Chinese foods are one of the greatest culinary pleasures while eating, but if you have diabetes or are at high risk for developing it, many traditional Chinese dishes may not be suitable for you. But whether one has diabetes or not, everyone should be able to savour the complex flavours and rich cultural heritage that these meals possess.
Any diabetic can eat Chinese food as frequently as they’d like without running the risk of harming their health with a few easy guidelines and substitutes.
1. Health Problems Caused by Chinese Foods
Chinese foods are saltier. It contains sodium, which raises blood pressure and ultimately has several other detrimental effects on the heart’s health. Chinese foods should not be consumed by those with cardiac conditions.
Additionally, it is strongly advised that diabetics steer clear of Chinese foods because it increases their chance of developing cardiovascular disease and even stroke.
The extra oil found in Chinese food is what causes the sensation of bloating. Heart disease and stroke risk are both increased by it. Your body gets uncomfortable from the oil in it, which also tends to postpone stomach emptying.
It will prevent your gut from emptying, causing you to feel bloated and lingering inside.
1.3 Gaining Weight
The main sources of carbohydrates in Chinese foods are noodles and rice. As soon as the carbs are broken down into energy, you start to feel hungry. You feel inclined to consume more as a result, which ultimately results in weight gain.
1.4 Having Acidity
Chinese foods make the oil last longer by causing the gut to produce more acid. Chinese foods cause the stomach to produce more acid and agitate the lining of the stomach.
The headaches are caused by a substance called monosodium glutamate, which is found in Chinese foods. It makes muscles more pliable, which results in migraines.
2. Effects of Monosodium Glutamate on Health
Every dish made in China uses monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a flavours booster in Chinese foods. They are a common ingredient in canned meats, veggies, and soups. MSG has been deemed harmless by the FDA’s Food and Drug Administrator, but its use is still debatable.
Always check the labels before purchasing any food item because the FDA has made it mandatory to do so if NSG is used. The MSG reactions are referred to as the SG complex, which comprises –
- facial stiffness or pressure
- burning or tingling in the neck, forehead, or another area of the body.
- chest discomfort
- quick heartbeat
According to research, there is no way to prevent these reactions, so the only option is to stay away from Chinese foods and foods that contain MSG. Only a small percentage of people are affected by these effects in the near term; the majority are affected over a longer period.
The body experiences these serious negative effects from mild MSG responses. After eating Chinese foods, many people have complained of mild chest pain that has spread to their arms and back as well as heart palpitations.
Heartbeats indicate an elevated heart rate. It only happens briefly or might only last a few seconds. Many people disregard this, but they should refrain from eating Chinese foods because it has numerous long-term negative effects.
Though, Chinese foods are not good for health, still, some Chinese foods are considered healthy for diabetic patients such as: –
3. Use a Substitute for White Rice
Chinese foods typically include white rice. Numerous dishes, such as stir-fries, are incomplete unless they are served with a steaming bed of fluffy white rice.
Unfortunately, white rice can result in substantial blood sugar spikes, which is extremely risky for diabetics.
Reduce your serving size and choose brown rice if you still want a nice bowl of rice to finish your Chinese food. Brown rice is a better choice for rice than conventional white because it has magnesium, which helps your body use insulin more effectively and has a lower GI score.
But because brown rice usually contains more carbohydrates than white rice, it’s important to eat it in moderation. A cup or so is the ideal serving amount for brown rice. It shouldn’t appear larger than an ice cream scoop from a distance.
If you discover that this meager serving of rice isn’t satisfying you, try combining it with high-protein vegetables to help you feel fuller more quickly.
4. Instead of Frying, Use Steamed Ginger Soy Fish
A traditional Chinese food called ginger soy is usually pan-fried, which increases the saturated fat content and makes it riskier for diabetics. Steam your seafood rather than frying it. Even though the fishy smell will be gone, you will still be able to enjoy all of this recipe’s incredible flavours, and it will be far healthier overall.
Whitefish is usually used in this dish as well. Cod is a wonderful white seafood that has many health advantages due to its high Omega 3 content.
