Updated: November 17, 2008

Worried that Chinese food is bad for your diet? No need to be, says Lorraine Clissold, author of Why the Chinese Dont Count Calories. She points to recent research showing that the Chinese consume 30 percent more calories than people in other countries and yet weigh 20 percent less. The secret? They choose nutrient-packed fare over foods full of sugar and fat. Here, a few more Chinese eating secrets:

Worship veggies
In China, vegetables are as prized as meat. Order more veggie dishes, and ask to have your meat served on vegetables instead of rice or noodles.

Use the “rule of five”
Pack your plate with five tastes—sweet, sour, pungent, salty, and bitter—not just one. The Chinese believe that helps control weight.

Think yin and yang
Yin foods (which are often steamed) provide a cooling effect. Yang foods (often grilled) warm you. The balance is thought to prevent weight gain.

Drink (hot) tea
Enjoy it at body temperature (warm but not superhot) to aid in fat digestion. But avoid iced tea; it can lead to obesity and lethargy.