March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage people to learn how to make informed food choices and develop healthy habits.
What better way to make informed food choices than to educate yourself about what your foods contain and how they affect your body?
So in honor of National Nutrition Month, here’s a little quiz to test your knowledge. There are no prizes, it’s just for grins 🙂 See how many you can ace! (Answers are at the bottom – don’t peek.)
1. Which product contains the most sodium?
a) A serving of broiled beef
b) A serving of baked all-natural chicken
c) A large order of McDonald’s French Fries
d) A serving of pretzels
2. Which food contains the most fiber?
a) 4 oz. of pork
b) 4 oz. of cheddar cheese
c) 4 oz. of milk
d) 4 oz. of yogurt
e) Trick Question
3. Which food is the highest source of saturated fat?
f) Glazed Donuts
4. Which of the following oils contains the least amount of fat?
a) Olive oil
b) Canola oil
c) Coconut oil
d) Corn oil
e) Avocado oil
f) Fish oil
g) Trick Question
5. Which food has at least 8x more cholesterol than beef?
6. How much sugar is in a 12-oz. can of Pepsi?
a) 4 teaspoons
b) 6 teaspoons
c) 8 teaspoons
d) 10 teaspoons
7. Is salmon free of cholesterol, low in fat, both, or neither?
a) Free of cholesterol
b) Low in Fat
8. Which food component is rated the MOST inflammatory?
c) Saturated Fat
9. Which food component is rated the most ANTI-inflammatory?
d) Omega 3 Fats
10. Where does calcium (and other minerals) originate?
a) Beans, greens, and legumes
b) Cow’s milk and associated products
c) The soil
d) Fortified plant milks
- The chicken. According to Dr. Michael Greger, the poultry industry commonly injects chicken carcasses with salt water to artificially inflate their weight, yet the chicken 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.
- Sorry, it’s a 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. The fiber from plants is superior to the man-made fiber found in pills, powders, and Fiber One products. Sadly, less than 3% of Americans are getting the minimum RDA of fiber, about 32 grams daily. Get at least 45 grams of fiber daily – from whole plant foods (it’s easy to do).
- Cheese. 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. That’s not to say the steak, fish, chicken, and glazed donuts don’t contain a great deal of saturated fat. They do. But cheese is the highest source. The reasons we should CARE about saturated fat (and cholesterol): Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, type 2 diabetes, gut issues, gout, arthritis, and so much more.
- Yep, it’s another trick question . The answer is that none of these oils are lowest in fat because all oils are 100% pure liquid fat. Oils are the extracted fats from vegetables, nuts, seeds, or fish, and all oils contain 120 calories per TBS and 14 grams of fat. Oils are known to damage the endothelial lining of our arteries (thereby paving the way for plaque formation), increase inflammation, and restrict blood flow as much as butter or lard.Here’s something that might surprise you, too: coconut oil is one of the worst. Not only is coconut oil 100% fat (as all oils are), but 92% of it is saturated fat. Coconut oils contains more than double the saturated fat as pure lard. NOT good and definitely not healthy. Oils are a real diet buster, too. 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. In other words, get your olive oil by tossing a few olives on your salad or pizza. I can show you how to bake, sauté, and make salad dressings without the use of oils
- Eggs. Yep, when we compare 100 grams of beef (86 mg cholesterol) with 100 grams of egg yolk (930 mg cholesterol, we discover that eggs actually have over TEN times the cholesterol. Read my article here.
- The answer is a whopping 10 teaspoons. When reading a nutrition label, remember that four grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. One 12-oz. can of Pepsi contains 41 grams of sugar. So 41 divided by 4 = roughly 10. Some products might contain natural sugars (from fruit, for example), however, most labels don’t differentiate between natural sugars, and added sugars. In the case of Pepsi, the ingredient list tells us that the source of sugar is High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or sugar. Both are refined sugars that we want to avoid for many reasons. Sugar stimulates the production of something called free fatty acids, which circulate through the bloodstream and trigger both insulin resistance and inflammation in the skeletal system, liver, and those protective endothelial cells. Sugar also triggers the release of inflammatory Cytokine cells. Just 40 grams of sugar per day (which is one can of pop) leads to an increase in inflammatory markers, weight gain, and increased LDL cholesterol.
- Neither. Salmon contains as much cholesterol as beef and is a very fatty fish (up to 50% fat, depending on the variety).
- Saturated Fat is rated as the most inflammatory food component we consume. According to the Dietary Inflammatory Index, which was developed by the American Institute for Cancer Research, the components of processed foods and animal products, such as saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, were found to the PRO-inflammatory. The cancer researchers reported that overall, eating a pro-inflammatory diet was associated with a 75% increased odds of developing cancer. (check out my “Inflammation and Your Diet” class here).
- Fiber is rated as the most ANTI-inflammatory food component. Again, according to the Dietary Inflammatory Index, the fiber and phytonutrients found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and certain spices were found to be strongly anti-inflammatory. High fiber, plant-based diets are related to a much lower risk of arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic diseases.
- The Soil. Calcium is a mineral in the earth, which is absorbed by plants and then eaten by man and animals. Plants provide ALL the calcium we need and is much more absorbable than the calcium in milk. By the way, do you know why milk has calcium? Cow’s milk has calcium because the cows are eating plants or calcium-fortified feed. Cows do not produce calcium. So, eliminate the middle man (the cow) and get all the calcium you need from beans, greens, fruit, whole grains, etc.
How did you do?
These were some tough questions, but I hope you found them enlightening! A whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, consisting of potatoes, rice, beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and good clean water, is absolutely the healthiest diet on the planet.
I can say that confidently because NO other way of eating has the power to unblock clogged arteries and thereby reverse our #1 killer, heart disease.
For disease prevention and reversal, optimal weight, and a brighter future, please consider adopting a WFPB diet. Don’t wait until you develop health issues, or until your current problems get worse.
I’d be happy to schedule a call with you if you have questions!
In the meantime, check out my book, The “Plan A” Diet, which is packed with crucial information.