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updated: 11/2/2010 1:32 PM

How healthy are egg whites over whole eggs?

Ask the Nutritionist

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Q. How much could I cut calories and saturated fat if I bake with egg whites instead of whole eggs?

A. The amount of fat saved depends on how many whole eggs you replace and the number of servings in the recipe. Each time you substitute two egg whites for one whole egg, you save 40 calories and 1.6 grams of saturated fat.

While that can add up to a substantial total in the entire recipe, when you divide the total savings among the number of servings, the substitution saves about 10 calories and only 0.3 to 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving of most muffins, cookies and cakes.

Depending on what you're making, you cut saturated fat more by reducing or replacing butter, stick margarine, shortening or cream cheese. Changing egg use also usually doesn't cut calories as much as when you reduce the amount of these added fats and oil. Some recipes use so much that you can simply reduce the amount listed by one-fourth and the result will turn out great.

You can also adjust recipes by substituting an equal amount of applesauce, baby food prunes or low-fat plain yogurt for some of the fat. And when it comes to calories, remember that reducing sugar also helps, as does simply making smaller serving sizes of the final product.

Q. Are there steps that can reduce lung cancer risk in non-smokers?

A. Tobacco is unquestionably the major cause of lung cancer, accounting for nearly nine out of 10 deaths from lung cancer. Yet that still leaves thousands of cases of lung cancer that we wish we could prevent through other steps.

Passive smoking, technically referred to as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), accounts for 3,000 deaths from lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States each year according to a National Cancer Institute report. Making homes and workplaces non-smoking territory is a major step to lower risk.

It's also important to follow recommended precautions to avoid radon, airborne asbestos and occupational exposure to other chemicals identified as carcinogens. Diet plays some role, too, though we need more research.

Increased amount and variety of vegetables and fruits show the greatest potential so far. Recently, a large population study in Europe linked greater variety of vegetable and fruit consumption with nearly a 25 percent drop in lung cancer risk; however this was only significant among current smokers.

An American Institute for Cancer Research report concludes that fruits and foods containing carotenoids (such as vegetables and fruits that are deep orange or dark green) probably help prevent lung cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower), deep green vegetables (such as spinach and kale) providing folate, and many other fruits and vegetables providing antioxidant flavonoid compounds may also work together to increase protection.

In addition, according to a major report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and a recently released research review, regular physical activity might help prevent lung cancer, in addition to its clear beneficial effect on risk of several other cancers.

• Provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research. More about the group and its New American Plate program at aicr.org.

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