We certainly live in the age of information! We’re exposed to hundreds of messages on a daily basis. When it comes to food, we’re constantly advised by magazine articles, advertisements, product marketers, our government, well-meaning professionals and even book authors. But how much do you REALLY know about the three to five pounds of food you consume every day? Here’s a chance to test your basic knowledge and perhaps be a bit surprised by a few of the answers!
1) Which product contains the most sodium? A serving of beef, a serving of baked all-natural chicken, a large McDonald’s French fries, or a serving of pretzels?
2) Which food contains the most fiber? Four ounces of pork, four ounces of cheddar cheese, four ounces of milk, or 4 ounces of a hot dog?
3) Which food has more cholesterol? An egg or a Big Mac?
4) What is the highest source of saturated fat in the American Diet? Steak, Potatoes, Cheese, Fish, Chicken, or Beans?
5) Would you say salmon is: a) free of cholesterol; b) low in fat; c) both; or d) neither?
6) Which of the following oils contains the least amount of fat? Olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or flax seed oil?
1) The chicken. According to Dr. Michael Greger, the poultry industry commonly injects chicken carcasses with salt water to artificially inflate their weight, yet they can still be labeled “100 percent natural.” Consumer Reports found that some supermarket chickens are pumped so full of salt water that they registered 840 mg of sodium per serving.
2) Sorry, trick question. There is ZERO fiber in meat and dairy products. Fiber is only found in plant foods, and we should shoot for at least 45 grams of fiber daily to not only escort excess cholesterol and hormones out of our system but to help regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and infections. Fiber from plants is superior to the man-made fiber found in pills and powders. Get at least 45 grams of fiber daily – from food.
3) The egg contains about 2.5 times more cholesterol than the burger. One egg has about 212 milligrams of cholesterol, and a big mac has 79 milligrams. Eggs aren’t called “cholesterol bombs” for nothing.
4) Cheese is an extremely fatty product and is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet. About 70% of its calories come from fat, most of which is saturated fat, or “bad” fat. Americans eat more than 34 pounds of cheese per person per year – three times more than they did in 1970.
5) The answer is D – Neither. When it comes to cholesterol, fish can be higher than beef, pork or chicken. For example, 100 calories of salmon contain 40 mg of cholesterol, compared to 32 mg in 100 calories of beef. And while a 3-oz T-bone steak contains 70 mg of cholesterol, three ounces of shrimp contains over twice as much, with 161 mg. Cholesterol in fish (and even small doses of fish oil) raises blood cholesterol and elevates LDL (bad) cholesterol. Fish is also very high in fat – and not just the “good” types of fat. Depending on the variety, salmon is between 40 – 50% fat. Only 15-30% of the fat in fish is omega-3, depending on the species you buy. The other 70-85% is not “good” fat; it’s a blend of saturated and various unsaturated fats.
6) Another trick question. All oils are real diet busters; they’re 100% pure liquid fat and contain 120 calories per tablespoon with 14 grams of fat. Oils are the extracted fats from vegetables (or fish) and are known to damage the endothelial lining of our arteries, increase inflammation and restrict blood flow as much as butter or lard. Oils are marketed as ‘healthy fats’, however, they also contain saturated fat (the bad kind of fat); in fact, coconut oil is the worst at 92% saturated fat. Just adding 3 Tablespoons of oil a day (which isn’t unlikely in the American diet) will lead to a weight gain of 3 lbs/month – without adding any bulk or nutrition to the food. Get your healthy fats by eating the whole foods, and not just the extracted fats. I can show you how to bake, sauté, and make salad dressings without the use of oils.
How did you do??
If you’d like to learn the GOOD news about food, visit www.cydnotter.com to sign up for our newsletter and/or our blog. (Sources: Dr. Michael Greger, How Not to Die; Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease; PCRM, Dr. Neal Barnard).