Houston Community News >> Chinese Food Study

3/21/2007-- In health, if you're a fan of Chinese food a new study shows you may want to lay off the soy sauce. It turns out there is already way too much sodium in some of the most popular dishes.

The food police are at it again. It was 15 years ago when they first bashed some favorites like kung poa chicken and lo mein for being bad for you. Now they say even some of the healthier, vegetarian items may be giving you an unexpected serving of sodium and calories.

Owen Sun eats Chinese food frequently, but he tries to choose healthy.

"I don't order fried foods, I just order the stir fry stuff," said Sun.

But vegetables choices served up at Chinese restaurants aren't always a safe bet, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

For example, eggplant in garlic sauce has one 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium which is almost an entire days worth of salt.

The food police say high salt is a problem with most menu options.

"Typical dishes contain a days worth of sodium then when you add the soup and the appetizer u can be pushing two days worth of sodium in one meal," said Michael Jacobson.

And dishes like lemon chicken might not sound so bad, but it contains a whopping 1,400 calories, along with 13 grams of saturated fat.

That's equivalent to three McDonald's McChicken sandwiches and a 32-ounce coke.

The consumer group says while the portions are still too big and fattening, the news isn't all bad.

"On the better side, Chinese restaurants are among the few that offer plenty of vegetables as main courses, as side dishes and served along with meat dishes," Jacobson said.

And there are some things you can do the next time you're in the mood for Chinese. Many restaurants offer alternatives, for example, instead of garlic sauce try a white sauce. You can also try asking the restaurant to hold the oils and added salt.

(Contributed by CBS)