Week of October 10, 2011
Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

AICR HealthTalk
Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Is there a nutritional difference between apple cider and apple juice?

A: In the United States, apple cider refers to apple juice that has not been filtered to remove all apple pulp. (Outside the United States, cider usually refers to an alcoholic beverage, designated as "hard cider" in the United States.) Cider contains more of the antioxidant phytochemicals than clear commercial apple juice. The extra processing to make juice may lead to loss of 30 to 90 percent of whole apples' phytochemicals and antioxidant activity. That said, even cider can't offer as many phytochemicals as you get from eating a whole apple, and it is missing the dietary fiber an apple provides. That fiber can also help lower blood cholesterol and may be used by healthy bacteria in our gut to produce protective substances that reduce risk of colon cancer. As for the choice between the two apple beverages, cider is a great choice for most of us, but it does pose one safety concern: although juice is normally pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria, cider, especially straight from a cider mill or farm stand, often is not. Most people's immune systems can handle this, but weaker immune systems might not. Some people's immune function has been reduced by illnesses like AIDS, cancer or diabetes, or by medications. Others with immune systems that are more vulnerable include the elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children. These people are at risk of serious illness from food-borne bacteria, so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that if these groups drink unpasteurized cider, they should bring it to a boil first to kill any harmful bacteria.

Q: Is it true that exercising to music helps you get a better workout?

A: Music can be a big help and seems to work in several ways. Some studies show that music – any music – becomes a sort of distraction during exercise that results in people not perceiving themselves to be working as hard as when they're exercising in quiet. This can lead people to feel comfortable continuing to exercise a little longer or work at a higher intensity than they otherwise would, and thus burn more calories and progress more in their physical training if this becomes their norm. Some also achieve this distraction by listening to audio books or rhythmic nonmusical noise like the sounds of ocean waves. Other studies, however, show a unique advantage to music: the faster the beat of the music, the faster or more intensely people exercise. For most of us, this is helpful. However, people in cardiac rehab or others advised to hold back their pace for medical reasons may respond to fast music by pushing past their recommended limits, so we need to use this tendency wisely. One other caution: if you are out walking or biking in an area where you need to be aware of traffic and people surrounding you for safety reasons, be careful about letting music or other sounds distract you or make it too difficult to hear sounds you need to hear.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at


All active news articles