When you want Chinese takeout, nothing else will do. The arrival of those duck pancakes, sesame chicken and hot and crispy egg rolls is practically ceremonial to a proper Saturday night staying in. But while we enjoy full chopstick after chopstick of these saucy specialities, we should consider what we’re actually putting in our bodies.
Since Chinese takeout doesn’t come with nutrition information printed on the packaging, it’s easy to ignore the makeup of what’s inside. New information from watchdog group Action for Salt will, unfortunately, change that wonderful ignorance for us all.
More than 150 Chinese dishes from six different London Chinatown restaurants were analyzed for the report, and the results were not good.
The BBC reported that Action for Salt found 58% of the entree options contain about half of an the American Heart Association‘s recommended maximum daily 2,300 milligrams (msg) for adults. (Ideally adults will limit intake to about 1,500 mg per day.)
But it gets much worse.
Some dishes were found to have as much as five times more salt than a McDonald’s Big Mac (950 mg) — quick math — that makes for 4,750 in one single serving!
Beef in black bean sauce was the worse offender. Other rice/noodle dishes also showed shameful amounts of sodium.
Adding sides and sauces also dramatically increase salt intake. Soy sauce is a shocking five times saltier than seawater. Other sauces like chill sauce and plum sauce are high in salt as well.
Even adding a serving of egg fried rice isn’t safe. You could be adding between 5.3g and 2.3g of salt to your meal.
Sweet and sour dishes tended to have the least salt. Prawn crackers and vegetable spring (0.8 g) rolls ranged from 0.8 to 1.4 grams of salt.
Too much salt raises blood pressure and can put you at risk for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Controlling your sodium doesn’t have to mean skipping out on takeout. Be specific about how you order. Some restaurants will reduce the salt used in preparation of your meal. Never add salt, of course. And remember portion control. If you’ve ordered in, that’s easy! Fill up on a fresh salad or fruit before your delivery arrives and save half of the package (or more) for another day.
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