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For diet-conscious men, here's a quiz on nutrition

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Every month, about 3,000 men phone the nutrition hot line of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

Mostly they ask about lowering cholesterol, losing weight and controlling diabetes. Some seek a referral to a registered dietitian for help; others want to go it alone, with just a question answered here or there.

ADA's annual "Men's Nutrition Survey" reports that more than ever, men are becoming interested in nutrition for health. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said that health maintenance and disease prevention are the most important reason for eating right. Nearly one-third of the men surveyed said they make all or most of the food-buying decisions in their households.

For men who'd like to test their nutrition knowledge, here is this year's Men's Nutrition Quiz. For more help, call the hot line at (800) 366-1655 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to question a registered dietitian, get a referral, or hear a recorded message.

1. True or false: "Light" beers have less fat than regular beers.

2. What's the best time to eat a meal before working out? A) 1-2 hours B) 2-4 hours C) 5-6 hours D) more than 6 hours.

3. True or false: Taking vitamins and protein powder supplements will enhance physical performance and increase muscle size and strength.

4. True or false: Caffeine consumption, from drinking coffee, tea or soda is linked to heart disease in men.

5. True or false: Fiber-rich foods are important for men to prevent gastrointestinal diseases, such as colon cancer and diverticulitis.

6. True or false: Men usually consume plenty of fiber.

7. True or false: Men usually gain weight in the center of their bodies, particularly around the stomach.

8. True or false: There are no differences between amounts of fiber in orange juice, oranges or fiber supplements.

9. True or false: The best way to tell if you are fit is to compare your weight and height to numbers listed on standardized weight and height charts.

10. True or false: You should eliminate high-fat and high-calorie foods from your eating plans if you want to be healthy.

Answers

1. False. No beer has fat, but some have more calories than others. Beer and other alcoholic beverages offer no nutrients, so practice moderation.

2. B. Meals 2-4 hours before a workout offer energy without discomfort. Replace fluids before, during and after each workout.

3. False. There is no scientific evidence that supplements increase muscle size or strength. They're controlled by genetics and strength-building activities like weight lifting and cycling.

4. False. There is no scientific link between caffeine consumption and heart disease. Still, moderation (2-3 drinks a day) is key.

5. True. Fiber helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some kinds of cancer, too.

6. False. Typically American men eat about half the recommended fiber. To improve, choose more whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruits.

7. True. Excess weight in the mid-region also has been linked to heart disease and some cancers.

8. False. The more closely foods resemble the original plant, the higher the dietary fiber. In addition, other substances in whole foods, such as phytochemicals, seem to have health benefits.

9. False. Even within "healthy weight range" body fat may be too high. To be sure you're fit, not fat, check with a doctor, a certified exercise specialist, or a registered dietitian.

10. False. Moderation and portion control are key. It's what you eat over time that makes a difference, not any one food or meal.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant at the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

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