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Thread: A question about Chinese food... and teeth page

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    thaijinx's Avatar
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    A question about Chinese food... and teeth

    Primal Fuel
    So, I've been researching food and health for a while now. And I've come to the conclusion that Chinese food has to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. (And what I'm talking here is real traditional Chinese food, like you get in China, not the stuff we tend to eat in the West.) The stuff that makes me personally go, ick! What the *&^% is that!?

    It might contain dried blood, and chickens feet (Primal). Dishes often contain small amounts of offal or shellfish and wild or farmed greens and vegetables. It's all warming stocks and soups. Bone broth. And innards. (Westin Price) It doesn't contain a lot of artificial ingredients, cheese or dairy (China Study) and other than rice (which I personally don't lump in the same category as bread and pasta) low in empty, complex carbs.

    Fruit, salads and cold smoothies and the like don't really figure in traditional Chinese food. Nor did Westernized junk food and sweet treats... now I know that it's changing fast over there, but... here's my question...

    Given that at least on paper the traditional Chinese food follows somewhat like what we should all be eating, why do the Chinese have such bad teeth? (According to Westin Price this is a sign of a bad diet).

    Ideas anyone.

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    Too much Kung Fu without a proper mouth piece?

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    I think its mostly cultural. Most (older) Chinese people just don't care about their teeth. Its not uncommon for parents to let their children's teeth rot away because "they're just going to fall out anyway". Granted, I live in a relatively rural area, so I would expect this attitude to exist to a smaller degree among young/city dwelling people.

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    Uncephalized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seph View Post
    I think its mostly cultural. Most (older) Chinese people just don't care about their teeth. Its not uncommon for parents to let their children's teeth rot away because "they're just going to fall out anyway". Granted, I live in a relatively rural area, so I would expect this attitude to exist to a smaller degree among young/city dwelling people.
    Lack of dental care can't be the root cause of tooth decay when we see HG groups that live to old ages without losing any teeth at all, who don't have any dental care at all either. It's most likely something to do with diet or lifestyle.
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    maybe its the white rice, due to it being a sugar starch?
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    I've never been to China, but I lived in Taiwan for a year.

    From my observations, most young women looked like tall, skinny girls. Most young men looked like taller, skinny girls. The women have little or no curves, and the men little muscle. Older generations are different, but the high school/college kids... wow. Never saw such a warning against drinking soy milk.

    A significant number of the people I saw had underdeveloped or narrow jaws, which leads to crowded, crooked teeth. See Weston A. Price for the reasoning behind this. The crowded crooked teeth can lead to loss of teeth over time, if I recall correctly, though I'm not sure about that.

    In addition, Taiwanese drink sugar as a staple- coffees and teas are obscenely sweet to me, and I started there from a SAD. I would order tea with half sugar, and it was still pretty sweet. I got really strange looks for ordering black coffee. One of my favorite treats was a fruit smoothie (fresh mango, milk, and sugar). There was a heavy French influence on the baked goods, which were very prevalent, as well as a Japanese influence, which means heavy processing for better appearance (Hello, Kitty!-shaped cakes, etc). Finally, the social activity for young people is not to go out drinking, but to wander the night markets and snack. It is very rare in most of Taiwan to be unable to obtain fresh, hot food of some sort, no matter the time of day or night.

    In addition, meat is handled more as a condiment than a main course. The famous Taiwanese Beef Noodles are more of a soup, with lots of noodles and some beef. Most meals are some kind of ground or shredded meat, mixed in or placed on a large quantity of noodles or rice, plus some vegetables. The notable exceptions to this is Beijing duck, and fried chicken.

    Asian culture also has an extreme aversion to sunlight, still believing that white skin is the most beautiful, and any sun exposure will cause cancer. (Skin exposure does get you acne from the pollution, but that's a different issue.)

    While you are correct in your analysis of the traditional Chinese diet, the modern actual diet can have far more sugar and processed junk foods than you would think. The lack of vitamin D likely contributes to the dental problem, as does the overuse of soy (at least in Taiwan).

    That being said, I lost 40 pounds in Taiwan (including some muscle), but that got me into Michael Pollan, eventually finding my way to Primal. Things that made the difference for me:
    I didn't really snack over there.
    Meal sizes in restaurants are appropriate for what one person should be able to eat.
    No processed foods in most restaurants.
    No Sysco trucks bringing processed foods to the restaurants. Most of what you eat at lunch time was purchased at the market that morning, or the day before.
    Lower consumption of wheat- I ate mostly rice, rather than noodles.
    More walking- I walked to school every day (about 20 min) and at least that much to one or more of my jobs.
    Corn is used as a condiment.
    Sugar is real sugar from sugarcane (very little fake sugars, and almost no HFCS).

    There are probably more contributing factors but that's all I've got for now.
    J.

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    Seph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncephalized View Post
    Lack of dental care can't be the root cause of tooth decay when we see HG groups that live to old ages without losing any teeth at all, who don't have any dental care at all either. It's most likely something to do with diet or lifestyle.
    Sorry, should have clarified, I only meant relative to the West. As in, if we didn't take care of our teeth (brush, floss, etc), I'm sure they would be just as bad as Chinese people...which means both societies generally eat poorly.

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