi/seaweed, you'll have more bacteria that processes it in the gut over time?

Re:Implications (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772750)

Meh, more of their liking of it vs westerners of not liking it is more due to the addictive substance in the seaweed. It's in miso soup and green tea. It's name is glutamatic acid. Funny to see a Japanese person travel outside of Japan and have none of them above.

Am i missing something? (5, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772386)

I thought that everyone started out with pretty much zero gut bacteria and acquire them based on what they eat. (And sometimes people lose all their gut bacteria from various medical treatments and have to work to restore them.)

So the japanese end up with the bacteria/enzymes do digest sushi because... they eat a lot of sushi. Presumably anyone else could develop a colony of such bacteria/enzymes by also eating a lot of sushi?

That would mean the division isn't whether you're Japanese or American or something else. It's just whether or not you eat a lot of sushi.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772396)

Yes, it's like when you travel to another country. You could eat some of the local food and fall sick (maybe), but once your guts are accustomed to it, you'll get better at it. TFA is simply another story in which a group of scientists have confirmed things we already know by experience.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772594)

TFA is simply another story in which a group of scientists have confirmed things we already know by experience.

Maybe I'm mistaken but, are you implying they shouldn't? That they should concentrate on studying the things we don't already know by experience?

Re:Am i missing something? (2, Insightful)

leenks (906881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772636)

Isn't that basically what all scientific papers are though? Scientific method applied to hunches or experiences to confirm a behaviour?

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772850)

Yes, but the surprising ones are generally more exciting than the unsurprising ones.

Re:Am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773224)

the only times I've been sick from food since moving to Lebanon is when I ate food from the Americanized restaurants, never from drinking the water, eating salads, or enjoying street food. There was the one time when I visited in 2005 that I failed to wash a plum before eating it and got poisoned by pesticide...something I'd rather not experience again!

Re:Am i missing something? (2, Interesting)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772422)

I tought we got some of our mothers' bacterial community during pregnancy. is there a biologist or doctor in the room ?

Re:Am i missing something? (4, Interesting)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772460)

Some of your gut microflora and fauna comes from your mom during the birthing process, others from breastfeeding and some from what you eat on a regular basis. This is interesting because the genes are transferred supposedly from the bugs living on seaweed to the bugs living in your gut, letting the same species of gut bugs to develop an ability to digest seaweed better.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772706)

By far the majority of the bugs in our tummies are home-grown over many generations (theirs, of course). We pick them up everywhere we go, and whatever flora we might inherit from our mothers would become probably well and truly outnumbered by whatever species proliferate most according to their varying environmental conditions, i.e. nutrients, pH, temperature etc.

Re:Am i missing something? (4, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772468)

I'm not a biologist nor in any sense of the word am I qualified to answer your question. However, I feel that I might be able to lend some perspective on that matter that might otherwise be useful in gaining a firmer level of comprehension on the issue at hand.

Onto the question regarding the transfer of some of the bacteria from mother to child I'm almost certain that someone may be able to shed some light on this puzzle.

As noted earlier, I'm almost nearly certain that I am in no way shape or form the person who could assist in this conundrum.

Don't hesitate to ask should you require further assistance.

Re:Am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772546)

Is there such a thing as passive-aggressive flamebait? 'Cause I think I just encountered it. Am I the only one who's angry about the parent post?

I want my time back, you unfunny bastard.

Re:Am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772498)

Primarily through breast milk and for oral bacteria from mothers sharing food. It was found if mother's did share food, as in using their spoons to feed the baby or in some cultures they prechew the food for babies that the children wouldn't develop the harmful acid producing oral bacteria most adults have. They would become colonized by benign bacteria that don't cause tooth decay. A lot of bacteria is passed down through the families. Also to correct the parent post, what they are saying is the Japanese "produce" the enzymes themselves and it's believed that exposure to the fresh seaweed over thousands of years lead to this trait. It's probably how most animals develop the ability to exploit any given food source so it could be an important observation. It's like some people such as those of European decent can metabolize alcohol fairly easily where as other groups without the history of consuming it have less tolerance.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773232)

It's like some people such as those of European decent can metabolize alcohol fairly easily where as other groups without the history of consuming it have less tolerance.

