More Veggies In My Asian Takeout, Please

Asian take-away foods must include more vegetables to meet the recommended dietary guidelines for vegetable consumption, says a new study.

AsianScientist (Feb. 20, 2013) – Research from Australia into the nutritional value of Chinese, Thai, and Singaporean take-away foods has shown that an increase in vegetable content is needed to meet the recommended dietary guidelines for vegetable consumption.

Dr. Christina Pollard, Curtin University Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Center of Behavioral Research in Cancer Control, said that although Asian menu items are often considered a healthy option, there is little information available about their relative healthfulness.

“The demand for convenient eating options has led to an increase in foods eaten away from home and consumers are looking for healthy options when they eat out,” Pollard said.

The research, published in the Food and Nutrition Science Journal, aimed to pilot a simple method for measuring the vegetable content of popular Asian dishes for use in nutrition education.

Thirty vegetable containing take-out dishes from three Asian restaurants (Chinese, Thai, and Singaporean) in Perth were photographed and weighted with, and without the vegetables.

Contrary to popular belief, all three of the Asian cuisines sampled were not a good source of vegetables, said Pollard. There was, however, a wide and consistent variation in the vegetable content within each cuisine.

Dietary guidelines recommend increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables to protect against chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, and maintenance of a healthy weight. Currently, most adults consume well below the recommended five 75 gram standard servings per day.

“The trends for increasing consumption of take-away foods, particularly Asian take-away, point to an urgent need to advise consumers to select the vegetable dense dishes and to encourage the food service industry to increase the vegetable content of Asian meals,” Pollard said.

“Nutrition educators should encourage Asian food businesses to increase the vegetable content of their menus and advise customers to choose at least one vegetarian dish to encourage healthy lifestyles.”

The article can be found at: Pollard C et al. (2012) A Simple Approach Assessing the Vegetable Content of Asian Takeout Meals with Nutrition Education Potential.


Source: Curtin University Australia; Photo: roboppy/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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