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Thursday, April 26, 2007

How bad is Chinese restaurant food for you?

You know, I like chinese food as much as anyone (though, I have to admit, the quality of takeout varies and finding a good buffet can be a shot in the dark). But I've sometimes wondered to myself as I devoured my large serving of General Tso's chicken or Shrimp Lo Mein, "How healthy (or unhealthy) is this stuff?".

Last month, a story come out in the associated press that indicated just how bad the answer (and unfortunately the food) may be.

A plate of General Tso's has more than half the calories you need for an entire day! According to Bonnie Liebman, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Americans need to cut back on calories and on salt consumption. But that's exactly what you get too much of with chinese restaurant food.

However, having said that, Mexican and Italian restaurants are even worse and the food they feature tends to be high in saturated fat which is an ingredient for heart problems.

Of course, I don't think anyone has ever tried to make the argument that chinese take out or buffet food could be confused with health food of any stripe. And I would never rule it completely out of my meal choices. But moderation is probably warranted and this is true for most restaurant food. In fact, it was only a few weeks ago that an article (I forget the publication) pointed out that the majority of restaurant food was amazingly overboard in terms of calories and saturated fat content. And this, sad to say was even true for food that was presented as diet and weight loss food.

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