Talk:Chinese food therapy

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article is or was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment. Further details are available on the course page. Peer reviewers: Cmart35.

Above undated message substituted from Template:Dashboard.wikiedu.org assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 17:31, 16 January 2022 (UTC)

Name change[edit]

The name of this article was changed from food therapy to Chinese food therapy because the phrase food therapy is far too generic to be claimed just by one culture or group. It could just as well be claimed as a modality of natural health, for example. -- John Gohde 15:53, 11 May 2004 (UTC)

I'm surprised this wasn't included[edit]

I'm surprised nothing was written about 熱氣. Certain types of food (greasy, fried, chocolate) are supposed to cause it, and and other types are supposed to nullify it (soup, tea), and 熱氣 is the supposed cause of ailments like sore throats, coughs, fevers, acme, and so on. --Yuje 23:49, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

That's specific to southern China. It's not easy to cover the food therapy of every region of China in one article. :-) — Instantnood 11:11, July 25, 2005 (UTC)
熱氣 means yang which is more generic than 燥火 濕熱 mentioned in the article which are more specific types of yang. Feel free to add that to the list too. Kowloonese 23:26, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Daoism and Chinese food therapy[edit]

I'd be interested if Chinese food therapy was related to Daoism immortality practices. I'm taking a Chinese history class and in it I learned that one of the Daoist techniques for achieving immortality had to do with dietary practices. It would make sense especially if this is refering to particularly Chinese practices if those Daoist diets are related to the food therapy. Jztinfinity 02:42, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Yi Shi Tong Yuan[edit]

The Chinese old proverb "Yi Shi Tong Yuan" (醫食同源) that means "medicine and diet both originated from the practice and experience of daily life"[1], I think, deserves its on article. However since none tried it, I think it should be at least addressed in the article.--Caspian blue 00:09, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Dubious comparison[edit]

"In this way, this health system is in direct opposition to Louis Pasteur's germ theory of disease[dubious – discuss], being more aligned with Claude Bernard, and Antoine Bechamp's biological terrain theory of disease."

This is a truly ridiculous comparison. In developed societies, how many diseases these days are caused by "germs" ? Is heart disease caused by "germs" ? Is diabetes caused by "germs" ? Are strokes caused by "germs" ? Is cancer caused by "germs" ? Its nonsense.Eregli bob (talk) 10:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree. While it is true that Traditional Chinese Medicinal Philosophy does not recognize "germs" i.e., pathogenic organisms, this comparison with Pasteur's germ theory in an attempt to set TCM as the opposite twin of Western Medicine is pointless purple prose. We should neuter the sentence, or take it out entirely.--Mr Fink (talk) 13:29, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Recomended References[edit]

Here are some books:

"The Chinese Kitchen: Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History, and Memories from America's Leading Authority on Chinese Cooking" by Eileen Yin Fei-Lo

"Feng Shui and the 5-Element Kitchen" by Jurgen Heinrich Fahrnow

"The Feng Shui Cookbook: Creating Health and Harmony in Your Kitchen" by Elizabeth Miles

"Chinese Dietary Therapy" by Liu Jilin

"The Tao of Healthy Eating: Dietary Wisdom According to Traditional Chinese Medicine" by Bob Flaws

"Chinese Diet Therapy" by Zhao Muying

"Chinese Nutrition Therapy: Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine" by Joerg Kastner

"Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition" by Paul Pitchford

"Prince Wen Hui's Cook: Chinese Dietary Therapy" by Bob Flaws and Honora Wolf

"A Spoonful of Ginger: Irresistible, Health-Giving Recipes from Asian Kitchens" by Nina Simonds

"Chinese System Of Food Cures: Prevention & Remedies" by Henry C. Lu

"Your Guide to Health with Foods & Herbs: Using the Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine" by Zhang Yifang and Yao Yingzhi

"Heart Smart Chinese Cooking" by Stephen Wong

"The Healing Cuisine of China: 300 Recipes for Vibrant Health and Longevity" by Zhuo Zhao and George Ellis

"Chinese Foods for Longevity: The Art of Long Life" by Henry C. Lu

"Diseases Treated with Melons, Fruits and Vegetables: Traditional Chinese Medical Therapies" by Zongchang Xiu

