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Chinese Food bad for you?

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Old 02-24-2005, 08:23 PM   #1
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Question Chinese Food bad for you?

Okay guys. I LOVE Chinese food and my fiance ordered it for dinner tonight. From what I can tell, I don't think it's that bad for you. But, I don't know for sure. Is it really high in fat? Should I not be eating it at all on my "diet"? I've been wondering about this for a while now.
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Old 02-24-2005, 08:58 PM   #2
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I think it can be quite reasonable, it all depends what you like having. I am not carb-averse so I don't worry about the carbs in Chinese at all. It can be a bit salty and I suppose there may be a risk of water retention if you indulge just before a weigh in. If you lay off the sweet and sour and too many deepfried things, and go for steamed rather than fried rice, and don't stuff yourself like crazy, you should be OK. Now Indian restaurants, at least the ones in my part of the world, are another matter... first there's the ghee, then the cream or coconut cream in the sauces....arrgh!
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:33 PM   #3
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SODIUM

But if you get brown rice, steamed vegetables & no sauce or sauce in a separate container and just use a TINY bit, you will be ok.

Otherwise, it's a fat & sodium bomb no one needs when they're dieting.
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:59 AM   #4
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I think it is important to evaluate food based on its nutritional value rather than our own on-board gut-feel of whether it is healthy or not. Some things that seem okay, are actually quite bad. For example, whether you're following a low-calorie, low-fat or low-carb diet, fried rice is especially bad, perhaps without seeming so. It just goes to show how little we can rely on our personal impressions.

And we don't need to. There are wondeful tools available online and even in handheld devices, now, to help us understand what is the nutritional value of any specific food we choose.

Here's a link to a great tool for demonstrating the issues with Chinese Food:

http://www.hmrprogram.com/cafe4.html

I entered a typical Chinese meal: Egg rolls, fried rice, and General Tso's Chicken: 2950 calories -- almost 50% more calories than I should eat in an entire day!

I then entered what one might typically consider a healthy Chinese meal: Wonton Soup, Dim Sum, Moo Shi Pork with steamed rice: Still 2875 calories!

Any reasonable combination I tried, that had less than 1000 calories, had practically no protein! Protein is essential for building lean-body mass that helps you maintain weight-loss long-term.

That begs the question, "How do Chinese people manage to survive eating like this?" They don't. Chinese food is not what Chinese people eat. My intern is from China, and while he does have steamed rice each day, it's serving merely as a bed for some lean protein source (as well as some steamed, not fried, vegetables).
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker

That begs the question, "How do Chinese people manage to survive eating like this?" They don't. Chinese food is not what Chinese people eat. My intern is from China, and while he does have steamed rice each day, it's serving merely as a bed for some lean protein source (as well as some steamed, not fried, vegetables).

Exactly. Asian cuisine actually in Asia is totally different from what you'll find here. Chinese restaurants (especially the smaller popular takeout places) tend to fry a majority of the food on the menu. The sauces are filled with sodium. I also find the dinner and lunch special servings to be way too big. They'll often serve a cup or more of rice with the meal. Not to mention, they often offer fried rice rather than steamed rice. And things like egg and spring rolls are always fried.

That all said, it's also possible to get good healthy chinese takeout. Most menus offer a small list of diet food that are usually sodium free and steamed. Steamed veggies and chicken may not be everybody's thing but I often think it tastes fresher and better than stuff that's been marinated and fried.

Of course, if you like Chinese food, don't deny yourself the pleasure. I love seesame bean curd. My favorite place fries it up and serves it with white rice. I have it once in a while because it's just darn good.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubia
The sauces are filled with sodium. I also find the dinner and lunch special servings to be way too big. They'll often serve a cup or more of rice with the meal. Not to mention, they often offer fried rice rather than steamed rice. And things like egg and spring rolls are always fried.

That all said, it's also possible to get good healthy chinese takeout. Most menus offer a small list of diet food that are usually sodium free and steamed. Steamed veggies and chicken may not be everybody's thing but I often think it tastes fresher and better than stuff that's been marinated and fried.
The new Chinese place here makes 'diet' plates w/no sodium; it's a big portion, I can get 4 meals out of it. I take it home & cook my own brown rice. W/some low-sodium soy sauce & a fortune cookie, I'm good to go.
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:06 PM   #7
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I would advise getting a Wok, I cant live with out mine. I take some chicken breast, loads of veggies and make up (or buy) some sauces and dont even need rice because the dishes are so good and BIG

Buying a simple wok cook book helps aswell, you can make so much in there, even indian and japanese
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Old 02-28-2005, 11:54 AM   #8
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If you are going to go ahead and get chinese food, I'd suggest ordering it without MSG. My mother has horrible reactions to MSG and MSG-like chemicals. Makes her retain even MORE water with already highsodium dishes. One time we ate at a buffet (not chinese) and she had horrible gastric pains for days and her stomach literally became hard as a rock to touch, and not in a good way. Later we found out from someone who worked there that they added a filler

Personally, I LOVE chinese food to a fault and I know my resistance is particularly bad with it. I get Lean Cuisine's Sesame Chicken with lo mein to try and combat it when I have a bad craving. Also - cooking your own chinese food is SO much healthier than eating out. So, learn to make your favorite recipes instead of spending the money to order it. It could be pretty fun as well
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Old 02-28-2005, 03:06 PM   #9
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According to Restaurant Confidential:

The average Chinese restaurant serving of General Tso's Chicken contains 1600 calories and 59 grams fat. Kung Pao Chicken has 1620 calories and 76 grams fat.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:54 AM   #10
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Chinese is not a good choice unless you can get them to cook it without MSF, oil and the other high calorie items it is loaded with. If you live near a Chinatown where you can get real Chinese food, you will find it is nothing like the junk you get in most restaurants. It's heavy on veggies, very light on meat, a bit of oil or steamed.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:06 PM   #11
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Also found it better to "do my own" chinese- although I use a heavy cast-iron frying pan rather than an official wok - but I've never had a problem.
I used to order a veggie with almonds dish that I thought went well with chicken - but a Chinese colleague told me that its actually a dessert dish!
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