Stupid Nutrition Quiz From LiveScience!

I just saw this “nutri­tion quiz” from Live­Science:

Most of the ques­tions are mis­lead­ing, and some of the answers are down­right dan­ger­ous!

A “good” type of fat is …

  1. Hydro­genat­ed oil
  2. Monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat
  3. Trans fat and sat­u­rat­ed fat

Their answer: Monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat

My response: This is a mis­lead­ing ques­tion, and a dan­ger­ous answer. Hydro­genat­ed oil con­tains trans fat and sat­u­rat­ed fat, so the first and third answer are real­ly the same. The only one left is “monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat,” which means that there is no “cor­rect” answer to this ques­tion.

A rea­son­able ques­tion to ask is which kinds of fat­ty acids are essen­tial in the human diet. The answer is omega-6 fat­ty acids (such as linole­ic acid) and omega-3 fat­ty acids (such as alpha linolenic acid). Both of them are polyun­sat­u­rat­ed. How­ev­er, you only need a tiny amount of either one in the diet. The opti­mal lev­el of omega-6 fat­ty acid in the diet is prob­a­bly about 2% to 4% of total calo­ries. The opti­mal lev­el of omega-3 fat­ty acid in the diet is sim­i­lar.

All kinds of fat: monoun­sat­u­rat­ed, polyun­sat­u­rat­ed, sat­u­rat­ed, and trans, can be incor­po­rat­ed into the plaque inside your arter­ies. Rather than eat­ing sup­pos­ed­ly “good” fats, peo­ple need to strict­ly lim­it their fat intake and to eat lots of leafy green veg­eta­bles. Trag­i­cal­ly, the Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion is using some stu­pid car­toon char­ac­ters to encour­age peo­ple to eat monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat instead of sat­u­rat­ed and trans fats, when they should be telling peo­ple to lim­it their fat intake to less than 10% of total calo­ries, or until their total cho­les­terol lev­el drops below 150 mg/dL.

Some ben­e­fits of a veg­e­tar­i­an diet that includes dairy prod­ucts are …

  1. An ample sup­ply of vit­a­min B12
  2. A low­er intake of sat­u­rat­ed fats
  3. A reduced risk for chron­ic dis­ease such as heart dis­ease

Their answer: A reduced risk for chron­ic dis­ease such as heart dis­ease.

My response: This is anoth­er stu­pid, mis­lead­ing ques­tion. Do they mean what would be the advan­tage of adding dairy prod­ucts to an oth­er­wise pure­ly plant-based diet? Then “an ample sup­ply of vit­a­min B12” might be rea­son­able, but they con­sid­er that answer to be “wrong.” Vit­a­min B12 and vit­a­min D are the only essen­tial nutri­ents that aren’t avail­able from a pure­ly plant-based diet. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, adding dairy prod­ucts to an oth­er­wise pure­ly plant-based diet rais­es the risk of seri­ous dis­ease, includ­ing heart dis­ease. Even if you add non­fat dairy prod­ucts, that means that you are adding extra dairy pro­tein, which rais­es the risk of dis­eases rang­ing from type 1 dia­betes to var­i­ous can­cers. If you want to reduce your risk of chron­ic dis­ease, such as heart dis­ease, you remove all ani­mal prod­ucts from the diet and take a vit­a­min B12 sup­ple­ment.

Which vit­a­min can only be obtained from sun­light and sup­ple­ments?

  1. E
  2. K
  3. D

Their answer is D, which is cor­rect. Score one for them!

Nuts are …

  1. Fat­ten­ing no mat­ter what
  2. High-calo­rie but good for you in small dos­es
  3. Most­ly full of trans fats

Their answer is: High-calo­rie but good for you in small dos­es.

My response: How small of a dose? An ounce? Nuts are a con­cen­trat­ed source of many nutri­ents, but they are ter­rif­i­cal­ly high in fat. They are one of the fat­ti­est foods on the plan­et. The excep­tion is chest­nuts, which some peo­ple call “the grain that grows on trees.”

