Connect with us

Thai Life

Thailand is making you fat

Tim Newton

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Big Mac or Pad Thai? Which has the most calories?

“…compare a Big Mac to an average Pad Thai and there’s at least double the kilojoules in the Thai noodle dish.”

I came to Thailand as a fit, healthy 70 kilogram Australian. After six years in Thailand I’m now a reasonably fit, healthy 76 kilogram Australian. Why? Well, Thai food, despite its healthy appearance and fresh origins is also full of fats, sugars and salt. For example, compare a Big Mac to an average Pad Thai and there’s at least double the kilojoules (or calories) in the Thai noodle dish. (There’s plenty of variation in Pad Thai servings but we took an average from three websites reporting on the nutritional value of Thai food). One website went as far as reporting that your average Pad Thai had FOUR times as many calories in it.

(A big Mac has 1075 kilojoules per 100 grams of weight and weighs approx. 200 grams)

Whilst Thai food is generally fresh, cooked quickly, full of nutrition (vegetables, carbohydrates and protein), it’s also full of calories. But the problem goes deeper than this. And it partly answers the question as to why Thais, as a population, are growing taller and fatter than in the past – they’re getting a lot more calories than in the past.

Head to your local convenience store and scan the shelves. Anything fresh is difficult to find. Many foods that would have traditionally come without sugar are now laced with additional sugar – yogurt, fruit juice, bread, and we’re hardly past the front counter yet.

Anecdotally, I would suggest that the ingredients for your average Thai meal have evolved over the past 100 years and now there is a lot more salts, sugars, MSG and saturated fats than a century ago (the MSG argument is something for another time). Of course, all these things make most foods taste better, I won’t deny it.

Thai food is still a great source of all the nutrients you need to get through the day but eating large Thai meals with lost of noodles and white rice is not going to help you return to your 20 year old surfer body. White rice has about as much nutrition as cardboard. Cook it in a sea of saturated fat (fried rice) and you’re on the way to a big calorie intake.

Nutritionists recommend avoiding six types of Thai foods including Pad Thai, yellow, green and red curries, Tom Kha soup (Tom Yum is ok), stir fries and Thai tea (the orange sweet milky concoction).

Well, that’s about every Thai meal I love 🙁

chefjohnhowie.com has a list of Thai food dos and don’ts.

Meanwhile Hayden Rhodes, Phuket nutritionist and well-being consultant, says there are three things to take into account when consuming our beloved Thai food.

1) Most food is fried, many times in cheap nasty rancid vegetable oils. Avoid fried Thai food.

2) Thai food over the years has followed the SAD… standard American & Australian Diet (very SAD) which means consuming more sugar per head per year. Sugar makes you fat. Period. Ask for no sugar to be added to Thai dishes (yes- it’s in everything!)

3) A lot of Thai food is full of chemicals ‘fresh from the farm’; detoxification processes will be hampered – body fat will be stored. Ask your fancy hotel or beach club where their food comes from and 99% will likely be ‘Macro’. Find out who uses organic ingredients and eat there. Yes – this will have a direct impact on your energy, mineral content in your body and your fat line… oops I meant waist line.”

Add to the high calorific content of all our favorite Thai foods is the relatively inexpensive and plentiful alcohol and street food stalls every 50 metres along any road and you’re heading for a fright when you step onto the scales. It’s also a lot easier to jump on the motorbike in Thailand to travel short distances we might have happily walked back in our home country.

So next time you see a friend heading into McDonalds for a Big Mac, rather than fat-shaming them, they might actually be trying to lose weight! (We certainly don’t recommend eating Bic Macs or ‘fast food’ too often though)

Health aficionados and doctors would always recommend a balanced food intake with fresh food at the top of the list along with regular exercise, at any age.

Good advice! So it’s back to the swimming pool and gym, and choosing Tom Yum over Pad Thai.

Thailand is making you fat | News by Thaiger

(per 100 grams of weight)

 

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Francesco Greco

    Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 8:49 am

    A bed recollection of non-scientific claims, dressed up with preconcepts and blatantly wrong information. Bad journalism!

  2. Avatar

    Healthy food tastes so good

    Monday, February 3, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    This is absolutely the most ridiculous assessment of thai food and it’s health implications. Not all farang are “pad thai or hamburger only types.” Not all farang are afraid to eat real local foods like gang no mai, gang kee lek , pu pla ra, nam prik moo, just to name a few. I definitely have lost weight from eating much healthier than in Usa and my diet was a very healty one to begin with. Maybe try leaving Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chaing Mai for a moment before labeling thai food unhealthy. They make unhealthy food for tourist because many tourist want to eat unhealthy. Also, Makro sells organic and my friends farm grows without chemicals and doesn’t brag about it being organic.If you are in some tourist area and you ask if it’s organic they are going to say whatever you want to hear. I think you have your ears mixed up on this one.

  3. Avatar

    Mitch Wilenchik

    Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 10:20 am

    you just clearly showed that the reason Thais are getting fatter is not their food but the influence of western fast foods and packaged foods. I first came to Thailand in 1970 and you couldn’t find a ‘fat’ thai person. Only when KFC and McD showed up did you start to slowly see the changes. Thai food does have alot of salt(fish sauce) and sugars but for the most part is quite fresh and healthy. And the Thai diet almost totally excludes lactose, also something introduced with fast food and bread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Indonesia3 hours ago

Man with Covid-19 disguised as his wife to board flight

Hua Hin4 hours ago

Kitchen raiding elephant breaks same wall in house for more food

Thailand5 hours ago

1st Taekwondo Olympic gold as Panipak wins for Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

AstraZeneca Thailand writes open letter to people of Thailand

Koh Samui10 hours ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand13 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand1 day ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World1 day ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand1 day ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending