Friday, January 21, 2011

Does Chinese Food Leave You Empty?

You know what they say about eating Chinese food?  That you'll be hungry an hour later.  Well, this is an actual fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie.  I'd say someone had quite the sense of humor.

But seriously, haven't you wondered why?  You eat and eat until you can't stuff any more in, and in a short time you are feeling munchy again. 

Here are several theories regarding this widely experienced phenomenon.
  • MSG acts as an appetite stimulate, so you may feel hungry shortly after eating.
  • Carbs, especially those with a high glycemic index, makes you feel full but they digest faster than vegetables and do not keep you full as long.
  • Chinese meals tend to be less rich in fat than what our bodies consider the norm.  Since it takes fats longer to move through the digestive system than carbs, a less fatty meal will leave you feeling hungry sooner. 
Do any of these theories hold water, or are we just programmed by years of hearing the phrase "you will be hungry again in one hour", leaving us with that expectation?
    Does this happen to you?  What are some of your favorite Chinese dishes?


    1. I don't eat a lot of Chinese food, but I have to admit that I never noticed the hunger after...but maybe because when I do eat it, I eat way too much - lol!

    2. Well, that makes a lot of sense. I don't eat it that often, but next time I do I'll order a high-fat dessert! ;)

    3. I really don't love Chinese food, except dim sum. I love dim sum and have it at least 3 times a month. But it never leaves me hungry even an hour later!

    4. Is it something to do with energy from rice being released faster than other starches? I haven't had chinese food for a long time.

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    5. Hi Linda .. you're right .. it does seem to - I haven't had a Chinese meal for ages. I quite like it - but thought it was very fatty - which you say it isn't ...

      I love sweet and sour (no surprise there) & peking duck, and wontons or similar ..

      Perhaps we should spread the meal over longer ..

      Cheers Hilary

    6. I don't usually feel hungry for several hours after eating chinese but I usually get dishes that are heavy on meat and veggies and I skip the rice so maybe that has something to with it.

    7. Talon- I eat it only occasionally, and I never noticed the hunger either. I guess it depends on your menu choices.

      injaynesworld- Chocolate or cheesecake? I like lighter desserts - I'd go for key lime!

      Linda- I've never been to a dim sum place. I think it would be interesting, but there aren't any in our town. We do have a lot of Chinese restaurants, though. Our favorite closed a few years ago, so we don't eat it very often.

      Anji- Your guess is as good as mine on that. I wondered about the reason behind the saying so I looked up, and most sources say the same thing - carbs are a big factor.

      Hilary- My thought is that Chinese food is fattening. One chain restaurant has there menu and calories count on-line. You can eat your daily allowance in one meal if you're not careful. I guess it depends on the dish.

      Jen- Now fried rice is one of my favorite parts of a Chinese meal, then the meat. Many veggies are too "crisp" for my taste, so I usually avoid them. This equals the Chinese version of a meat and taters meal.

    8. I love Chinese food but have never noticed that saying to be true. I'm never into the leftovers until the next day.

    9. Hilary- I don't have that problem either, but I hear a lot people say they do. Could be that's what we've heard so much, we've come to expect it?


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