"Chinese Healing Foods" by Rosa Ross

"Chinese System Of Foods For Health & Healing" by Henry C. Lu

"A Soup for the Qan: Chinese Dietary Medicine of the Mongol Era As Seen in Hu Sihui's Yinshan Zhengyao (Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series)" by Paul D. Buell and Eugene N. Anderson

"Food as Medicine: A Traditional Chinese Medical Perspective" by Ted Zombolas and Jing Yuan

"Natural Remedies From The Chinese Cupboard: Healing Foods And Herbs" by Jing Pei Fang

"Five Laws for Healthy Living: Discover the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine to Nourish Your Life" by Angela Hicks and A. Hicks

"Diet Therapy of Diabetes (Chinese Edition)" by lei yong le

"The Book of Jook: Chinese Medicinal Porridges--A Healthy Alternative to the Typical Western Breakfast" by Bob Flaws

"Buddhist Health Preserving and Diet Therapy (Chinese Edition)" by Dong Xiao Kang

"New Knowledge on Family Diet Therapy (Chinese Edition)" by ben she

"Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health" by Nancy N. Chen

"Diet Therapy for Cancers (Chinese Edition)" by zhang bing qi and an yu zhi

"The Care and Feeding of Your Chi: Feng Shui for Your Body" by Skye Alexander

"Chinese Diet Library: Heart Disease Diet Therapy" by Shen Hong

"The Chinese System of Using Foods to Stay Young" by Henry C. Lu

"Nourishing Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Healthy Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Prolonging Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Fruits As Medicine: A Safe and Cheap Form of Traditional Chinese Food Therapy" by Dai Yin-Fang, Liu Cheng-Jun, Ron Edwards and Gong Zhi-Mei

"Ginger, Garlic & Green Onions As Medicine: Curing Diseases the Chinese Way : A Safe and Cheap Form of Traditional Chinese Food Therapy" by Wang Fuchun and Duan Yuhua

"Dr. Chang's secrets of a thin body: Permanent weight loss no more cellulite complete healing diet" by Stephen T Chang

"Chinese diet for your health" by Henry C Lu

"Chinese health foods: Cook it yourself" by Henry C Lu

"A Taoist Cookbook: With Meditations Taken from the Laozi Daode Jing." by Michael Saso

"Tai Chi Diet: Food for Life." by Mike Symonds

"Your Way to Health With Foods and Herbs: Using the Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine" by Zhang Yifang

"Managing Your Emotional Health Using Traditional Chinese Medicine: How Herbs, Natural Foods, and Acupressure Can Regulate and Harmonize Your Mind and Body" by Zhang Yifang

"Cooking With Chinese Herbs" by Terry Tan

"Chinese Medicinal Herbs: A Modern Edition of a Classic Sixteenth- Century Manual" by Li Shih-Chen


Henry123ifa (talk) 12:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

It was a good run[edit]

From 2002 till April 18, 2014, the old content lasted 12 years before it was blasted away. Twelve years were not too bad at all.  :-) Kowloonese (talk) 23:01, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Some people couldn't tell the difference between a statement of fact, and a statement about others beliefs and what this article is actually about, e.g. the theory might be a load of pseudo-science, but having such an article gives us and understanding of that belief. Food therapy may have zero verifiable scientific basis, and of no health benefits what so ever, it doesn't stop people believing in it and acting as if it worked. Don't be sad, the old article is still there, and will always be there in the history, just so long as this article is not deleted. --KTo288 (talk) 17:27, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I never understand this policy of blowing away info that don't have scientific proof. If you follow the same policy all articles on religions should be blown away. Chinese food therapy is a system that many Chinese people still practice. Just like Taichi and Yoga, the results and health benefits vary on individual basis and if you throw away info that are unproven yet, the knowledge is just buried unnecessarily. If you think the article is misleading, just clarify it and put in a disclaimer to emphasize there is no scientific proof yet. Chinese herbal medicine has been empirical over thousands of years. Only in recent decades, scholars are trying to find the scientific basis of why herbs have their medicinal results. Many universities in China, including The Chinese University of Hong Kong, are doing research on traditional Chinese herbal formulas. Such research is not easy because Chinese medicine believes in a balance formula, each prescription is a cocktail of multiple ingredients tailored to each person's condition. Such studies get very complex when so many variables are involved. Unlike Western medicine which only target the problem with one single active ingredient without regard of side effects. The basic principle behind Chinese food therapy is to eat healthy and adjust to your body's reaction to each type of food. The Yin Yang thing is not magic, it is just a system of classifying food based on body's reactions helps you choose a combination that reach a good balance. Kowloonese (talk) 21:20, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Nevertheless, this ought to be in the same "pseudoscience" category that "Traditional Chinese medicine" is in. We do nobody any favours by suggesting that this rubbish works. 109.157.79.50 (talk) 01:43, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Intro to Asian American Studies review[edit]

