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The Most Unhealthy Chinese Restaurant Foods: Part Two

I already told you about a few unhealthy Chinese food menu items that are heavy hitters in terms of calories, fat, and sodium and you may have been thrilled that your favorite dish was not on there. Unfortunately, there's more.

In case you missed it, Newsweek talked to Jayne Hurley and Bonnie Liebman , authors of Chinese Restaurant Food: Wok Carefully. They shared their take on the most unhealthy Chinese food menu items. I wanted to make sure you don't miss the highlights:

  • Lemon chicken: A plate of lemon chicken contains 1,400 calories, two-thirds of a day's fat, and no vegetables. "It's like eating three McDonald's McChicken sandwiches and a 32-ounce Coke," Hurley says.
  • General Tso's chicken: General Tso's chicken features breaded, deep-fried chicken chunks that are then soaked in sauce; Hurley and Liebman found that one plate has about 1,300 calories and half a day's worth of saturated fat.
  • Barbecued spare ribs: These "appetizers" pack a punch — one plate of spare ribs carries two-thirds of a day's worth of saturated fat and 600 calories. That's the same amount of calories as in two pork chops, Hurley says. Dumplings, steamed or pan-fried, are much more health friendly, she says.

So eat Chinese food at your own risk, I know I will be — sometimes a girl's just gotta have her General Tso's.


Join The Conversation
Desirella Desirella 9 years
Realistically speaking, like others have said, this is americanized chinese food and most chinese people would not eat this but with that said...even in the more authentic chinese restuarants that chinese people go's still not that healthy because the amount of oil they use will normally always exceed the amount we use in our own households which is very very little in my own house. Don't even get me started on MSG. I have not encountered one chinese restuarant that didn't use's just a matter of how much they use and in Americanized chinese restuarants, they use a TON. A few tips: -Asking them to use little oil usually doesn't work (they don't always listen, I should know, I worked in many) -Always ask for No MSG just to be safe unless u like MSG -Try to avoid veggies that suck up oil, such as brocolli because in the majority of chinese restuarants, everything goes through oil -Ask for them to steam your dish and have the sauce on the side (that way, your dish didn't pass through oil and you can control the amount of sauce you eat) -Eat noodles and fried rice in moderation because a lot of oil is used to prevent them from sticking and that makes it very unhealthy. I'm not saying that chinese takeout food is terrible..even I get that craving for panda express orange chicken once or twice a year but it's good for people to know that chinese food is not as healthy as they think, especially the americanized version.
Frenched Frenched 9 years
Good to know. Thanks!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
My husband always gets General Tso's chicken and I always get steamed mixed veggies with shrimp or chicken. I have several Chinese friends and they always make fun of American Chinese food because it's so unlike REAL Chinese food. Most of the food they make is full of veggies and stir-fried in a TOUCH of oil. They also don't usually eat a whole pint of rice with their meal (that's how much they always give you at the restaurants). They don't eat a ton of meat either, at least not in the area that my friends are from. China's a pretty big country and the cuisine is very regionalized. It's like saying Southern comfort food is the same as Tex Mex or Pennsylvania Dutch.
Community-Manager Community-Manager 9 years
Hi TidalWave, You can search for Chinese food by using the search bar above and be sure to search from all sites. No quotes needed! thanks team
puddinpie puddinpie 9 years
Calling the above dishes "Chinese food" is like calling Pizza Hut pizzas "Italian food". =/
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
To the SugarTeam: I just did a search for all content in all sugar sites for "chinese food" to find this post and nothing came up whatsoever in the search results. When I searched for chinese food (without the quotes) I just got a lot of listings about food, in general. I had to go to google to find this entry.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
I don't even want to know about the calories in my beloved crab rangoon...
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Gross - I don't think I've ever met a Chinese person who goes out and orders any of the above dishes. This is not Chinese food.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Yes aimee so bad .. but general tso's is so good. I have a recipe lying around for grilled tso's I need to find that!
cruigao cruigao 9 years
I agree COMPLETELY with cvandoom and bastylefilegirl! Westernized Chinese fare is totally different from authentic Chinese food, and I think this difference should be clarified in future posts. Westernized Chinese food might as well not be called "Chinese" anymore because it is so different from actual Chinese cuisine. For example, we don't generally deep-fry chicken like General Tso's. I live in Beijing and I've yet to see deep-fried chicken in any menus of Chinese restaurants. That being said, I eat the Chinese food my parents make every day and based on that, I can say it's definitely healthier than any American or "Americanized" cuisine.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
So bad...
emalove emalove 9 years
I don't eat ANY of this stuff when I get Chinese food...
YaoMing YaoMing 9 years
Durrr - of course she's talking about the westernized food. Foil-wrapped chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Rolls, Cashew Chicken, etc. You love it!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Well said, cvandoorn! That said, I'm all about the BBQ spare ribs. My parents owned a Chinese restaurant all through my childhood, with my dad as chef, and he made amazing spare ribs.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 9 years
Traditional Chinese food is way more healthy than "American Food" and the preparation of it is an art. The fact that a lot of "fake" or "westernized" dishes are around is because that's what some "westerners" want. So if you stop going to PF Chang's, Panda Express etc, and start visiting you mom and pop resturant in your local China Town you'll get good quality food with minimal calories and fat.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
After the previous post where many people commented for you to specify it as American Chinese Food, you still didn't do it! Come on now! You are portraying Chinese food in a bad light - it is way healthier than the average American cuisine.
silly_pickle silly_pickle 9 years
Nooooo! Not lemon chicken! If Chang's Spicy Chicken is on the next list I think I may cry.
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