Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Asian Food vs Western Food – Which One Is Healthier?

Asian Food vs Western Food – Which One Is Healthier?

Who doesn’t love an Asian takeout on a Friday evening when all you want to do is eat and watch Netflix? But at the same time you crave some good barbecue with some french fries and ketchup. However, these are only the extremes of both of the cuisines.

Asian food for Westerners mean the one you can enjoy at a restaurant that may not even be so authentic as you might think it is, while the same goes for Asians with Western food as well. Not many of us have really tasted the authenticity of them.

Therefore, we have been quietly mingling with the best of both worlds, while not really understanding why Asian Cuisine and Western Cuisine is so different in taste and dishes. Each of the both is definitely defined by culture and by the cuisine traditions that have been around longer than us.

Why Asian Food is so different than Western Food?

A fascinating paper researched by Yong-Yeol Ahn, Sebastian E. Ahnert, James P. Bagrow and Albert-László Barabási, “Flavor network and the principles of food pairing” and published by Nature, explain the differences that stand between the two cuisines.

Asian Food

The scientists start by trying to understand flavour compounds and they observe that many chefs use ingredients, that share more or less the same flavours compounds, in their recipes such that these ingredients can blend more into each other.

This technique is named food pairing. As they went further into their research they have discovered that such a technique is mostly used in Western Food, whereas in Asian Food the ingredients appear to be from different flavour backgrounds.

Thus, the difference that mostly stand between these two cuisines is the fact that the West uses ingredients that share the same flavour compounds, while the East avoids this.

Now that we have come to the conclusion of why Asian Food is so different from Western Food, we should see which one seems to be healthier.

Which one is healthier?

To begin with, the unhealthy habits and the industrialization has affected both of the diets, however, it may seem that one is slightly better than the other in terms of the used ingredients, cooking methods and portion size.

One may tend to believe that the Asian diet is by far the healthiest way, but why?

Asians tend to eat more vegetables

While in the West, people tend to overeat meat and neglect vegetables and fruits consumption, in Asia people have a higher vegetable intake, making them have a better digestive system, due to the fact that the body requires fibres to have a balanced digestion.

RELATED: 10 Benefits Of Eating Vegetables

In other words, in the Western cuisine, meat is often the main dish, occupying the main of the plate, while in the Asian cuisine, the main place in the plate is taken by vegetables and only 20% is represented by meat.


A high vegetable consumption is the way to reduce heart diseases, obesity, digestive problems and many more others. While eating vegetables, one will feel lighter and will not require that nap after a meal with meat.

In the Asian diet are fewer simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are fastly broken down by our body to digest them in order for it to produce energy. In the Western diet, most of these carbohydrates are added in processed foods, thus leading to weight gain and so many more health problems.


Mostly every processed snack has simple carbs added, such as bakery products, sweets, pastries and more. We can find them even in soda, and they raise our blood sugar level, reaching the peak, maintaining it for a short period of time, before it drops back down fast. These carbs are the main contributor to diabetes.

RELATED: 9 Dangers Found In Sugar For Your Health

In the Asian diet, these simple carbs are often replaced by more complex carbs, which are definitely healthier.

Different cooking methods

We have discovered tempura from the Asian cuisine, and since then, we have been in love with this technique. However, in the authentic Asian cooking culture, they use oil in small quantities, and prefer steaming and boiling.

Every technique in the Asian cooking is based on a short period of time of cooking, such that the ingredients retain their vitamins and overall nutrients.

Asian diet is low in fat, whereas Western diet is abundant in it, by only using many times deep frying, the West introduces even more fat into its ingredients.

What else could be more healthier in Asian diet than the Western diet?

Ah, yes. One more thing.

Tea replaces soda

As it was already mentioned, soda is full of simple carbs, thus making it extremely sweet and of course, addicting. Since forever, soda has played an important part in the Western diet. However, on the other side of the world, Asians prefer green tea, which is by far, and so obvious, healthier than soda.

It contains plant chemicals which act like antioxidants. Antioxidants help your body fight against free radicals, which are thought to be the main contributors to cell damage. In other words, antioxidants can be your way into battling the appearance of cancer.

Asian Tea

Thus, even if the conclusion comes to the fact that Asian is by far the healthiest way of eating, there cannot be only one way of eating healthy. Learn to listen to your body and inform yourself of what is vital to a healthy one!

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Asian Food vs Western Food – Which One Is Healthier?

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