Admit it. You enjoyed your Mother's Day brunches and dinners yesterday, but you feel stuffed.
You overindulged yourself.
Now that the sun is out and the temperature is rising, it's the perfect time to kick-start your eating and fitness regimen.
Take part 2 of our pop quiz to re-acquaint yourself with some health facts:
1. You've been told over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Which breakfast -- each identical in calories -- is most likely to keep you feeling fuller longer?
A. One bowl of instant oatmeal
B. One bowl of steel cut oatmeal
C. One vegetable omelette and fruit
You might be surprised to learn C is the correct answer. Harvard's Dr. David Ludwig examined overweight teens, feeding them different breakfasts of equal calories. The teens who ate the veggie omelette breakfast reportedly ate less for the rest of the day. Meanwhile, the teens who ate the instant oatmeal ate the most (81 per cent more) for the rest of the day. The lesson here? Make sure your meals contain carbohydrates combined with protein, fibre and fat. The combo helps you metabolize your meal more slowly, likely leading to feeling more full and satisfied with your meal. That means you'll likely eat less. Of course, the bowl of steel cut oats is still high in nutrition, but perhaps combining it with a handful of nuts and or a few scrambled egg whites would have helped curb hunger better. Instant oats -- especially the sugar-laden flavoured kind -- can raise blood sugar levels quickly, instigating the release of excess insulin that leads to hunger and metabolic chaos.
2. If you're exercising at a moderate intensity, what should you drink during your workout?
A. A sports drink with electrolytes
C. Half orange juice, half water and a pinch of salt
Water is the best hydrator if you're working out at a low to moderate intensity for an hour or less, say most exercise scientists. Gulping Gatorade or other types of sugary sports drinks is unnecessary and can even lead to weight gain. Opt for sports drinks if you're working at a high intensity for an hour or more -- or if you're working out for a short, but intense session. (High intensity exercise means you can't carry on a conversation during your workout and are panting when you try to speak.) Sports drinks can replace valuable minerals you lose in your sweat thereby keeping you hydrated longer. They also give you a dose of energy in the form of quick-acting carbs. You can make your own, low-cost sports drink by mixing orange juice with water and adding a pinch of salt.
3. You pride yourself on limiting your sugar intake because you know the substance isn't so good for your health. Which of the following foods contains the most sugar?
A. One tablespoon strawberry jam
B. One tablespoon of pure maple syrup with no artificial flavours
C. One tablespoon of granulated white sugar
All of the above foods contain the same amount of sugar -- about 13 grams in a tablespoon. Honey contains even more sugar -- about 17 grams in a tablespoon. While it's true that strawberry jam, pure maple syrup and honey contain trace amounts of other nutrients, the bottom line is this: sugar is sugar, no matter what form in come in. All of the above forms of sugar have the same effects on your pancreas, your blood sugar levels and your tooth health.
4. You've seen the advertisements and have heard the hype about Greek yogurt. It may be better for you than other yogurts because:
A. It's made by hand in small batches and with less artificial ingredients than regular yogurt
B. It's richer, yet lower in fat than regular yogurt
C. It's higher in protein than regular yogurt
If you chose C, you're correct. Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt. Where regular yogurt may contain nine grams of protein in a 3/4-cup serving, the same amount of Greek yogurt could contain more than 20. Greek yogurt seems to be all the rage these days and for good reason.
You can get it with various fat counts, but even the non-fat version of Greek yogurt is extra thick and high in muscle-building protein. That's because of the process of making it. (With yogurt labelling, the adjective "Greek" refers to the way it's made, not necessarily where it's made). After the milk and/or cream to make yogurt is heated and enriched with live bacterial cultures, it is strained in a fine filter. This removes the water and the whey. The result is a yogurt that contains double the protein, just because it's more concentrated. It's also extra thick and doesn't require added thickeners such as gelatin, guar gum and carrageenan that are sometimes found in conventional North American yogurt. Nevertheless, there are some Greek yogurt brands that still add artificial thickeners to their products. If you want the best stuff, avoid yogurt with such thickeners.
5. Now that spring is here and produce is more plentiful, you're looking forward to cooking some for you and your family. Which cooking method will best retain your vegetables' nutrients?
A. Steaming on stovetop
B. Boiling in water
C. Roasting/baking in oven
Researchers say water is the worst enemy of cooked veggies; it leaches many of the nutrients out of them so they end up in the cooking water rather than in the produce. So instead of boiling your carrots and cauliflower, cook them on the stovetop in a colander placed over a pot of boiling water until they are just tender. (The steam from the boiling water does all the work while the boiling water never actually touches the vegetables). The next most nutrient-retaining cooking method for veggies, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, is baking in the oven and grilling. Both are methods that require no water. While it's true that heat diminishes certain nutrients, some such as lycopene in tomatoes, are actually enhanced by cooking. Keep in mind that boiling your veggies in soup is fine; whatever nutrients are leached out end up in the delicious soup broth.
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