Are there viewpoints that are overrepresented, or underrepresented?
I thought that the article did not go in depth about what food therapy really is and how it works. It didnt provide enough details.

Is the article neutral? Are there any claims, or frames, that appear heavily biased toward a particular position?
I did not think it was biased, I think it was fairly neutral.

cynthia mCmart35 (talk) 06:38, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Removed comparison to herbal therapy[edit]

Removed comparisons to herbal therapy because they had no relevance in this discussion. The contents of imported herbs have nothing to do with which foods one should or should not eat. These statements served as a distraction and were an apples and oranges comparison. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.158.254.69 (talk) 15:15, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Summarizing the newly quoted review of the literature[edit]

Hi Edaham! Responding to your invitation, I reworded the sentence and I'm here with a few comments on my summary of that relevant literature review recently added by Zefr (thanks, Zefr!). If it came alone, the statement that "Chinese diet may reduce hypertension" would definitely not fly. This is why I made sure it was carefully and repeatedly hedged: "very few studies in English", "*preliminary* studies conducted in China", "*may* *help* reduce", "much less evidence" than for DASH diet. Taken together, this doesn't sound like strong support for CFD. To make everything even clearer, though more wordy, I added more hedging and specifications, all based on the content of the article:

  • Very few studies in English: Abstract and p. 1581
  • Comparison with the DASH diet: pp. 1588–91

The article addresses efficacy explicitly:

  • "Current literature suggests that food therapy is effective in blood pressure control" (Abstract)
  • "Food therapy is an essential component of TCM and has been acknowledged as a successful therapy for hypertension (Shen et al. 2010)" (p. 1580)
  • "A randomized controlled trial demonstrated that TCM food therapy was effective in helping individuals with hypertension control blood pressure, reduce antihypertensive medication, and improve health-related quality of life (Shen et al., 2010)." (p. 1588)
  • Effectiveness: "Inadequate scientific measurement of its effectiveness. Preliminary findings suggest that the food therapy may reduce blood pressure, reduce the use of antihypertensive medication, and improve health-related quality of life." (p. 1590)

Relative lack of evidence:

  • "using scientific methodologies to summarize existing evidence is needed" (p. 1581)
  • "the majority food therapy evidence comes from TCM classics and provides a qualitative theoretical understanding about the relationship between diet and blood pressure from a traditional medicine perspective" (1589–90)
  • Evidence: "Most are TCM classics; modern randomized controlled trials are emerging" (p. 1590)

