Health tips for eating mooncakes in Mid-Autumn Festival

Updated: 30 Aug 2010
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Moon cake was first used in Tang Dynasty for the army to celebrate its victory. In the era ruled by Emperor Gaozu in Tang Dynasty, the great general LI Jing won in the war against the Huns and came back on the day of 15th day of the 8th month in lunar calendar.
 
At that occasion, one merchant from Turpan presented a box of cake to Emperor Gaozu (高祖). Gaozu was so happy to take the luxurious cake container. He took out a round cake and said "I will invite the moon with the cakes from Northern barbarian tribes" pointing to the moon in the sky. Then he shared the cakes with his officials.
 
There are many categories of moon cakes. According to the manufacturing place, there are Beijing-style moon cake, Guangdong-style moon cake, Suzhou-style moon cake, Taiwan moon cake, Yunnan-style moon cake, Hong Kong moon cake, Chaozhou moon cake and even Japanese moon cake, etc. According to the flavor, there are sweet moon cake, salty moon cake, sweetly salty moon cake and spicy moon cake. According to the fillings, there are five kernels moon cake, sweet bean paste moon cake, crystal sugar moon cake, black sesame moon cake and ham moon cake, etc. And according to the crusts, there are pulp-crust moon cake, mixed-sugar-crust moon cake and crisp-crust moon cake.
 
While, do these tasteful moon cakes suit everybody? Is there any connection between different fillings and health? What is the best way of eating moon cake?
 
Moon cakes of different fillings for different people
 
First, to young ladies, any type of the moon cakes is good. And five kernels moon cake and jujube paste moon cake are good to both the body and looking.
 
Second, some moon cakes are not suitable for people of all ages. For example, egg yolk moon cake is rich in vitamin A and E and it is well-known that vitamin E has the function of oxidation resistance. However, egg yolk is also rich in cholesterol, which the senior people shall avoid.
 
In addition, the vegetarian moon cakes with filling of fruits or vegetables may still contain starch in its crust. Starch is a kind of carbohydrate which may transform to glucose, and eventually leading to the increase of blood sugar
 
Thus they are dangerous to the people with particular diseases.
 
Unhealthy Eating No. 1: Eat several moon cakes in one single day
 
Some moon cake lovers, especially the youth, who like moon cake with filling of egg yolk or fruits, will take moon cake as dinner and eat several cakes in one day. The experts pointed out that "it is inappropriate to eat more than one moon cake in one day. No matter how much you love moon cake, it shall not be taken as dinner food, because the sugar and fat one moon cake contains are much higher than rice. The acceptable daily intake of sugar shall be no more than 10 tea spoons, and the content of sugar in one moon cake can reach 14 tea spoons, which is more than the need of the body for the whole day. And the acceptable daily intake of fat shall be no more than 13 tea spoons, and the content of fat in one moon cake can reach 6 tea spoons.
 
It is recommended by the expert that one shall not eat excessive moon cakes. When eating moon cake, it is better to divide the cake to smaller pieces and share with families and friends in order to avoid excessive intake of fat and sugar. Moon cake shall also not be taken as dessert after meal because it contains too little fiber to be the substitute for fruit.
 
Unhealthy Eating No. 2: Take moon cake as breakfast
 
Some people like to store some moon cakes and eat them as breakfast. The experts pointed out that "this habit is against the principle of balanced nutrition". The three meals in the day shall be eaten in accordance with the principle of balanced nutrition with the food intake proportion of 30% for breakfast, 40% for lunch and 30% for supper. If one only eat moon cakes for breakfast, then the body takes more fat and sugar but fewer protein. And if this lasts long, the nutrition situation of body will change. It is better to take moon cake as a pastry or supporting food rather than the main course.
 
Sugar-free moon cake improves its flavor with sweetening agent, but it does not mean that moon cake contains no sugar. According to "Guide Manual of Moon Cake Consumption", sugar-free moon cake contains starch which is polysaccharose in itself. As to the vegetarian moon cakes with filling of fruits or vegetables may also contain starch in its crust. Starch is a kind of carbohydrate which may transform to glucose, and eventually leading to the increase of blood sugar.
 
To the overweight people, after eating moon cake, they should reduce the intake of rice and oil to balance the nutrition of the day. A Guangdong-style moon cake of 200g contains energy of 500 calories, and a bowl of rice only contains energy of 270 calories. It is advisable that overweight people with potential sugar and fat metabolic disorder and arteriosclerosis shall eat fewer moon cakes as diabetes patients do.
 
Drink tea after eating moon cake
 
After eating moon cake, it is better to drink some tea, lemonade or eat some vegetables for the purpose of balancing nutrition and reasonable dieting. The doctors suggest eating moon cake three hour after meal (those who shall avoid eating moon cake should not eat at all). Eating moon cake before the stomach completely digests the food will cause gastrectasia and lead to maldigestion. It is highly recommended not to eat moon cake for midnight snack. It is OK to eat moon cake for midnight snack occasionally, but not for long. The time of eating moon cake shall be not close to sleeping time.
 
In addition, moon cake is hard to digest, so excessive intake of moon cake will cause problems in liver or gall, and other acute complicating disease in digesting system, such as abdominal distension, chest distress, vomiting, no appetite, constipation, etc.
 
Before eating moon cake, it is good to eat some salty food in order to not feel too greasy, to drink some green tea to digest faster, to drink some soup or herb water such as appetite stimulating tea (like Sour plum juice), digest promoting tea (water with Chinese herbs like hawthorn, fleece-flower root, and cassia seed) to clean intestines and stomach. Some pepsin tablet can also help digesting but please control the amount of pepsin tablets taken.
 
 
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Mariapaul Commented on 08 Jun 2016
This is a traditional cake on order times and I like this moon cake very much. But it is very rare cake and we will order them from shops. It is also a luxurious cake which is delicious at the same time if eaten in huge amount will surely affect our health.
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rosemary Commented on 29 Apr 2016
A moon cake is a Chinese Bakery product which is offered between friends or family gathering while celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. There are different varieties available now with different fillings and I like to eat it. But after reading this article I will surely think twice before eating too many cakes.
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stevensmith Commented on 25 Feb 2016
This post is really informative and thus I got something interesting regarding Moon cakes. Actually I didn’t know that there are many health factors related with moon cakes. Thank you very much for sharing this post here! anti snoring mouthpiece