Why are Thai women so slim?

Thai women are slender, slim and toned and remain that way their entire lives. They can eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce of weight. At least, that’s how it seems. And no matter how old they are, it seems as if they remain young and slim forever. How do they do that? What is their secret? They are beautiful, friendly and smiling. In Thailand you (almost) don’t see fat Thai people. Is it because of the heat in Thailand? Is it a matter of culture or good genes? Is it because of their eating habits?

Fat Thai women

To dispel a myth, fat(er) Thai women do exist! Especially since fast food chains have become present in Thailand, the average Thai is getting fatter. The young people in particular are westernizing rapidly. Obesity is also becoming a major problem in Southeast Asia, especially among young people. Wealth, fast food, less physical labor are all causes of Thais becoming fatter. There is more heart failure and diabetes among Thais than before. The elderly remain fairly loyal to their own culture and do not gain weight as quickly as the younger generation. Yet the average Thai woman remains slim, slender and graceful.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is on the Thai woman’s menu almost every day. Coconut milk contains fat, but the fat from coconut milk is essential fat. Fat that the body needs to function properly. Coconut milk is very nourishing and healthy. Coconut milk has 33 kilocalories per 100 grams.

Chili Peppers

According to Thais, hot food has a major effect on digestion. Eating chili peppers regularly speeds up digestion.


Few Thai women eat bread. Eating bread is not part of the daily routine of the Thai woman. There is a real bread culture in the Netherlands, something they do not have in Thailand. Thai women do not eat yellow cheese and fatty meat. Let alone a sandwich with cheese. She does eat a lot of shrimp, rice and chicken.


The Thai woman has a very light breakfast. They often start the morning with rice for breakfast or with a grain porridge (congee) that gets the metabolism going.


For Thai women, lunch often consists of rice with stir-fried vegetables and some chicken or pork.


In the evening, Thai women eat quite early, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. They eat light and small portions in the evening. The portions that Thai women eat are much smaller than we are used to here in the Netherlands or in the West. Thai women can eat all day long, but they always eat small portions.


In general, Thai women love sweets. Their dessert of egg, sugar and coconut milk is a particular favourite.

Way of living

The way of life, their eating habits, the type of food and speeding up digestion all help to keep the Thai woman permanently slim. Thai women eat more often than in the Netherlands, but they eat smaller portions, eat many more vegetables and very little meat, use a lot of lime, pineapple, galangal and chili.


The build of Thai women certainly has something to do with why they are so slim. They are simply much more delicately built than the sturdy Dutch women.


There is one more thing we need to take into account. When it freezes in the Netherlands, we want hearty food. In Thailand, the average temperature is about 32 degrees Celsius all year round. In this warmer environment it is easier to eat light food that is easily digestible.

Thai cuisine

And, Thai cuisine is delicious! Who wants to snack when you have such delicious cuisine at your disposal? Fresh fish, lots of herbs and vegetables and everything colorful and mouth-wateringly delicious! Although Thai women also have a soft spot for chocolate.

To play sports

Thai women do not do much sports. Thai women in big cities who do not work in the fields participate more in sports. But, physical labor, such as working in the rice fields or taking care of the rubber trees, is a daily occurrence for many Thai women in smaller villages. Thai women work long hours, often more than 10 hours a day. She doesn’t have much opportunity to snack.


The Thai woman is generally better balanced: she is in balance. There are hardly any emotional eaters in Thailand. They hardly suffer from binge eating. They hardly suffer from fluctuating weight. They laugh a lot and like to see the positive side of life. Even though Thai women certainly face a lot of adversity (and poverty!), they always have hope. No one can take hope away from them. They trust in a good outcome. Every new day is a new beginning. They start every new day with a smile. (You also saw this image after the Tsunami.)

Keep pace

But, what is the real secret that makes Thai women so slim? Keep pace. Don’t serve large plates, but regularly serve small portions. It’s not really an eye-opener, but it is hopeful. Don’t eat too much, smaller portions and eat more often in a day, lots of varying and colored vegetables, little meat and no bread or cheese. And don’t forget their special ingredient: Lots of laughter, courage and never giving up hope. Does it work for the Thai woman, does it work for the Dutch woman?

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