Quiz: What's that you're eating?

Author: Canadian Living


Quiz: What's that you're eating?

Do you know the connection between diet and blood pressure, fat and calories, sugar and hyperactivity? Grab a pencil, track your score and find out!

1. If you're looking to get the most fibre out of your bread basket, the key word(s) to look for on the packaging are:
a. Twelve grain
b. Enriched
c. Whole wheat
d. Unbleached

2. Which of these claims is true?
a. Honey and brown sugar
are more nutritious than white sugar
b. Pink grapefruits are more nutritious than white grapefruits
c. Brown eggs are more nutritious than white
d. All of the above

3. On food labels, the % Daily Values for carbohydrate and fat are based on healthy-eating recommendations for a:
a. 2,000-calorie diet
b. 1,500-calorie diet
c. 1,800-calorie diet
d. 2,500-calorie diet

4. Which oil is the lowest in saturated fat?
a. Soybean
b. Coconut
c. Canola
d. Olive

5. Which food component is most likely to increase blood-cholesterol levels?
a. Saturated and trans fats
b. Cholesterol
c. Carbohydrate
d. Protein

6. Sulforaphane, a compound thought to reduce the risk of cancer, is found in:
a. Broccoli, cabbage and kale
b. Green tea
c. Flaxseed and whole grains
d. Soybeans and tofu

7. Gram for gram, which contributes the most calories?
a. Carbohydrate
b. Fat
c. Protein
d. Alcohol

8. The requirement for vitamin C is highest for:
a. Smokers
b. Athletes
c. Alcoholics
d. Elderly

9. Which provides the most absorbable iron?
a. One apple
b. One cup of milk
c. Three ounces of steak
d. One cup of spinach

10. Which milk claim is true?
a. Skim milk is less nutritious than whole milk
b. Calcium-fortified soy beverages give you the same amount of calcium as cow's milk
c. A and B
d. None of the above

Learn about the top 10 power plant foods.

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11. Which is least likely to lower your risk of osteoporosis?
a. Calcium
b. Sodium
c. A multivitamin
d. Sunshine

12. Which is essential for your body to absorb calcium?
a. Vitamin D
b. Vitamin E
c. Vitamin C
d. Soy

13. What is the most effective strategy to lower blood pressure?
a. Lose weight
b. Restrict salt
c. Monitor glucose
d. Take a protein supplement

14. Which vegetable claim is true?
a. Organically grown produce is more nutritious than conventional
b. Raw fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen
c. Raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked
d. All of the above

15. The requirement for calcium is highest for:
a. Pregnant women
b. Adults over 50
c. Children nine to 18
d. Infants

16. Which is not a low-fat cooking method?
a. Panfrying
b. Broiling
c. Braising
d. Barbecuing

17. Which sugar claim is true?
a. Sugar causes diabetes
b. Sugar makes you hyper
c. Sweet foods cause spikes in blood sugar
d. None of the above

18. Which cooking method results in the largest loss of nutrients?
a. Stir-frying
b. Steaming
c. Microwaving
d. Boiling

19. Enriched grain products are fortified with:
a. Fibre, folic acid and calcium
b. Iron, folic acid and other B vitamins
c. Zinc, sodium and magnesium
d. Vitamins C, D and K

20. Which fruit is the least likely to contain pesticides?
a. Strawberries
b. Apples
c. Peaches
d. Bananas

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1. Answer: C (Whole wheat).
Whole wheat flour contains the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Wheat flour -- whether bleached, unbleached or enriched -- is refined and has fewer vitamins and minerals. Twelve grain (or multigrain) may mean little since the bread may still be mostly refined wheat (white) flour.

2. Answer: B (Pink grapefruits).
Gram for gram, pink and white grapefruits have roughly the same amount of calories and vitamin C, but the pink variety has more than 30 times the beta-carotene (vitamin A) plus some lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives pink grapefruits their colour. Brown sugar (white sugar with molasses) and honey contain minute amounts of minerals, but unless you eat a large portion, the difference is insignificant. Eggshell colour has nothing to do with the flavour, nutritive value or shell thickness of an egg -- just the breed of hen.

3. Answer: A (2,000-calorie diet).
Daily food values allow you to compare products and determine if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in a serving of food. Why 2,000? It's about right for a moderately active woman, teenage girl or sedentary man. You can use the % Daily Value as a general guide, even if you eat more or less than 2,000 calories a day.

4. Answer: C (Canola).
Weighing in at one gram of saturated fat per tablespoon, canola oil is the lowest (olive oil has 1.9 grams, soybean has 2.1 grams and coconut has 11.8 grams). It is also high in cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat and contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. But use any oil sparingly: one tablespoon packs roughly 125 calories and 20 per cent of a day's worth of fat.

5. Answer: A (Saturated and trans fats).
Cholesterol in the bloodstream is what's most important; the main dietary influence on blood-cholesterol levels is the mix of fats in the diet. Saturated and trans fats are the real culprits. Other factors that may skew your numbers include age, genetics, gender, body weight and shape, diabetes and level of physical activity. Eighty per cent of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver; only 20 per cent is affected by your diet.

