By Kerry Neville, RD
Of all the world cuisines, Chinese is arguably one of the most diverse and enticing. From spicy and fiery hot to sweet, sour, salty and bitter, Chinese cuisine hits on all of the tastes, and different regions of China are famous for their particular flavor profiles.
Chinese cuisine features a wide range of foods from the coast to the mountains, various seasonings and different cooking techniques. But its array of colors and aromatic flavors are central to all Chinese dishes, no matter their origin.
The menus below showcase some of China’s best dishes–although truth be told, it’s hard to pick favorites. Here’s a “before” dinner of favorite foods, and an “after” version that substitutes stevia for sugar in dishes.
Worldwide, current sugar consumption levels are a health concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake in both adults and children and suggests that a further reduction to below 5% of total energy intake would provide additional health benefits. (1)
By using stevia in place of the sugar, you can trim calories and easily cut grams of sugar, while tastes remain the same. That’s true of the foods in our menu above. Stevia is naturally sourced from the stevia plant, and since it is zero calorie, you can enjoy sweet taste for fewer calories, without sacrificing flavor. Witness the difference in calories and sugar grams when you use stevia instead of sugar:
Stevia is available as an ingredient in thousands of food and beverage products around the world, including soft drinks, teas, juices, yogurt, soymilk, baked goods, salad dressings, cereal and more. You might find stevia listed differently on nutrition labels depending on where you live. Look for stevia, stevia extract, steviol glycosides, stevia leaf extract, Reb A and other variations on ingredient statements. Along with your favorite packaged foods and beverages, you’ll also find stevia as a tabletop sweetener in the supermarket aisle where all the other caloric and non-caloric sweeteners are shelved.
Even at dinner, a meal where you don’t expect a lot of sugar and sugar-filled calories, making small tweaks by substituting stevia in place of sugar in recipes, can make a difference.
- 2015. Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/149782/1/9789241549028_eng.pdf?ua=1