Test Your Nutrition and Healthy Eating IQ

Healthy Eating

In our diet-conscious culture, information, and misinformation abounds. How well do you know the facts? Test your knowledge of weight loss, diet dos and don’ts, what to eat, when to eat, and more. Regardless of your score, you’ll come away with some healthy eating essentials to help you manage your weight and maximizing your well-being.

Test your knowledge with my Heathy Eating Quiz:

1. The best way to lose weight is to follow a strict diet until you meet your goal.

A. True

B. False

2. The more you work out, the more you will lose.

A. True

B. False

3. “Low-fat” or “fat-free” or “less sugar” on a label means healthier or low calories.

A. True

B. False

4. Carbs are bad! Avoid them.

A. True

B. False

5. Fat is fattening and causes weight gain.

A. True

B. False

6. If you want to lose weight, stop eating out.

A. True

B. False

7. How many pounds can you safely lose each week?

A. 2 pounds

B. 5 pounds

C. 7 pounds

8. According to the American Heart Association, what’s the recommend daily intake for sodium?

A. Less than 1,500 milligrams a day

B. Between 1,500 and 3,000 milligrams a day

C. No more than 3,000 milligrams a day

9. How much ADDED sugar is consumed by the average American each day?

A. 8 -14 teaspoons

B. 15 -21 teaspoons

C. 22-30 teaspoons

10. An afternoon slump hits and you’re starting to feel a little hungry. What’s the best thing to do?

A. Try to ignore it and don’t eat anything so you don’t go over your calorie goal for the day.

B. Drink something with caffeine like coffee or diet soda and see how you feel later.

C. Head for the vending machine and choose something that will fill you up fast.

D. None of the above.

How did you do? Check your answers.

1. The best way to lose weight is to follow a strict diet until you meet your goal. True or False?

ANSWER: false

To lose weight permanently, you must make a commitment to gradually adopt a healthier way of life right from the start. Following a rigid low calorie diet can leave you feeling deprived which can increase your temptation to overeat, and result in failure. Furthermore, very low calorie diets lack many important nutrients, putting you at risk of becoming malnourished. Most importantly, research shows that people who follow these diets usually gain back all the weight they lost – and often more.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Short-term extreme dieting should be avoided. Instead, lose weight slowly and steadily. Plan your meals and snacks every day to avoid making poor choices; don’t skip meals; and keep a food log to help you to stay focused and accountable. And for the most part, what you do while you are losing weight should be the same as what you do to keep the weight off once you reach your goal.

2. The more you work out, the more you will lose. True or False?

ANSWER: false

Since exercise burns calories, it stands to reason that it should cause weight loss. And since you burn “a ton” of calories during exercise, the pounds should just melt off. And therein lies the first problem. Unless you exercise for a living like Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, you don’t burn a ton of calories during a work-out. Secondly, many people believe that once they work out, they have earned a free pass to grab a “snack.” However, burning off 300 calories on the treadmill doesn’t begin to “compensate” for the 500 calories (and 85 grams of sugar!) in a Kale-ribbean Breeze from Jamba Juice.

Don’t get the wrong idea; there is a very long list of benefits from exercise. It can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, and reduce the risk and complications of diabetes. It can even grow new brain cells, but it has a limited impact on weight loss. Truth be told, if exercising alone could produce weight loss, we’d be a whole lot skinnier as a nation and those weight loss “success” stories would be far more common. The data simply does not support the use of exercise as a primary tool for getting thin even though it is accepted as a basic truth by people seeking to lose weight.

Exercise does have a relationship to weight — it’s just not as clear cut a relationship as most of us would like. While exercise by itself is fairly ineffective for losing weight, it appears to be helpful in keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it and preventing weight gain to begin with. Furthermore, exercise produces endorphins – hormones that make you feel better. And when you feel better you are more motivated to eat better. Exercise also helps with sleep and decreases stress – both of which help with weight loss. Exercise energizes and this is incredibly beneficial to help you get through the day.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. During a long work day, get up from your desk, grab a co-worker, and head outside for a quick walk. You’ll come back feeling recharged and focused, and motivated to make healthy food choices. So, get up and get moving!

3. “Low-fat” or “fat-free” or “less sugar” on a label means healthier or low calories. True or False?

