Beef bowls are cheap, tasty and filling, so does that mean they have to be bad for you?
Yoshinoya is the biggest purveyor of one of Japan’s favorite convenient meals: the beef bowl, or gyudon, as it’s called in Japanese. With Yoshinoya locations covering the country, open from early in the morning until late at night, the chain boasts a loyal legion of repeat customers. As a matter of fact, if there’s a branch near their campus or workplace, some people may eat Yoshinoya’s beef bowls on a near-daily basis.
But does a steady stream of gyudon have any adverse effects on the body? To find out, Yoshinoya announced last fall that it would be launching a three-month study on a beef-bowl intensive diet, in cooperation with Kyoto’s Doshisha University. A total of 24 participants, both men and women, were selected for the experiment.
In addition to functioning as a restaurant, Yoshinoya also sells frozen packs of its gyudon toppings: stewed beef and onions. Each participant was instructed to eat one pack a day, while otherwise continuing with their preexisting lifestyle. They were requested to make no changes in their exercise or otherwise alter their eating habits.
The three-month period ended in early December, and the results have just been announced: Researchers found no significant changes in the weight, body fat percentage, or blood pressure of the participants, nor in their blood-sugar, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels, compared to data taken before starting the daily gyudon diet.
The results might seem surprising, but the presence of the onions means that gyudon isn’t an entirely meaty entrée, and the dish is completely free of deep-fried elements. It’s also important to note that the standard serving size of a Yoshonoya gyudon pack is a modest 135 grams (4.8 ounces), so again, the study’s results shouldn’t be taken as a green light to let your carnivorous cravings run wild. Still, it suggests that if you’re in need of a quick meal, you could do worse than a Yoshinoya beef bowl.