All Women's Talk

7 Hidden Sources of Salt and Fat in Chinese Food ...

By Eliza

Who doesn’t love to get Chinese takeout for dinner? I know I do! It’s so easy and there’s no cleanup. Also, it tastes really good! However, as we all know, eating out isn’t always the healthiest choice since so much of what you find on restaurant menus is loaded with fat, calories, salt or sugar. Chinese food is no exception. There are many hidden sources of salt and fat in Chinese food. Go ahead and enjoy it now and then, but be sure to balance it out by making healthier choices for the rest of the day.

1 Soy Sauce

Soy SauceTrue, soy sauce is fat free, but it is loaded with salt. Even if you forgo it for your fried rice, many of the sauces used to give Chinese entrees flavor contain some amount of soy sauce. It pays to know what you’re eating so that you are making the best choices for your health. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure.

2 Oil

OilIf you’ve ever seen a Chinese food meal, you’ve probably seen the shimmer from being cooked in oil. However, even if you can’t see it, oil is used in many of the things you can’t see it in. Fried rice (hence the name) is usually cooked in oil and many of the meats in your meal are grilled or fried with oil before being combined with the other ingredients. The bottom line here is that there is probably a lot more oil in your meal than you might expect.


MSGYou’ve probably heard some of the hype about how bad MSG is for you. It’s a substance that’s used to enhance the flavors in your Chinese food meal. It’s very salty though, which can rocket the sodium content of your entrée through the roof. Combined with the salt in the other ingredients and you are taking in quite a bit of sodium. Look for restaurants that cook without using MSG.

4 Fatty Cuts of Meat

Fatty Cuts of MeatEven if it appears lean, the meats that are usually in Chinese food meals are pretty fatty. That’s how the restaurants can serve their food for such an affordable price. The steak and pork are often fatty and in many cases dark meat chicken in used instead of the breast meat. It’s fine to enjoy it, but do so in moderation.

5 Soup

SoupI love egg drop and wonton soup, but soup is notorious for being high in salt. If you slurp a bowl of soup with your meal, you are probably really overdoing it. Most soups you can order from a Chinese restaurant also have a lot of oil in them, so they are not as low-fat as you might think.

6 Tempura Foods

Tempura FoodsOften, you’ll see tempura veggies on a takeout menu. If you’re watching your fat intake, avoid them like the plague. Tempura is fried, no matter what it is, so it’s full of fat and calories. Sure, you still get some of the nutrients that the veggies have to offer, but that’s quickly cancelled out by the fat in the deep frying and the breading on the food.

7 Chop Suey

Chop SueyIt sounds virtuous enough, right? Chop suey is basically stir-fried veggies and meat. However, more oil than is necessary is used because the Chinese chefs want the meal to be full of flavor. In addition, some chop suey has meat in it, which ups the fat and calorie intake considerably. Have sweet and sour entrees instead.

What’s your favorite thing to order from a Chinese restaurant? I love Mongolian beef and Kung Pao chicken! Will your order differently now that you’ve read this?

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