Take out your pencils and put away your old Nutrition Actions. It’s time for a pop quiz!

Don’t be surprised if some questions stump you. Who isn’t confused by the “latest” headlines in the press, on social media, or wherever? Here’s a chance to see how much you remember from past issues.

Each question has only one answer. Ready, set, go.

1. Which is MOST likely to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes?

a. Take vitamin D
b. Eat more full-fat dairy
c. Lose excess weight
d. Cut carbs
e. Eat less fat

2. Which is LEAST likely to help you lose weight?

a. Eat breakfast
b. Limit ultra-processed foods
c. Limit drinks that have calories
d. Avoid large portions
e. Eat foods with few calories per bite


woman eating popcorn
Maksym Povozniuk/stock.adobe.com.
3. Which benefit has NOT been linked to replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat?

a. Reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
b. Reducing excess weight
c. Reducing excess belly fat
d. Reducing excess liver fat

4. Which is LEAST likely to be a sign of a stroke?

a. Sudden numbness
b. Sudden confusion
c. Sudden trouble seeing
d. Sudden irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation)
e. Sudden dizziness

5. Which is MOST likely to keep you regular?

a. Chicory root fiber
b. Soluble corn fiber
c. Inulin
d. Guar gum
e. Psyllium

6. Which is LEAST likely to raise the risk of breast cancer after menopause?

a. Excess weight
b. High insulin levels
c. A daily serving of alcohol
d. Using antiperspirants
e. Hormone replacement therapy

7. Which exposure has NOT been traced to Covid-19 transmission?

a. Attending a meeting with an infected person
b. Singing in a choir with an infected person
c. Eating food delivered from a store or restaurant
d. Dining at a restaurant table adjacent to an infected person

8. Which has NOT been consistently linked to a diet high in refined carbs?

a. High blood sugar
b. High triglycerides
c. Weight gain
d. Prostate cancer
e. Excess liver fat

9. Which is MOST likely to curb osteoarthritis knee pain with the fewest downsides?

a. Vitamin D
b. Glucosamine
c. Chondroitin
d. Exercise
e. Arthroscopic surgery

10. Which should you toss to lower your risk of food poisoning?

a. Food that’s past its “sell by” date
b. Food that’s past its “best by” date
c. Leftovers that have been sitting on the table for more than 2 hours
d. Thawed meat, poultry, or seafood that you want to refreeze

11. A low-carb diet is uniquely suited to help you do which of these?

a. Lose weight
b. Prevent heart disease
c. Prevent diabetes
d. Reduce medications if you have type 2 diabetes
e. Keep cancer from spreading

food delivery during Covid
12. Which is MOST likely to prevent or alleviate depression?

a. Vitamin D
b. Fish oil
c. B vitamins
d. Selenium
e. Exercise

13. A serving of which food takes the MOST water to produce?

a. Cheese
b. Apples
c. Beef
d. Chocolate
e. Chicken

14. Which is LEAST likely to lower high blood pressure?

a. Cutting back on salt
b. Losing excess weight
c. Getting more exercise
d. Taking vitamin D
e. Eating more fruits and vegetables

15. Which is LEAST likely to make a multivitamin worth taking?

a. Iron
b. Magnesium
c. Vitamin D
d. Vitamin B-12
e. Folic acid

16. Which is LEAST likely to prevent cataracts?

a. Taking antioxidant vitamins
b. Eating leafy green vegetables
c. Keeping a lid on blood sugar
d. Taking a multivitamin
e. Wearing sunglasses year-round

17. Which food has the kind of fat that’s likely to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol?

a. Apple pie
b. Creamy Caesar salad dressing
c. Gelato
d. Thin-crust pizza
e. Chocolate-covered raisins


Starbucks almond Milk Caffe Latte
18. Which is LEAST likely to keep your mind sharp as you age?

a. Taking fish oil pills
b. Keeping a lid on blood pressure
c. Getting your hearing checked
d. Keeping a lid on blood sugar
e. Staying in touch with people

19. Which is MOST likely to help your immune system?

a. Taking a probiotic
b. Eating zinc-rich foods
c. Taking vitamin E
d. Taking a multivitamin
e. Getting enough sleep

20. Which is MOST likely to help you sleep?

a. Valerian
b. L-theanine
c. Magnesium
d. Yoga
e. Cognitive behavioral therapy

21. A serving of which food has less than 3 teaspoons of added sugar?

a. Yasso Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar
b. Chobani Oat Vanilla Yogurt
c. Honest T Peach Oo-La-Long Tea (16 oz.)
d. Starbucks Almondmilk Caffè Latte (12 oz.)
e. Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal

22. Plastics with which recycling number are MOST likely to contain the endocrine disruptor BPA?

a. No. 1
b. No. 2
c. No. 4
d. No. 5
e. No. 7

23. Which is LEAST likely to protect your bones?

a. Weight-bearing exercise
b. Getting enough calcium
c. Taking high doses of vitamin D
d. Eating fruits and vegetables
e. Limiting refined grains

24. Which restaurant dish (with sides) is MOST likely to have less than 1,200 calories?

a. General Tso’s chicken
b. Chicken teriyaki
c. Eggplant parmesan
d. Chicken tikka masala
e. Chicken fajitas

25. A serving of which food creates the MOST greenhouse gas emissions?

a. Beef
b. Nuts
c. Beans
d. Pork
e. Milk

chicken tikka masala



1. c (Lose excess weight). Losing as little as 12 pounds can lower your risk, whether you cut carbs, fat, or other calories. Vitamin D doesn’t help. Full-fat dairy hasn’t been tested in clinical trials.

