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CSPI say Chinese food is bad for you


leviathan
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http://health.yahoo.com/news/173241

The problem with this study is that the dishes that named were mostly aimed towards non-Chinese eaters, the stuff you'd find at PF Changs. I don't ever recall ordering those dishes when I go out. Some of the dishes may have originated in China, but they've changed so much, to appease American eaters, that its no longer really the same dish anymore.

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I think it's all on the individuals who are seeking out for what food they want to eat. I myself don't like eating battered, deep-fried chicken in stir-fried dishes Chines style. The Chinese restaurants in the USA make such dishes this way because that's popular, that's what they can sell. It is a consumer-driven business, not authenticity-driven.

I think their study should say "Chinese food in the USA" or the "Chinese food as the author knows it" and not real-Chinese Chinese food.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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The part I really don't get, is the assertion that restaurants need to make changes in the way they cook, and the ingredients they cook with ... blah blah blah. If you want food cooked a certain way, do it yourself.

Crankily,

Fabby

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I'd laugh out loud at this report if I wasn't so concerned about people taking it seriously. It seems to have isolated specific dishes that are known to be unhealthy. Then they fail to take into account the Chinese communal way of eating. A sane person simply wouldn't eat a whole portion of General Tso's Chicken themselves even if they ordered it. And some of the advice... Ask for brown rice? As if Chinese restaurants have that...

--

Ian

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I'd laugh out loud at this report if I wasn't so concerned about people taking it seriously. It seems to have isolated specific dishes that are known to be unhealthy. Then they fail to take into account the Chinese communal way of eating. A sane person simply wouldn't eat a whole portion of General Tso's Chicken themselves even if they ordered it. And some of the advice... Ask for brown rice? As if Chinese restaurants have that...

--

Ian

That jumped out at me --- the one dish they singled out. Sure the entire dish is going to have high anything, but Chinese food isn't eaten like that.

And they mentioned Mexican food as an aside, but kept right on pulling Chinese food apart. A pox on them!

Did they ever think to check out other dishes or were they bent on using a bad dish as an example of Chinese food?

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Soups are bad for your blood pressure...

Not as bad as reports like this!

A load of ignorant, patronising, pseudo-scientific codswallop.

Ma Po (Hunan) Tofu

if... ... it comes without the pork which some restaurants add.

Are they saying some restaurants don't add pork? Sue them!

(MaPo Tofu - Hunan?)

Their assumption that deep fried is worse than stir fried is also nonsense. Deep fried foods can have less fat than stir fried.

GRRRRRRRRRR!

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Fatty salty food is fatty salty food, whether it's Chinese, Italian, Mexican, "American" or whatever. As others have said, the restaurant versions of ethnic dishes can be very different from authentic home cooking. Unfortunately this article doesn't make that clear.

As for the healthfulness of Chinese home cooking--My parents and their brothers and sisters are headed into their 80s, enjoying good health, and guess what they've been eating all their lives? :laugh:

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Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.

Instead of what?

Soups are bad for your blood pressure...

They should have some of the lovely, light soup served in our favorite place. chicken broth with minced bits of gizzard and heart. It's lovely and not at all salty unless one pours in a big slug of soy sauce.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a radical organization that use junk science to promote its agenda. What's that agenda? (hint: the head of this outfit is an avowed vegetarian).

They basically want to impose their beliefs as to how people should live and eat.

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a radical organization that use junk science to promote its agenda. What's that agenda? (hint: the head of this outfit is an avowed vegetarian).

They basically want to impose their beliefs as to how people should live and eat.

AHA! Always look to the source and an agenda! Thanks for that tidbit.

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I'd laugh out loud at this report if I wasn't so concerned about people taking it seriously. It seems to have isolated specific dishes that are known to be unhealthy. Then they fail to take into account the Chinese communal way of eating. A sane person simply wouldn't eat a whole portion of General Tso's Chicken themselves even if they ordered it. And some of the advice... Ask for brown rice? As if Chinese restaurants have that...

--

Ian

Are you calling me insane?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a radical organization that use junk science to promote its agenda. What's that agenda? (hint: the head of this outfit is an avowed vegetarian).

