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Test Your Nutrition IQ

Think you know your stuff when it comes to healthy eating? You might be surprised.


By SALLY KUZEMCHAK
photographs by TARA DONNE PROP STYLING BY NIDIA CUEVA FOOD STYLING BY JERRIE-JOY FOR PAT BATES AND ASSOCIATES

TAKE OUR QUIZ

  1. Which of these statements is true?
    • A. Brown eggs are better for you than white eggs.
    • B. Brown bread is better for you than white bread.
    • C. Brown sugar is better for you than white sugar.
    • D. None of the above
  2. The label on your chocolate-chip granola bar says that it contains 16 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of how many teaspoons?
    • A. 4 teaspoons
    • B. 16 teaspoons
    • C. 1 teaspoon
    • D. 8 teaspoons
    • E. 32 teaspoons
  3. The average American adult eating 2,000 calories a day should have no more than how many teaspoons of added sugar, according to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
    • A. 12 teaspoons
    • B. 20 teaspoons
    • C. 4 teaspoons
    • D. No amount of added sugar is okay.
  4. Which of these is not rich in whole grains?
    • A. Quick-cook oats
    • B. Multigrain bread
    • C. Wild rice
    • D. Air-popped popcorn
  5. You see the claim “All Natural” on a package. That means:
    • A. No hormones or antibiotics were used.
    • B. No artificial flavors, added color, or synthetic substances were used.
    • C. No pesticides were used.
    • D. All of the above
  6. Per half cup, which of these has the most fiber?
    • A. Cooked oatmeal
    • B. Broccoli
    • C. Raspberries
    • D. Cooked lentils
  7. Which of these foods does not contain carbs?
    • A. Fat-free milk
    • B. Green peas
    • C. Olive oil
    • D. Gluten-free bagels
  8. Which of these is a myth?
    • A. Raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked ones.
    • B. Sea salt contains less sodium than regular table salt.
    • C. Organic food contains more nutrients than conventional.
    • D. All of the above
  9. How many cups of vegetables should adult women eat every day?
    • A. 1/2 cup
    • B. 1 cup
    • C. 2 cups
    • D. 2 1/2 cups
  10. What is the most effective diet for weight loss?
    • A. Low-fat
    • B. High-protein
    • C. High-carb
    • D. None of the above
  11. True or False: Eating six small meals throughout the day is better for you than eating three larger meals.
  12. True or False: Coconut oil is rich in heart-healthy fats.
  13. True or False: A gluten-free diet can help most people lose weight and have more energy.
  14. True or False: Most adult women don’t get enough protein every day.

ANSWERS:

Give yourself one point for every correct answer.

D–None of the above
A brown color may convey “wholesome,” but don’t be fooled. Brown eggs are simply laid by a different breed of chicken than white eggs. Unless it’s labeled “whole grain,” brown bread may just be white bread with caramel coloring. And brown sugar is white sugar mixed with molasses.
A–4 teaspoons
Here’s a quick label-reading hack: Divide the grams of sugar by four to get the teaspoon equivalents. Remember that it’s only added sugar that’s a health concern. Dairy (like plain yogurt), vegetables, and fruit contain natural sugar.
A–12 teaspoons
It’s wise to keep your added sugar intake to no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories, according to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That’s 200 if you're eating 2,000 calories a day.
B–Multigrain bread
Oats (even quick cook), wild rice, and popcorn are all considered whole grains. That means none of the grain has been stripped out during processing, which equals more fiber and vitamins and as much as 25 percent more protein than refined grains. Just because a bread package touts “multigrain” doesn’t mean any of those grains are actually whole. For the real deal, look for a loaf labeled “whole-grain bread” and the word whole in the first ingredient.
B–No artificial flavors, synthetic substances, or added color were used.
“Natural” is a food-package buzzword, so it doesn’t mean much—only that the product doesn’t contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. Natural does not imply anything about how the food was raised.
D–Cooked lentils
All of these foods are good sources of fiber, but protein-powerhouse lentils take the cake (so to speak). Each half-cup serving packs 8 grams of fiber—about a third of your daily fiber needs.
C–Olive oil
Most people think pasta, bread, and other grains when it comes to carbs. But carbohydrates are in fruit, veggies, and dairy products too (only fats and most meats are carb-free). And “gluten-free” doesn’t mean “carb-free” either. G-free grains contain carbs in the form of starches and flours.
D–All of the above
Well, mostly. Although there are a couple of exceptions on the raw-vegetable front, you can actually get more health-boosting plant compounds from many veggies—such as tomatoes and carrots—when they’re cooked. By weight, sea salt and table salt have the exact same amount of sodium (the difference is that sea salt granules may be bigger, so fewer of them fit on a teaspoon). And there’s very little evidence that organic food contains more nutrients than conventional.
D–2½ cups
That’s the amount recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for women under age 51, but only about 30 percent of women are hitting the mark.
D–None of the above
In a review of the most popular diets, researchers from the University of Toronto found no significant differences in weight loss among them—and concluded that the best diet is simply the one you can stick to over the long term.
False
There’s no definitive research showing that smaller, more frequent meals result in better weight management, weight loss, or health. So follow the pattern that works best for you.
False
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fat, which is not generally considered heart-healthy. While the specific type of saturated fat in coconut oil—lauric acid—hasn’t been found to raise your cholesterol levels, there’s no proof it’s good for your health in the way that mono or polyunsaturated fats like olive oil and corn oil are. So use it if you like the flavor, but stock olive oil too.
False
If you’re among the approximately 1 percent of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is a must to avoid intestinal damage. Other people may have sensitivity to gluten—the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley—and feel better without it. But there’s not a single published study showing that a gluten-free diet results in weight loss, says a research review in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
False
Each day, the average woman eats an extra 1 to 2 ounces of protein-rich foods (like meat, poultry, and eggs) beyond what’s recommended. Plus, protein is found in other foods such as grains, dairy, nuts, and veggies, so it’s not hard to get enough.

what your score means

11 to 14 points: You’re a nutrition superstar.

Rock on! When it comes to food marketing and fad diets, you don’t believe the hype. Label reading? You’re crushing it. You know where to find whole grains and how many veggies you need every day. Bravo.

6 to 10 points: You’ve got some nutrition know-how.

Not bad! You have a totally respectable knowledge base. Just brush up on a few key points so you don’t fall for dubious diet trends or confusing claims on food packages.

0 to 5 points: You could use a nutrition refresher.

Hey, it happens! There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s easy to be misled. Arm yourself with the facts and you’ll be able to make better choices in the grocery store and on your plate.