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Weight loss - the Chinese lifestyle diet option

Updated on August 20, 2010

Looking for a new way to lose weight? Maybe you could try looking East. When I visited China in 2009 I was amazed at how slim the people looked. There were food stores everywhere, yet I only saw a couple of people who were over weight.

So what's their secret? Do the Chinese really know the secret of maintaining a good weight? Here are some clues I picked up while I was in China...

Why are so few Chinese people overweight? What's their secret? What do they know?
Why are so few Chinese people overweight? What's their secret? What do they know?

Chinese weight loss secret #1 - green tea

The Chinese drink a lot of green tea! Taxi drivers normally have a jam jar full of it wedged between the front seats. If you go to visit a Chinese family you'll immediately be offered some green tea to drink.

If you drink green tea the authentic Chinese way then you might be in for a bit of surprise. The traditional Chinese way to drink tea is to just put some tea leaves in a tall glass of hot water. In fact you'll often see a whole branch of a tea plant in your glass.

So is drinking green tea a good way to lose weight? I'm not sure about this. The secret of the green tea diet is that the Chinese just drink the tea on its own. They don't add any carbohydrates by adding sugar to their tea. They don't drink fatty milk with their tea. Green tea is best on it's own. Green tea can also be drunk cold and it is an ultra-low calorie alternative to colas, fruit juices or other drinks loaded with sugar.

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Chinese weight loss secret #2 - no sugar

Chinese people tend to eat very little refined sugar in their diet. I would guess that this is the biggest difference between the average Chinese and Western diet. Confectionary and things like cakes are quite expensive for the average Chinese person, so they tend to only be eaten on special occasions. Chinese people tend to snack on more natural alternatives such as fruit or dried fish.

A huge problem with Western diets is the hidden sugar. It's so difficult to lose weight when our favorite foods are crammed with sugar. Take a tin of baked beans for example. A tin of baked beans can contain nearly 20g of sugar. That's about the same amount of sugar as in a 330ml can of carbonated fruit juice!

What's worse is that supermarket bought meals have sugar in meals that you'd never think would need sugar. Supermarket curry contains sugar. Supermarket pizza contains sugar. Even supermarket sushi often has sugar added. If you made these meals yourself you'd never add sugar!

The Chinese mostly cook fresh foods at home. Everyone is taught to cook at an early age - consquently Chinese people are very knowledgeable about food. If you've ever seen a Chinese person go shopping then you'll be amazed at how long they take when selecting the perfect mango or melon! Chinese recipes use lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and not that many recipes require sugar.

Although the lack of sugar in meals is a good thing, Chinese meals are also super healthy. Healthy meals encourage weight loss, as the body gets so many nutrients from a good meal that you'll feel satisfied and full for much longer. Chinese style dishes also really quick and easy to make, and many recipes are very cheap to make. Why not give a few Chinese recipes a go?

Chinese weight loss secret #3 - no cars

Cars are becoming popular in China, but very few people have a car. If a Chinese person wants to go somewhere then they have to walk or cycle.

Burning those extra calories really does make a difference!

Cars are becoming more common in China, but most people have to walk, cycle or catch the bus
Cars are becoming more common in China, but most people have to walk, cycle or catch the bus

Chinese weight loss secret #4 - Asian genes

Is this a weight loss secret? I'd say it's a myth.

Many people think that Asian people are naturally slim, and that the difference is genetic. This isn't really true. There are a lot more overweight people in Japan compared to China. This is probably due to the fact that the Japanese are much wealthier than the average Chinese person, so they can of course afford to buy a lot more food. But it is also the type of food that makes a difference. There are American fast food outlets everywhere in Japan. Burger bars, donut shops and coffee shops are everywhere. In general Japanese school kids are often much larger than their parents were at their age, so clearly diet is a factor in weight gain.

So if you're looking for a new way to lose those pounds, why not give the Chinese diet a go?

Will the Chinese diet work? What's your favorite Chinese dish? Post comments here:

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    • profile image

      money 6 years ago

      the most kild of chinese food that i like is stired fried chicken and white rice

    • ExpandYourMind profile image

      ExpandYourMind 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Very interesting. As I've traveled across the US, I've noted that cities where the residents tend to walk more, appear to have less overweight residents. It makes sense, when I was younger and relied on public transportation I was in better shape.

    • Nick Malizia profile image

      Nick Malizia 7 years ago from USA

      This was really fun to read! Good job on the article. I drink regular green tea a lot, yaay! :-P

    • SkeetyD profile image

      SkeetyD 7 years ago from Barbados

      I've read a couple of articles saying that the health benefits of green tea has not been proven as yet but it does seem to factor into weight loss somehow. My favourite Chinese dish is shrimp fried rice :)