Why Chinese Food May Be Worse Than McDonald’s

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

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  • you’ll NEVER make me stop eating chinese food NEVER! i dont care if you tell me theres dog meat in it i’ll still eat!!! yummy yummy chinese. i can eat all the time and never get fat! rice chicken n noodles cant be that bad. seriously. and who would eat enough to get you fat? dont you only eat it a few times a month or LESS?!

  • OK, there is no comparison to the real world here. What is in the recipe and what quantities are you talking about? Good headline, useless information.

  • Well, it could be that people who ate more MSG also ate more food and thus gained more weight. It doesn’t necessarily show that those people were eating dishes that had been seasoned with significantly more MSG.

    Also, with the listing of calories on an order — the Chinese family style of eating is such that a few dishes are ordered and everyone around the table SHARES the dishes, while they each hold their own bowls of rice. Of course, you’ll get a lot of calories if you keep an entire ordered dish to yourself and don’t SHARE it among your dining companions.

  • those are not authentic chinese food. Those are americanized garbage. chinese food is worst than macdonald is a ridiculous idea. The author should open his eyes and looks at the “size” difference between an average american and an average chinese.

  • If the Chinese food you are eating comes from Panda, I agree that it’s bad for you. Real Chinese food is not like that but is actually low sodium, not greasy and filled with fresh vegetables.

  • Good point Bettina. *REAL* Chinese foods, use just enough oil to stir fry, and is based around fresh vegetables, leafy greens, fresh ginger, scallions, garlic, and small amounts of seafood and meats. It is a very healthy cuisine, but rare in America, outside of major “Chinatown areas.” The slop they serve Americans, is vile, oily, poison, and has nothing at all to do with true Chinese food. It’s not just Panda, 96% of “Chinese restaurants serve this vile garbage, since most Americans do not know any better. Not only is real Chinese food ten times healthier, it tastes ten times better as well!

  • This was dumb- “Recent research suggests MSG may trigger headaches.” People have known this for the last 40 or 50 years.

  • Even though a person may appear skinny does not always mean their body can handle it or that they are healthy. I feel like our younger generations are becoming mutated to actually begin to digest this sh** properly. Western countries have trained their taste buds to like crap food. If only you appreciated your body a bit more… @nikitty20

  • These foods are not traditional Chinese food they are the crap cooked in restaurants in foreign countries to suit the local (bad) tastes -Chinese & other Asian foods are healthy unlike McDeaths .

  • what you know as “Chinese Food” isn’t chinese, it’s made to suit your needs .. an example “panda express” LOL

  • MSG is in ALL fast foods not just Chinese.

    MSG’s many disguises (they change the name each time the public becomes aware of the connection to MSG)

    • monopotassium glutamate

    • glutavene

    • glutacyl

    • glutamic acid

    • autolyzed yeast extract

    • calcium caseinate

    • sodium caseinate

    • E621 (E620-625 are all glutamates)

    • Ajinomoto, Ac’cent

    • Gourmet Powder

    * Hydrolyzed Vegetable protein

    * Hydrolyzed Oat Flour

    * Textured Vegetable Protein

    * Plant protein extract

    * Yeast extract

    Read and learn more —

    MSG linked to Compulsive Eating / Obesity, ADD & HADD, and Diabetes


    MSG: Is This Silent Killer Lurking in Your Kitchen Cabinets?


  • Simone Walters isn’t a real journalist or food critic. I don’t see how he should publish this article on the web since he is culturally incompetent and lacks knowledge in the food industry.

  • Simone Walters isn’t a real journalist or food critic. I don’t see how he should publish this article on the web since he is culturally incompetent and lacks knowledge in the food industry.

  • Actually, MSG enhances flavor and causes over-eating. That’s why you don’t just eat a potato chip, you eat the whole bag.

  • A lot of the Chinese food sold in the US is not real Chinese food, just contrived crap tailored for the American market. Original cuisine had much less meat and smaller portions. That is why Chinese of yesteryear had no weight problem, but today obesity and type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing disease in China: because they are westernizing Chinese dishes by making them larger, more caloric, loaded with sugars and salts. And on top of that an increase in western fast food as well. So don’t blame Chinese diet, blame the bastardization of it.

  • @chower wow, this was something I always assumed but never really knew, back of my mind whenever I got a takeaway is “do they really eat this?” It’s crazy how calorific some of this stuff is, so much sugar in the sauces I think.

  • This article must be written by someone who had run an unsuccessful fast food store or western food. Why do you think only Chinese foods contain MSG? The burgers and hotdogs that you eat, has more MSG and other chemicals in them than Chinese foods. Chinese foods traditionally, packs more nutriient than your unhealthy fat laden Western food. Why only bashed the Chinese food?

