Quiz - Just The Nutrition Facts, Ma’am

There may be some times where you would rather not know what’s in your food. It might just rack up the guilt. But most of the time, the Nutrition Facts label that is included on all food packaging can help you make smart choices. The number of calories is important for weight management, but there is much more you can learn—at a glance—about what you are considering putting in your body. Take our quiz to find out more:

1. When looking at a nutrition label, you should start with the serving size.

A. True
B. False

2. If a food has several ingredients, in what way are they listed on the label?

A. Alphabetically
B. By dominant flavor, in descending order
C. By weight, in descending order
D. Natural ingredients first, then added sugars or other additives

3. When comparing food labels, look for low amounts, or preferably no amount, of all of the following EXCEPT:

A. Saturated and trans fats
B. Cholesterol
C. Sodium
D. Fiber

4. Avoid all foods that contain additives.

A. True
B. False

5. The total carbohydrate on a nutrition label shows the amount of:

A. Sugar
B. Starch
C. Fiber
D. Sugar Alcohols
E. All of the above


1. A. True. Start with the serving size because all of the other information on the label is based on that size. For example, a bottle of sweet tea from a convenience store may list 20 grams of sugar on the label, but the serving size may be only half of the bottle. So if you drink the entire bottle in one sitting, you are actually getting 40 grams of sugar. 

2. C.  By weight, in descending order. This is important because the first ingredient makes up the largest part of the food. A product that has sugar or partially-hydrogenated oil listed first, or close to first, will be higher in those unhealthy ingredients, whereas something with whole wheat flour or olive oil listed first will have a larger proportion of those healthy ingredients.

3. D. Fiber.  Too much unhealthy fat, cholesterol and sodium can increase your risk for certain diseases. Meanwhile, fiber is a healthy ingredient that most people are not getting enough of in their diet.

4. B. False. Though natural food stores offer food without preservatives or food colorings, it is generally difficult to avoid processed food that is free from additives. Most additives are meant to be beneficial. Calcium propionate, for example, controls mold. Non-beneficial additives, such as food dyes, are considered safe but should be consumed more sparingly.

5. E. All of the above.  This is why it is important to note the total carbohydrate if you are monitoring your carb intake. Foods advertised as low-sugar or sugar-free may still contain carbohydrates.

Sources: St. Joseph's/Candler's Health Library and the  American Diabetes Association.

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