They basically want to impose their beliefs as to how people should live and eat.

AHA! Always look to the source and an agenda! Thanks for that tidbit.

There are plenty of activist groups out there. Some good some not so good.

Not everything the CSPI says is necessarily bad but a lot of credible people have challenged their goals and their methods. Also the CSPI has issued warnings about :Fast food, Mexican food etc, the Chinese food issue was raised a few years ago--they are persistent.

There is also a lot of money at stake.

People who are quick to be skeptical of large corporations like McDonald's (with good reason) are often not skeptical of these activist groups. while we know McD's is in it for profit, these groups are funded and salaries are paid based upon their convincing people they are relevant.

The M.O is usually to get a study (often done under less than pure scientific conditions) then call a press conference and proclaim we (or our kids) are at great risk. If public information was their main goal I wouldn' thave a problem so much-- but these folks go a lot further by blackmailing corporations with law suits and threats--the ole class action game for eg.

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I read this article a week ago and it sure explains alot.

This is why there's more fat Chinese people than Americans....oh wait...that's not right....

Ok, let's try again, this is why there's more people dying of heart disease in China than America....oh wait...that's not right again....

This article pisses me off. If Chinese food is so bad why is everyone adopting to Asian cooking methods for a better way of life? If the author actually open his/her eyes and went to China for a look, they would see that Asians eat a very well balanced diet.

It's the American Chinese food that is overly greasy and heavily seasoned. My first generation parents wouldn't even touch that stuff even if you gave it to them for free. I have to admit, I indulge in PF Changs every now and then but I don't consider it Chinese food.

The article should be rewritten with the title of "Fast Food Restaurants draw critisim." But then again, that is not anything new which is probably why they didn't approach the subject that way. We (America) has become a fast food nation because it is so readily available and sometimes actually cheaper than buying real groceries. And I noticed that a lot of people my generation don't really know how to cook or what to cook or even how to eat. The art of food is being lost among the youth.

It's quite sad actually. :sad:

Edited by XiaoLing (log)
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XiaoLing: I thought everyone was going Mediterranian cooking for a better way of life? :wink:

To get one's knickers twisted because the CSPI cited General Tso's rather than "authentic" cuisine (in all it's rgional variations etc.) is to miss the point: for the vast majority of Americans, General Tso's is "Chinese" food. And the places that serve it aren't exactly serving up health food. Whatever the CSPI is, it's not a culinary institute, they have no real obligation to engage in legalistic definitions of what is and what isn't Chinese food. Their job is to reach people with a message that people can understand; taking offense over their use of the vernacular is bit absurd.

Unlike JohnL, I don't think the CSPI is a scary group of vegetarian-led anarchists out to -- I can't figure out that they're supposed to be out to do actually, except change American diets which we probably all agree is a good thing. Apparently they have an "agenda," which makes them exactly like every other person, organization or institution on earth, so I can't get too upset about that.

They do, however, have a bent for melodrama which is more than annnoying, and are probably not fun people to be trapped next to at parties, which I find to be a moral failing.

Worse, though, perhaps, is that they're recycling their own material: they ripped the facade of Chinese (sorry -- Chinese-American) food back in 1993.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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XiaoLing:  I thought everyone was going Mediterranian cooking for a better way of life? :wink:

To get one's knickers twisted because the CSPI cited General Tso's rather than "authentic" cuisine (in all it's rgional variations etc.) is to miss the point: for the vast majority of Americans, General Tso's is "Chinese" food.  And the places that serve it aren't exactly serving up health food.  Whatever the CSPI is, it's not a culinary institute, they have no real obligation to engage in legalistic definitions of what is and what isn't Chinese food.  Their job is to reach people with a message that people can understand; taking offense over their use of the vernacular is bit absurd.

Unlike JohnL, I don't think the CSPI is a scary group of vegetarian-led anarchists out to -- I can't figure out that they're supposed to be out to do actually, except change American diets which we probably all agree is a good thing.  Apparently they have an "agenda," which makes them exactly like every other person, organization or institution on earth, so I can't get too upset about that. 

They do, however, have a bent for melodrama which is more than annnoying, and are probably not fun people to be trapped next to at parties, which I find to be a moral failing.