    Probably the type of Chinese foods that you get over there, are not genuine Chinese foods, because it had been modified to suit your bad taste that are so use to eating all sorts of chemicals in the first place. Your so call research are make of crabs anyway.

  • This may be one of the worst cited and researched articles I’ve seen in quite some time; it makes no more sense to say “Kung Pao Chicken” and give a single calorie number than it does to say “hamburger” and give a single calorie number.

  • @chongcarol_8

    “Probably the type of Chinese foods that you get over there, are not genuine Chinese foods…”

    Considering dishes listed like General Tso’s Chicken (左宗棠) were invented by a Chinese Americans (in New York in that case), they are obviously referring to American Chinese dishes. This isn’t intended for visiters to China.

  • Has the author even been to China to sample at least the 15 different local varieties of cuisine. The name “Chinese Food” should be called “American Chinese ” food. The Chinese owners of these take-outs and restaurants are here in this counjtry to make a living to cater to American tastes. The real connoiseur would only go to to a reputable Chinese restaurant to sample “real” Chinese food. I pity you!

  • @afeed10

    I assume your sentence “visitors to China” actually meant “visitors from China”? So sorry to tell you that although I may bear a Chinese name, and is of Chinese descent, I am not from China. The Chinese dishes that I got in the country where I’m from and now resides is definitely 100 times better, than those American Chinese restaurant food that had been modified to suit the “white man’s” tastes. This was a testamony from a white lady friend of mine, who told me nothing in their home country came close to what we have here.

  • There is an interesting article on Wikipedia on the history of “American Chinese Food.” As far back as the 1800s, Chinese cooks and chefs in California(where most US Asians lived in those days), created “a new style” food for American customers. This was not done at the request of the customers, who knew little about the cuisine, but rather the chefs considered Americans as so foreign and alien to Chinese culture, that they could not possibly enjoy the native cuisine.

    So they created a bunch of weird, B.S., that has little to do with real Chinese Cuisine, and the Americans lapped it up. (Not knowing any better) Now that people have more knowledge of health, calories, natural foods, more people are curious to try the “real stuff.” Which is ten times healthier, and tastes better too. You won’t go back to the American-Chinese garbage, once you try real Chinese food. See article- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_chinese_cuisine

  • MSG indeed is unhealthy, but if it is worse than McDonald is doubtful. Most food in prominent list are not popular in china. Instead, they are cater to American flavor preferences.

  • @chongcarol_8

    Your use of the term “white man”. This may be repulsive to someone, on two counts:”

    1. White? Amerians are in all shades of skin color

    2. Man? Americans are in all ages and gender

    One has to be very carefful in choosing words.

  • MSG is a traditional seasoning made from dried seaweed. it has a savory taste that is rare in nature. It isn’t some cold war era chemical weapon. But it is a food stuff unknown in western cooking. It is every bit as dangerous as salt. The hype about MSG is more about cultural prejudice than health. I’ve got a shaker of it in my cupboard and use it often. Sparingly but often.

    McDonalds on the other hand, is arguably not even food. it is all made out of the same processed industrial food waste, I know this from first hand experience. when i eat it, my body desperately want to expel it as quickly as possible. It’s poison. By the way, a hamburger won’t even rot, even bacteria and mold won’t touch the stuff BECAUSE IT”S NOT FOOD!

  • I’m aware that of course there are many races with different skin colours in America, but why is it that America like to portry its own image through Hollywood through 90% white actors and actresses? You tell me? does it mean even until now Americans (who has the white majority) still see themselves as a country for the white men?

    Secondly, the word “man”, if yoy really know your English well. the word “man’ can also be used as a transgender term, meaning it can be used for male and female, denoting human kind. Please improve on your understanding on English before making comments.

  • I’m aware that of course there are many races with different skin colours in America, but why is it that America like to portry its own image through Hollywood through 90% white actors and actresses? You tell me? does it mean even until now Americans (who has the white majority) still see themselves as a country for the white men?

    Secondly, the word “man”, if yoy really know your English well. the word “man’ can also be used as a transgender term, meaning it can be used for male and female, denoting human kind. Please improve on your understanding on English before making comments.

  • @tyangocala

    I’m aware that America consists of many different races with different skin colours. But why does Hollywood still consists of 95% white actors and actresses, Why it did not accept more Asian actors and actresses to portray its “real” image? Does it mean it still look at itself as a country for the whites (as the majority)?

    Secondly, the word “man” is a term for both male and female as well, denoting mankind. If you known your English well, you should know that. By forcibly putting the meaning of the word “man” as only for male is not really correct. Learn to improve your English before making any comments.

