It’s no surprise that so many Americans look like sumo wrestlers. They eat like sumo wrestlers! As this video explains, ordinary people from the East Asian countries, including Japan, eat a diet that is based heavily on steamed rice and vegetables. To pack on the pounds, sumo wrestlers eat a dish called chanko-nabe, which is high in fat. They also drink a lot of beer. The goal is to eat a lot more calories than they burn up in their training.
The man in this video did say a few things that weren’t exactly correct. You don’t have to sweat away excess sodium. Your kidneys normally excrete excess sodium and water. Also, the extra calories from carbohydrate or alcohol can help you pack on the pounds, but only if you are also eating a lot of fat. The insulin that is produced in response to a meal causes the body to burn sugar and store fat. As a result, the body will mainly burn carbohydrate and alcohol for energy after the meal. The body will not use much fat for energy until most of the incoming carbohydrate has been used or stored.
It is easy to fatten on fats, but it is hard to fatten on starch or alcohol. The human body can convert sugar to fat. However, it generally avoids doing so because the conversion process is inefficient. That’s why people on a starchy diet tend to be skinny. A similar principle applies to alcohol. That’s why people who are drinking heavily but not eating much food tend to be slim.
Notice that these Sumo wrestlers from the 1870s weren’t terribly fat. Modern sumo wrestlers are obese and are prone to illnesses that are uncommon in Japan. Their life expectancy is correspondingly shorter than that of an ordinary Japanese person.