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How's your diet? Take the CSPI nutrition quiz.

How's Your Diet?

Take the CSPI Nutrition Quiz

Reading Nutrition Action Healthletter is one thing. (Actually, it's several things: informative, entertaining, modest.) Changing your diet is something else entirely.

How well do you translate the information in NAH into what you eat every day?

To help you find out, we offer CSPI's latest New Year's Eating Quiz--42 questions that let you rate your diet on a scale that ranges from "Great" to "Arghh." (Our last eating quiz, in 1986, was a big hit.)

Enjoy the quiz. Give it to your family and friends. Take it down to your local McDonald's and hand it to everyone walking in the door. Good luck.

The 42 questions below will help you focus on the key features of your diet. The (+) or (-) numbers under each set of answers instantly pat you on the back for good habits or alert you to problems you may not even realize you have. (Sorry.)

The Grand Total rates your overall diet, on a scale from "Super" to "Arghh!"

The quiz focuses on fat, sodium, sugar, fiber, and vitamins A and C. It doesn't attempt to cover everything in your diet. Also, it doesn't attempt to measure precisely how much of these key nutrients you eat. (For that, we recommend Nutrition Wizard, the IBM-compatible program we developed just for CSPI members.)

What the quiz will do is give you a rough sketch of your current eating habits and, implicitly, suggest what you can do to improve them.

Finally, please don't despair over a less-than-perfect score. A healthy diet isn't built overnight.


* Under each answer is a number with a + or - sign in front of it.

Circle the number that is directly beneath the answer you choose.

That's your score for the question. (If you use a pencil, you can

erase your answers and give the quiz to a friend or relative.) * Circle only one number for each question, unless the

instructions tell you to "average two or more scores if necessary." * How to average. In answering question 19, for example, if you

drink fruit juice (+1) and coffee (-1) on a typical day, add the

two scores (which gives you 0) and then divide by 2. That gives

you a score of 0 for the question. If averaging gives you a

fraction, round it off to the nearest whole number. * Make sure you pay attention to serving sizes. For example, a

serving of vegetables is 1/2 cup. If you usually eat one cup of

vegetables at a time, count it as two servings. * Add up all your + scores, and write the total in the Total (+)

column at the end of the quiz. * Add up all your - scores, and write the total in the Total (-)

column at the end of the quiz. * Subtract the Total (-) column from the Total (+) column.

That will give you your GRAND TOTAL.


1. How many times per week do you eat unprocessed red

meat (steak, roast beef, lamb or pork chops, burgers, etc.)?

(a) 1 or less +3 (b) 2-3 +2 (c) 4-5 -1 (d) 6 or more -3

2. After cooking, how large is the serving of red meat

you usually eat? (To convert from raw to cooked, reduce by

25 percent. For example, 4 oz. of raw meat shrinks to 3 oz.

after cooking. There are 16 oz. in a pound.)

(a) 8 oz. or more -3 (b) 6-7 oz. -1 (c) 4-5 oz. +1

(d) 3 oz. or less +3 (e) don't eat +3

3. Do you trim the visible fat when you cook or eat red


(a) yes +3 (b) no -3 (c) don't eat red meat +3

4. How many times per week do you eat processed meats

(hot dogs, bacon, sausage, bologna, luncheon meats, etc.)?

(a) none +3 (b) less than 1 +2 (c) 1-2 0 (d) 3-4 -1 (e) 5 or more -3

5. What kind of ground meat or poultry do you usually eat?

(a) regular ground beef -3 (b) lean ground beef -2

(c) extra-lean ground beef -1 (d) ground round 0

(e) ground turkey +1 (f) don't eat +3

6. What type of bread do you usually eat?

(a) whole wheat or other whole grain +3 (b) rye +2

(c) pumpernickel +2 (d) white, "wheat," French, or Italian -2

7. How many times per week do you eat deep-fried foods

(fish, chicken, vegetables, potatoes, etc.)?

(a) none +3 (b) 1-2 0 (c) 3-4 -1 (d) 5 or more -3

8. How many servings of vegetables do you eat per day?

(One serving = 1/2 cup. Include non-fried potatoes.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1 0 (c) 2 +1 (d) 3 +2 (e) 4 or more +3

9. How many servings of cruciferous vegetables do you

usually eat per week? (ONLY count kale, broccoli,

cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, greens, bok choy,

kohlrabi, turnip, and rutabaga. One serving = 1/2 cup.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1-3 +1 (c) 4-6 +2 (d) 7 or more +3

10. How many servings of vitamin-A-rich fruits or vegetables

do you usually eat per week? (ONLY count carrots, pumpkin,

sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, winter squash, greens,

apricots, and broccoli. One serving = 1/2 cup.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1-3 +1 (c) 4-6 +2 (d) 7 or more +3

11. How many times per week do you eat at a fast-food

restaurant? (Include burgers, fried fish or chicken, croissant

or biscuit sandwiches, topped potatoes, and other main dishes.

