Many items on a typical Chinese food restaurant menu are more than 1,000 calories. That’s half your caloric intake per day in just one meal. According to a recently published study, MSG (monosodium glutamate), a flavor enhancer most often associated with Chinese food, may also contribute to weight gain. The study measured the dietary MSG intake of 10,095 Chinese adults in order to determine if there was an association between MSG intake and obesity. The study found that participants who consumed the most MSG were 28 percent more likely to be overweight compared to those who consumed the least amount of MSG.
It is not entirely clear why higher consumption of MSG is associated with weight gain. However, the authors suspect that over time MSG intake prevents brain cells from responding to leptin. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite and when brain cells no longer respond to it, this may lead to excess energy intake and weight gain. Need another reason to cut back on the MSG in your diet? Recent research suggests MSG may trigger headaches.
At this time however, there is no definitive proof that MSG causes weight gain or any other adverse effect. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS). As a food additive and flavor enhancer, you will probably find MSG mostly in flavored processed foods, such as snack foods and soups. So check the ingredients list when you shop and try to cut back on the processed foods you eat.
Highest Calorie Chinese Foods That May Surprise You
All information below is taken from a piece called “Wok Carefully” written by Jayne Hurley and Bonnie Lieberman. Here is what they found:
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce: Calories: 1,000 Sat Fat: 13 grams Sodium: 2,000 mg
Tofu and Mixed Vegetables: Calories: 900 Sat Fat: 9 grams Sodium: 2,200 mg
Lemon Chicken: Calories: 1,400 Sat Fat: 13 grams Sodium: 700 mg
Kung Pao Chicken: Calories: 1,400 Sat Fat: 13 grams Sodium: 2,600 mg
General Tso’s Chicken: Calories: 1,300 Sat Fat: 11 grams Sodium: 3,200 mg
Orange Crispy Beef: Calories: 1,500 Sat Fat: 11 grams Sodium: 3,100 mg Orange (or Crispy)
MU SHU PORK Calories: 1,000 Sat Fat: 13 grams Sodium: 2,600 mg
Sweet & Sour Pork: Calories: 1,300 Sat Fat: 13 grams Sodium: 800 mg
Combination (House) Fried Rice: Calories: 1,500 Sat Fat: 10 grams Sodium: 2,700 mg
Chow Mein with Soft Noodles: Calories: 1,200 Sat Fat: 9 grams Sodium: 3,600 mg