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How's your diet?

"How well do you translate the information in Nutrition Action Healthletter into what you eat every day?"

That's the question we asked readers in December 1989, when we published the "CSPI Nutrition Quiz." And judging by the letters we receive every month, it's still a good question.

So we've spruced up the quiz, updating it to reflect the avilability of fat-tree foods and lower-fat meants. Its 40 questions let you rate your diet on a scale that ranges from "Great" to "Arghh."

Good luck...and no cheating.

The 40 quesions below help you focus on the key features of your die. 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.

The Grand Total rates you overall diet, on a scale from "Great" to "Arghh!"

The quiz focuses on fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, fiber, and vitamins A and C. It doesn't attempt to cover everything in your diet. Also, it doesn't try to measure precisely how much of these key nutrients you eat. (For that, we recommend the DINE nutrition software. To order, see page 15.)

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 someone else.)

* Circle only one number of each question, unless the instructions tell you to "average two or more scores if necessary."

* How to average. In answering question 18, for example, if you drink club soda (+3) and coffee (-1) on a typical day, add the two scores (which gives you +2) and then divide by 2. That gives you a score of +1 for the question. If averaging gives you a fraction, round it to the nearest whole number.

* If a question doesn't apply to you, skip it.

* 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 your - scores.

* Subtract your - scores from your + scores. That's your GRAND TOTAL.


1. How many times per week do you eat unprocessed red meat (steak, roast beef, lamb or port chops, burgers, etc.)?

(a) never +3 (b) 1 or less +2 (c) 2-3 0 (d) 4-5 -1 (e) 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 pount.)

(a) 8 oz. or more -3 (b) 6-7 oz. -2 (c) 4-5 oz. -1 (d) 3 oz. or less 0 (e) don't eat red meat +3

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

(a) yes +1 (b) no -3 (c) don't eat red meat 0

4. How many times per week do you eat processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, sausage, bologna, luncheon meats, etc.)? (OMIT products that contain one gram of fat or less per serving.)

(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) ground round 0 (d) ground turkey +1 (e) Healthy Choice +2 (f) don't eat ground meat +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 non-fried vegetables do you usually eat per day? (One serving = 1/2 cup. INCLUDE 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, and apricots. 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 checken, croissant or biscuit sandwiches, topped potatoes, and other main dishes. OMIT meals of just plain baked potato, broiled chicken, or salad.)

(a) never +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, 1 cup whole grain cold cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, pasta, bulgur, wheat berries, kasha, or millet. OMIT heavily-sweetened cold cereals.)

(a) none -3 (b) 1-3 0 (c) 4-5 +1 (d) 6-8 +2 (e) 9 or more +3

13. 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) never -2 (b) 1-2 +1 (c) 3-4 +2 (d) 5 or more +3

14. How many times per week do you eat cheese? (INCLUDE pizza, cheeseburgers, veal or eggplant parmigiana, cream cheese, etc. OMIT low-fat or fat-free cheeses.)

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

15. How many servings of fresh fruit do you eat per day?

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

16. Do you remove the skin before eating pountry?

(a) yes +3 (b) no -3 (c) don't eat poultry 0

17. What do you usually put on your bread or toast? (AVERAGE two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) butter or cream cheese -3 (b) margarine or peanut butter -2 (c) diet margarine (d) jam or honey 0 (e) fruit butter +1 (f) nothing +3

18. Which of these beverages do you drink on a typical day? (AVERAGE two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) water or club soda +3 (b) fruit juice +1 (c) diet soda -1 (d) coffee or tea -1 (e) soda, fruit "drink," or fruit "ade" -3

19. 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) salt or soy sauce -2 (d) margarine -2 (e) butter -3 (f) nothing +3

20. 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) cookies or fried chips -2 (e) granola bar -2 (f) candy bar or pastry -3 (g) nothing 0

21. 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) cereal or toast +3 (e) low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese +3 (f) don't eat breakfast 0

