At first glance, the American concept of Asian food would seem to be extremely healthy — stir-fry dishes are like a healthy salad that’s simply been cooked. It’s clearly possible to make or find very healthy Asian food.
The theme is much the same with Asian food as with other ethnic cuisines — it’s what gets added that can make the most difference. With Asian foods it’s often the sauces that add fat and sodium in amounts that are inconsistent with healthy eating.
Soy sauce is extremely high in sodium, but so is miso, teriyaki, oyster, and black bean sauces. Remember, excess dietary sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure. Some Asian sauces are high in fat as well, and some include added sugar.
While stir frying is an especially healthy was to cook, many Asian foods are deep fried, which adds fat, often to otherwise low-fat foods. Eggrolls would be an example most people know, but some meat dishes like General Tsao’s chicken include deep-fried food.
The generosity shown by your favorite Chinese restaurant with the giant pail of rice which accompanies every order may lead you to suspect that carbohydrates could be a concern in enjoying Asian cuisine — you would be correct.
A 1-carb-choice portion of white rice is 1/3 cup, and that paper bucket could easily offer you ten or more servings. Plus, Asian food generally highlights white rice, which is no longer a whole grain.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 found that replacing white rice with brown rice was associated with a 16 percent reduction in developing type 2 diabetes. Exercising some discipline with rice when you’re dining Asian can help keep your blood glucose in check.