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Take the diet quiz.

We know (at least we hope) you love to read Nutrition Action Healthletter. But are we getting through? Are you changing your diet based on what you read? Here's your chance to find out.

So take out your pencils and turn to page 8. That's where you'll find our "Third (Sort of) Annual Nutrition Action Quiz."

We've made a few changes this year, to reflect the availability of more fat-free snacks and new evidence on margarine. We're also a little tougher on saturated fat and bread that's not whole grain. The quiz lets you rate your diet on a scale that ranges from "Great" to "Arrgh." Its 40 questions should give you a good feeling for how you're doing, and its answers may even suggest a couple of things you can do to eat better.

So Good Luck...and no peeking.

How's Your Diet?

The 40 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.

The Grand Total rates your overall diet, on a scale from "Great" to "Arrgh!"

The quiz focuses on fat, saturated 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.

And don't despair over a less-than-perfect score. We didn't get a +117 either.


* 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 for 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 pork chops, burgers, etc.)?

(a) 0/+3 (b) 1 or less/+2 (c) 2-3/0 (d) 4-5/-1 (e) 6 or more/-3

2. 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) 0/+3 (b) less than 1/+2 (c) 1/0 (d) 2-3/-1 (e) 4 or more/-3

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

(a) regular or lean ground beef/-3 (b) extra lean ground beef/-2 (c) ground round/-1 (d) ground turkey/+1 (e) Healthy Choice/+3 (f) don't eat ground meat/+3

4. 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

5. 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./-2 (c) 4-5 oz./-1 (d) 3 oz. or less/0 (e) don't eat red meat/+3

6. What type of bread, rolls, bagels, etc., do you usually eat?

(a) 100% whole wheat/+3 (b) whole wheat as 1st or 2nd ingredient/+2 (c) rye, pumpernickel, or oatmeal/+1 (d) white, French, or Italian/-1

7. How many times per week do you eat deep-fried foods (fish, chicken, vegetables, potatoes, etc.)?

(a) 0/+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) 0/-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) 0/-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 cantaloupe, apricots, or cooked carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, winter squash, or greens. One serving = 1/2 cup.)

(a) 0/-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 plain baked potatoes, broiled skinned chicken, or low-fat salads.)

(a) 0/+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 do you eat per day? (One serving = 1 slice of bread, 1 large pancake, 1 cup cold cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, pasta, bulgur, wheat berries, kasha, or millet. OMIT heavily-sweetened cold cereals.)

(a) 0/-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, and mayonnaise-laden tuna salad-- a little mayo is okay.)

(a) 0/0 (b) 1/+1 (c) 2/+2 (d) 3 or more/+3 (e) 0 (vegetarians)/+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) 0/+3 (b)1/+1 (c) 2-3/-1 (d) 4 or more/-3

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

(a) 0/-3 (b) 1/0 (c) 2/+1 (d) 3/+2 (e) 4 or more/+3

16. Do you remove the skin before eating poultry?

(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/-2 (c) peanut butter/-1 (d) diet margarine/-1 (e) jam or honey/0 (f) 100% fruit butter/+1 (g) 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) olive oil/-1 (d) salt or soy sauce/-1 (e) margarine/-2 (f) butter/-3 (g) 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) yogurt/+2 (c) crackers/+1 (d) nuts/-1 (e) cookies or fried chips/-2 (f) granola bar/-2 (g) candy bar or pastry/-3 (h) 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) whole 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/0 (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) 0/-3 (b) 1/0 (c) 2/+1 (d) 3/+2 (e) 4 or more/+3

24. What kind of milk do you drink?

(a) whole/-3 (b) 2% fat/-1 (c) 1% low-fat/+2 (d) 1/2% or skim/+3 (e) don't drink milk/0

25. Which items do you choose at a salad bar? (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) regular luncheon meat/-3 (b) cheese/-2 (c) roast beef/-1 (d) peanut butter/0 (e) low-fat luncheon meat/+1 (f) tuna or chicken salad/+1 (g) fresh turkey breat or bean spread/+3 (h) 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/+1 (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) 0/+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. canned salmon (with bones), 5 oz. tofu made with calcium sulfate, 1 cup greens or broccoli, or 200 mg of a calcium supplement.)

(a) 0/-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) don't eat cookies/+3 (b) fat-free cookies/+2 (c) graham crackers or ginger snaps/+1 (d) oatmeal/-1 (e) sandwich cookies (like Oreos)/-2 (f) chocolate coated, chocolate chip, or peanut butter/-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/-2 (c) frozen yogurt, ice milk/0 (d) sorbet, sherbet, or ices/+1 (e) non-fat frozen yogurt or fat-free ice cream/+1 (f) 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/-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) 0/-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 pre-popped popcorn/-3 (b) tortilla chips, reduced-fat potato chips, or microwave popcorn/-2 (c) salted pretzels/-1 (d) light microwave popcorn/0 (e) unsalted pretzels/+1 (f) fat-free tortilla or potato chips/+2 (g) homemade air-popped popcorn/+3 (h) don't eat salty snacks/+3

37. What do you usually use to saute vegetables or other foods? (Vegetable oil includes safflower, corn, canola, sunflower, and soybean.)

(a) butter or lard/-3 (b) margarine/-2 (c) vegetable oil/-1 (d) olive oil/+1 (e) broth/+2 (f) water or cooking spray/+3

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) regular 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, with or without a little parmesan/+3 (b) white clam sauce/0 (c) meat sauce or meat balls/-2 (d) Alfredo, pesto, or other creamy or oily sauce/-3


+59 to +117 GREAT! You're a nutrition superstar. Give yourself a big (non-butter) pat on the back.

0 to +58 GOOD You're doing just fine. Pin your Quiz to the nearest wall.

-1 to -58 FAIR Hang in there. Tape CSPI's Nutrition Scoreboard poster to your refrigerator for a little friendly help.

-59 to -116 ARRGH! Stop lining the cat box with Nutrition Action Healthletter. Empty your refrigerator and cupboard. It's time to start over.
COPYRIGHT 1993 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 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Putting the squeeze on saturates.
Next Article:It's bean great.

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