22. What do you usually eat for dessert?

(a) pie, pastry, or cake -3 (b) ice cream -3 (c) fat-free cookies or cakes -1 (d) frozen yogurt or ice milk +1 (e) non-fat ice cream or sorbet +1 (f) fruit +3 (g) don't eat dessert +3

23. How many times per week do you eat beans, split peas, or lentils?

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

24. What kind of milk do you drink?

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

25. 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) fat-free dressing +2 (c) low- or reduced-calorie dressing +1 (d) regular dressing -1 (e) croutons or bacon bits -1 (f) cole slaw, pasta salad, or potato salad -1

26. 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) low-fat luncheon meat +1 (e) tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey +3 (f) don't eat sandwiches 0

27. What do you usually spread on your sandwiches? (AVERAGE two or more scores if necessary.)

(a) mayonnaise -2 (b) light mayonnaise -1 (c) catsup, mustard, or fat-free mayonnaise ) (d) nothing +2

28. 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 0 (c) 5-6 -1 (d) 7 or more -3

29. How many times per week do you eat canned or dried soups? (OMIT low-sodium, low-fat soups.)

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

30. 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 made with calcium sulfate, 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

31. What do you usually order on your pizza? (Vegetable toppings include green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and other vegetables. SUBTRACT 1 point from your score if you order extra cheese.)

(a) no cheese with vegetables +3 (b) cheese with vegetables +1

(c) cheese 0 (d) cheese with meat toppings -3

(e) don't eat pizza +2

32. What kind of cookies do you usually eat?

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

(c) sandwich cookies (like Oreos) -2

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

(e) don't eat cookies +3

33. What kind of frozen dessert do you usually eat? (SUBTRACT 1 point from your score for each topping you use -- 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, fat-free ice cream, or ice milk +1

(e) don't eat frozen desserts +3

34. 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) unfrosted muffin, banana bread, or carrot cake 0

(e) angelfood or fat-free cake +1 (f) don't eat cakes or pastries +3

35. 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) 1-2 +1 (c) 3-4 +2 (d) 5 or more +3

36. Which of the following salty snacks do you typically eat? (AVERAGE two or more scores if necessary).

(a) potato chips, corn chips, or packaged popcorn -3

(b) reduced-fat potato or tortilla chips -2 (c) salted pretzels -1

(d) unsalted pretzels or baked corn or tortilla chips +1

(e) homemade air-popped popcorn +3 (f) don't eat salty snacks +3

37. 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 0

(d) no more than one tablespoon of olive oil +1 (e) water or broth +2

38. What kind of cereal do you usually eat?

(a) whole grain (like oatmeal or Shredded Wheat) +3

(b) low-fiber (like Cream of Wheat or Corn Flakes) 0

(c) sugary low-fiber (like Frosted Flakes) -1 (d) granola -2

39. With what do you make tuna salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, etc?

(a) mayonnaise -2 (b) light mayonnaise -1 (c) non-fat mayonnaise 0

(d) low-fat yogurt +2 (e) non-fat yogurt +3

40. 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 sauce +3 (b) tomato sauce with a little parmesan +3

(c) white clam sauce +1 (d) meat sauce or meat balls -2

(e) Alfredo, pesto, or other creamy sauce -3

+59 to +116 GREAT! You're a nutrition superstar. Give your-
 self a big (non-butter) pat on the back.
0 to +58 GOOD Pin your Quiz on the nearest wall.
-58 to -1 FAIR Hang in there. Tape CSPI's Nutrition
 Scoreboard poster to your refrigerator
 for a little friendly help.
-117 to -59 ARGHH! Stop lining the cat box with Nutrition
 Action Healthletter. Empty your refrig-
 erator and cupboard. It's time to start
COPYRIGHT 1992 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 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:evaluation quiz
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Previous Article:Tough cookies.
Next Article:The name game: let them eat buzzwords.

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