Ah, that explains the Irish.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772998)

I'm not sure with humans, but I know that cattle get their beneficial bacteria mostly through the first milk of the mother. Then it develops from what you eat. If you eat certain things over and over, your beneficial bacteria will adapt to those things - though I do not know to what extent that adaptation goes. I took microbiology, but hopefully someone with more experience will chime in and explain it further. Something fascinating is the anaerobic digester ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_digestion [wikipedia.org] ). It is basically a mechanical stomach and is used to reduce organic waste and produce methane. I heard about a leak from one of these once that had been fed with cow manure on a farm. The microbes got into the water supply and ate the scales off of fish. I'm sure that story is somewhere on the internet or in the EPA archives.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

Sapphon (214287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772482)

... the division isn't whether you're Japanese or American or something else. It's just whether or not you eat a lot of sushi.

Or Japanese.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772504)

If you went to Japan before, you'd know they don't eat a lot of sushi... It's relatively expensive stuff to eat for many people in Japan... Noodle and rice, fry vegetable dishes etc., all those cooked on-land stuff are what they actually eat usually.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772852)

But seaweed is quite common ingredient, uuh, now I want those 100-200yen onigiris. Damn you!

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772516)

Not necessarily, different people attract different bacteria; just look at why people smell differently based on what bacteria they have growing on them.
Similarly something in the Japanese gut could be encouraging the growth of this specific bacteria...
Just speculation, article was lacking about causes.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772522)

Don't enzymes need to be produced by the body? (I.e., they aren't alive and won't replicate just because we're feeding them.)

On the other hand, maybe the body will start producing enzymes when they're needed, in some cases. Is there a microbiologist/nutritionist in the house?

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772722)

maybe the body will start producing enzymes when they're needed, in some cases. Is there a microbiologist/nutritionist in the house?

Yes, and yes.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772790)

Don't enzymes need to be produced by the body?

No, they could be produced by symbiotic bacteria.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

mogness (1697042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772620)

Japanese people harbor enzymes in their intestinal bacteria that help them digest seaweed

Enzymes [wikipedia.org] != bacteria. Enzymes are produced by your body to assist in the breakdown of what you eat. They are produced based on instructions in your DNA. There's no changing these, no matter how much sushi you eat. I assume this is similar to the fact that a lot of Japanese are lactose intolerant, because they lack the enzymes to break down dairy products. No matter how much milk they drink, it still sucks for them. On the bright side, I don't have any trouble digesting seaweed, love sushi, and am also American.

Re:Am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772712)

Bacteria makes enzymes too smart guy, in fact that's the whole article if you had bothered to read it.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

kiwijapan (1293632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772876)

I thought that everyone started out with pretty much zero gut bacteria and acquire them based on what they eat. (And sometimes people lose all their gut bacteria from various medical treatments and have to work to restore them.) So the japanese end up with the bacteria/enzymes do digest sushi because... they eat a lot of sushi. Presumably anyone else could develop a colony of such bacteria/enzymes by also eating a lot of sushi? That would mean the division isn't whether you're Japanese or American or something else. It's just whether or not you eat a lot of sushi.

I doubt it really has that much to do with eating sushi per se. I have been living in Japan for over 12 years, and I have no problem digesting any form of seaweed. It's not just used in sushi, but also on 'onigiri' rice balls, in miso soup, in side dishes etc. It is true that most people don't each sushi all the time; maybe we go to a cheap sushi place once in a while, but that's about it for most people. But Japanese people love eating seaweed, and there are many other ways to ingest it. I think the original researchers should have also tested foreigners living in Japan for long periods of time, and Japanese people brought up in the US or else living there for a long time, to see just how the enzymes in the gut change with diet. I think they'd find that people like me have more enzymes than they expected.

Re:Am i missing something? (1)

worf_mo (193770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773086)

On a related note, people from populations that don't consume dairy products on a regular basis tend to lack lactase, an enzyme required to properly metabolize lactose [wikipedia.org] .

My gut is fine (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772388)

Here's one American who loves sushi and sashimi. Except ikura (salmon eggs). Never cared for those. Seems like bait to me. The only other Japanese food I would not choose to eat again is natto. Of course, I don't think they're singling out Americans, just non-seaweed eaters in general.

Re:My gut is fine (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772528)

But it may be that you don't get any nutritional value out of the seaweed, and Japanese people do.

Re:My gut is fine (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772580)

Re:My gut is fine (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773052)

Yeah the poor starving North Americans will get less calories from seaweed carbs and mainly get vitamins and minerals.

Perhaps North American gut bacteria are more efficient at digesting high fructose corn syrup.