ANSWER: false

The front of food packages are designed to get your attention. Many food manufacturers put health and nutrition claims on the front of their packages in order to get us thinking that their food is healthy. However, health claims are more about marketing than health.

A low-fat or fat-free food may be lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product, but not necessarily. Many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories. And foods labeled “no added sugar” are often sweetened with fruit juice concentrates and end up with the same amount of calories and no better nutritional value than the original. Additionally, they could be loaded with artificial sweeteners or sodium making them lower in calories, but unhealthy.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Read the Nutrition Facts on the back of a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too—it may be less than you are used to eating. Also, look at the ingredient list and choose products that have no more than five to seven ingredients listed on the label. They are less processed and generally healthier. Better yet, choose real unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables more often. These foods don’t have labels with deceiving health claims. What you see is what you get – real healthy food.

4. Carbs are bad. Avoid them. True or False?

ANSWER: false

Despite the popularity of extreme low carbohydrate diets, you need this important nutrient to make fuel to keep your body working properly. Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for your muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for your brain and red blood cells. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you eat 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should come from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Choose healthy complex carbs with at least two to three grams of fiber per 100 calories to keep you feeling full longer and help balance your blood sugar so you end up eating less. Some examples are kidney beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, berries, and broccoli; in other words, whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Although dairy products like low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese don’t contain fiber, they do contain carbohydrate and are healthy choices as well.

Be on the look-out for the unhealthiest of carbs (AKA, junk food) such as cookies, cakes, chips and soda. Limit these refined, processed, sugary foods and eat mostly complex healthy carbs every day!

5. Fat is fattening and causes weight gain. True or False?

Answer: false

Everyone needs some fat in their diet to maintain good health and normal physiological functions. About 20 – 30 % of your total daily calories should come from fat. Fat functions to help stabilize your blood sugar, satiate your appetite, and add flavor to your food – all of which can help you to lose weight by keeping you from overeating. Even though it might seem logical to ban all fat from your diet when you’re trying to lose weight, in doing so you risk setting yourself up for craving, caving, and gorging.

With that being said, it’s important to consider the type of fats you eat regularly. Unhealthy fats include saturated fats found in fatty meats, fried foods, and full fat dairy products as well as trans-fats found in commercial baked goods like cookies, cake, pie crust and crackers. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, nuts and seeds, are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Be sure to include some healthy fat in your diet every day. However, since fat is high in calories (providing twice as many calories as protein and carbs), you’ll want to carefully watch portions if you’re trying to manage your weight. But, it’s not necessary to deprive yourself. An occasional favorite indulgence such as a piece of dark chocolate is perfectly acceptable and can help you stay on track.

6. If you want to lose weight, stop eating out. True or False?

ANSWER: false

It’s true that eating out can be challenging, but it’s almost always possible to find something healthy to eat on a restaurant menu. It may not be as nutritious as a home-cooked meal, but it doesn’t have to sabotage your health or weight loss efforts.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Try to prepare home-cooked meals most of the time. When you do it, following a few simple guidelines can make it a healthier experience. Many restaurants post their menu and nutrition information on their websites; check this out beforehand. If you don’t know how a dish is prepared, ask! Eat a salad or broth-based soup at the start of the meal to curb your appetite. Consider having an appetizer as your meal or sharing an entrée with someone. Choose food that is steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted; and avoid fried foods and dishes covered with a sauce. Pay careful attention to portion sizes. Eat slowly. Drink plenty of water. Limit or avoid alcohol and dessert. Make choices that you will feel good about tomorrow!

7. How many pounds can you safely lose each week?

A. 2 pounds
B. 5 pounds
C. 7 pounds

Answer: A.

Although there are individual differences, most people can safely lose up to 2 pounds per week. Any more than this on a consistent basis usually takes extraordinary efforts that are both unhealthy and unsustainable over the long haul. Rapid weight loss can result in significant loss of muscle and water weight. With less muscle mass and dehydration, the body won’t be burning as many calories as it did before; and this is counterproductive. Many people who loss a large amount of weight quickly, gain it all back plus more.

**Healthy Eating Essential: The most important part of losing weight is keeping it off for good. So, any changes that you make to lose weight must be sustainable. Establish healthy eating habits right from the start and be a winner at losing.

