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Food and Nutrition Pop Quiz

See how savvy you are about food and nutrition by taking this little quiz developed by UC Berkeley. Some questions have more than one answer.

1. Only one juice is high in iron. Is it (a) orange, (b) prune, (c) carrot, or (d) apricot?

2. True or false: Trimming the fat eliminates most of the cholesterol from meats.

3. Vitamin E is one of the few major nutrients not listed on nutrition labels, in part because only a few foods contain significant amounts. What are the best sources? (a) eggs, (b) wheat germ, (c) safflower oil, or (d) nuts.

4. Sulforaphane, a compound thought to protect against cancer, is found in (a) broccoli, (b) cabbage, (c) tea, or (d) kale.

5. If you're looking for the most fiber in a loaf of bread, the operative words are (a) unbleached, (b) enriched wheat flour, (c) whole-wheat flour, or (d) twelve-grain.

6. True or false: Pink grapefruit usually costs more than white, but it's more nutritious.

7. Say "calcium" and most people think milk, but other foods are rich in calcium as well—such as which of the following? (a) dried figs, (b) broccoli, (c) dried beans, or (d) almonds.

8. The label on a frozen dessert tells you that a serving has 110 calories and 3 grams of fat. Is this a high-fat food?

9. True or false: Honey and brown sugar are more nutritious than white sugar.

10. True or false: Despite some rumors, a lime juice marinade cannot really "cook" raw fish or shellfish and kill all bacteria.

11. True or false: Yogurt is as nutritious as milk—often more so.

12. Which of these provides enough vitamin C to meet the daily RDA? (a) an ounce of Cheddar cheese, (b) a cup of orange juice, (c) a cup of broccoli, or (d) a medium-size baked potato with its skin.


1. (b) A cup of prune juice has 3 milligrams of iron (that's 37% of the RDA for men, 17% of the RDA for premenopausal women).

2. False. All animal products contain cholesterol, which is found equally in the lean meat and the fat: about 20 to 25 milligrams per ounce. But it is still important to trim the fat from all meats and discard poultry skin, because the highly saturated fat has a worse effect on your blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol itself.

3. (b, c, and d) Vegetable oils (except olive oil) and products made from them (such as margarine) are the richest sources. Nuts and wheat germ are also good. But most foods rich in vitamin E are very high in fat.

4. (a, b, and d) It is found primarily in members of the Brassica group, also known as cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. These and other vegetables also contain other protective elements, some of which may not have been identified yet.

5. (c) Whole-wheat flour contains the bran and the germ, and thus is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Wheat flour, whether bleached or unbleached, loses vitamins and minerals when it is refined. Even when it is enriched, only some—not all—of these nutrients are added back in. "Twelve-grain" or "seven-grain" may not mean anything, since the bread can still be mostly re-fined wheat ("white") flour. Most rye and pumpernickel contain little or no whole grain, but if you can find whole-grain versions, they are good, too.

6. True. Ounce for ounce, pink and white grapefruits have the same number of calories and amount of vitamin C, but the pink variety has more than 40 times more beta carotene, plus some lycopene, another important carotenoid.

7. (all) Ounce for ounce, dried figs, broccoli, and cooked dry beans have as much or more calcium than milk. Of course, you shouldn't try to get all your calcium from figs and almonds—both are high in calories.

8. No. Only 24% of its calories come from fat. (To compute the percentage of fat calories, multiply the grams of fat by 9—the number of calories in a gram of fat—and then divide the result by the number of calories per serving.) As a general rule, a food is considered "high-fat" if more than 30% of its calories come from fat. However, even those foods are not forbidden on a healthful diet. You have to balance them with other foods eaten in the meal and during the entire day so that, all together, fat contributes less than 30% of your daily calories.

9. False. Sugar is sugar, and no form of it offers significant nutritional advantages. Brown sugar is white sugar with a little molasses for coloring. Honey is sweeter than table sugar, but any additional nutrients in it are minuscule.

10. True. Lime juice may kill bacteria on the surface of fish or shellfish, but it won't kill any dangerous microorganisms below the surface. Eating raw fish or shellfish marinated in lime juice (ceviche) is risky.

11. True. Yogurt starts out as milk, which is fermented by bacteria. It is usually thickened with nonfat milk solids. Thus yogurt has more calcium than milk (up to 450 milligrams per cup) and more B vitamins. It can definitely play a role in a healthy diet, if you stick to the nonfat or low-fat kind.

12. (b and c) The orange juice and broccoli have about 120 milligrams. (The new RDA is 90 milligrams for men, 75 for women.) A 6-ounce potato has 24 milligrams. Cheese has none.


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