Sushi rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772400)

if you like intestinal parasites!

downside (-1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772410)

Yes, they can digest it but they apparently haven't yet developed the ability to not get and spread deadly pandemic diseases by eating uncooked meat. Seriously, most sushi shouldn't be edible and digestion isn't the only reason. Those lovely seaweed or other generally unprepared food bacteria could have just as easily been dangerous and spreadable and more recently, most of them have been.

Re:downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772500)

The Japanese have survived pretty well up to this point. What makes you think won't be the case in the future?

Have there been deadly pandemics in Japan because of the food?

Re:downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772514)

This post is retarded. Literally, made by a person with limited mental faculties. Since when has any pandemic disease been caused or spread by eating sushi? The types of illness likely to be caused by bad sushi are Listeria or possibly a parasite of some kind, neither of which would classify as a pandemic. And both of these would be caused by mishandling the fish, not the fish itself. Sushi-grade fish undergoes a very specific, rigourous processing to be considered sushi-grade. It has to be immediately gutted after capture in a way that ensures the intestines and stomach do not transmit any bacteria into the flesh of the fish, and is then flash-frozen, either immediately or on the dock, depending on how far out the boat is.

You're more likely to get sick from eating a hot dog or a deli sandwich.

Many asians can't digest milk (2, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772960)

A large proportion suffer lactose intolerance which means milk and yoghurts are out though I believe they can still eat some cheeses where the lactose has been converted into something else. If anyone has ever wondered why you never see dairy food in chinese or japanese restaurants - theres your answer.

Anyway , most veg if cooked long enough can be digested by the human gut so these enzymes only give them an advantage if they eat it partially cooked or raw.

That is a lovely sushi family portrait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772438)

Thank you!

North Americans? (3, Interesting)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772440)

What about North Americans of Japanese decent?

Breaking news! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772442)

Nation eating fish has digestive system which adjusted to eating fish. What a surprise!

In our next show: People Jump Better After Training To Jump!

Re:Breaking news! (1)

mogness (1697042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772674)

While I'm sure all of the evolutionary discoveries you've made in your lab dwarf the importance of this one, I actually found it kind of cool. It's always interesting (to me, anyway) to see new evidence of the human body's ability to adapt. Makes me feel like a superhero :).

Re:Breaking news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773030)

Makes me feel like a superhero :).

Mayor: "Adaptive-Digestive-Tract Man, we need you! Godzilla is attacking our town!"

ADT Man: "Watch me adjust my digestive tract to seaweed!" *hgggnnnnnnnaaaaaa*

Lamest. Superhero. Ever.

No enzymes, eh? (4, Funny)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772450)

Well, I'll be; and here I thought my brief illness on an Okinawan beach resulted from my consuming budweiser and salty dogs all night and then passing out on the beach - and failing to wake up when the sun came up.

It wasn't alcohol, heat stroke, or the incandescent sunburn - it was the seaweed from that piece of sushi I had the day before!

No, it was every beer lover kicking your ass (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773120)

You were knocked out by a beer lover who saw you drinking budweiser. Good thing it happened in Japan, in Europe you would have been killed.

I must have the enzyme for french fries. (3, Insightful)

ipquickly (1562169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772454)

Is it not obvious that if you regularly eat a certain type of food, you will eventually have bacteria that thrive in your gut because of the regularity of what you eat?

What would really surprise me is if they find that an American living in Japan and eating a 'local' diet would not acquire these bacteria.

I'm sure by now I've acquired bacteria that help with the digestion of french fries and poutine.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772488)

I have been historically known in my house as the one who drinks more milk than the rest of the family combined, and yet after 21 years of my habits suddenly my gut decided to STOP producing the enzyme that digests milk products.
So no, the results of this study are not obvious.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772562)

lactose is a special case since lactose tolerance is the mutation.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772978)

That's a pretty widespread mutation then. All of Europe seems to have it.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772490)

I seem to be digesting chocoolate extremely well lately...hmm.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772518)

The FTA claims that the gut bacteria were producing an enzyme normally produced by aquatic organisms, which would mean that a gene was transferred into the gut bacteria, which then continued to produce them, perhaps being passed down from mothers to kid in utero. That's different from acquiring new microflora from your food, and would mean that eating a lot of seaweed, by itself, is unlikely to produce this result in an individual.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

ipquickly (1562169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772604)

I think it's obvious that the bacteria are transferred after birth.

The real story behind this article is the 'lateral gene transfer between strictly aquatic bacteria and human intestinal bacteria'.
This article makes it seem like 'Japanese Guts Are Made For Sushi' is the story. But anyone who is exposed to these bacteria and has a 'sushi' diet will have these enzymes in their gut.