Omit meals of just plain baked potato, broiled chicken, or salad.)

(a) none +3 (b) less than 1 +1 (c) 1 0 (d) 2 -1 (e) 3 -2 (f) 4 or more -3

12. How many servings of grains rich in complex

carbohydrates do you eat per day? (One serving = 1 slice of

bread, 1 large pancake, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, pasta,

bulgur, wheat berries, kasha, or millet. Omit heavily-sweetened

cold cereals.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1-2 0 (c) 3-4 +1 (d) 5-6 +2 (e) 7 or more +3

13. How many servings of beer, wine, or liquor do you

drink? (Count as one serving: 12 oz. regular or light beer,

4 oz. wine, or 1 oz. liquor.)

(a) 1 or less a week +3 (b) 2-3 a week +1 (c) 4-7 a week 0

(d) 2 a day -2 (e) more than 2 a day -3

14. How many times per week do you eat fish or shellfish?

(Omit deep-fried items, tuna packed in oil, shrimp, squid, and

mayonnaise-laden tuna salad--a little mayo is okay.)

(a) none -2 (b) 1-2 +1 (c) 3-4 +2 (d) 5 or more +3

15. How many times per week do you eat cheese? (Include

pizza, cheeseburgers, veal or eggplant parmigiana, cream

cheese, etc. Omit lowfat or "lite" cheeses.)

(a) 1 or less +3 (b) 2-3 +2 (c) 4-5 -1 (d) 6 or more -3

16. How many servings of fresh fruit do you consume per


(a) none -3 (b) 1 0 (c) 2 +1 (d) 3 +2 (e) 4 or more +3

17. Do you remove the skin before eating poultry?

(a) yes +3 (b) no -3 (c) don't eat poultry +3

18. What do you usually put on your bread or toast?

(Average two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) butter -3 (b) cream cheese -3 (c) margarine -2 (d) diet margarine -1

(e) jam 0 (f) fruit butter +3 (g) nothing +3

19. Which of these beverages do you drink on a typical day?

(Average two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) fruit juice +1 (b) water or club soda +3 (c) diet soda -1

(d) coffee or tea -1 (e) soda or fruit drink or ade -3

20. How many servings of caffeine-containing beverages

do you drink per day? (One serving = 1 cup of coffee or

tea, or 12 oz. of cola.)

(a) none +3 (b) 1 +1 (c) 2 -1 (d) 3 -2 (e) 4 or more -3

21. Which flavorings do you most frequently add to your

foods? (Average two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) garlic or lemon juice +3 (b) herbs or spices +3 (c) soy sauce -2

(d) margarine -2 (e) salt -3 (f) butter -3 (g) nothing +3

22. What do you eat most frequently as a snack? (Average

two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) fruits or vegetables +3 (b) sweetened yogurt +2 (c) nuts -1

(d) chips -2 (e) cookies -2 (f) granola bar -2 (g) candy bar -3

(h) pastry -3 (i) nothing 0

23. What is your most typical breakfast? (Subtract an extra 3

points if you also eat bacon or sausage.)

(a) croissant, danish, or doughnut -3 (b) eggs -3 (c) pancakes or waffles -2

(d) nothing 0 (e) cereal or bread +3 (f) yogurt or cottage cheese +3

24. What do you usually eat for dessert?

(a) pie, pastry, or cake -3 (b) ice cream -3 (c) yogurt, ice milk, or sorbet +1

(d) fruit +3 (e) nothing +3

25. How many times per week do you eat beans, split peas,

or lentils?

(a) none -2 (b) 1 +1 (c) 2 +2 (d) 3 or more +3

26. What kind of milk do you drink?

(a) whole -3 (b) 2% lowfat -1 (c) 1% lowfat +2 (d) 1/2% or skim +3 (e) none 0

27. What dressings or toppings do you usually add to your

salads? (ADD two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) nothing, lemon, or vinegar +3 (b) reduced-calorie dressing +1

(c) regular dressing -1 (d) croutons or bacon bits -1

(e) cole slaw, pasta salad, or potato salad -1

28. What sandwich fillings do you eat most frequently?

(Average two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) luncheon meat -3 (b) cheese or roast beef -1 (c) peanut butter 0

(d) tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey +3

29. What do you usually spread on your sandwiches?

(Average two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) mayonnaise -2 (b) light mayonnaise -1 (c) mustard 0

(d) ketchup 0 (e) nothing +3

30. How many egg yolks do you eat per week? (Add 1 yolk

for every slice of quiche you eat.)

