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Why You Feel Hungry an Hour After Eating Chinese Food

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Here they are, the top 10 reasons why you feel hungry an hour after eating Chinese Food:

  1. A Chinese gentleman I work with told me that this is due to the effects of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), which, in addition to enhancing the flavor of food, acts as an appetite stimulant, leaving the consumer with a sensation of hunger, despite having eaten. In some people, MSG produces even less desirable effects, such as headaches and nausea.
  2. It could be the high glycemic load– there’s white rice, there’s white noodles, there’s sugar and white flour somewhere in the main dish, there’s more white rice, and then there’s a fortune cookie made of sugar and white flour. It spikes your insulin, you get full fast, and then you crash and need more food. An interesting experiment would be to make a typical American Chinese restaurant type meal using wheat flour, brown rice, and an unprocessed sweetener such as rapadura or agave nectar, and to give it to people who didn’t know what the experiment was about and seeing if they got hungry again soon after eating it.
  3. Chinese food is traditionally very low in fat, and it’s the fat in food that keeps you feeling full longer. The Chinese themselves tend to fill up on carbs (rice, noodles) and mostly vegetables at their meals (they eat MUCH less meat than we do in the West), so it may be that you’re actually not eating enough (you say you don’t eat too much)! I don’t think it’s MSG, as that’s simply a flavor enhancer derived naturally (from beetroot), most Chinese restaurants don’t even use it any more (and haven’t for years), and those that do would only use a tiny, tiny amount.
  4. While there is some protein in any of the meat options you have, the rest are full of carbs and sugars. This will make you feel extremely full right after eating, but usually once your body has processed the carbs and broken them down to just sugar, your body is hungry again.
  5. Researchers now believe the culprit may be carbohydrates. More specifically, certain types of carbohydrates, including rice and pasta. These carbohydrates have a high glycemic index (GI), which means the body needs to produce extra insulin to digest them. Certain diet doctors believe consuming these carbohydrates can cause overeating, since excess insulin causes the blood sugar to plummet, creating a hungry feeling.
  6. Noodles and rice are the staple of most Chinese dishes. Both are very easy to digest and turn to sugar which your body uses very quickly. So if you eat a dish high in simple carbohydrates likes noodles, rice, or potato, you may get a sugar spike and a burst of energy followed by tiredness and hunger.
  7. Because real Chinese food is very low in essential fats and essential amino acids. They also tend to be high in empty calories (white rice, refined flour, refined sugar) which has lots of calories but no nutrients. When you don’t give your body essential nutrients, it will make you hungry until you have consume enough of them.
  8. Typically Chinese buffets tend to load the food up with MSG so you feel fuller after eating less. Thus they save money because you’re not eating as much as you normally would.
  9. The preservatives are most likely making you dehydrated.  Dehydration often gives you the false sense that you are “hungry”.
  10. Chinese food is full of sodium. Sodium is salt, if you didn’t know that. Salt makes you thirsty, that’s why at the bar they serve peanuts for free or pretzels so that you will order more to drink. So really you are thirsty not hungry.

But, my favorite one is this one:

The rat that was in it is eating your stomach.

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  1. Many of these are contradictory. Has anyone done any actual research on this so they can give a definitive answer?

    • I just know I’m always hungry it seems an hour after I eat. No matter how bloated I might feel after a meal.

      I highly do recommend staying away from Chinese buffets too.

  2. thIs makes a lot of sense. I ate only 4 bites and was full. I drank like 4 glasses of water after. Was the strangest thing ever.

  3. I have always felt hungry about an hour or two after my Chinese meal. I was always curious why and this article was very helpful! Thank you.

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