Facing facts about that fatty food

09:08, September 08, 2010      

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Drinking some Pu'er tea while eating can help cut the grease of a rich meal. (Photo source: Shanghai Daily)
One of the best ways to drop weight quickly is to cut way down on fat since fat of any kind contains 9 calories per gram, twice as much as protein and carbohydrates.

The standard ways to lose weight are eating less, eating right, and exercising regularly - in short, taking in fewer calories than the body burns.

Treatments like acupuncture may help suppress appetite, but there's no quick fix.

It's imperative to watch what you eat, especially the fat. Those who want to drop weight quickly find that a big reduction in fat intake is a big help.

Each gram of fat of any kind - "good" fats like olive and canola oil or "bad" fats like animal fat - all contain 9 calories per gram. That's more than twice as many calories in a gram of protein or carbohydrate.

Diets rich in saturated fats and transfats (hydrogenated oils) can raise blood cholesterol and contribute to heart problems and stroke risk. Those rich in monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, canola oil, flax oil) actually lower "bad" cholesterol and raise "good" cholesterol. People should inform themselves about the kinds of fats and oils they commonly eat.

Fat is a big issue because a lot of Chinese food and snacks are oily, especially in Shanghai. Many of the oils are saturated fats and transfats.

"Taking in less fatty factors is essential for most people in the weight-loss process," said Jin Shan, program development director of Weight Watchers Danone Weight Loss Consulting Co.

"Regular exercise can help you consume the excessive nutrition, and acupuncture can suppress the appetite to prevent overeating," said Jin. "But calorie intake is not always how much you eat but what you eat."

Most of the time people don't know about the fat and calorie content of what they are eating, especially when they eat out, he said.

Be particularly careful in restaurants, he advised.

"Qingchao Xiaren" (saut??ed shelled shrimp) is a favorite when dining out and many people mistakenly believe they contain less oil and fat than other dishes. But according to a measuring process by Weight Watchers, 229 grams of shrimp meat absorb around 80g of oil after cooking by a professional chef. The cooking adds a lot of fat.

Many other Chinese restaurant dishes are also fat bombs. These include "laocu huasheng" (deep-fried peanuts with Chinese vinegar) and "Ningbo kaocai" (braised bok-choy). Though both are vegetable dishes, they are seasoned heavily with sugar and oil. Measurements show that 450 grams of green vegetables absorb about 80g oil and 160g sugar when made into braised bok-choy; and 0.5 kilogram of peanuts absorbs about 60g oil when cooked as deep fried peanuts with Chinese vinegar.

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