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Unhealthy, not Environment-friendly Chinese Food i

Published:2016/7/29 11:55:54

Recent years, Chinese food has provoked severe discussions.
Because of healthy danger and environment pollution, Chinese food has provoked controversy.
Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina published an article in “Healthy Affairs”, which showed that by 2008, 25% of adults in China had the problem of overweight or obesity. Though this percentage is lower than that in Egypt, Mexico, Britain and U.S, the annual growth between 1998 and 2008 is 1.2%, higher than most countries. Nevertheless, the problem of children is worse than that of adults.  According to “2004—2007 Joint Investigation of Physical Quality of People in China and Japan”, the research about overweight and obesity comparing people of Shanghai with people of Japan shows that the overweight rate of people aged from 20 to 74 in Shanghai is higher than that of Tokyo.
The waistline and weight of Chinese people has increased remarkably. The reason varies, but it’s undeniable that eating habit must be one of the factors.
On the other hand, early in this year, an event in a university in U.S is about a fight between two male roommates, the reason is the strong smoke when the Chinese student cooks. Not long before, a government official mentioned the cooking habit of Chinese people when introducing “the Beijing Clean Air Initiative”. The official considered the cooking habit as a critical factor affecting the air quality, which aroused controversy.
Chinese food has been discussing increasingly about its health. No matter the nutrition or the cooking way, Chinese food is considered as not environment-protected.
Why is some Chinese dishes junk food?
Junk food is just a nickname given by folks, and is not defined by nutriology. Junk Food is the food which only provides calories or provides some nutrition more than human needs.
Even if there is no definition of “Junk Food”, most government organizations and NGOs including WHO and FDA think that eating too much junk food could lead to overweight. A lot of research has proved that junk food contains much fat and calories which could lead to obesity, dental caries, viscera cancer, and increase the rate of type-2 diabetes and heart attack. Additionally, because of lacking vitamins and dietary fiber, junk food could lower the take-in of the nutrition.
Junk food starts from the west, but the Chinese food with high oil, salt and amyloid also belongs to junk food. Junk food that people are familiar with includes hamburger, pizza, candy, soda, fructose drinks, chips, French fries and curing food. Because these kinds of junk food are usually offered by fast food industry, people associate junk food with fast food restaurants.
If people define junk food by standards of only calories and overcapacity of human needs in some nutrition, most common Chinese food will be included. The harm of fast food is not due to it’s from the west, but due to its monotonous nutrition and poisonous and harmful substance generated by high temperature processing. However, the Chinese food cooked by methods like decoct, fry, roast, dry, stir fry are no better than the fast food.
Nevertheless, Chinese people would like to label the fast food as high calories and cholesterol, but seldom measure Chinese food with the same standards. The ignorance of measuring Chinese food with these two indexes makes Chinese food look healthy. Take some common Chinese food as example, only in terms of calories; Chinese food is no better than junk food. Sausage and the food like sausage contain 283 kilocalories in 100 grams, which equals to six chicken nuggets (286 kilocalories). Food like Dongpo Pork has 534 kilocalories in 100 grams, which equals to 10 chicken nuggets or a large pack of French fries. Even boiled chicken and dumplings still have nearly 200 kilocalories in 100 grams, 20 pork dumplings will have 800 kilocalories. Dishes like rice cake, glutinous rice balls, sweet and sour spare ribs, steamed pork with preserved vegetable contain more calories than fast food. Some customer institutions in the west have warned about the unhealthy risks of some “Chinese junk food”.
With the spread of Chinese food to the west, junk food in Chinese food arouses the attention of people in the west. Early in 2007, a report published by Center for Science in the Public Interest of U.S has warned the western people who are in favor of Chinese food that Chinese food contains high calories and should be eaten in a proper manner. Lieberman, chief researcher of its nutrition center, explains that although Chinese dishes have many kinds of vegetable, it does not mean they are healthy. A dish of stir-fried vegetable has 900 kilocalories and 2200 mg sodium. This result surprises many people, because it is widely considered that vegetables have lower calories, but overuse of oil and salt makes vegetables have more calories than even that of fried food. Moreover, some delicacies have a great deal of calories as well. 6 pork dumplings equal 500 calories, the same with that of fried food. In 2010, a similar report published in Britain revealed that if one chose a common size of Chinese takeout made by the way of decocting, frying or stir-frying, he or she will take in about 2823 kilocalories which equals a glass of fat. Chinese takeout made by common ways have 1500 kilocalories as well.
Many Chinese dishes tend to junk food, which draws attention of Chinese people to the healthy problems.
Traditional Chinese food prefers to use oil and sauces because of lacking animal materials.