Worse, though, perhaps, is that they're recycling their own material: they ripped the facade of Chinese (sorry -- Chinese-American) food back in 1993. 

That's the problem with these things.

I think it is safe to say that no one country or culture has a lock on healthy cuisine or unhealthy cuisine.

It's all good (and bad).

I would also venture that a lot of food in restaurants of all kinds all over the world can be accused of having too many calories or too much salt or whatever.

That said this so called report is not about fast food but rather restaurant food. They also say that they believe Italian and Mexican restaurant food are worse than Chinese Restaurant food.

In fact, Chinese cuisine as I understand it is incredible in its scope--this is a very large and diverse nation so it would seem to me to be difficult to stereotype thee "Chinese" cuisine.

Since this is dealing with chinese cuisine in some American restaurants then I wouldn't take it as a slap at what is served and eaten in China or even in all Chinese restaurants in America.

The linked piece is actually one of the tamer efforts by the CSPI.

Busboy--A little investigating will reveal that CSPI is about much more than just getting attention and disseminating information to consumers.

They are very aggressive with lawsuits and threats. They also rely upon studies that are often dubious in methodology and results and they do not have very many scientists on board.

Yes they have an agenda but they are pretty coy about it--that is what their real agenda is.

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XiaoLing:  I thought everyone was going Mediterranian cooking for a better way of life? :wink:

To get one's knickers twisted because the CSPI cited General Tso's rather than "authentic" cuisine (in all it's rgional variations etc.) is to miss the point: for the vast majority of Americans, General Tso's is "Chinese" food.  And the places that serve it aren't exactly serving up health food.  Whatever the CSPI is, it's not a culinary institute, they have no real obligation to engage in legalistic definitions of what is and what isn't Chinese food.  Their job is to reach people with a message that people can understand; taking offense over their use of the vernacular is bit absurd.

Unlike JohnL, I don't think the CSPI is a scary group of vegetarian-led anarchists out to -- I can't figure out that they're supposed to be out to do actually, except change American diets which we probably all agree is a good thing.  Apparently they have an "agenda," which makes them exactly like every other person, organization or institution on earth, so I can't get too upset about that. 

They do, however, have a bent for melodrama which is more than annnoying, and are probably not fun people to be trapped next to at parties, which I find to be a moral failing.

Worse, though, perhaps, is that they're recycling their own material: they ripped the facade of Chinese (sorry -- Chinese-American) food back in 1993. 

That's the problem with these things.

I think it is safe to say that no one country or culture has a lock on healthy cuisine or unhealthy cuisine.

It's all good (and bad).

I would also venture that a lot of food in restaurants of all kinds all over the world can be accused of having too many calories or too much salt or whatever.

That said this so called report is not about fast food but rather restaurant food. They also say that they believe Italian and Mexican restaurant food are worse than Chinese Restaurant food.

In fact, Chinese cuisine as I understand it is incredible in its scope--this is a very large and diverse nation so it would seem to me to be difficult to stereotype thee "Chinese" cuisine.

Since this is dealing with chinese cuisine in some American restaurants then I wouldn't take it as a slap at what is served and eaten in China or even in all Chinese restaurants in America.

The linked piece is actually one of the tamer efforts by the CSPI.

Busboy--A little investigating will reveal that CSPI is about much more than just getting attention and disseminating information to consumers.

They are very aggressive with lawsuits and threats. They also rely upon studies that are often dubious in methodology and results and they do not have very many scientists on board.

Yes they have an agenda but they are pretty coy about it--that is what their real agenda is.

You know, I never thought of press conferences and lawsuits as particularly coy tactics. I think the CSPI is pretty up-front: they hate everything and they're willing to sue people to get rid of it. Objectionable (depending on whose ox is being gored) but hardly secretive.

I don't have the background to analyze their science, but if you have a link to someone who has done so, I would surely click it. Calling something "junk science" is such a standard tactic here in my home town of Washington, DC, that I assume that the person using the phrase has no actual evidence on their side and has resorted to name calling.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Studies like this annoy me. I am angry that their point is taken as fact by so many. The sheeple don't look beyond the written word on the paper.

