Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Consumer group finds Chinese restaurant food still unhealthy

March 22, 2007


The typical menu at a Chinese restaurant is full of calories and sodium, a consumer group has found. But, the results haven't changed in 15 years.

The typical menu at a Chinese restaurant is full of calories and sodium, a consumer group has found. But, the results haven't changed in 15 years.

— The typical Chinese restaurant menu is a sea of nutritional no-nos, a consumer group has found.

A plate of General Tso's chicken, for example, is loaded with about 40 percent more sodium and more than half the calories an average adult needs for an entire day.

The battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat.

That's before the rice (200 calories a cup). And after the egg rolls (200 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium).

"I don't want to put all the blame on Chinese food," said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which did a report released Tuesday.

"Across the board, American restaurants need to cut back on calories and salt, and in the meantime, people should think of each meal as not one, but two, and bring home half for tomorrow," Liebman said.

The average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day and 2,300 milligrams of salt, which is about one teaspoon of salt, according to government guidelines.

In some ways, Liebman said, Italian and Mexican restaurants are worse for your health, because their food is higher in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

While Chinese restaurant food is bad for your waistline and blood pressure - sodium contributes to hypertension - it does offer vegetable-rich dishes and the kind of fat that's not bad for the heart.

However - and this is a big however - the veggies aren't off the hook.

A plate of stir-fried greens has 900 calories and 2,200 milligrams of sodium. And eggplant in garlic sauce has 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

"We were shocked. We assumed the vegetables were all low in calories," Liebman said.

Also surprising were some appetizers: An order of six steamed pork dumplings has 500 calories, and there's not much difference, about 10 calories per dumpling, if they're pan-fried.

The group found that not much has changed since it examined Chinese food 15 years ago. That's not all bad, Liebman said.

"We were glad not to find anything different," she said. "Some restaurant food has gotten a lot worse. Companies seem to pile on. Instead of just cheesecake, you get coconut chocolate chip cheesecake with a layer of chocolate cake, and lasagna with meatballs."

Cut the calories

The Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests ways to make your meal healthier:¢ 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.¢ Avoid 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.


Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

Did you ever think when you eat Chinese, It ain't pork or chicken, but a fat siamese, Yet the food tastes great, so ya don't complain, but that's not chicken in your chicken chow mein.

Seems to me I ordered sweet and sour pork, But Garfield's on my fork, He's purrin here on my fork...

There's a cat in the kettle at the Peking Moon, The place that I eat everyday at noon, They can feed you cat and you'll never know, Once they wrap it up in dough, boys, They fry it real crisp in dough.

Chou Lin asked if I wanted more, As he was dialin up his buddy at the old pet store, I said not today, I lost my apettite, There's two cats in my belly and they want to fight, I was suckin on a Rolaid and a Tums or two, When I swear I heard it mew, boy, And that is when I knew...

There's a cat in the kettle at the Peking Moon, I think I gotta stop eating there at noon, They say that it's beef or fish or pork, But it's purrin there on my fork, There's a hairball on my fork...

~~The above lyrics were originally made by Weird Al~~

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