Different from food in the west, traditional Chinese food is considered as healthier than food in the west for its little use of animal materials. However, it results in the habit of using oil and sauces.
“No western food without meat, no Chinese food without oil”, said by Bian Huawei, director of nutrition department of the third affiliated hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. He stated that Chinese food massively used cooking oil. Either way of cooking Chinese food needs oil more or less, even with steamed food, sauces with oil will be used after steaming, such as steamed fish in Guangzhou. Cold dishes also need oil to make them taste better.  In addition, cooking vegetables usually need to put in oil twice, before putting in and taking out of vegetables. Some desserts processed with oil contain much fat, such as baked cake, scallion cake, deep-fried dough sticks and fried steamed bun.
According to the Investigation Report of Residents’ Nutrition and Health in China delivered by Ministry of Health of P.R.C, urban residents take in 85.5g fat on average every day, over half(44g) of which is from cooking oil. The situation of salt and sauces is similar, average amount of sodium that Chinese people take in is far more than it’s recommended.
This traditional cooking habit with meat makes Chinese food overload with nutrition.
Nowadays, with the enrichment of materials, Chinese people are easy to get animal materials for food, and the cooking habit remains the same. A research of Harvard in 2009 indicated that taking in too much high-calorie food would trigger a nerve reaction like addiction, which would impede dopamine releasing. In other words, the more high-calorie food, the more dopamine people need to have the same satisfaction. The mechanism is the same with drug addiction and obesity.
This physical reaction explains why many restaurants have to increase the nutrition of their food to satisfy customers’ need. According to Health News in 2010, an investigation concerning eating habits in restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou implied that the dietary structure of individuals eating in restaurants is very unhealthy. The main presentations are that little cereal and more meat are taking in, the amount of calories, fat and sodium is higher than it’s recommended. As a result, the energy provided by fat takes proportion of 47%, higher than the standard— less than 30%, and the carbohydrate contributes only 29% of the energy, lower than the standard—55%-65%.
Nevertheless, the features of Chinese food add more bad effects.
Eating all together and the symbol of different dishes exacerbate the overeating habit of Chinese people.
One feature of Chinese food is that all people eat together. Besides the sanitation problem, another bad effect is that folks tend to eat too much. For western food including fast food, the food is distributed to each person in a certain amount, and everybody could calculate how much one should eat. However, it’s not suitable for Chinese food. The conflict of these two different eating habits often makes Chinese students abroad feel not enough when eating western food. A report in New York Times shows the description of Turkey by a Chinese student: the Turkey was only toasted and cut into slices. We had it with sauces, which tasted just so-so. I ate it with salad and bread in order to make myself full at 7 p.m. At 10 p.m. I had to eat some snacks like fried chicken wings, pizza, donuts, and ice cream.
Moreover, in Chinese culture, food stands for more than food itself. For instance, dishes like tofu mixed with chopped green onion and fried egg with tomatoes are seen as common food and “civilian food”, which are always eaten at home. However, dishes like shark’s fin, birds’ nest, chicken and duck, fish and meat are seen as noble ones, which could show one’s status in the society. In the west society, food is just food, no other meanings. Beef steak could serve with potatoes or sweet potatoes. This pursuit of food meaning makes Chinese people chase after the food with high calories and fat.
It grows the risks of heart attack and cancer that chasing after high-cholesterol food materials like mammal meat and internal organs of animals.
In addition, the favor of pork and internal organs of animals makes Chinese people unhealthy. According to Harvard Public Health School, early death has something to do with eating mammal meat. Mammal meat particularly will increase the risks of heart attack, colorectal cancer and other cancers.
Cooking with high-heat undermines the nutrition of Chinese food and does not protect the environment.
Chinese food prefers the high-heat, especially “stir-fried”, but this way of cooking is easy to make food lose nutrition and large amount of vitamins. According to Food Safety Center of Hong Kong, stir-fried with high-heat would create a substance which seems like acrylamide that leads to cancer, for potatoes and vegetables in particular.
According to WHO, the pollution of air indoor comes from cooking smoke. Many epidemic research in China mainland, Taiwan and Singapore show that exposure in the cooking smoke has much to do with lung cancer of female who do not smoke. Furthermore, pollution generated by cooking smoke accounts for 15%-20% of the PM 2.5 in Beijing city, said Wang Yuesi, a researcher of Chinese Academy of Science on cause and control of dust-haze.
Conclusion: the flavor of Chinese food is the pride of most Chinese people, but the unhealthy risks should also draw much attention.


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