Is Pad Thai Healthy? Advantages and Disadvantages

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Lauren Zembron
Lauren Zembronhttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I am a 34 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, energetic daughter, sweet son, and playful dog. I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings. I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“. I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.
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Thai food is getting more and more popular every day because of its wonderful flavors and has become readily available throughout the world. Pad Thai noodles are one of the best comfort foods you can find. 

However, at this age, we have to always consider if something is good for our body before we consume it. This might lead people to ask, is Pad Thai healthy

There are a lot of variations of Pad Thai, and each of them has some different nutritional values. So, without further ado, let’s get into taking a deeper look at all the things that make Pad Thai either healthy or unhealthy.

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Is Pad Thai Healthy?

Is Pad Thai Healthy

In short, it’s not healthy. Although it does have a good amount of protein and can have a large number of vitamins and minerals from the veggies, it’s also high in sodium, sugar, carbs, fat, and calories. 

So that you can understand the nutritional benefits and cons of pad Thai, we have discussed the nutrients in Pad Thai separately below in two sections: disadvantages and advantages.

Disadvantages of Pad Thai

how healthy is pad thai

There are quite a few nutrients that are in excess in this dish which make it very unhealthy for you, take a look at them below.

Calories:

When someone is trying to lose weight, they try to keep their caloric intake lower than what they burn. Hence, the calories in Pad Thai must not be too high for it to be a part of a healthy diet. Now, unfortunately, most Pad Thai such as Pad Thai chicken noodles that you will find in restaurants will have a high amount of calories. 

A large portion of chicken pad Thai noodles for 1 person can have over a thousand calories in them. If you regularly eat such Pad Thai dishes then you are guaranteed to gain weight because of the astounding number of calories you will be consuming in just one meal. 

Sugar Carbohydrates:

For your body to carry all of its functions smoothly, and for you to be energized, you need a certain amount of carbohydrates in your diet. But the issue arises when you are eating too many carbs. Pad Thai usually has a very large amount of carbs because of the noodles. 

To put it into numbers, a single portion on average has around 180 grams of carbohydrates. Such over-consumption of carbs will make it very easy to gain weight since we store the carbs that we do not burn, as fat. In addition to that, it may even lead to cardiovascular diseases. 

There’s also plenty of sugar in Pad Thai because of the sauce that is used to make this dish so flavorful. Usually, granulated sugar is used in the peanut sauce, and the sugar content is about 43 grams. This is considered to be a high amount of sugar, which is undoubtedly unhealthy.

Fats in Pad Thai:

To give all the veggies, chicken, and other ingredients in Pad Thai that crispy texture, they have to be deep-fried. Meaning a lot of oil is used in making pad Thai. The oils used for making Pad Thai are usually coconut oil, soybean oil, or palm oil. 

All of the oils that we have mentioned are very high in saturated fat, and as you may know, saturated fat is terrible for your health. Consuming a lot of saturated fat may lead to arterial blockages and many types of heart diseases, which could be fatal. 

In one serving of chicken Pad Thai, there are 33 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat. Therefore, people with high cholesterol problems and heart diseases should steer clear of oily Pad Thai made in restaurants at all times. 

Additionally, the high amounts of fat in Pad Thai can also lead to quick weight gain, and as we know eating too many fatty foods leads to obesity. 

Sodium:

One of the biggest problems with pad Thai is that it contains a heaping amount of sodium which is bad for your health for a multitude of reasons. A lot of salt is used to season the noodles, and by adding a ton of fish sauce and soy sauce, the sodium content of pad Thai only goes up. 

Containing over 2.400 mg of sodium, this amount of sodium in one serving of Pad Thai is even greater than what you are recommended to consume in one whole day. 

When you eat so much sodium with your food, you’ll gain a lot of water weight which will make you bloated. Long-term effects of having Pad Thai regularly because of the sodium include high blood pressure, weakness, heart failure, and kidney diseases. 

Advantages of Pad Thai

is pad thai healthy for you

Although there are several harmful properties, there are also a few beneficial nutrients in Pad Thai that we have discussed next. 

Protein:

In a healthy diet, protein is one of the most vital nutrients to keep your muscles growing and strong. A lot of Pad Thai noodles will often have a good amount of chicken or other sources of protein which is great. 

However, if you buy your Pad Thai from a cheap store, then the amount of lean protein might be low. If you’re cooking your Pad Thai, then try to add a decent portion of chicken breast or other lean protein sources into it. 

Approximately 54 grams of protein is present in 1 serving of Pad Thai, so we can say it is a good source of protein. 

Vitamins from Veggies:

Traditionally pad Thai consists of a lot of vegetables, and it especially has a lot of bean sprouts. These vegetables are excellent sources of various types of vitamins and minerals that are essential to keep your body healthy and fight off diseases. 

You may also be able to add extra vegetables to your pad Thai when ordering to make your meal more nutritionally rich!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it okay to have Pad Thai when you’re trying to lose weight?

No, because pad Thai has a very high amount of sodium and can have even more than 1000 calories per serving.

What are the healthiest Thai dishes?

While Pad Thai is certainly unhealthy usually, there are a lot of very healthy and nutritional Thai dishes. They include Yum Talay, Khao man gai, and tom yum goong.

Is Pad Thai or Pad See Ew healthier?

Neither of these dishes is very healthy, but since Pad See has fewer calories than Pad Thai, we would say it’s a bit healthier.

Why is Pad Thai so high in sodium?

Pad Thai includes ingredients such as fish sauce, soy sauce along with table salt for flavor, and they massively increase the sodium content.

Ways to Make Pad Thai Healthy

It’s very easy to make pad Thai healthy while retaining all of its great flavors. You should consider making pad Thai at home instead of ordering in so you can customize it according to your diet plan.

One of the first things that you should do is reduce the amount of oil used, and you could also use a healthier oil such as avocado oil or olive oil. You can also air fry your chicken, shrimp, and vegetables to make the dish less oily. 

Adding extra vegetables is always a plus in terms of nutrition, and when cooked properly they can make your pad Thai even more delicious. You should also try to use more lean proteins, such as chicken breast in your dish.

Lastly, use less salt to season the pad Thai so the sodium content in your pad Thai isn’t as crazy as it is in the ones you can find at restaurants.

Conclusion

After reading our article, you might think that pad Thai is a very unhealthy option for your meal. While that is partially true, we must add that it can be a healthier option if you follow the tips we have written above.

To summarize the answer to the question – is pad Thai healthy, it is generally quite unhealthy but can be made healthier if you choose to cook and add fewer harmful ingredients. 

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