Maybe more annoying is when I read a headline that says "Studies now show ------". Previous evil foods are found not to be so evil -- in NEW studies. That's why I take all studies with a grain of salt. (oops -- salt is bad) I wouldn't be surprised that the use of soybean or peanut oil in Chinese cooking will have a study that says, "Studies now show that the use of blah blah oil in Chinese food ------"

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I think the "new" news is that the portion sizes in American Chinese restaurants haven't changed that much, and all of the previous warnings that CSPI raised in 1993 are still equally relevant.

Considering how typical American families order in US Chinese restaurants, it's not an unfair warning. An order of general tso's chicken and one of sweet and sour deep fried something or other and fried rice and and a token vegetable stir fry for a family of four may be a hideous-sounding choice, but it's not an atypical order.

It would be nice if the headline were more precise, indicating that this doesn't reflect traditional Chinese cooking, but how would you compress that into 7 or 8 words? It's partially the headline writers that are at fault, as with nearly every other study that gets mainstream news attention.

Considering the size of the plates that make it onto the table here, I would be surprised if the same family actually finished all four dishes in one sitting... In China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan I rarely see portions on the scale of what seems obligatory in suburban vinyl booth-filled "Chinese" restaurants. I sometimes forget that when I stray outside of my usual preferred spots in the Seattle area; the few places I usually go mostly tend to have more sane portions and let me order more variety.

The same is true for the kind of Mexican food typically served in US restaurants... CSPI is not making a mountain out of a molehill; they're making noise about the mountains of crap we consume. They're not trying to represent "traditional" cuisine but the restaurant fare Americans know.

Perhaps they have some obligation to clarify that they're not making the claim that Chinese are eating unhealthy food, but I think it was reasonably clear from the context, especially if you read their press release rather than a journalistic interpretation of it.

The sad thing is that "Chinese restaurant food" is so narrow in scope and so predictable in the US, and yet so foreign to most Chinese.

Considering the calorie count on the indicated dumplings... those must be some huge dumplings. I've seen some of those monstrosities in a thankfully defunct Bellevue Chinese restaurant and they were nearly inedible.

One fatal flaw in the actual CSPI recommendations is the advice to skip soups to reduce salt intake. Soups in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and even European cuisine, salty as they may be, help moderate appetite impulses, and I recall that another study several years back that indicated people who regularly eat soups consume fewer calories overall than those who don't. And nobody eats a "bowl" of such soups... 10 grams salt in a typical 150-200ml serving would be inedible, so there's no way the study represents proportions in terms of what people actually consume.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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XiaoLing:  I thought everyone was going Mediterranian cooking for a better way of life? :wink:

To get one's knickers twisted because the CSPI cited General Tso's rather than "authentic" cuisine (in all it's rgional variations etc.) is to miss the point: for the vast majority of Americans, General Tso's is "Chinese" food.  And the places that serve it aren't exactly serving up health food.  Whatever the CSPI is, it's not a culinary institute, they have no real obligation to engage in legalistic definitions of what is and what isn't Chinese food.  Their job is to reach people with a message that people can understand; taking offense over their use of the vernacular is bit absurd.

Unlike JohnL, I don't think the CSPI is a scary group of vegetarian-led anarchists out to -- I can't figure out that they're supposed to be out to do actually, except change American diets which we probably all agree is a good thing.  Apparently they have an "agenda," which makes them exactly like every other person, organization or institution on earth, so I can't get too upset about that. 

They do, however, have a bent for melodrama which is more than annnoying, and are probably not fun people to be trapped next to at parties, which I find to be a moral failing.

Worse, though, perhaps, is that they're recycling their own material: they ripped the facade of Chinese (sorry -- Chinese-American) food back in 1993. 

That's the problem with these things.

I think it is safe to say that no one country or culture has a lock on healthy cuisine or unhealthy cuisine.

It's all good (and bad).

I would also venture that a lot of food in restaurants of all kinds all over the world can be accused of having too many calories or too much salt or whatever.

That said this so called report is not about fast food but rather restaurant food. They also say that they believe Italian and Mexican restaurant food are worse than Chinese Restaurant food.