Low-car­bo­hy­drate diets can put you at risk for …

  1. Insuf­fi­cient nutri­ents
  2. Gain­ing weight
  3. Osteo­poro­sis

Their answer is: Insuf­fi­cient nutri­ents.

My response: The cor­rect answer is osteo­poro­sis! The calo­ries in our diet come in the form of car­bo­hy­drates, fats, pro­tein, and alco­hol. When peo­ple talk about “low-car­bo­hy­drate” diets, they gen­er­al­ly mean diets that are high in pro­tein, as well as fat. The pro­tein and fat typ­i­cal­ly come from ani­mal sources. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the heavy dos­es of ani­mal pro­tein cause a mild form of meta­bol­ic aci­do­sis, which is a major con­trib­u­tor to osteo­poro­sis. That’s why osteo­poro­sis is so com­mon in soci­eties where peo­ple eat lots of dairy prod­ucts but rare among peo­ple who eat a main­ly plant-based diet. Fruits and veg­eta­bles are rich in min­er­als and thus have a net alka­lin­iz­ing effect.

Peas and beans are good plant sources of …

  1. Pro­tein
  2. Monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat
  3. Cho­les­terol

Their answer is: Pro­tein

My response: Yes, peas and beans are rich in pro­tein, but vir­tu­al­ly all plant-based foods, except for some fruits, pro­vide more than enough pro­tein. Human pro­tein needs are actu­al­ly so mod­est that they are eas­i­ly met by vir­tu­al­ly any plant-based diet. It’s dif­fi­cult even to design a diet that would pro­vide enough calo­ries but not enough pro­tein. You’d have to eat noth­ing but apples or oth­er low-pro­tein fruit, but hard­ly any­one even thinks of doing that.

A pri­ma­ry risk fac­tor for dia­betes is …

  1. A high-sug­ar diet
  2. A low-car­bo­hy­drate diet
  3. A high-calo­rie diet

Their answer: A high-calo­rie diet.

My response: What kind of dia­betes? The dev­as­tat­ing type 1 dia­betes that results from pan­cre­at­ic fail­ure and has to be treat­ed with insulin replace­ment? The evi­dence is now over­whelm­ing that it results from an autoim­mune response trig­gered by a par­tic­u­lar pro­tein in cow’s milk. (No, I don’t think that goat’s milk is a safe alter­na­tive.) Or do they mean the most com­mon form of dia­betes, the milder form that occurs in fat peo­ple and goes away by itself if they eat bet­ter and exer­cise more? That has been linked to a high-fat diet, in par­tic­u­lar. High-fat diets pro­mote insulin resis­tance, and starchy diets pro­mote insulin sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Switch­ing to a starchy, high-fiber diet essen­tial­ly cures type 2 dia­betes, even if peo­ple eat until they are sat­is­fied and make no effort to lim­it their por­tions.

Eggs with brown eggshells are …

  1. Health­i­er than eggs with white eggshells
  2. Made by a dif­fer­ent breed of hens than eggs with white eggshells
  3. Bet­ter for bak­ing than eggs with white eggshells

Their answer is: Made by a dif­fer­ent breed of hens than eggs with white eggshells

My response: Eggs are chock-full of fat and cho­les­terol and have way too much pro­tein. You’d be bet­ter off with­out them in your diet. Besides, the con­di­tions under which the chick­ens are kept nowa­days are fright­ful­ly unsan­i­tary and inhu­mane.

The USDA rec­om­mends at least how many dai­ly ounces of whole-grain bread, rice and the like?

  1. 3
  2. 5
  3. 10

Their answer is: 3.

My response: Who cares what the USDA rec­om­mends? The pur­pose of the USDA is to pro­mote agri­cul­ture, not to pro­mote health. There­fore, the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, not the USDA, should be mak­ing the dietary rec­om­men­da­tions.

Skip­ping break­fast is a good way to …

  1. Gain weight
  2. Curb your appetite lat­er in the day
  3. Lose weight

Their answer is: Gain weight

My response: Peo­ple who eat fre­quent­ly can lose weight faster, but only if they’re eat­ing the right kinds of food. Why wor­ry about when peo­ple eat when the prob­lem is what they are eat­ing?

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