Week of September 11, 2006

Nutrition Wise

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

Q: Is it true that almonds with their skins on are more nutritious than blanched almonds?

A: Just one ounce of almonds (about a handful) with or without their skins provides almost half the vitamin E recommended for a whole day. They are also equally good sources of magnesium, dietary fiber, and plant compounds that can help control blood cholesterol. The big difference is that the almond’s skin contains a certain type of phytochemical called flavonoids. Some research suggests that there may be synergy in which the flavonoids in the skin and the vitamin E in the nut “meat” provide greater health benefits together than individually. Whole almonds, with the brown skin left on, are therefore a great choice, but if you are making a particular dish that you think will taste better with blanched almonds, you certainly are still getting plenty of good nutrition.

Q: Will I burn more fat on the treadmill using the slower “fat burning” speed than at the faster “cardio” rate?

A: Probably not. The notion that slow exercise burns more fat is a misinterpretation of the research. Of all the calories you burn during exercise, a greater proportion comes from fat during low-intensity than during higher-intensity exercise. You burn more total fat, however, when you increase the intensity or duration of exercise. Although a smaller proportion of the calories burned at higher speeds comes from fat, you generally burn significantly more total calories and therefore more total fat. If you hit a plateau in weight loss or exercise and want to bump up your pace, you may want to increase the intensity of your workout—but check with your doctor first.

Q: I have seen papayas in the grocery store but never tried one. What do I look for? Are they very nutritious?

A: Papayas are extremely high in vitamin C, and also provide lots of beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin (another carotenoid), folate, magnesium and potassium. Papayas differ in size and shape, and the color of the flesh inside may be yellow, pinkish-orange, or red. Because of these color differences, it’s difficult to judge ripeness by color. Look for a papaya that gives slightly to palm pressure without being too soft. If needed, ripen it at room temperature; store in the refrigerator for up to a week after that. The cluster of small black seeds in the center cavity is edible, though most people discard them. Serve chunks of papaya in a fruit plate, added to a green salad, or as a topping for chicken or fish. It’s also great chopped with some cilantro and sweet red pepper for a flavorful salsa.

#  #  #

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday, at 1-800-843-8114.  This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer.  A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $77 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

All active news articles