The Chinese people seem to get it -- how to eat lots of food, yet still lose weight. In fact, recent research says that they eat 30 percent more than Americans, yet they weigh 20 percent less. However, what they eat and their levels of activity differ vastly from fast-food-fed Americans. Vegetables are as prized in China as meat is in the U.S., and they're used liberally in cooking. Don't be fooled by the meat-centric items on the menu at your favorite Chinese restaurant - meat is considered more of a flavoring and used sparingly in traditional Chinese dishes, so you typically wouldn't find Orange Beef, General Tso's Chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork on a menu in China. The Chinese also indulge in plenty of hot tea, which naturally reduces appetite before a meal.
Their plates contain a lot of flavor - five, to be precise - a tactic said to help them eat less. Chinese people employ the "rule of five" to include sweet, salty, pungent, sour and bitter flavors in all dishes. Try these tips during your next trip for takeout: get rice and dumplings steamed, not fried. Or better yet, replace rice with vegetables. Opt for stir-fried dishes instead of those that are deep-fried, like wontons, crispy noodles and crab Rangoon. If you must have meat in your dish, avoid those that are battered and deep-fried, like lemon chicken, orange beef and spare ribs. Better choices lie on the seafood and vegetarian sides of the menu.