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772804)

The real story behind this article is the 'lateral gene transfer between strictly aquatic bacteria and human intestinal bacteria'.

And that's not much of a story. Bacteria are very good at picking up bits of DNA kicking around in their environment or from each other, which is why they mutate so quickly. It's also the mechanism behind the evolution of so-called "superbugs" like methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Re:I must have the enzyme for french fries. (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772680)

eating a lot of seaweed, by itself, is unlikely to produce this result in an individual.

There was a story here a while ago which said you swap something like 50 species whenever you kiss someone, so here's your excuse to make out with a cute Japanese girl, provided she's cool with geeky gaijin.

"You'll be helping to spread Japanese culture, on several levels..."

population sample (5, Insightful)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772480)

Czjzek's team compared the microbial genomes of 13 Japanese people with those of 18 North Americans.
If I used this many test subjects in my job I would get fired.

Re:population sample (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772530)

That's why a lot of the initial "hmmm" results are disproven or modified when a larger sample group is tested. But negative findings are much less interesting so they don't make news.

Re:population sample (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772588)

Czjzek's team compared the microbial genomes of 13 Japanese people with those of 18 North Americans.

Unless there is a scientific reason for not testing more people, a sample size of 31 sounds worse than a school project effort.

Five of the Japanese subjects harbored the enzyme, but among the North Americans, "we didn't find a single one," says Czjzek

Fixed "conclusion" should be: Americans, and almost 60% of Japanese, don't have guts for sushi.

Re:population sample (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772622)

Czjzek's team compared the microbial genomes of 13 Japanese people with those of 18 North Americans.

If I used this many test subjects in my job I would get fired.

They don't even let me use test subjects in my job. Even after assuring them that most won't die.

Re:population sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772720)

If I used this many test subjects in my job I would get fired.

You normally use fewer test subjects?

The proper phrase is "If I used this few test subjects..." It's a bit nitpicky but clarity is important. Unless your job is starved for funding or something and you intended to imply that you routinely use sample sizes under 30.

!News (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772556)

Different parts of the world evolved different strains of bacteria. Can I collect my research grant now.

Vietnamese people who immigrate to Australia often have trouble with Australian food until they get used to it (I.E. develop the bacteria to help digest it). Each part of the would would have developed different bacteria in the digestive system.

This is why, more often then not when one travels to SE Asia one's stool is more regular (about 1 hour after you eat) and rarely solid. YMMV of course, people are different (ohhh, I sense a Nobel prize coming on)

...and Americans are made for steak... (3, Insightful)

ook_boo (1373633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772566)

Yeah, 20 years ago there was similar pseudo-science published in Japan claiming that Americans were specially built to eat hamburgers.

Re:...and Americans are made for steak... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772826)

...claiming that Americans were specially built to eat hamburgers.

Aren't they? ;-)

Ammo for Racism (5, Interesting)

eheien (94444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772574)

Just what we need, more "Japanese are unique" idiocy to justify racism and discrimination in Japan. So far we've heard that "Japanese intestines are longer [yahoo.com] , so Japanese can't eat foreign beef", "Japanese brains are unique [vt.edu] , so only Japanese people can speak the Japanese language." and so on, all of which are supported by pseudo-scientific studies such as this one.

This sort of incomplete research just feeds the view of racial uniqueness (and superiority) among Japanese and justifies their racism and discrimination against others.

Re:Ammo for Racism (5, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772608)

This sort of incomplete research just feeds the view of racial uniqueness (and superiority) among Japanese and justifies their racism and discrimination against others.

They can keep their ability to digest seaweed.
I'll just try to get by on my > 4" weiner.

strange diet (5, Funny)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772786)

I'll just try to get by on my > 4" weiner.

That seems like an odd diet, I hope it serves you well.

Re:strange diet (4, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772900)

Your mother swears by it.

Re:strange diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773036)

How classy.

Re:Ammo for Racism (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773186)

This sort of incomplete research just feeds the view of racial uniqueness (and superiority) among Japanese and justifies their racism and discrimination against others.

I think if I was doing bogus research to prove my racial superiority I'd choose something like mental and physical superiority, not the ability to eat fucking seaweed.

Re:Ammo for Racism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773194)

Your are right. We are all the same. East Asians aren't shorter than us from the west. African's can't run furthur or faster than anyone else. Italians aren't really short tempered. This Machismo thing from Latin American is just a rumor. Americans aren't really fat.

