Low in fat and high in fiber, anko (red bean paste) confectionery is becoming a go-to for fitness freaks and bodybuilders who want to make the most of wagashi (traditional sweets).

The red bean paste is seen as a stylish dietary sweet for many, as it accompanies virtually anything well, including dairy products, breads and fruits and various other sweets.

Yuri Akiyama, a 32-year-old illustrator in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, near Tokyo, got hooked on anko back in high school when she became more aware of her diet.