This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 10, 2006
True or false: One mooncake contains a whopping 1,000 calories?
Bad news - it's true.
The Health Promotion Board's website (www.hpb.gov.sg) lists just how calorie-laden these pastries are.
A lotus seed paste mooncake contains 716 calories.
A lotus seed paste mooncake with one salted egg yolk has 790 calories.
If it has two salted egg yolks, that's 890 calories.
If it has four salted egg yolks, you're looking at 975 calories.
The average recommended daily intake of calories is 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women, so eating an entire mooncake could take up almost half your daily quota.
Ms Cyndy Au, a regional nutritionist with a multi-national food corporation, says mooncakes are very high in calories because of their high sugar and fat content.
A lotus seed paste mooncake with two salted egg yolks contains the equivalent number of calories found in 45 teaspoons of sugar. Its total fat content of 55g is equivalent to 11 teaspoons of oil.
But she adds that it is still possible to enjoy mooncakes without guilt. As always, moderation is key.
Have just a quarter piece per day as a dessert or snack, she says. Or cut the mooncake into eighths instead of quarters, so you can enjoy more varieties. Then, eat it slowly and savour it.
She adds that there are many lower-fat, lower-sugar mooncakes available that taste like, if not better than traditional ones.
Even low-sugar desserts can taste good, she says. "Remember, train your tongue. Tastes are acquired."