8. According to the American Heart Association, what’s the recommend daily intake for sodium?

A. Less than 1,500 milligrams a day.
B. Between 1,500 and 3,000 milligrams a day.
C. No more than 3,000 milligrams a day.

Answer: A.

Most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day — more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. It’s quite easy to do this without even realizing it. And it turns out that the salt shaker is not the main culprit. Eating packaged foods that contain alarmingly high quantities of sodium make a big contribution to our excessive intake, as well as dining out.

Consuming too much sodium can raise blood pressure – which can have serious health consequences if not treated. According to the CDC, about 33% of adults have high blood pressure, and the incidence increases with age. If most Americans cut their daily sodium intake to the recommended amount, there would be a 25 percent decrease in high blood pressure across the population in just a year.

From a purely nutritional standpoint, our bodies need less than 1/4 teaspoon (550 mg) of sodium a day. We could get this effortlessly by eating a diet made up mostly of plants including green and starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruits.

**Healthy Eating Essential: Check the label! When you’re choosing packaged foods, check the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label. Use the percent Daily Value (% DV) to help limit your sodium intake–5% DV or less is low and 20% DV or more is high. As a general guideline, choose foods that have 5% DV or less sodium.

9. How much ADDED sugar is consumed by the average American each day?

A. 8 -14 teaspoons
B. 15 -21 teaspoons
C. 22-30 teaspoons

ANSWER: C.

Every day the average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar; that’s 350 calories. In one year, this adds up to 8000 teaspoons or 150 pounds of sugar! This is nearly 4 times the recommended amount of 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men. This is contributing to the high incidence of overweight and obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides), heart disease, and tooth decay.

The top sources of added sugar in the diet of Americans are: soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks; grain-based desserts, such as cakes and cookies; and cereal. To put this in perspective, one 20-oz bottle of Coke has 16 teaspoons (65 grams*) of sugar!

(*to calculate teaspoons of sugar, divide total number of grams of sugar by 4)

**Healthy Eating Essential: One of the best things you can do for your health would be to eliminate most ADDED sugar from your diet. Why not give this a try for 10 days and see what happens? I guarantee you will feel better. Click here to learn more.

10. An afternoon slump hits and you’re starting to feel a little hungry. What’s the best thing to do?

A. Try to ignore it and don’t eat anything so you don’t go over your calorie goal for the day.
B. Drink something with caffeine like coffee or a diet soda and see how you feel later.
C. Head for the vending machine and choose something that will fill you up fast.
D. None of the above.

Answer: D.

Before you set out to get a snack, make sure what you are feeling is true hunger and not just a craving. When your body suddenly sends you an urgent signal to eat NOW, there is a good chance that what you really need is not food. Stop and take a moment to ask yourself what you’re reacting to. Is it a stressful event, an inconsiderate coworker, or boredom perhaps? Ask yourself whether eating something is going to give you what you really need; or if what you need is something else altogether. You might not be able to figure out exactly what you are truly craving in that moment, but this pause may be just enough to help you realize it’s not food.

**Healthy Eating Essential: If you are truly hungry, eat something. This will prevent you from getting so hungry that you end up overeating (and regretting it) later on. Be prepared by bringing a healthy snack from home that contains some protein and fiber. Veggies are a good option because they are low in calories and contain fiber to fill you up. Pair them with protein to help keep you feeling full longer; for example, grape tomatoes with cheese cubes or an apple with almond butter.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

How did you do on the quiz?

Please share in the comment section below. Your thoughts could be very helpful to other readers.

Meanwhile, check out my 10-Day Sugar-Free Challenge. Dump sugar from your diet and start feeling better right away. Lose weight and get your energy back! Click here to learn more.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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8 Responses to Test Your Nutrition and Healthy Eating IQ

  1. Mary says:

    I got 9 out of 10.

  2. Diana says:

    9 out if 10. missed the sodium question.
    FYI… I have sent and it has happened to me, people this website for the 10 day sugar free challenge.. Everytime I click on the link it says page not found.. I winged it but never did know the details of the 10 days.. Am I and others doing something wrong? We attempted on our cell phones. Thanks..

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