Food and Nutrition

Mitzi Dulan: Test Your Nutrition IQ

| by Mitzi Dulan

Back by popular demand, here is Diet Quiz III. Lots of nutrition misinformation exists today, so test your nutrition IQ below – myth or truth? Also check out Diet Quiz Part I and Diet Quiz Part II.

Always shop the perimeter for the healthiest food.

Myth.  While I’m certainly not disagreeing that fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy can be found on the outside of the supermarket, there are some healthy options found in the aisles that don’t deserve to be neglected. Ingredients like dried beans, whole grain pasta, canned tomatoes (make your own pizza OR pasta sauces!) and oats for morning oatmeal are found in the aisles. Also, food manufacturers and grocery stores have caught on to the “shop the perimeter” message and are adding in unhealthy options in those areas to entice you to shop more.  Always, always read ingredient lists – or better yet, choose lots of whole foods like fruits and vegetables that don’t need ingredient lists!

Diets are not always the best way to get healthy.

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Truth.  A typical “fad” diet will usually emphasize the restriction of certain foods or entire food groups as the best way to lose weight.  Anytime that you restrict your calorie intake so drastically, you will certainly lose weight, but this is not a long-term result!  As soon as you stop following the diet and return to your previous eating habits, it is very likely that any weight you lost will be put back on.  The best and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off for the long-term is to follow a healthy lifestyle plan instead of a diet – plan to eat a variety of delicious, nutritious foods, and plan to be active every day or at least 4-5 days a week. Implement changes to your entire lifestyle, and you will begin to see the benefits!

Going vegetarian or vegan is a great way to lose weight.

Myth… sort of.  Some studies do report vegetarians and vegans having lower body weights and/or fat mass, but this should not be your motivation for trying out these types of diets. Simply put, vegetarian and vegan diets can be done very poorly if you choose less-than-ideal foods. Think about it – cookies and chips can be vegetarian, right?! It’s important to make sure that you’re getting all of the protein and calories you need on these diets, not to mention certain important vitamins like iron and vitamin B12. Again, speak to an R.D. if you have questions about these kinds of diets – they’re the nutrition experts!

Assistance provided by Megan Skinner