The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, February 20, 2000

How nutrition savvy are you?
By Anup Deb Nath

WE all have read or known about the fact that eating the right food is very important for our health. In fact not only is it important but eating the right food will actually lessen many health problems that you may have. Increased energy, better skin, hair etc., these are just some of the benefits of eating a balanced and sensible diet.

Vegetables supply essential vitamins, minerals and fibre without adding fcalories to your dietDespite the fact that we may know about the importance of eating correctly, many of us don’t really know what is good and what is not good for us. There are also many myths that exist about food, and many of us tend to believe them. Then again there are certain food that might be bad for us at certain times, while at other times the same food might be the right choice. There are many such times when the choice can get a little confusing, and to unravel the mystery of ‘what to eat when’ can be a tricky logarithm by itself. Today, we have worked out a little quiz on nutrition for you to test how nutrition savvy you really are.

  You have had a hectic day, are tired, and have still more running around to. The best energy source at such a time would be:

(a) A jam sandwich

(b) French fries and ketchup

(c) A bag of peanuts

The correct answer is A. The jam sandwich provides you with carbohydrates, which give you quick energy you need. The fat in the French fries and nuts is slower in being digested by the body, and, therefore, not a good choice. Apart from the energy the complex carbohydrates found in bread and cereals contribute fibre, vitamins and other nutrients to your diet. Nutrition experts recommend that you should try to get at least 55 per cent of your calories from carbohydrates.

Your daily diet should contain five daily half cup servings of:

(a) Fruits and vegetables

(b) Chicken and fish

(c) Oat, bran, rice

The answer is A. Fruits and vegetables supply essential vitamins, minerals and fibre without adding fat, cholesterol, or calories to your diet. Better digestion, improved blood cholesterol levels, control in diabetes, constipation and intestinal disorders, prevention of some cancers are benefits of eating adequate portions of fruit and vegetables give us.

If you needed to add more fibre to your diet you would select of the following:

(a) Bread

(b) Rice

(c) Kidney beans (rajma)

(d) None of the above

The answer is C. A half cup of cooked beans or rajma provides 4 gm of fibre. Most of us get far less fibre than the recommended amount, as we tend to eat more refined food such as white bread, or white, polished rice instead of whole grains, fruits or vegetables.

4. You are in a hurry, and don’t have the time to eat so you can substitute the meal with a multi-vitamin pill and be fine.

False. In no way can vitamin pills be a substitute for a meal. In fact if taken in very large doses these pills can prove to be more harmful than helpful to your health.

5. In order to control your blood cholesterol level you should try to select products that say "no cholesterol".

False. The amount of total fat particularly saturated fat contained in a product will also effect your cholesterol level. In other words a product that is cholesterol-free may still contain high levels of sodium, fat and sugar.

This feature was published on February 13, 2000