Diabetics may benefit especially from the beneficial fats in seafood. A diet “high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can improve blood lipids and blood sugar control in diabetics,” according to the ADA.
This dish’s sauce for the fish only needs about two tablespoons of soy sauce, which is less than other Chinese foods that frequently call for large quantities of soy sauce and consequently have significantly higher sodium content.
Add some scallions to the top of your steamed ginger soy fish as a treat. These have exceptionally high antioxidant potential, and studies have shown that the sulphur content these can help avoid diabetes.
5. Create Your Sushi Rolls
An authentic and healthy dinner or a quick snack, sushi is a very famous Chinese food. The fact that sushi is always wrapped in a layer of rice, which, as was already stated, has a high GI index, is one of the potential risks of sushi for diabetics. Fortunately, there are a few inventive methods to enjoy a nice plate of sushi without being concerned about how much rice you are eating.
One alternative is to serve a bowl of cauliflower rice instead of white rice. When constructing sushi, this may seem like an odd option, but cauliflower has gained popularity as a rice substitute in the culinary world.
In the end, as long as the rice content is avoided or kept to a minimum, sushi’s beneficial fish fats and any leafy greens it may contain are especially beneficial to diabetics, making it an ideal meal for their daily diet.
6. Egg Drop Soup as A Meal Starter
People frequently order wonton soup or hot and sour soup as a nice appetizer before their main entrees when they want a Chinese soup. Unfortunately, despite being delicious and traditional meals, they are not the best option for diabetics because they contain corn flour or cornstarch, which is high in calories and carbohydrates. Additionally readily digestible, cornflour causes blood sugar levels in diabetics to spike.
Thankfully, you can indulge in some tasty egg drop broth in its place. For diabetics, soups with clear broths are usually a good choice. Egg drop soup is excellent because it uses half as much cornflour as hot and sour soup and is comparably low in carbohydrates to wonton soup.
Another factor that makes this particular appetizer advantageous for diabetics is the protein contained in eggs. Typically, to make the egg’s ribbony texture, you whisk about three eggs and ladle them into your boiling broth. The 6 grams of protein in one large egg are beneficial to diabetics because it keeps their blood sugar levels from skyrocketing after consumption.
7. Be a Moo Goo Gai Pan Expert
Choosing a dish that is primarily made with vegetables, particularly leafy greens, is one of the best things a diabetic can do when consuming Chinese foods.
Moo goo gai pan contains a lot of vegetables that are excellent for diabetics because they not only make you feel full but also contain important vitamins, minerals, and minerals that barely or not at all affect blood sugar levels.
8. Replace Sushi with Sashimi and Edamame
With sashimi, you can still enjoy the flavorful, raw fish that many people go to sushi for without having to consume any rice. You’ll be in culinary paradise if you serve your sashimi with ginger and hot sesame oil.
Edamame has several advantages for people with diabetes. One is that they are high in protein, which means they will make you feel filled and satisfied faster and more healthily than white rice would.
Second, edamame has been demonstrated in some studies to decrease blood sugar levels and possibly reduce insulin resistance.
9. Eat a Fresh, Raw Spring Roll as A Snack
However, the deep-frying procedure required to produce the egg roll’s signature golden crust results in each serving having about 220 calories and 10 grams of fat, even though the exterior is utterly to die for. These figures are unhealthy for anyone, much fewer diabetics.
For a filling or savoury roll, many people will add a flesh protein, usually pork or shrimp. The advantages of including vegetables in meals for diabetics that we previously covered in our description of moo goo gai pan still hold.
But for that dish, those vegetables are usually prepared in a stir-fry style. Avoid cooking your spring roll vegetables to preserve nutrients for the healthiest choice.
10. Shirataki Lo Mein
Shirataki noodles are a fantastic culinary creation from Japan, but you might have a hard time finding them in Chinese restaurants. Ask them if they can use these noodles in place of the traditional lo mein recipe if it is possible.
