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Ask Dr. Mike: Red vs. Green Apples, When You Need Stitches & More

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans. Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Is there any difference between red and green apples? Why are some both colors?

The red hue you see in apples come from snthocyanin, which is a plant-based antioxidant. Red apples have more anthocyanins in the peel than green apples.

As an apple ripens, it changes colors from a yellowish green to a red. Apples are also crossbred between red and green.

How do you know when cuts need stitches?

If you cut yourself, as the pain starts to set in and as it bleeds, you may wonder if you need stitches. When you look at your cut, depending on where it happens (like your fingers or toes), it could be extremely sensitive due to nerves. Another thing you want to look for is the shape of the cut. If the cut is even, and if it doesn't bleed a lot, you probably don't need stitches.

Is it ever safe to lose more than five pounds in one week? I'm curious because of the yogurt diet.

Dr. Mike knows about the yogurt diet, but if you're really looking at what they're suggesting you eat, you're cutting your calories drastically. This may allow you to lose weight at first, but you're depriving yourself and will eventually go into diet shock. Your body will begin to store fat, because essentially it's starving, so when the yogurt diet is over, you're going to gain all the weight back.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: April 29, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

It's time for you to be a part of the show. Email or call with questions for Dr. Mike now. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 877-711-5211. What are you waiting for? The doctor is in.

DR MIKE: Yes, so, send me any of your questions and what's really cool about what I'm going to do here is, I'm going to go through and answer three different questions . So, you can send me just about anything and I'll do my best to answer them. That's
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

So, this first question, it does have to do with apples.

"Is there any difference between red and green apples? And why are some both colors?"

Listen, I'm answering all three of these questions, by the way. Just right of the top of my head. No research, no nothing. I'm just going to give what I think is the answer. So, if I'm wrong, okay, I'm wrong. I doubt I'm wrong, but...I'm just kidding.

So, what's the difference? Let's answer. So, I guess it's really two parts here. What's the difference between red and green apples? Well, the red hue, you see--and this I do know--the red hue, purple hue, that kind of stuff...By the way, there's no blue in food. Right? There's no blue. It's purple.

So, there's the blueberries aren't really blue. If you really look at them, they're purple. It's true. So, anyway, so red, the purple, those kind of deeper darker hues, come from anthocyanins, which are a type of plant-based antioxidants. Plant based antioxidants. There are different categories and one of the main categories is called polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-based antioxidants and polyphenols then are broken up into different categories. One of those categories is called anthocyanins. Flavonoids are another category. So, there are different types.

So, anthocyanins are the main antioxidants, or plant based antioxidants, polyphenols that give the red and purple hue to fruit. So, red apples I would guess have a lot more anthocyanins in the peel versus a green apple that I would assume doesn't have any because there's no red or purplish hue.

It's a pretty good answer, isn't it? You didn't think I was going to answer this one. Now here's the tough question actually. Why are some both colors? Even I think the first thing you want to say is, well maybe it has to do with ripeness. Maybe, as an apple first appears, maybe it is more greenish, but then as it ripens on the tree the anthocyanin content goes up and it becomes red and purple. That might be what happens. So, when you, if you pick an apple before it's totally ripe, you get a little bit of the greenish color, a little bit of the red and blue, because it hasn't quite developed the anthocyanin content.

I don't know if that's right, but that might be the answer. What I think is more true is, there are many different apple varieties today and I think they're just cross bred. There's cross breeding of apple trees, apple varieties and so what you see is the genes that produce anthocyanins, are easily transferred genes. And we know this in cell culture studies and stuff like that. The genes that make anthocyanins in plants have no... They're very protected genes. They can go from one species to another very easily.

So, what you see when you see a green apple and a red apples is you're seeing a cross bred variety. I don't know. Sounds good. But I do know the red apples have more anthocyanins. There. How's that?

Next question.

"How do you know when cuts need stitches?"

How do you know when cuts need stitches? That's... if it's bleeding a lot. No, that is...It's actually a good question because I think people always wonder about that a little bit. I mean is there way, is there something that doctors look at?