I hope my summary of these sometimes ambiguous statements will strike you as balanced and will satisfy your request for neutrality! Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 07:16, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for your thorough reply. I think the issue with the present version now is not that the lede is not supported by the sources, but that the use of modal verbs such as may, might, could etc are stylistically inappropriate, especially for the lede where it's better to summarize what is actually known about the subject without going into too much detail on the divisions between different schools of thought on - i.e. a comparison with DASH. The version you put there is in my opinion, preferable to your first edit, so thanks for taking the time to reword it. I'd argue that weakening and rendering a statement more vague and hedging as you put it, is not the same as making an article more neutral. Also the precepts section needs to be renamed and the information therein expanded. I'd recommend taking some of the information you want to put into the lede and expanding on it in that section. In particular, one of the cited articles goes into detail about the belief in a relationship between different tastes and their effect on the body. These can be detailed in the article as these beliefs are currently very much a part of Chinese thought on many levels and have been widely documented. Rather than revert I'd ask you to have a look at your wording with the above point in mind and see if you think there's a better approach. Edaham (talk) 10:36, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
You're welcome, and thank you in turn for your thoughtful comment. I will not insist to keep this sentence in the lede. When you intervened, the Zou reference had just been added to the lede by another editor, along with a generic sentence ("There is limited scientific basis for supporting these beliefs") that I did not think summarized its content very well, hence my attempt to reword it. My "hedging" was not designed to make the statement vaguer, but to specify the scope of its applicability, hoping that in doing so it would become clearer rather than vaguer. Until we have several reliable sources discussing the efficacy of food therapy in various contexts, it would probably be wise to move such discussions somewhere else. Unfortunately I know very little much about the secondary literature on CFT...
I agree with your other suggestions. Apart from the historical section, which I wrote more during an AfD to show that "Chinese food therapy" was a legitimate encyclopedic topic, the rest of the article is flimsy and should be expanded. As you noticed, the Zou source (which I didn't know about until today) gives plenty of details on the "precepts" of Chinese food therapy. I'll see what I can do with it tomorrow (China time).
Speaking of which... May I respectfully ask why you dislike the term "precepts"? "Doctrine" sounded too strong, because Chinese understandings of food vary in time and space. From my scholarly training, I tend to mistrust the word "beliefs", both because it is negatively connoted (it implicitly contrasts with "knowledge") and because it obscures the importance of practices. This is why I had chosen the word "precepts" and why I would still prefer "Chinese *understandings* of [rather than "beliefs concerning"] the effects of food" in the lede. Is there any other word you would find acceptable?
Madalibi (talk) 13:19, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd say that precepts is a little narrow as it focuses on the basis for the beliefs, while beliefs is a little bit subjectively loaded. What the article needs is something which allows the reader to simply know what the deal is with dietary effects on health from a Chinese perspective. If we can find the sources, it would be good to include the fact that aside from just being a therapy, there are widely held beliefs on the subject which affect Chinese people at a family level as well as marketing and economic factors on a social level. Without wanting to expand beyond the reach of what one would expect from an encyclopedia, it might be good to have a sentence or two covering these topics. With that in mind, a main section heading of: "Contemporary use", with sub sections on "basis" "usage (by region)" "products (without actually naming brands)" and "other regions". The idea being that such a rich topic deserves some info on what the actual situation is, without (as has been the case with some medical articles) inviting a skeptical criticism of its efficacy before the subject has been properly introduced to the reader. The subject is of huge importance to Chinese culture and deserves this much. Edaham (talk) 13:58, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Another perspective comes from the field of medicine where the words "food" (i.e., nutrients with anti-disease effects) and "therapy" (established evidence for a treatment preventing or curing disease) require rigor of sources that the practices and literature of CFT cannot provide. I know "beliefs" is a soft, subjective, compromised term, but feel that "understandings" and "precepts" project firmer, perhaps scientifically established, evidence (where none exists) for encyclopedia readers unfamiliar with CFT. The sources for the article are generally weak in numbers and substance, and there is no actual evidence about the nutrients in CFT foods and even less so about the mechanisms or proof of therapy. Medical editors at WP follow the guideline, WP:MEDRS, for which CFT has no good scientific consensus or evidence-based results; compare against WP:MEDASSESS. --Zefr (talk) 14:42, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
true, it is actually used as a treatment - a poorly evidenced one with benefits (if any) which are far from being due to the superstitions on which they are based. It's also true that a bunch of quackademia has sprung up to support said superstitions and attempt to tie scientific looking bells and ribbons onto the legends. This should come across in the article. What should also come across is that CFT is a part of everyday culture in a way homeopathy is not. Nobody would think to water down their hamburger at a restaurant until only one part in a billion remained, however people in China might well forego a food which arrived in front of them because they believe that fiery things are bad in summer. There are probably even poems and well known sayings about it. "Understandings" would allow both medical precepts and cultural info to appear in the same section and I prefer it to the existing term. Edaham (talk) 15:34, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

