Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? The start of a new year is a great time to set new health and wellness goals and sharpen your nutrition knowledge! See how you do with the following True or False nutrition questions.

  1. Carbohydrates are “fattening.”
  2. Oranges have less vitamin C than bell peppers.
  3. The best way to choose a whole grain bread is to look for a brown breads instead of white breads.
  4. 1 cup fruit flavored yogurt has more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.
  5. Broccoli contains calcium.
  6. Eating more protein increases muscle mass.
  7. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than frozen.
  8. Using artificial sweeteners is a good way to lose weight.
  9. Eating a spinach salad with strawberries on top will increase iron absorption.
  10. We should all be eating paleo.

Nutrition IQ Answers

False: Carbohydrates have been given a bad rap lately but the truth is that less-processed, fiber-rich sources of carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, whole grains (like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread etc.), tubers (like sweet potatoes) and legumes (black beans, chickpeas etc.) are actually helpful in managing ones weight. Additionally, these are loaded with important nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and help sustain energy levels and increase satiety. What we should be doing is reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates and added sugars in our diets (think white bread, soda, sweets, white pasta) and incorporate more fiber and nutrient-rich carbohydrate sources that are closer to the way Mother Nature intended them to be.

True: While citrus is a great source of Vitamin C, with one orange clocking in at about 82 milligrams Vitamin C, red bell peppers pack about 190 milligrams Vitamin C per cup chopped. Other less-known sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Take home tip: eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for immune-boosting Vitamin C.

False: Many brown breads are whole-grain imposters with mainly refined, white flour (usually termed “Enriched” flour on the label) and a little whole grain flour (and food coloring!) added to them. The best way to know you are getting a whole grain bread is to look for “100% Whole grain” on the label and the very first word in the ingredient list should be “whole wheat” or “whole” in front of the type of grain the bread contains. Multigrain and seeded breads are often sneaky whole-grain imposters.

True: A cup of fruit flavored yogurt can easily provide more sugar than a candy bar and yes, more sugar than a Twinkie! The best way to go is choose an unsweetened yogurt and add sweetness with fresh fruit and if needed a tiny squeeze of honey. Cereals (especially granola) are also ones to watch for high sugar content. It’s best to choose a cereal with no more than 5 grams of sugar per

True: While dairy products contain a good source of calcium, you can also find a good dose of calcium in the produce aisle. 1 cup cooked broccoli provides about 60 milligrams. Even better sources include 1 cup cooked spinach (240 milligrams), 4 oz. tofu (about 200 milligrams) and 1 cup cooked collard greens (over 300 milligrams). For reference, 1 cup of milk or yogurt is about 300 milligrams.

False: While protein is important for muscles, you need resistance training and adequate nutrition from carbohydrates, proteins and fats and adequate calories to build muscle. Muscles need time under tension (think strength training) to grow. It is recommended to have more carbohydrates than protein when trying to build muscle. Most of us get more than enough protein in our diets to fuel weight training and muscle growth.

False/Not always: It is a myth that fresh fruits and veggies are always better. The truth is frozen fruits and veggies (packed without added sugar, salt, or sauces) often contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts due to being picked when they are ripe and immediately flash-frozen to retain nutrients and quality. A lot of produce at the store has spent a considerable amount of time on trucks between the time it is picked (picked not fully ripe) to the time it is stocked at the store. Seeking out local farmers is a great way to choose nutrient-dense fruits and veggies closer to home.

False: Research studies are showing that use of artificial sweeteners like Splenda, equal, sweet and low etc. are not helpful in reducing or managing one’s body weight and in fact might have the opposite effect. Artificial sweeteners may lead to increased cravings for sweets, increased hunger and may also alter balance of bacteria in our digestive tracts that are important for weight regulation. I recommend skipping the artificial stuff (and if you “must” use these doing so only occasionally) and using real sugar or honey sparingly. Most of us should be reducing sugar in our diets…whether it is from natural or artificial sources.

True: Iron in plant-based sources such as spinach, beans, lentils and quinoa are not as readily absorbed by the body as animal sources (meats). A trick is to pair plant-based iron foods like spinach or beans with a source of vitamin C (fruits, bell peppers etc.) as this increases iron absorption.

False: Although the paleo diet does have health-promoting benefits, such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and limiting processed foods, we do not need to eliminate whole grains, legumes and milk/yogurt to be healthy. In fact, these eliminated foods are loaded with important nutrients and increase variety, and the important factor of enjoyment, in ones’ diet. There are many different eating styles that are healthy (like the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet etc.) but the focus of all these health-promoting eating patterns is a diet based on a foundation of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole, unprocessed foods closest to nature and eating an amount of food that balances energy intake with expenditure. Additionally, our nation’s heavy reliance on meat, especially conventional meat, is not healthful nor is it sustainable for our environment. Author Michael Pollan sums it up quite well: “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Happy New Year!!!