Shirataki noodles, on the other hand, are rich in glucomannan, a sticky fibre that can make you feel fuller more quickly with a smaller serving. Thus, by consuming these noodles, you reduce your carbohydrate intake and portion size while still enjoying the advantages of traditional Chinese food that usually contains a lot of vegetables and lean proteins.
Shirataki noodles also have the advantage of successfully lowering blood sugar levels after consumption and lowering risk factors for heart disease in diabetics, according to studies.
11. Fill up On Steamed Broccoli and Chicken
This Chinese dish is best enjoyed with chicken. Chicken is one of the best choices when it comes to high-protein meats, and almost all chicken cuts are low-fat. Broccoli is the other essential ingredient in this recipe. This leafy green vegetable is one of the healthiest choices available. Among broccoli’s additional advantages for diabetics are:
- lowering insulin levels and cellular harm defence
- controlling blood sugar levels
- 10 per cent decrease in blood sugar
- a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that can protect against eye disorders
Studies have shown that lightly steaming broccoli is the best way to maximize its nutritional worth. This enables you to take advantage of all the advantages that this well-liked veggie has to offer, including strong antioxidants, substantial protein, and assistance with blood sugar regulation.
12. Keep Candy out Of Your Kung Pao Chicken
The primary ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken for diabetics are chicken, peanuts, and bell peppers. If you prepare it properly, it can have little sweetness and still be extremely flavorful.
The advantages of chicken have already been covered in our previous article, but consuming kung pao chicken has additional advantages as well. This dish’s main component, peanuts, is excellent for diabetics because they have a very low GI score of just 14, and they have a GL of 1.
Bell peppers are another widely used and useful ingredient. These chiles have about six carbs per cup when they are raw. However, bell peppers are regarded as a non-starchy food by the American Diabetes Association, so the majority of their carbohydrates are present as fibre.
Fibre helps control blood sugar levels and lowers the chance of heart disease, so this is advantageous.
13. A Steamed Asian Pear with Honey Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Finding a Chinese dessert when dining out can be challenging for a diabetic due to the high amounts of sugar and cholesterol found in most desserts.
Fruit is consistently a fantastic addition to any dessert or side meal. Ask for a fruit salad to accompany you or finish your dinner if it is offered. Steamed Asian pears with honey, on the other hand, will certainly satiate your sweet tooth and serve as the proverbial cherry on top of your Chinese foods if you’re looking for something a little more decadent.
Steamed Asian pears only require four components and are low-risk for diabetics, unlike most fruit desserts that add cups worth of sugar to sweeten the deal.
Since pears are the main attraction in this dessert and they have a low glycemic index, it is extremely unlikely that this sweet will cause a diabetic’s blood sugar to rise too rapidly. The remaining three components are fresh lemon juice, honey, and the filler topping of your choosing. This could be Chinese almonds or apricot seeds.
Although honey has roughly the same effects on diabetics as sugar, using it in this recipe has the benefit of using less honey than other desserts that call for half a cup or more of sugar. A manufactured sweetener that has been shown to have no negative effects on blood sugar levels is an alternative.
14. Enjoy Your Steam-Pan-Pan Dumplings
Another popular Chinese food is dumplings. Many diabetics must be pondering how dangerous it is for them to enjoy a bowl of these exquisitely made pouches of flavour. The answer is that it relies on how many you have and how they are prepared.
Although it’s crucial to eat in moderation with any food, eating the correct foods for diabetics is made more challenging by their need to be especially mindful of what they consume. You don’t need to stop eating this traditional Chinese food, which is excellent news. The normal filling for dumplings includes a lean protein and a variety of vegetables, including bok choy, scallions, and mushrooms.
Pork is a traditional option for protein. Even though pork isn’t always the best choice for diabetics, if you insist on using it, make sure it’s as thin as possible. As an alternative, you could have a shrimp-filled seafood dumpling or substitute poultry.
This meal should be served with steamed dumplings rather than pan-fried dumplings, which are frequently referred to as potstickers. If you’re preparing dumplings at home without a bamboo steamer, you could still achieve the same outcome by boiling the dough instead.
