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Should You Say Sayonara to Chinese Food?

Recent reports from the Center for Science in the Public Interest are giving Chinese food a very bad rep. The reports show that a typical battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat. The rice has about 200 calories per cup and an egg roll has about 200 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium. Yikes! Equally troubling are the high amounts of sodium found in common Chinese dishes. For example, a plate of General Tso's chicken, has 40 percent more sodium than the average adult needs for an entire day. Even the vegetable dishes were found to be very high in sodium.

However, Chinese was not the only type in the spotlight, Italian and Mexican restaurants are just as bad, if not worse for your health because their food is higher in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

If you're not ready to give up your favorite take out restaurant just yet, then consider these tips from on making smart choices at Chinese restaurants:

  • Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles. Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.
  • Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.
  • Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.
  • Limit salt, which means steering clear of the duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
  • Share your meal or take half home for later.
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.
moosie moosie 10 years
yeah, i think moderation is the best way to go.
Athena1 Athena1 10 years
"Real" Chinese food is not the stuff you eat in the restaurants. Most Chinese people do not eat chicken balls and fried wontons all the time. I never eat in Chinese restaurants... unless I am in China. ;)
xswtnmeltx xswtnmeltx 10 years
Chinese food is not bad. It's the Americanized fast food that they are calling Chinese food that is. After all a diet of white rice, vegetables and meat have been the Chinese diet for so long, so how come it is bad now? It's because the way they make it at Panda Express has so much sauce and salt, real Chinese people don't eat their food like that.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
I agree, I'm sticking with my Chinese food, but as rarely as I eat it, I think I'm okay. Just don't make it the only thing you eat!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
Thank you, ms660bk, I wanted to say something as well without making a big deal out of it! :) I hate Chinese restaurants too - and I'm Chinese! I feel like the Chinese food we cook at home (ok, I know, not feel) is so much healthier ... but that's because a lot of food in your typical Chinese/American restaurant has so much MSG, cornstarch, deep-fried, breaded-type stuff, excess sugar, sodium, etc.! I always get stomach-aches after eating from those restaurants - it's awful! But I think you have to really pick and choose when it comes to Chinese restaurants ... look for ones with actual Chinese people eating in them LOL! Even ones in Chinatown aren't really always "authentic" or healthy.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
Honestly I rarely eat chinese anymore this report is only one of many negative reports on chinese restaurants and the way they cook the food it tastes great but its a health risk.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
OOOPPPS with the Japanese word for goodbye in a title for a post on Chinese food.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
I have trouble coming up with titles when I post every day! It's gotta be hard to come up with one every half hour! :) I HATE chinese restauants. I've been to ONE that I really liked and no other has added up. The last time I gave in a tried a new one, they had so many flies I couldn't shoo them off me. My goodness did I want to freak out. My mom got take out from the same place and her whole household got sick. (*BIG SURPRISE*). Anyway, The Man makes the best fried rice I've ever had...he uses low sodium soy sauce and canola oil and LOTS of veggies. He would rather eat out, though!
ms660bk ms660bk 10 years
fitsugar, I know you didn't mean anything by it, but sayonara is actually a Japanese phrase (not Chinese). In any case, your first suggestion is great - and it's not just because I'm a vegetarian. There are a ton of non-Americanized Chinese or Taiwanese dishes out there that are healthy, low in oil, low in sodium, high in fiber, and will fill you up without giving you a headache or a case of the bloat later. After all, it's not as if the entire countries of China and Taiwan all start getting headaches at 9 PM.
Moni-B Moni-B 10 years
I prefer steamed dumplings and white rice. :-) ~M~
SoftRockStar SoftRockStar 10 years
I say eat it in moderation. I eat Chinese food about once a month--if that. Moderation and regular exercise are the keys to healthy living, not running around saying this and that type of food is bad for you.
KitsuneO KitsuneO 10 years
add also ask for no MSG, if it can be done. It will result in less bloating and puffing up later on. :)
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