6. Answer: A (Broccoli, cabbage and kale).
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage and kale, contain sulforaphane, a natural chemical that has been shown to help the liver detoxify cancer-causing substances. But keep in mind that there are benefits to eating all types of vegetables.

Click here to read about other foods that fight cancer.

7. Answer: B (Fat).
Fat has nine calories per gram; alcohol has seven; and protein and carbohydrate have about four.

8. Answer: A (Smokers).
Because smoking increases oxidative stress and depletes the body of vitamin C, smokers need an additional 35 milligrams a day. Requirements may also be higher in some alcoholics due to increased urinary excretion of the vitamin and poor dietary habits.

(Read a quitters guide to stop smoking from

9. Answer: C (Three ounces of steak).
In general, the bioavailability (the extent to which your body can use a particular nutrient) of iron in meats, fish and poultry is high; in grains and legumes it is intermediate; and in most vegetables, especially those high in oxalates (acids that interfere with iron absorption from the gut), such as spinach, collards and leeks, it is low. To enhance the absorption of iron from the latter sources, accompany the meal with vitamin C -- for instance, have a glass of orange juice with your cereal.

10. Answer: D (None of the above).
Skim milk has the same essential nutrients, in the same amounts, as whole, 1% and 2% milk; it also has almost no fat and fewer calories. The calcium in a soy beverage is absorbed at the rate of 75 per cent of milk, which means a soy beverage has to contain 400 milligrams of calcium to equal the 300 milligrams of calcium from a serving of cow's milk. Further, not all soy beverages have calcium added.

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11. Answer: B (Sodium).
Excess sodium reduces mineral density in bones.

12. Answer: A (Vitamin D).
Vitamin D increases calcium absorption by as much as 80 per cent, making this vitamin a key in osteoporosis prevention. Try to aim for 400 international units (IU) a day (800 IU if you are over 50). Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines) and fortified cereal and dairy products. Sunlight is also a good source, but because Canada is located so far north, in most of the country sunlight isn't enough from late fall to early spring.

13. Answer: A (Lose weight).
If you are overweight, even a weight loss of 10 pounds may significantly lower your blood pressure. Other ways to avert hypertension: limit alcohol to less than two drinks per day, exercise three to four times per week (50 to 60 minutes each time) and reduce stress. Salt restriction may be beneficial, particularly for people older than 44.

14. Answer: C (Raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked).
Vitamin loss increases with temperature, time and exposure to water and air. Fresh and frozen vegetables are practically identical in vitamin content, though in winter frozen vegetables may have more nutrients since they are picked at their best and preserved immediately, which limits nutrient loss. Fresh vegetables can lose nutrients during transport and storage. Organically grown foods are not necessarily more nutritious than those grown under standard agricultural conditions.

15. Answer: B or C (Adults over 50, or children nine to 18).
Health Canada's 1997 dietary reference intakes state that the requirements for calcium are highest among children nine to 18 years of age (1,300 milligrams a day); however, more recent guidelines for the management and prevention of osteoporosis suggest that adults over 50 have the highest requirement (1,500 milligrams). Get more information on calcium and food from Osteoporosis Canada (

16. Answer: A (Panfrying).
Panfrying requires butter or oil. Try dry-heat methods such as roasting, grilling or barbecuing to cut the fat.

17. Answer: D (None of the above).
Sugar does not cause diabetes nor is it linked to spikes in blood sugar in people without diabetes. It's the body itself that keeps blood sugars within a narrow range. Also, no scientific evidence supports the claim that sugar causes hyperactivity in children. Researchers suggest the excitement associated with special activities such as parties, holidays and recess is enough to get kids hyped up.

18. Answer: D (Boiling).
Water leaches vitamins from vegetables. If you boil vegetables, use the smallest amount of water possible, cover the pot to speed up the process, do not add salt and use leftover water to make a sauce or soup to recover any vitamins leached into the cooking water.

19. Answer: B (Iron, folic acid and other B vitamins).
Foods lose many nutrients during processing. Enriched products have some of those nutrients added back.

20. Answer: D (Bananas).
Other fruits that are consistently lower in pesticides are kiwis, mangoes, papaya and pineapples. But don't avoid the less-pristine list, which includes apples, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, red raspberries and strawberries. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the benefits of eating more vegetables and fruit outweigh the risks from pesticides. Minimize exposure by washing produce, discarding the outer leaves of leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage, and eating a varied diet. Still doubtful? Buy organic.

Read about the reasons to buy organic, Fair Trade and shade-grown coffee.

How nutrition-wise are you?
0-6 (Nutrition Novice)
Mixed messages and a busy lifestyle may be sabotaging your food sense. Don't despair -- there are resources out there to get you started. Visit

7-13 (Food Enthusiast)
Pat yourself on the back. Your supermarket smarts got you a passing grade.

14-20 (Nutrition Savvy)
Congratulations. Your food sense gives you an A on our curve. Knowing how to eat a healthy diet is important, but don't forget to put your knowledge into practice!

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Quiz: What's that you're eating?