Healthy Food Quiz: Questions and Answers to Help You Fight Disease

Most people know that calcium is good for bones, fiber is good for constipation, and iron is good for blood, to name a few. But once you go beyond the basics, the picture gets murky.

Here’s a healthy food quiz (questions and answers included) to see how well you know which foods or nutrients can prevent or promote which diseases.

Feel free to cheat. The questions aren’t really a test of how well you read (and remember) every issue of Nutrition Action. They’re just a sneaky way to get you to look at the answers, which contain a wealth of information on how your diet affects your health.

The 4 Safest Sugar Substitutes and a Few to Avoid Completely

The best and safest artificial sweeteners are erythritol, xylitol, stevia leaf extracts, neotame, and mon fruit extract—with some caveats:

• Erythritol: Large amounts (more than about 40 or 50 grams or 10 or 12 teaspoons) of this sugar alcohol sometimes cause nausea, but smaller amounts are fine. (Sensitivities vary among individuals.) Erythritol, small amounts of which occur naturally in some fruits, is about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as table sugar and has at most one-twentieth as many calories. Unlike the high-potency sweeteners, erythritol provides the bulk and “mouth feel” of sugar.

• Xylitol: This sugar alcohol, which occurs naturally in birch and some other plants, is about as sweet as table sugar and has about three quarters of the calories. Too much xylitol (about 30–40 grams or 7–10 teaspoons, although sensitivities vary) could produce a laxative effect and/or gastrointestinal distress.

Antioxidants and Cancer: What Are the Antioxidant Benefits?

Antioxidants and cancer were supposed to be bitter enemies. We were told antioxidant benefits also included a reduction in heart disease, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration. Antioxidant vitamins (C, E, and beta-carotene) were supposed to help prevent all of them.

So far, the three antioxidants (plus zinc) have succeeded with only one: slowing the pace of macular degeneration in older people who already have the eye disease.

“The randomized trials for antioxidants have been very disappointing,” says Harvard’s JoAnn Manson, who led the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, the Women’s Folic Acid Study, and other major trials.

The Risks of Eating and Drinking Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, which comes from a succulent plant, is sold as a juice and is added to foods, supplements, and skin care products. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat.

Carefully conducted studies by the U.S. government concluded that there was “clear” evidence that aloe vera extracts caused intestinal cancers in male and female rats, but not mice, when consumed. (Applying aloe vera on the skin is not likely to cause harm.)

Is Paleo Healthy? Should We Be Eating Like Cave Men and Women?

“If it wasn’t on a caveman’s menu, it shouldn’t be on yours.” That’s the basic premise of a Paleo diet. The question remains, as it should for any diet—is Paleo healthy?

Maybe you’ve heard of the Nordic diet, the Mediterranean diet, and more recently, the gluten-free diet, but these are all very different from the primal diet known as Paleo.

But is the Paleo diet healthy?

Memorial Day Grilling Tips to Avoid Burned Meat Carcinogens

Enjoy a safer Memorial Day weekend by not overcooking your meat or poul­try. The browner it is, the more likely that it contains a group of compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which may raise the risk of cancer. This Memorial Day, in the name of health, avoid eating and serving burned meat to your guests.

“Heterocyclic amines are formed when meats are cooked to well done at high temperatures,” explains Amanda Cross, formerly at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. “Animal studies showed that they are carcinogenic.”

How to Avoid Cancer: Reducing Your Risk for 9 Different Cancers

One in three women. One in two men.That’s how many of us can expect to be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetimes. Of course, those are averages. A smoker is 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than a nonsmoker. Tobacco alone accounts for about a third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. Back when cigarettes were still deemed healthy, people weren’t worrying about how to avoid cancer nearly as much.
But smoking isn’t the only preventable cause of cancer. Experts estimate that we could dodge up to a third of all cancers by eating healthier, eating less, and moving more.

No one can guarantee that you won’t get cancer. But you can lower your cancer risk.