Skip to main content

First, click here to take the interactive nutrition quiz, then check back and read these explanations for each answer

1. A food product with a lot of total fat grams isn't necessarily unhealthy. For instance, vinaigrette salad dressings, nuts and nut butters contain heart healthy monounsaturated fat. What's most important is to choose foods lower in saturated and trans fats – the two fats that raise LDL blood cholesterol.

2. Many people think that honey is more natural than sugar and therefore better for you. Honey is slightly less processed than white granulated sugar, but nutritionally there's no difference. In fact, honey has more calories per tablespoon (64) than sugar (49) and it has a higher glycemic index. That means it makes your blood sugar rise more quickly after eating it.

3. The higher fibre winner is the baked potato at seven grams, providing you eat the skin too. Two slices of whole wheat bread deliver four grams, and the cereal bar and the romaine lettuce each offer two grams of fibre.

4. One tablespoon of sunflower oil delivers 6 milligrams of vitamin E, almost half a day's worth for adults (15 mg). Grapeseed oil comes in second at 3.9 mgs, followed by canola oil (2.4 mg) and olive oil (1.9 mg).

5.The best sources of magnesium are leafy greens, beans, nuts and whole grains. The cooked spinach comes in first at 81 milligrams followed by black beans (60 mg), milk (27 mg), and beef (23 mg). Men need 420 milligrams of magnesium each day; women require 320 milligrams.

6. Common symptoms of food poisoning such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills and fever can appear within a few hours after eating a contaminated food or several days to weeks, when they're no longer clearly linked to a particular food. Severe cases of listeria poisoning can take one month or more to show up.

7. All beverages count as water with the exception of beer and other alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning it causes your body to lose water). Caffeine has a relatively mild diuretic effect, but this diminishes if you consume it daily. Water, fruit juice, milk, soy beverages, soft drinks, even coffee and tea help keep you hydrated. (But that's doesn't mean they're all equally nutritious.)

8. Unless you're ordering vegetables steamed and unseasoned, rice will be your lower sodium side. At Boston Pizza, the rice clocks in at 470 mg of sodium – still a lot considering you're getting a third of your daily sodium in one component of your meal. Even more shocking sodium numbers: the Keg's garlic mashed potatoes, 830 mg; Boston Pizza's seasonal vegetables, 830 mg; and French fries, 1,200 mg.

9. It's true that a trace amount of chlorine is used to process baby carrots. It's used to keep the carrots, processing water and processing equipment free of harmful bacteria. The whitening of baby carrots is not because of chlorine (which is rinsed off before the carrots are packaged). It's simply the result of moisture loss that occurs because the outer peel has been removed.

10. All contain negligible calories, but sugar is the real loser since its only claim to fame is carbohydrate. The cucumber, celery and iceberg lettuce may not be nutrition superstars, but they do provide a little vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium.

Score Card: How savvy are you?

To get your score, add up the number of correct responses.

9 – 10:Excellent. Go to the head of the class.

7 – 8: Not bad. Review your answers to see what you need to study up on.

6 or less: Trouble brewing. Consider consulting a dietitian in 2011.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based dietitian at the Medcan Clinic, is on CTV's Canada AM every Wednesday. Her website is