March brings many exciting things – birds chirping, warmer temperatures, and an opportunity to learn more about healthy food choices for National Nutrition Month.
There's a lot of information about nutrition online, but can you determine fact from fiction? Test your knowledge below with a quiz of common assumptions from dietitian Amber Odom, RDN, LD.
- Americans get the most added sugar in their diets from soda, energy drinks, and sport drinks?
Fact. The number one source of added sugar in the American diet is soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These sweetened beverages account for 36% of added sugars. There are 39 grams of added sugar in a 12-ounce can of Coke. Cookies, pie, and cakes are the second greatest source of added sugars, followed by candy and dairy desserts.
- If you are drinking two (12 oz.) sodas a day (or any other sweetened beverage such as lemonade, sweet tea or fruit punch) and switched to water or a zero-calorie beverage you could lose over ½ pound per week.
Fact. One (12 oz.) soda contains 150 calories. If you drank 2 sodas per day that would equal 2100 calories per week. Half a pound is equivalent to 1750 calories, so that would be over ½ a pound weight loss per week.
- The typical American consumes about twice the recommended amount of sodium per day.
Fact. On average, Americans consume 3400 milligrams of sodium per day and that’s not including the salt you might shake on your food before eating. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day and no more than 1500 milligrams per day for those that have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or those that are at higher risk such as African Americans and anyone over the age of 51 (that’s 70% of US adults!).
- Bananas are the best food source of potassium.
Fiction. Contrary to popular belief bananas are not the best source of potassium. Bananas are a good source of potassium, but not the highest. One medium baked potato has 926 mg of potassium, 3 cups of raw spinach has 558 mg of potassium, ½ an avocado has 488 mg of potassium and one medium sweet potato has 438 mg of potassium, while a medium banana has around 422 mg of potassium.
- If you are overweight, you should lose at least 15% of your weight to help manage your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Fiction. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can result in improved blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Fiber is important for health and can help you feel full on fewer calories when trying to lose weight.
Fact. Since foods high in fiber absorb water and stay in the stomach longer, they can help you feel full longer after a meal. A high fiber diet has also been linked to other health benefits including lower blood cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control, and bowel regularity.
- A large movie-theatre popcorn has more calories than microwave popcorn, but less than 2 large fast-food burgers.
Fiction. A large-sized movie-theatre popcorn can have up to 1,030 calories and 41 grams of fat (and that’s before adding the buttery topping). The buttery topping is partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans-fat) that has 130 calories per 1 tablespoon. However, most people don’t stop at one squirt but rather 3 or more which would add 390 calories or more. That’s the equivalent of three large fast-food burgers!
- Coconut oil can promote weight loss, treat Alzheimer’s disease and prevent and treat diabetes.
Fiction. Unfortunately, despite what you’ve heard about coconut oil, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Coconut oil contains a large amount of saturated fat, which increases LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, the half of the fatty acid in coconut oil comes from lauric acid, which has been linked in some studies to raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Given this, coconut oil should be consumed in moderation.
- If you eat late at night, the food you eat turns directly into fat.
Fiction. You won't gain weight by eating late at night if you eat within your daily calorie needs. However, studies show that nighttime eaters typically make poorer food choices and eat more calories, which can lead to weight gain.
- Carbohydrates have more calories per gram than protein.
Fiction. Fat has more than double the calories as protein and carbohydrates. A gram of fat has 9 calories, while a gram of carbohydrates or protein has 4 calories. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
Are you looking for a partner to help you make lifestyle modifications to improve your overall health and wellness? Click here or call (972)599-9600 to schedule an appointment with dietitian Amber Odom, RDN, LD.