Finally, we must go back to the subject of control. Due in large part to the dough used to make them, dumplings can contain a lot of carbs. Two dumplings can contain 12 to 22 grams of carbohydrates per portion. Therefore, if you decide to eat this dish despite having diabetes, we advise that you stick to no more than four dumplings and add some high-protein vegetables to your dinner to make it more filling.
15. Use Tofu If You Must Have General Tso
Try this dish where you can replace the chicken with tofu if the spicy, sweet flavours of General Tso’s Chicken are really on your mind. To make the recipe more diabetic-friendly, you can also use artificial sweeteners in place of brown sugar.
Due to its status as a complete protein and its ability to control blood sugar levels, tofu is among the finest proteins for diabetics to consume. The protein content of tofu is 10 grams per portion of 1/2 cup. This is comparable to any meat protein you could choose, but because of its regulatory characteristics, it is more advantageous.
Consuming tofu has the added benefit of being high in nutritional fibre. This, coupled with its high protein content, means that you will probably consume much less of this dish than its chicken counterpart because it will fill and satisfy you more quickly.
The amount of carbohydrates in the chicken version of this meal, which has a cap of 128 grams, tends to be significantly higher than in the tofu version, which has basically half that amount at 62 grammes.
The main risk with General Tso is the dish’s delicious sauce, which can contain a shocking amount of sugar. You are much more likely to enjoy yourself while taking a significantly lower risk if you decrease this in your recipe or substitute it with an artificial sweetener.
You must pan-fry your protein source for this recipe, whether it contains tofu or another type of protein. We’d like to believe you can get away with a little pan-frying since you are making so many healthy changes by using tofu and artificial sweeteners, but once again, be aware of this risk.
16. Scallion Pancakes
Since they typically arrive at your house cold, scallion pancakes aren’t very tasty when they’re served that way. Freshly produced ones are simply superior and don’t contain harmful hydrogenated oils. Furthermore, Cilantro and Citronella claim that they are simpler to make than you might imagine. Simply shape your dough into a coil, fold it in half, and flatten it with a rolling pin before cooking it in a skillet until it is golden and crispy.
17. Crispy Chicken Spring Rolls Baked
Traditionally cooked spring rolls are oily, and making them at home would be a major hassle. These spring rolls contain shredded cabbage, mushrooms, and poultry that have been spiced with ginger and garlic. Before baking, brushing them with oil makes them extra crispy and delectable.
18. Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice
Fried rice’s primary flavouring typically consists of soy sauce and lots of it. But this dish from Damn Delicious is more intricate because it contains a lot of raw ginger, garlic, and scallions that have been chopped. Quinoa can replace traditional white rice and offer extra nuttiness as well as more fibre and protein.
19. Bao (Buns)
Baos are available in a variety of soft, puffy styles. Some have filling while others are simple. Others are sweet, while others are savoury. Some bars are rounded, while others are rolled over like tacos. These wheat-flour cakes with yeast are consumed throughout many parts of China. A delicious bao contains about 36 grams of carbohydrates.
20. Shiitake Mushrooms
Mushrooms are minimal in sodium, carbs, and fat. Shiitake mushrooms that have been cooked come with 40 calories, 1 gramme of protein, 0 grammes of fat, 10 grammes of carbohydrates, and 2 milligrams of sodium per 1/2 cup portion. Shiitake mushrooms that have been dried are frequently used in Chinese foods, especially in braised recipes. They give food earthy, fatty, and umami flavour.
21. Lotus Root
Another common ingredient in Chinese foods is lotus root. The lotus plant’s root is frequently added to stews, soups, pastries, and stir-fries. Lotus root is crisper and contains fewer calories and carbs than taro. Lotus root includes about 10 grammes of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup serving.
Chinese foods emphasize grains and veggies and are wholesome and balanced. To manage diabetes, it’s critical to be conscious of how much sodium, fat, and carbohydrates you’re consuming. Normally, it is believed that Chinese foods are very unhealthy and dangerous to health (which is true to some extent) but some dishes do not cause harm and are good for diabetic patients.