Is Thai food high in sugar? (9 truths about Thai food)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Is Thai food high in sugar?  We will speak about Thai cuisine and its uniqueness. 

Is Thai food high in sugar?

The truth is that Thai food is high in sugar. The high sugar consumption and the resulting health problems are so bad the government has to intervene to impose sugar level in beverages and milk. Thais cook with sugar and have a habit of adding sugar to natural juices.

No surprise, then, that after two weeks of vacation, eating rarely and predominantly vegetarian, you return home with two or three extra pounds. Learn to say “Naam Tan” (don’t put sugar).

Many Thai dishes are high in calories. And for a good reason! Nearly all the food of the country contains sugar. Whether it is curry, certain soups, and salads, fried foods, not to mention food with the famous “Oyster Sauce” (a vicious and delicious condiment of dark brown color made from oyster extracts, sugar, salt, and water thickened with cornstarch) … They always add one spoonful or 2 of sugar (and also salt).

Thai cuisine is famous all over the world, it stands out for being food with a spicy touch and a balanced mix of acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy flavors. In recent years this type of food has become very popular in the United States, which is why the offer of restaurants is immense.

The raw diet in Thailand is based on ingredients full of colors and flavors, such as abundant vegetables, seafood, and meats that are always served with noodles or rice. Traditionally meals are often seasoned with medicinal herbs and spices such as turmeric root, ginger, Thai basil, and lemongrass.

The truth is that the food served in Western Thai restaurants shares many aspects with authentic Thai cuisine, although some differences are worth talking about. The menus that are done in Thai restaurants in the United States stand out for serving larger portions, the food can be served more fried, and on many occasions, the recipes tend to contain a more generous contribution of salt and sugar.

The truth about Thai food

Below are nine things I think are good to know about Thai food:

  1. Classical Thai cuisine has very little in common with what ordinary people eat today. Traditionally, Thai food is healthy, cooked quickly with fresh ingredients – many greens, vegetables, and spices purchased from the markets are used, not put in the basket on the shelves of a supermarket. 

Unfortunately, this classic and clean cooked food is somewhat available in more expensive restaurants, which middle-class Thais cannot afford to frequent.

  1. Food stalls, small restaurants, that is, all those places where the excellent Thai food eats, have only one principle on which they are based – to cook fast, cheap, and tasty. This means that compromises are made on the ingredients, and the most commonly used trick is to add monosodium glutamate (MSG) to all dishes. 

It has become so addictive that many restaurants are bypassed, and in time it would go bankrupt if it did not use this Chinese salt that has the gift of enhancing flavors. People simply think that food without MSG does not taste good. If you want to beware, you have to learn to tell your waiter more choo rot (don’t put MSG).

  1. Going through all this, it’s great to eat Thai food for two weeks while the holidays last. If you stay longer, the chances of not seeing fried rice, papaya salad, and massaman curry are great. Because at the end of the day, all the dishes taste the same, either sweet or hot. 
  1. Thais have many European vegetables at their disposal, say, thanks to the Royal Family. Specifically, in the late 1960s, the King’s mother decided to do something about the minority ethnic groups living in the north of the country, generically called hill tribes. 

She desired to give them another way to earn money and live decently than from opium production and trafficking. She founded the Royal Project, a foundation that brought new species to the country, did tests and studies to see what could grow there, and then taught people how to grow and care for them. 

  1. The fruits of Thailand are a gift from God. If you get bored with any other food, switch to fruit. Only if you taste the bananas once and you won’t need much else. I insist you try: mango, mangosteen, passion fruit, lychee.
  1. Be sure to drink fruit shakes. Mango + banana + passion fruit + coconut milk is my favorite combination. But don’t forget what we told you about sugar!
  1. Thai food is hot. Extremely hot. Many Thais cannot enjoy food unless it is like fire. If you have problems with this, remember more phet, which means not fast. Repeat it a few times to the waiter, and it is possible (not guaranteed) to receive something that you can digest.
  1. If you like sweets, you will not be delighted to find out that traditional Thai desserts are no longer widely available. Many restaurants will offer you sticky rice mango or banana in coconut milk, and that’s about it. If you want more, hunt the food markets where you have a chance to find different donuts and cakes, not necessarily prepared according to classic recipes, but authentic in the sense that all Thais eat them with pleasure.
  1. Oddities are not available everywhere. Thais eat all kinds of weird things, but they do it in their home’s privacy because you can’t find the madness that tourists expect in the markets.

Other FAQs about Thai Food which you may be interested in.

Why does Thai food smell bad?

Is Thai food healthier than Chinese food?

Is Thai food healthy or unhealthy?


In this article, we answered the following question: Is Thai food high in sugar?  We spoke about Thai cuisine and its uniqueness. 

Thai food is known to be both sweet and savory. Many Thai dishes are high in calories since nearly all of them contain high quantities of sugar. Overall, this makes Thai food unique – its ability to combine acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy flavors. 

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