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The Forgotten Health Benefits of Chinese Food
[Image: chinesefood.jpg?w=360&h=240&crop=1]

The Forgotten Health Benefits of Chinese Food

By Joanne Chen

The dragons have retreated back into their basement storage and the crowds in your local Chinese restaurant have finally died down — sure signs that the two-week-long Asian party known as the Lunar New Year has come to a close.

But don’t put those chopsticks away. In fact, why don’t you invest in a rice cooker and wok, too? It’s time to make good on that flailing New Year’s resolution to eat healthy — and Chinese food, cooked and eaten authentically, can effortlessly get you back on track.

Japanese cuisine has dominated the health headlines for many years. And experts point out that Korean food is quite healthy, too. But do you know how obscenely expensive sushi-grade fish is? Can you really count on your local Stop & Shop to carry Korean chili pepper paste and dried anchovies? Chinese food, in contrast, isn’t precious. Its staples are available anywhere and make for a healthy, diet-conscious, portion-controlled meal. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, author of many Chinese cookbooks, including Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking, points out that as little as three-quarter pounds of chicken cut into strips, stir-fried with a few cups of broccoli, and served with steamed rice will serve four to six people. Try divvying up that same amount of grilled chicken breast Western-style, and chances are your guests will scoff, even if you’ve fixed up a couple of side dishes.

Chopsticks — which place far smaller bites in your mouth than a fork or spoon — may help keep portions down, too. A 2008 Cornell University paper reported that healthy-weight guests at a Chinese buffet were three times likelier to eat with chopsticks than obese guests. Brian Wansink, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, has also observed that chopstick-users go back to the buffet table fewer times. “Chopsticks help people slow down,” he says. And when you slow down, your body’s satiety signals are given time to do their job.

Soup — a mainstay of any authentic Chinese family dinner — is also a satiety-promoter. As Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., a Penn State psychologist and author, most recently of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, points out, eating a broth-based soup before a meal can reduce food intake by about 20%. Last fall, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition paper suggested that this is because soups — particularly the smooth sort — take longer to leave the stomach than solids.

“But what about the white rice?” you might ask. True, the bowls are brimming. “But they’re also miniscule!” says Wansink, who, of course, is exaggerating, but only a little. The bowls I stole from my childhood home are utterly dwarfed by my Crate and Barrel purchases. No more than 100 or so calories of rice fit into them. And even if you go back for seconds, you probably won’t eat as much as if you started out with a larger bowl. “We tend to let exterior cues dictate how much we eat,” says Wansink, who later this year will be publishing Slim By Design, a follow-up to his successful first consumer book, Mindless Eating. (He also points out that plates in Chinese restaurants are about 9.5 to 10.25 inches, as opposed to the standard 12-inch plate in most Western restaurants.)

If you can go with brown rice, more power to you. But it’s nice to know that with Chinese food, you’re eating loads of vegetables, ginger and possibly mushrooms with your carbs. More importantly, the meat will lower your glycemic load, and the fibers in your greens will keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This means a more sustained feeling of fullness and energy, says Kantha Shelke, food scientist at Corvus Blue, a nutritional technology think tank in Chicago

If you cook and eat Chinese food authentically, you will also see why past reports about the mind-blowing salt and calorie content of Chinese take-out dishes misunderstand the cuisine. Yes, orange crispy beef has 1,500 calories — but it’s an atypical dish. The vast majority are steamed or lightly stir-fried, points out Farina Kingsley, the half-Chinese author of several Asian-themed Williams-Sonoma cookbooks who recently developed a Chinese-cooking app. Chinese recipes rarely call for more than two tablespoons of oil and soy sauce, and the oil is usually heart-healthy peanut oil.

According to Shelke’s calculations, if you cooked chicken breast authentic-Chinese-style five days a week instead of American-style, that would reduce your dinner each night by about 125 calories just through portion control alone. That’s 32,500 calories in a year — or almost 10 pounds by the time the Lunar New Year festivities roll around again. Now that’s something worth dragon-dancing about.

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Down-side: the rice can promote mucous production which for some OSA sufferers is an antagonist and not at all helpful in their therapy.

But any way to lose weight is of course good for OSA sufferers.

There is considerable evidence that the Mediterranean Diet is the healthiest of diets currently - no doubt for some, the Chinese diet will also be an alternative.
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That article was a trap.

The headline gets you all excited with the delusional false hope that it will say that fried wontons, crab rangoon, deep fried egg rolls and General Tso's chicken are healthy - then crushes your dreams by clarifying that what they mean is that it's ok to eat a thimble full of white rice.

Meanwhile, I'm left with a craving for lo mein and fried pork dumplings...

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Nah, for me it's chicken soo guy...
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(02-28-2013, 12:32 PM)ApneaNews Wrote: [According to Shelke’s calculations, if you cooked chicken breast authentic-Chinese-style five days a week instead of American-style, that would reduce your dinner each night by about 125 calories just through portion control alone. That’s 32,500 calories in a year — or almost 10 pounds by the time the Lunar New Year festivities roll around again. Now that’s something worth dragon-dancing about.

Always loved all you can eat buffet joints. And if it's full of forgotten health benefits it's because it's buried under all the calories. Yum.
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(02-28-2013, 04:32 PM)wilorg Wrote: There is considerable evidence that the Mediterranean Diet is the healthiest of diets currently -
[Image: PJ-AZ760_MEDDIE_G_20110307200319.jpg]

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I was always surprised at how skinny Chinese people are. I suppose it's not because of genetics but their diet is generally healthier, portions are much smaller, most red meat is replaced with fish, and variety of food is more.
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Make mine chicken lo-mein with chicken fried rice & vegetables!
Mongolian BBQ beef is good too...
and Szechuan....

"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

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I don't care how good it is for me......I just LOVE IT!!!!!!
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Okay, that does it... now I have to get out my pre-packaged sodium-enriched La Choy Chop Suey mix in two cans... and mix it with a heathy portion of Minute Rice.

... oh, and two cups of coffee... (I don't do tea much these days).

[Image: eating-chinese-food.gif]

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