You know you cut yourself. I just did this, by the way. Everybody knows I'm not a cook. I should never have a knife in the kitchen. I'm good with knives and stuff in surgery and that kind of stuff. I did a lot of intervention radiology. I'm good there, but in the kitchen, I don't know. I did. I cut my finger pretty well. So, when I look at it, but I...It didn't need stitches, and I knew that.

So, what I'm looking at? When I look at my, that cut, what am I looking at that tells me I need stitches or not? Well, there's a couple of things. Number one is where the cut happens. First of all, if you cut yourself on finger tips, toe tips, anywhere where it's really sensitive, you have a lot of nerves there, it's usually a decent sign that you might need a stitch or two. Even if it's not deep.

Because you want those nerves to come back and to repair. Because you know you have to be able to have good sensitivity in like finger tips for instance. That's, so that's number one. And I did cut myself on the finger tip, by the way. But, I don't know. I didn't get the stitches. The second thing, is the shape of the cut. Most doctors will tell you, if it's a nice even straight see the sharper the knife kind of does that. It's just a nice even straight laceration type of thing. You know, if it's not too long, not too deep, if the bleeding was controlled well, you probably don't need a stitch for that case. But if it's curved, if it's jagged, that kind of stuff, often does need a stitch.

I guess depth too. If the cut is deep enough, to where some of the underlying tissue kind is bulging out of the cut, some of the fat pad, for instance, if you can kind of see that. So, once you stop the bleeding, you look at it, and looks like there's stuff bulging out of the cut. That's a pretty deep cut that might have to have a stitch as well.

So, where it's at, if it's curvy and jagged, and if there's tissue coming out of the cut, telling you it's pretty deep. Those are things I remember looking at when I was a medical student, stuff like that in the ER's, on whether something needs a stitch.

See? Apples to stitches! It's awesome, I love it. I think I'm doing good on time. Third question, I told you I want to get to all three of these.

"Is it ever safe to lose more than five pounds in one week?"

That's, five pounds in a week is a lot.

"I'm curious, because of the new yogurt diet."

Listen. I've heard of this, I don't, there's really no such thing as the yogurt diet. I know, I know, I know, I know! I know there are celebrities who talk about the yogurt diet. Listen, it's similar to the grapefruit diet. Let me explain what I mean by that.

If you really at the meal plan for these types of diets, yogurt, grapefruit, whatever, if you really look at what they are suggesting you eat, at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and for snack, day one, day two, whatever. It's really not about the yogurt. It's really not about the grapefruit. I mean, are there some compounds in grapefruit that might be metabolically stimulating. Maybe, and I think I even talked about that before. So, I think there might be something there. Yes.

But, in yogurt, what is yogurt, I think people might have talked about yogurt with the probiotics in it and stuff, like that. So, I think there may be something there. I mean may be...There may be some weight loss benefit in some of these food sources, but ultimately, what I can't, what I see when I look at the suggested meals--breakfast, lunch and dinner—on these things, you're just cutting calories like crazy.

Alright, I mean, you're talking about, breakfast, day one, yogurt. Plain yogurt. I mean, that's only like sixty calories. Lunch, you know, half a sandwich with, wholegrain bread and half a cup of vegetables and yogurt again. You're talking about two hundred calories. I mean, by the time you get to dinner you've only had maybe about 260 calories. And the dinner's maybe a little bit more. Maybe a little protein added to the vegetables and yogurt, you know, whatever.

So, at the end of the day you're at 800 calories or 1000. It's really just a calorie restriction diet. That's what these things are. Here's the thing, if you're eating only that many calories, I mean, if you're cutting your calories by that much, and you're losing that much weight, five pounds in a week, that's not good, because what happens is you go into what I call "diet shock". You're body counters all of that and stores everything you do as fat.

So, it's not good to be on those, kind of, calorie restriction diets. There you go. Three very different questions.

This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I'm Doctor Mike. Stay well.