Someone's added a criticism section which seems like it may not be entirely relevant. It mentions herbalism which is quite a different subject. I'm not sure how this subject is spun in the west as I live in Shanghai, but here food therapy is quite different from herbalism. There's a big chunk of things wrong with the Chinese traditional understanding of the workings of anatomy, but they are quite specific. The current section looks like it's been copied over from a more generic article on naturopathy. It needs to be worked to be focused on the subject it is dealing with. I do not advocate its removal. Please don't remove it. Edaham (talk) 12:48, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi Edaham, Zefr (who wrote this criticism section on March 8),[2] and Roxy the dog (who reverted[3] my deletion[4] of it). Thanks for starting a discussion, Edaham. I deleted the criticism section because all the references cited are about herbalism and herbal supplements, and none about the actual topic of this article. Of the five sources cited, not one even mentions Chinese food therapy.
  • Note 27 — an article on Quackwatch about herbal supplements
  • Note 28 — a WHO report on alternative medicine that discusses TCM (in a non-critical way that goes against the grain of the criticism section, by the way), but not food therapy
  • Note 29 — "Quality of herbal medicines: Challenges and solutions": behind a paywall, but the title makes it clear what it's about
  • Note 30 — "Deep Sequencing of Plant and Animal DNA Contained within Traditional Chinese Medicines...": the article is about "chemicals derived from plants and animals", and presents an analysis of "15 TCM samples presented in the form of powders, tablets, capsules, bile flakes, and herbal teas": not about food
  • Note 31 — this article's goal is "to assess the information presented and indications claimed on the Internet for the 8 best-selling herbal products", namely "ginkgo biloba, St John's wort, echinacea, ginseng, garlic, saw palmetto, kava kava, and valerian root"
As you say, Edaham, "food therapy is quite different from herbalism" and the current section reads like a generic criticism of naturopathy (or herbal supplements). Zefr did not seem to object when I deleted this section a few days ago. And Roxy the dog just reverted me without stating a reason for keeping the section.
For the record, I have nothing against criticism sections. This article does lack a solid critical discussion of Chinese food therapy based on relevant reliable sources. I just don't think the current "Criticism" section does this.
Note that because of the Chinese government's Internet paranoia, I have recently lost my VPNs, and with that, access to Google, Google Books, and Google Scholar. This means it's really hard for me to find reliable sources. But if someone could find reliable sources that are explicitly critical of "Chinese food therapy", I would gladly volunteer to write a new criticism section based on them.
Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 01:32, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm in exactly the same boat as you with the VPN situation. Will try to chip in when I get to the office tomorrow. Edaham (talk) 05:11, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
A (food) therapy article, full of nonsense but no supporting evidence about a chinese medicine therapy needs a criticism section to explain that it is of course nonsense. -Roxy the dog. bark 15:26, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
The article's Criticism section is mostly off-topic because CFT, although part of TCM and herbalism, is something different by focusing on actual food intake. Only the first sentence is specifically about CFT, and it could be supported by the Zou article which discusses CFT quite extensively, with particular focus on the supposed anti-hypertension effects (despite Zou's conclusion, the supporting evidence is weak, although quite extensive from Chinese sources; see Zou, pages 1585-8). The second and third sentences of the Criticism section and all the sources used do not represent CFT which is overall poorly studied and with no rigorous international review literature I can find. --Zefr (talk) 16:11, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. Perhaps my article edit was hasty, but my opinion remains reasonably clear. So, should I remove that section, to be clear, "Criticism" ? -Roxy the dog. bark 16:30, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
By linking CFT to folk medicine in the lede and adding criticism in the 'Scientific assessments' section, it seems adequately stated to me, indicating the section on 'Criticism' is redundant and without sufficient sourcing to include it. --Zefr (talk) 20:12, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
@Roxy the dog: You are correct, the right criticism has to be matched with the right nonsense though.Also, as with manual therapies, it's very hard (but not impossible) to conduct blinded studies on this treatment, so genuine and thorough criticism may be tricky to find. Edaham (talk) 00:52, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for solving this so quickly, everybody. And I like your formulation, Edaham! :) Let me try to add a few more critical views to the history section so that readers will not be tempted to think "these ideas have a long history so they must be right", or something. (Although of course people should feel free to eat more roughage ["cold" food] if they're constipated [a "hot" disease].) One source, for example, speaks of some food associations as "sympathetic magic". These critical views are present in the same reliable sources I used to write the historical account, so the article will remain balanced and won't fall into synthesis. For better contextualization, I will also add comparisons — made explicitly in reliable sources I haven't cited yet — with western medicine: Galen, Renaissance dietetics, humoral medicine, and other such things. All right, keep up the good work! Madalibi (talk) 02:29, 7 August 2017 (UTC)