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What is a Chinese Diet?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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The Chinese diet is one that consists of low fat and fresh foods. While the Western world may perceive the Chinese diet as consisting of fried foods that are laden with salt and sugar, this is a misconception. In fact, most people who live in China consume a diet full of healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

Western Chinese food is drastically different from the food that is part of the Chinese diet. Seasonal food is important to Chinese cuisine, since food that is not in season is not readily available. When cooked, seasonal foods are frequently sauteed in small amounts of vegetable oil or steamed in order to achieve the right consistency. Whole grains, such as rice, are also a major part of the Chinese lifestyle.

In addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables, the Chinese diet also consists of some lean meats. Again, meat that is prepared in most parts of China is steamed or sauteed rather than deep fried and breaded. Tea is also important to the Chinese people, since herbal teas have been a part of Chinese culture for many centuries.

A large part of Chinese medicine is based upon the notion that herbs can help heal the human body. Therefore, consuming an herbal tea with each meal is not uncommon throughout China. Both Oolong and Pu'er teas are popular within China. These teas are believed to aid in digestion, and both teas contain a fair amount of caffeine, which helps to increase one's metabolism. Even though tea is a vital part of the Chinese diet, this beverage is hardly ever mixed with a large amount of sugar, which makes it a healthy beverage.

Following the type of diet mentioned above will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Attempting to follow a "Chinese diet" by taking "Chinese diet pills" is not recommended. These pills are available around the world, though many of them can cause serious health complications. The only way to follow a Chinese diet is to eat seasonal vegetables and fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and to consume tea.

Ingesting a pill that claims to be part of the Chinese diet can be extremely dangerous. Keep in mind that the type of diet consumed in China does not resemble the Chinese food that can be found within the Western world. One who wishes to follow a healthy diet should stay away from deep fried foods, foods laden with sugar, and foods that contain a large amount of salt.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By nextcorrea — On Feb 03, 2012

The article mentions seasonal Chinese vegetables. What are the most popular vegetables in China? I only know Chinese from it's Americanized version so I really don't have a sense for what gets grown on Chinese farms.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Feb 02, 2012

Lets be honest, you don't see a lot of overweight Chinese people. In fact most of them look trim and fit. There is an older Chinese man in my neighborhood that can still pick up huge amounts of weight and goes for daily morning jogs.

So is their some kind of Chinese diet secret? I can't imagine that the secret is eating the food you get from Chinese take out places. Most of this is so greasy. Does anyone know some Chinese diet recipes that I could try out in my own kitchen?

By chivebasil — On Feb 01, 2012

I don't know if this is technically a Chinese diet, but I have been sticking to a diet of stir fry and brown rice for about 6 months now. I have my portions all planned out and I switch up the meat and veggies I use for the sake of variety.

It seems to be working. I am down about 10 pounds and I haven't been making a huge effort to exercise. It can get kind of boring eating stir fry every night but I allow myself one dinner of my choosing every Sunday night. I think about it all week but I don't indulge my craving until Sunday night.

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