In fact, Chinese cuisine as I understand it is incredible in its scope--this is a very large and diverse nation so it would seem to me to be difficult to stereotype thee "Chinese" cuisine.

Since this is dealing with chinese cuisine in some American restaurants then I wouldn't take it as a slap at what is served and eaten in China or even in all Chinese restaurants in America.

The linked piece is actually one of the tamer efforts by the CSPI.

Busboy--A little investigating will reveal that CSPI is about much more than just getting attention and disseminating information to consumers.

They are very aggressive with lawsuits and threats. They also rely upon studies that are often dubious in methodology and results and they do not have very many scientists on board.

Yes they have an agenda but they are pretty coy about it--that is what their real agenda is.

You know, I never thought of press conferences and lawsuits as particularly coy tactics. I think the CSPI is pretty up-front: they hate everything and they're willing to sue people to get rid of it. Objectionable (depending on whose ox is being gored) but hardly secretive.

I don't have the background to analyze their science, but if you have a link to someone who has done so, I would surely click it. Calling something "junk science" is such a standard tactic here in my home town of Washington, DC, that I assume that the person using the phrase has no actual evidence on their side and has resorted to name calling.

OK

CSPI

MaryEngphd

CSPI-Reason magazine

Again, I do not think that CSPI is all bad. I do believe that what they say and do need to be looked at just as skeptically as anything the fast food industry says or does etc.

I do not believe that CSPI is merely interested in disseminating information to help consumers.

I also believe that their stated goals are not the end game for them. I carefully read their web site. I also am pretty good at reading between the lines.

The fact is, many media outlets do not challenge the CSPI and their studies and facts they present, falling for the sexy attention grabbing headlines.

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[snip]

Considering the size of the plates that make it onto the table here, I would be surprised if the same family actually finished all four dishes in one sitting... In China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan I rarely see portions on the scale of what seems obligatory in suburban vinyl booth-filled "Chinese" restaurants. I sometimes forget that when I stray outside of my usual preferred spots in the Seattle area; the few places I usually go mostly tend to have more sane portions and let me order more variety.

[snip]

Im not sure about portion sizes here in China anymore.....on Sunday we went out and got served a whole sucking lamb for four of us (and the waitresses weren't so surprised to see four people ordering one!! BTW, it was FABULOUS! Done in Shanxi style - with loads of cummin and fennel. Delicous!).

Then yesterday, we were checking out the new complex my SO and I just moved into and we decided to go for hotpot. Well, we just ordered ONE set meal plus a plate of mu-er and some lettuce between us....and it nearly defeated us. Between the fatty beef and the pork blood, it was pretty hefty particularly the portions (and all for just 38RMB)! I was watching other people eating and was thinking.....how the heck do they stay so slim?!?!? I've only been back for a couple of months and I really, really need to join a gym! :sad:

The portions really do seem rather large here to me - at least comparable to the ones in Canada...

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Where in China are you, Fengyi?

I went to China 5 years ago and I noticed that things in the major cities (I did the Ritz tour so it was all the major "must see" cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Huangzhou, Suzhou, Xian, Guilin and HK) the portions were smaller than what we have on the East Cost in the US but the food in the northern parts were much greaiser than what I was accustomed to eating.

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Where in China are you, Fengyi?

I went to China 5 years ago and I noticed that things in the major cities (I did the Ritz tour so it was all the major "must see" cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Huangzhou, Suzhou, Xian, Guilin and HK) the portions were smaller than what we have on the East Cost in the US but the food in the northern parts were much greaiser than what I was accustomed to eating.

I'm in Beijing. I've noticed over the last ten years portions getting bigger here (or maybe it's just my inability to eat as much :biggrin: ). It's gotten less greasy in the good restaurants, though. Home-style places still do a lot of grease (had lunch in one today and the eggplants were swimming away in it!).

Mind you, we went out last night to a Taiwan-style restaurant and the portions were smaller (except for the huge shaved ice desserts), but it was not greasy at all!

I would also add (andi hope it wasn't true for you!!) that, in my limited experience of Chinese tours, they take you to some really bad restaurants. But also, Beijing has changed terrifically in five years - particularly on the eating (and construction) side of things. The restaurant side really has improved!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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