Sorry, but that's a trick question. It's not the Chinese food per se, but something they put IN the Chinese food that's packing on your poundage.
The flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), most often associated with Chinese food and after-dinner headaches, may also be expanding your horizons (for your waistline, anyway), according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese.
Is that just because you're porking down more Hunan Pork?
Actually not. The link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.
What did they do in this study?
In the latest research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, He and his colleagues followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average.
The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate. They also asked people to estimate their intake over three 24-hour periods.
Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who ate the least amount of the flavoring (less than a half-gram a day), the researchers found. After excluding people who were overweight at the start of the study, the risk rose to 33 percent.
MSG may be ONE element in our expanding horizons, but it's not the only one. In fact, Americans' typical daily intake of MSG is estimated to be only about half a gram, whereas estimates for Japan and Korea put average intakes anywhere between a gram-and-a-half and 10 grams a day.
Maybe it's the combination of this chemical in your diet, that goes into your head and kills brain cells by exciting them to death, plus our gargantuan portions that's doing it. But whatever. MSG is a GREAT thing in exclude from your diet.