2. a (Eat breakfast). Not a breakfast eater? Don’t assume that you’ll overeat at lunch or gain weight.

3. b (Reducing excess weight). Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat has lowered LDL cholesterol in many studies and liver and deep belly fat in a few studies.

4. d (Sudden irregular heartbeat). Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of a stroke, but it’s not a sign that you’re having a stroke. Don’t delay calling 911 if you have the other symptoms, or ones like face drooping, arm weakness, or slurred speech (stroke.org/en/about-stroke/stroke-symptoms). Time lost is brain lost.

5. e (Psyllium). Beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in unprocessed fiber, especially bran, are your best bet. But of these five processed ingredients that count as “fiber” on food labels, only psyllium may help.


Lindsay Moyer/CSPI.

6. d (Using antiperspirants). Excess weight, high insulin levels, alcohol, and postmenopausal hormones (estrogen plus progestin) are linked to a higher risk.

7. c (Eating food delivered from a store or restaurant). You’re more likely to catch Covid-19 from other people (especially indoors). No infections have been traced to packages or food.

8. d (Prostate cancer). Need any more reasons to cut back on added sugars and refined grains?

9. d (Exercise). Strength training and physical therapy help curb arthritis pain. Surgery is no better than physical therapy and has more potential harms. In the best studies, vitamin D, glucosamine, and chondroitin didn’t help.

10. c (Leftovers that have been sitting on the table for more than 2 hours). “Sell by” and “best by” dates refer to quality, not safety. If meat, poultry, or seafood was thawed in the fridge, you can safely refreeze it.

11. d (Reduce medications if you have type 2 diabetes). Low-carb diets don’t lead to more weight loss than other calorie-cutting diets and are no better at warding off heart disease, diabetes, or cancer spread. If you take diabetes meds, check with your doctor before cutting carbs.

12. e (Exercise). It helps, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (health.gov/paguidelines). The supplements and omega-3s have largely struck out.

13. c (Beef). Producing a serving of beef soaks up 464 gallons of water. That swamps chocolate (182 gal.), chicken (130 gal.), apples (30 gal.), and cheese (25 gal.).

14. d (Taking vitamin D). Trials on vitamin D have come up empty. Everything else helps.

15. b (Magnesium). Most multis don’t have enough magnesium to matter. But many people don’t get enough vitamin D from food (or the sun). And anyone over 50 should get some B-12 from a supplement or fortified food. Folic acid can cut the risk of birth defects like spina bifida that can occur before a woman knows that she is pregnant. And many premenopausal women don’t get enough iron.

16. a (Taking antioxidant vitamins). In large trials, antioxidant vitamins C and E didn’t prevent cataracts. But in the Physicians’ Health Study II, men who took Centrum Silver for 11 years had a 9 percent lower risk. People who eat more leafy greens also have a lower risk. Keeping a lid on blood sugar can prevent diabetes, which boosts cataract risk. Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection shield the eyes.

17. b (Creamy Caesar salad dressing). It looks creamy, but it’s mostly unsaturated oil, which can lower LDL. Most chocolate coatings are saturated fat (so they don’t melt in your hand). Gelato, pie crust, and cheese pizza aren’t low in sat fat.

18. a (Taking fish oil pills). In the best studies, the omega-3 fats in fish oil didn’t cut the risk of memory loss. (Neither did ginkgo, Prevagen, or vinpocetine.)

19. e (Getting enough sleep). Lack of sleep can make you more likely to catch a cold. Whether it matters for Covid- 19 is unknown.

general tso's chicken

20. e (Cognitive behavioral therapy). It’s the gold standard for treating insomnia. The others aren’t backed by solid evidence.

21. a (Yasso Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar). It’s got only 2 teaspoons (9 grams) of added sugars. The others have at least 3 teaspoons—a quarter of a day’s worth. Check Nutrition Facts labels for added sugars!

22. e (No. 7). No. 7 is often polycarbonate, which contains BPA. It’s also worth avoiding No. 3 because it may contain phthalates and No. 6 because it contains styrene, a probable carcinogen.

23. c (Taking high doses of vitamin D). High doses of D (4,000 IU a day or more) may raise the risk of bone loss and falls. Shoot for the RDA (600 IU a day up to age 70 and 800 IU if you’re over 70).

24. b (Chicken teriyaki). In a 2013 study of non-chain restaurants, main dishes (with sides) averaged 1,300 calories. That included chicken teriyaki (1,150 cal.), chicken fajitas (1,320 cal.), chicken tikka masala (1,430 cal.), eggplant parmesan (1,950 cal.), and General Tso’s chicken (1,960 cal.).

25. a (Beef). It’s far worse than any other food (except lamb). The others, from most to least emitter: pork, (dairy) milk, beans, and nuts.

How’d you do?

We told you it wouldn’t be a slam dunk.

21–25 Hubba-hubba! You looking for a job?

14–20 Well done! Can we give the zero-to-fivers your email?

6–13 Don’t fret. If you had aced the quiz, you’d have learned less.

0–5 Oops. Using Nutrition Action to line the kitty box?