(a) 2 or less +3 (b) 3-4 +2 (c) 5-6 +1 (d) 7 or more -3

31. How many times per week do you eat canned or dried

soups? (Omit low-sodium, lowfat soups.)

(a) none +3 (b) 1-2 0 (c) 3-4 -2 (d) 5 or more -3

32. How many servings of a rich source of calcium do you

eat per day? (One serving = 2/3 cup milk or yogurt, 1 oz.

cheese, 1 1/2 oz. sardines, 3 1/2 oz. salmon, 5 oz. tofu, 1 cup

greens or broccoli, or 200 mg of a calcium supplement.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1 +1 (c) 2 +2 (d) 3 or more +3

33. What do you usually order on your pizza? (Non-meat

toppings include green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and other

vegetables. Subtract 1 extra point if you order extra cheese.)

(a) no cheese w/non-meat toppings +3

(b) cheese w/non-meat toppings +1 (c) cheese 0

(d) cheese w/meat toppings -3 (e) don't eat pizza +2

34. What kind of cookies do you usually eat?

(a) graham crackers +1 (b) ginger snaps +1 (c) oatmeal -1

(d) chocolate coated, chocolate chip, or peanut butter -3

(e) sandwich cookies (like Oreos) -3 (f) don't eat cookies +3

35. What kind of frozen dessert do you usually eat?

(Subtract 1 extra point for each topping--whipped cream,

hot fudge, nuts, etc.)

(a) gourmet ice cream -3 (b) regular ice cream -1

(c) sorbet, sherbet, or ices +1 (d) frozen yogurt or ice milk +1

(e) don't eat frozen desserts +3

36. What kind of cake or pastry do you usually eat?

(a) cheesecake, pie, or any microwave cake -3

(b) cake with frosting or filling -2

(c) cake without frosting -1 (d) angelfood cake +1

(e) unfrosted muffin, banana bread, or carrot cake 0

(f) don't eat cakes or pastries +3

37. How many times per week does your dinner contain

grains, vegetables, or beans, but little or no animal

protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, or cheese)?

(a) none -1 (b) 1 +1 (c) 2 +2 (d) 3 +3

38. Which of the following salty snacks do you typically eat?

(a) potato chips or packaged popcorn -3 (b) tortilla chips -1

(c) light potato chips -2 (d) salted pretzels -1 (e) unsalted pretzels +1

(f) homemade air-popped popcorn +3 (g) don't eat +3

39. What do you usually use to saute vegetables or other

foods? (Vegetable oil includes safflower, corn, canola, olive,

sunflower, and soybean.)

(a) butter or lard -3

(b) more than one tablespoon of margarine or vegetable oil -1

(c) no more than one tablespoon of margarine or vegetable oil +1

(d) water or broth +3

40. What kind of cereal do you usually eat?

(a) hot whole-grain (like oatmeal or Wheatena) +3

(b) cold whole-grain (like Shredded Wheat) +3

(c) cold low-fiber (like Corn Flakes) 0

(d) surgary cold low-fiber (like Frosted Flakes) -1 (e) granola -2

41. With what do you make tuna salad, pasta salad,

chicken salad, etc?

(a) mayonnaise -2 (b) light mayonnaise 0

(c) lowfat yogurt +2 (d) nonfat yogurt +3

42. What do you typically put on your pasta? (Add one point

if you also add sauteed vegetables. Average two or more

scores if necessary.)

(a) tomato-based sauce +3 (b) tomato sauce with a little parmesan +3

(c) white clam sauce +1 (d) meat sauce -1

(e) tomato sauce with meatballs -2 (f) Alfredo, or other creamy sauce -3 +73 to +127 SUPER! You're a nutrition superstar. Give yourself
 a big (non-butter) pat on the back.
+30 to +72 GOOD Pin your Quiz to a wall or bulletin board
 (with your name in large print, of course.)
-14 to +29 FAIR Hang in there. Tape CSPI's Nutrition
 Scoreboard poster to your refrigerator for a
 little friendly help.

-123 to -15 ARGHH! Stop lining the cat box with Nutrition Action
 Healthletter. Empty your refrigerator and
 cupboard. It's time to start over.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Center for Science in the Public Interest
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Dec 1, 1989
Previous Article:All crackers are not created equal.
Next Article:A clove a day?

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