Bah! Everyone is different. Celebrate the differences.

I'm not familiar with this Japanese superiority that you note, but I find the attitude of the French to be very entertaining. Just get over it.

Beyond every group being different, every individual is different. Don't assume that everyone from Africa can run a marathon... duh!

Joe

Re:Ammo for Racism (1)

troubbble (1314525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773252)

Since when do the (allegedly) unique characteristics of a set of human beings justify racism?

Re:Ammo for Racism (1)

Stuckey (1613949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773276)

This sort of incomplete research just feeds the view of racial uniqueness (and superiority) among Japanese and justifies their racism and discrimination against others.

Are the different races not all unique from one another? Perhaps what you meant to say was that there isn't any *significant* uniqueness between them.

If the Japanese believe they are in some way unique and that they need to promote racial homogeneity and protect their cultural, national, and racial identity to preserve that uniqueness, what reasons might one offer to say they shouldn't do so?

Racism and discrimination is one thing, being proud of who you are and wishing to preserve your identity is something else entirely.

Re:Ammo for Racism (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773292)

more "Japanese are unique" idiocy to justify racism and discrimination in Japan.

You know, that's the funny thing. If you want to justify your discrimination, the last thing you want to do is make yourself out to be unique, different, or special. After all, mobs tend to want to punish the minority (Frankenstein's monster, for example). But, then, I guess, it's all about the short-sightedness of only considering a very limited geographic area or limited biological selection (after all, bacteria as a grouping have a lot more basis to be all discriminatory, so the whole search for medicines to fight them off is rather crazy if you support such ideas).

Of course, like you note, it's really more about a justification than a rationalization. It rather makes one sort of wish that laws and social mores were less about "justice" and more about rationality--not that changing the word being used would really change the results for people with an agenda and a desire to paint something else for their actions since their agenda alone is so distasteful that they're unwilling to just be brutally honest about it.

Idle? (2, Informative)

Escaflowne (199760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772612)

What a surprise, samzenpus posting an idle article on the main page under a heading such as Science or Your Rights Online so his articles get more views.

Seriously, take a look at the articles you've posted today samzenpus and the sections you placed them in. All, but one of your stories are Idle and yet all of them appear on the main page.

Thanks for bypassing my filters and cluttering up people's pages with your nonsense.

BREAKING NEWS... (4, Funny)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772618)

Killer Whale guts are made for Japanese, story at 11.

Intolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772666)

No way I would trade lactose tolerance for seaweed tolerance.
Milk and cheese >> seaweed.

babies (4, Insightful)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772700)

The study maybe valid if they can find the enzymes in Japanese babies. Otherwise it can be said that the Japanese have the enzymes because they eat lots of sushi.

Everyone is looking at this wrong (1)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772742)

Forget the methodology in the study...the only conclusion I am drawing is that North Americans are luckier: they have no danger of acquiring additional calories from the seaweed which sushi rolls are wrapped in. "Indigestible" is a good thing for those of us living in the first world.

Indeed, we must stop this bacterium from crossing to our shores at any cost! Seaweed calories! Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Ah! (2, Insightful)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772784)

So that's why nobody eats sushi outside of Japan!

Man vs. Wild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772822)

You should check out this guy's diet!!

Japanese yogurt cultures (3, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772966)

TFA is not clear whether non-Japanese really cannot break down seaweed at all.
In Japan it is popular to buy yogurt with live culture, for example there is Meiji's LB51 (lacto bacillus 51) yogurt supposedly good for your gut.
Might be cool if a yogurt with this organism is made.
Of course if you could just eat non-sterile seaweed maybe it would make a culture for you in your gut.. anybody know about edible seaweeds that would have this?
I've had seaweed salad and maybe that would have it.
Also the American gut is supposedly longer does that balance not having the enzyme at all?

You can call it sushi (1)

elgee (308600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772986)

Us rednecks call it bait. I don't eat bait.

Sure thing (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773294)

If you didn't drive over it, it ain't worth eating.

Just the usual Nihonjinron BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773078)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonjinron

Nothing new really (2, Interesting)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773122)

Let's recall that tribes that life off hunting have more lactose intolerant people that those that practice livestock breeding, that certain northern tribes of Chukchas and Eskimo doesn't have ensimes to get rid of alcohol so they become alcoholics easily and so on and so on.

I eat sushi..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773284)

.... with my ass and spit it out my mouth. Your should smell my breath.. mmmmmmmmm

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