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(George Doyle/Thinkstock)
(George Doyle/Thinkstock)

Eating right in the new year Add to ...

Want to eat right in 2012? Start with our quiz here. See how much you really know about quinoa, Omega-3s and metabolism.

When you're finished with the quiz, come back to this page for an explanation to the correct answers. No peeking!





1. b. Cream of Wheat is a refined cereal; it’s made from the starchy endosperm of the wheat kernel with most of the germ and bran removed during processing. Instant oatmeal and granola are whole grain cereals – made from whole grain oat flakes. While 100 per cent bran cereal isn’t technically a whole grain (the endosperm and germ have been removed), it’s a concentrated source of bran missing from refined cereals.

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2. False. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added, which results in a sugar that’s light to dark brown. While molasses is a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, the trace amount that ends up in a teaspoon of brown sugar is negligible.



3. a. The top sources of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, include salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovy and sable fish. Here, Atlantic salmon wins, providing roughly 1,800 milligrams of DHA plus EPA per three ounces. Runners-up include trout (980 mg), and halibut (395 mg). Tilapia is low in omega-3s, with only 115 mg per three-ounce serving.



Experts advise an intake of 500 to 1,000 mg of DHA plus EPA a day for heart health. Since omega-3 fats store in your body, eating three ounces of salmon a week provides roughly 260 mg a day.



4. c. Black beans, gram for gram, have more antioxidant activity than any other bean, rivalling many fruits and vegetables. Black beans also supply nearly 40 per cent of your daily requirement for manganese, a mineral that’s needed to make superoxide dismutase, a key antioxidant enzyme in your liver.



5. False. Quinoa, the seed of a grain-like crop grown in South America, is often touted as a high-protein food. By weight, raw quinoa is considerably higher in protein than many other grains (14 per cent protein by weight), but what ends up on your dinner plate has much less. A half-cup of cooked quinoa has 2.5 grams of protein, a little more than brown rice (1.7 grams). Other cooked whole grains, such as kamut and amaranth, have even more protein.



Bottom line: Choose quinoa for its whole-grain, fibre, magnesium and B vitamin content, not protein. It’s also gluten-free.



6. False. Per cent daily values – listed for fat, saturated plus trans fat, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron – are based on average recommended intakes for a 2,000-calorie diet.



For example, the daily value for calcium is 1,100 milligrams. Read the label and you’ll see that one serving (one cup) of milk supplies 30 per cent of the daily value for calcium, which means 330 mg of calcium (1,100 x 0.3 =330). It does not mean that milk is made up of 30 per cent calcium.



Use the % DV to get a general idea of whether there’s a little or a lot of a particular nutrient in one serving of a food. A daily value of 5 per cent or less means there’s only a little of that nutrient – a good thing for sodium and saturated plus trans fats. A daily value of 15 per cent or greater means there’s a lot of the particular nutrient – a good thing nutrientssuch as fibre, calcium and vitamin C.



7. d. Most of us know that oranges are a great source of vitamin C: one medium orange has 70 mg. But half a papaya packs even more: 93 mg, more than a full day’s worth. Half a grapefruit has 39 mg of vitamin C and the baked potato has 19.



8. d. Vitamin B12 keeps nerves and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material of cells. Many older adults don’t produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to properly absorb B12 from foods. That’s why adults over 50 are advised to get the nutrient from a supplement or fortified foods such as soy beverages, some soy products. Both contain B12 in an absorbable form.



9. c. Cottage cheese provides the least amount of calcium at 69 mg per half cup. (Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, are excellent sources of calcium.) One cup of milk provides the most (300 to 330 mg), followed by the yogurt (235 mg) and cooked collard greens (133 mg).



10. False. The theory goes that eating five or six small meals of equal size each day will help your body burn more calories and fat compared to eating three square meals. Yet there’s no consensus on which meal pattern is best for boosting metabolism, despite years of research. Most studies have shown that eating frequency has no effect on a person’s overall metabolic rate. Whether you eat three meals or six, weight loss comes down to how many calories you consume.



My advice: Divide your day’s worth of calories into three meals and two snacks to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent becoming overly hungry and overeating.



11. b. Cooking it. Heat kills, whereas freezing only halts the growth of most bacteria. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. For the most reliable results use a digital-read meat thermometer. When using a microwave, cover food, stir and rotate to ensure even cooking.



12. True. To kill harmful bacteria in ground meat, burgers must be cooked properly. To make sure burgers are safe to eat, you must test each one with a thermometer. Cook beef burgers to an internal temperature of 71 C (160 F). You can’t judge by colour – beef patties may be brown in the centre before reaching a safe temperature, or may stay pink even after reaching the right temperature.

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