  • I think this article is referring to American style Chinese food, which is different than real Chinese food. I spent 3 weeks in China eating nothing but Chinese food (What do they call Chinese food in China? Food) and their menus rarely even include what Americans believe is typical Chinese dishes, like the ones mentioned above. Good Chinese food is not deep fried, uses meat sparingly (mostly vegetable based foods) and includes more fish dishes than we see in America. I can tell you this: Once I got back here and started eating American Food (called Western Food in China), I could feel the “heaviness” of it. Good Chinese food is made with many ingredients, its more balanced and somehow seems to digest better. The Chinese stuff most Americans eat is greasy and sweetened. Don’t compare it to real Chinese food.

  • Anybody read the research this article referring? Click the link in this article and see it.

    That research is inconclusive as said by the researcher, because the researcher couldn’t get accurate measure of the MSG.

    This article is a cook.

  • @Lovey

    Seriously, whenever I think of a nationa of obese people. I thought of Americans or westerners who has a hotdog in one hand and a hamburger in the other. And they are disgustingly obese. (eye roll)

  • Please mind your language, no foul words here. The fact of the existence of this article shows that the writer and whoever who agrees with the things he wrote is a racist. My respond is towards a racists article. Read and understand first before using any foul language here. That really shows the lack of good teaching for those who use foul language.

  • Chongcarol is a RACIST!!! And she is a CHINESE COMMUNIST TROLL!!! Everyone know that the Chinese million man army is about world domination through economics, not military, and they have invested in millions of internet trolls like chongcarol_8 to make stupid comments like hers. Talk to a typical chinese middle school student- they will tell you that americans eat hamburgers every day- which is to stereotype americans with very poor understanding of the diversity of this country. This is typical communist brainwashing and propaganda. All students grow up being taught this hogwash so that they will be loyal to their communist governmnt rather than have an open mind about democracy. Admit it CONGCAROL_8, you are a CARD CARRYING CCP MEMBER!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHHA hei yanjing xiao bizi de zhongguo guizi!!! HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  • I think the article and comments miss the point. Pretty much any foreign food is healthy compared to American food, because american food is commercialized. In Europe, where the “white man” came from, a much healthier diet is consumed. In Africa, a much healthier diet is consumed. In South America, a much healthier diet is consumed. And in Japan, the diet is even healthier than China. Japan has some of the world’s longest lived people. The great thing about America is that you have the freedom and choice to eat whatever you want. In China, until recently, you couldn’t get a good baby back rib or t-bone steak. In India, they have wonderful curries and vegetable dishes but try finding an In N Out burger, shake and fries?!! Most Americans don’t realize how good Chinese food is because we have a proliferation of these stupid fukienese restaurants that all seem to sell the exact same crap from the same chinese vendors that for some stupid reason think that all americans like it. If the average American had access to the type of restaurants that are in LA’s rowland heights area, for example, they would never go back to eating that mush again and would demand better.

  • @feizhigao I agree 🙂 But I don’t think we should make assumptions about any culture/race. I am American and I NEVER eat fast food.

  • So is your friend Lovey an asshole too, as she/he was the one who started shooting first? You Americans are nothing except hypocrite assholes!!!

  • @feizhigao

    So what about what your friend Lovey had said? It seems you are totally silent over the “offensive” and “racist” stuff she/he wrote there? If you are truly a champion of anti-racist, you would have said the same thing about her. In fact, I think you should shoot her instead of shooting me. This all shows the real person who are the REAL RACISTS is YOU!!! no others

    If this article were an article that criticises American food, you would have jump from your seat and said that it is racists, but you did not, you only said that this article is off mark. That is because it is not criticising American food.

    Who is the REAL RACISTS here? none other than feizhigao.

  • consider taking ESL lessons to understand what Lovey was trying to say.

    Let me help you – She/he was using SARCASM to diss the article.

    Further elaboration -> she DID NOT agree with the articles seemingly underlying insinuations, if there were any…

  • @chongcarol_8@tyangocala Yes, I hate say this, but the Asian Chinese actor has no talent or skill, like the American actor. That why you never find in Hollywood. USA was created for the White People. I know this is a sad thing of the history, but it also true. Modern China has many obese and fat now,, since the diet change, to imitate the diet of the White America. Please dont post a racism here. This forum studied food, not politic.

  • Oh, what a shocking truth! Chinese foods are not good to eat actually they are fond of using MSG when they cook that particular foods, it taste good but it has a large amount of MSG which truly gains weight. I don’t eat Chinese foods, I naturally eat healthy foods.

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  • Chinese foods are all delicious and tasty but each food contains Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) which really gains weight. I’m not shock about that info because I already know it, McDonalds is good but they also use MSG I’m sure of that.

  • To be honest .. the “Chinese” food you guys have at your Panda Express and take aways , aren’t REALLY Chinese food :PThey’re HEAVILY altered for the western taste buds. Fried pork dipped in tomato sauce???Spring rolls??Beef udon??I don’t even know if I have even 1 serving of those in a month.

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