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Thailand makes you fat

Tim Newton

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Thailand makes you fat | The Thaiger

by Tim Newton

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 your average Big Mac to an average Pad Thai and there’s at least double the kilojoules (or calories) in the Pad Thai. (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 257 calories (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 laced with additional sugar – yogurt, fruit juice, bread,  just to start with.

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, GM at RPM Health Club in Phuket, 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 makes you fat | News by The Thaiger

(per 100 grams of weight)

 



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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,200 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Instagram and Facebook.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    dulce marian tan

    March 5, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    thank you for this. That’s why Im afraid to eat in the restaurants without any nutrional info showing in the menu

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Bangkok

Is cooking endangered rays on ‘MasterChef Thailand’ OK?

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Is cooking endangered rays on ‘MasterChef Thailand’ OK? | The Thaiger

by Pratch Rujivanarom

The cooking of what appeared to be spotted eagle rays during the MasterChef Thailand TV show on World Wildlife Day last night is sparking social media outrage over the appropriateness eating endangered species on mainstream media.

Despite experts confirming that fishing, cooking and eating spotted eagle ray is completely legal in Thailand, as Thai law still does not include the species in the country’s protected animal list, many people say that the use of endangered species as cooking material on the popular TV show jeopardised the efforts to conserve these and other rare animals.

Earlier on World Wildlife Day, which highlights the conservation of marine biodiversity, the reality cooking-competition show “MasterChef Thailand” had selected stingrays as the main ingredient for the program.

But after the show had aired it was noticed that the rays used in the TV show were the rare spotted eagle variety.

The discovery has sparked hot debate on social media over the legality and appropriateness of consuming this endangered marine species, with one side strongly pointing out that the consumption of endangered rays was unacceptable, while the other side argued that such stingrays were not that rare and their consumption was widespread in the Kingdom.

Is cooking endangered rays on ‘MasterChef Thailand’ OK? | News by The Thaiger

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a leading marine biologist at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries, said the exact ray species that had been used on the TV show had not yet been confirmed, but it was very likely the fish were one of two spotted eagle species – Aetobatus ocellatus, which can be found in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region, or Aetobatus narinari, which live in the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), both spotted eagle ray species have conservation status, as they are endangered by unsustainable fishing and habitat loss and their populations are in decline.

Aetobatus ocellatus is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, while Aetobatus narinari is listed as near-threatened, Thon said.

The marine biologist confirmed that despite the international conservation status of both species, their consumption on the TV show would have been legal, because these ray species were still not protected under Thailand’s animal conservation law.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

A toast to female chefs – Women in Gastronomy 2019 Bangkok

The Thaiger & The Nation

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A toast to female chefs – Women in Gastronomy 2019 Bangkok | The Thaiger

Leading female chefs and wine makers will gather in Bangkok for the International Women’s Day culinary forum at Banyan Tree on March 8.

The second edition of the global food forum Women in Gastronomy (WIG) organised by Gastronauts Asia will showcase an array of acclaimed female food personalities from Thailand and beyond. The full-day symposium will feature presentations and panel discussions, as well as a Bangkok street food lunch prepared by several of the chefs.

This year’s program will also introduce a new feature – women in wine – bringing together some of Italy’s most prestigious wine producers for tastings and more.

WIG 2019 will focus on Italy as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and Thailand.

The event will be headlined by chef Cristina Bowerman from Michelin-starred restaurant Glass Hostaria in Rome, one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs. She is regarded as an inspiring chef in the mainly male-dominated field of haute cuisine. Bowerman completed a course in Culinary Arts in the US and returned to Italy in 2004. She won a Michelin star in 2010 for her highly modern cuisine, and she’s the only female chef in Rome holding the accolade.

The special Bangkok Street Food lunch will feature distinctive dishes by Nooror Somany-Steppe from Blue Elephant, Saki Hoshino from 80/20, Jutamas Theantae from Karmakamet, Pichaya Utharantharm – a judge from Top Chef Thailand, Rungthiwa Chummonkhon from The Front Room, Pantong Pratumpak from Err, Naree Boonyakiat, Rangsima Bunyasaranand and Renu Homsombat and Portntip Eumanan from Banyan Tree Bangkok.

On March 8 and 9, guests can also experience special Thailand meets Italy 4-hand dinners by Cristina Bowerman and first winner of Top Chef Thailand Chudaree Debhakam. Cooking together for the first time ever, Bowerman and Chudaree will present an exclusive tasting menu revolving around seasonal, local Thai ingredients. The six-course dinners will be paired with top Italian wines in a private area at Vertigo rooftop restaurant. The dinner costs 4,900 baht per person or 6,900 baht with wine pairing.

The conference and lunch on March 8 costs 1,900 baht while the wine master class and tasting is priced at 1,600 baht. The full day experience costs 3,200 baht.

Find out more by visiting www.WomenInGastronomy.Asia, or call (02) 286 7821.

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Bangkok

Olta is the newest ‘olternative’ in Bangkok’s Suan Phlu

Tanutam Thawan

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Olta is the newest ‘olternative’ in Bangkok’s Suan Phlu | The Thaiger

Scottish Chef Jamie Wakeford, of noted Phuket restaurant Bampot Kitchen, is rolling out a new restaurant in Bangkok.

Themed as ‘modern British’, and named Olta, the outlet has just opened in the Suan Phlu neighborhood.

The Suan Phlu area is described as one of Bangkok’s latest dining enclaves, with new fashionable openings arriving every month. Currently, Suan Phlu is currently the IT restaurant area in the capital. This street is interesting for foreigners because it is in early stages of gentrification – the old shop houses are still there, along with the great street food stalls you expect, but now these have been joined by a new generation of funky modern venues appealing to locals, expats and tourists.

Suan Phlu is located on upscale Sathorn Road, close to many of the large five-star hotels – The Metropolitan, Banyan Tree and The Sukhothai. If you are arriving by BTS, it is easiest to get off at Chong Nonsi and take a short taxi.

Hitting the road to Bangkok, Wakeford is mixing up classic dishes and local taste with a talented innovative approach at Olta.

A cozy bar completes the offering. Looking for what’s new in Bangkok? Olta certainly should make the top of the list.

Best wishes to Jamie Wakeford and his new BKK team.

Olta is the newest 'olternative' in Bangkok's Suan Phlu | News by The Thaiger Olta is the newest 'olternative' in Bangkok's Suan Phlu | News by The Thaiger

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