Are Apples Good For Weight Loss? Benefits & Downsides [UK] 2023
It is recommended that a healthy diet includes four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Apples are a great fruit to consume daily. This fruit is high in fiber and rich in polyphenols and vitamins that offer good health benefits. There may be some truth to eating an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
Apples can also be a part of your diet if you are working on weight management. They may be a great addition to help with satiety and fullness. Although, with its sugar content, one has to ask, are apples good for weight loss?
Do Apples Help You Lose Weight?
People working on weight loss may benefit from consuming fruits and vegetables. They are a great low-calorie and filling part of your meals. Apples, in particular, have a high fiber and water content. This can help keep you full longer with a small number of calories. In the end, they can help you eat less.
According to MyPlate.gov recommendations, adults may need to eat from 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruits daily. This recommendation is following a healthy diet pattern. Whenever possible, fruits should be consumed fresh to reap the benefits of including more fiber. People that consume more fiber from foods tend to lose weight. Eating apples may provide this benefit due to their fiber content, in addition to the potential effects of their antioxidant components.
Evidence-based weight loss strategies that help you lose weight include decreasing daily calories consumed, physical activity, and behavioral strategies. Decreasing calories consumed by around 500 calories daily may help you lose around 1 pound per week. Performing 150 minutes per week or more of moderate physical activity, can also help you burn calories. You may start activities with less time and intensity as you get comfortable with the movement.
You can also work with a therapist or Registered Dietitian on behavioral techniques. These may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, stress management, social support, or keeping a food diary. Working on these techniques may help support weight management and create a good relationship with foods that will support a long-term healthy weight.
Nutrition Facts About Apples
Apples are a good source of nutrients and non-nutritive components that affect health.
One medium-sized apple (3 inches in diameter) contains:
- 95 calories
- 25 grams of carbohydrates
- <0.5 gram of protein
- <0.5 gram of fat
- 4 grams of fiber
- 8 milligrams of Vitamin C
- 5 micrograms of folate
It is also a source in small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B, and minerals like magnesium potassium, and phosphorous. Apples can also be hydrating, containing water.
6 Benefits Of Apples For Weight Loss
Consuming fruits and vegetables provide many health benefits. Apples also are included in this bunch. They contain not only vitamins and minerals but also antioxidants that can further protect health. Apples can support weight loss efforts with their nutrients, fiber, low-calorie content, and effects on satiety.
Apples are high in fiber. Foods high in fiber have multiple health effects. Apples themselves are a good source of fiber, and they are crunchy. The recommended fiber intake for adults is around 28 grams of dietary fiber daily in a 2000-calorie diet.
Apples contain insoluble fiber. Fiber delays gastric emptying and thus helps you stay fuller longer. This can also have an effect at a later meal and may prevent overeating and help you eat fewer calories. Eating more fiber can help prevent weight gain and promote weight loss.
Eating crunchy foods can also be a strategy to decrease calorie intake at a later meal. There is a positive effect of chewing our foods well and achieving satiety. People that chew their foods for longer report decreased hunger at a later time and increase satiety.
If not able to chew apples, choose a no sugar added apple sauce, and savor it in your mouth. Enjoying a mindful moment with your food may help you achieve fullness with a smaller amount of food. This practice of chewing your foods carefully, savoring, and enjoying your food can be a tool for those working on weight management, as it can help you eat less.
Low In Calories
A medium-sized apple usually has less than 100 calories per serving. Apples contain fiber and quite a bit of water, which lowers the calorie density of the food. This makes it a great snack to tide you over until the next meal. It can also be a great dessert with little effect on the scale.
You can eat apples in many ways. Monotony while eating apples is bound to be difficult.
There are over 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide. With so many flavor profiles, it is gonna be hard to get bored. Not only that but there are also many ways to enjoy this fruit.
Choose an apple to fit your appetite or taste. You can also eat green apples for weight loss like the Granny Smith, which can be a tart snack. If wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, pick a Fuji apple. No matter what the flavor profile of your apple is, it will have a variety of nutrients to protect your health.
It also has a low glycemic index, with a score around 36, and thus does not affect glucose levels significantly compared to sugar, which has a glycemic index of 100. There are two components of apples that might support this: fiber and polyphenols. Fiber delays glucose absorption in the intestines. Polyphenols in apples may decrease insulin resistance.
In a meta-analysis, eating apples or pears multiple times per week decreased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This could mean that people with diabetes and wanting to prevent it can benefit from eating apples throughout the week.
Apples are also a source of soluble fiber called pectin. This fiber becomes gelatinous in the gut and can delay fat and carbohydrate absorption in the intestines. This can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Apples and their skins have many phytochemicals that have antioxidant potential. The phytochemical group of polyphenols may protect against cancer. These polyphenols give fruits their taste, color, and aroma. Polyphenols have the potential to prevent and treat oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. Fruits, including apples, may help you decrease cancer risk.
Pectin, a type of apple fiber, may affect inflammation by modulating gut bacteria.
Fibers are non-digestible polysaccharides that can have positive health benefits while passing through the gut.
Fiber can function as a prebiotic and help feed our good gut bacteria and promote the growth of the right ones. Having the right ratio between the Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes is associated with a healthier weight, along with having more variety of bacteria. Pectin fiber from apples may help modulate gut microbiota, also presenting a decrease in inflammation.
Usually, people that follow a diet that has more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains and eat less processed foods and high-fat foods will have a more varied gut microbiome. This can decrease inflammation, improve the release of satiety hormones, increase nutrient absorption, and aid weight loss in the long run.
Side Effects Of Apples
Eating apples may not be for everyone. Some people may not benefit from eating this food, like people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Those that follow a diet that avoids Fermentable oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, also called FODMAPS, need to avoid apples. These are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the intestines. Some individuals need to avoid apples that are high in sorbitol and fructose (a type of sugar). People with IBS may experience gastrointestinal distress when eating FODMAPS.
It is important to drink plenty of water when increasing fiber consumption in the diet to avoid constipation. Make sure to drink at least 9 cups of fluids if a woman and 11 cups if a man. Listen to your body; if thirsty, choose water to hydrate.
How To Eat Apples
You can safely incorporate apples a couple of times per day and multiple times per week if desired. More fruit and color variety is always optimal to obtain different nutrients and types of antioxidants. Feel free to use these recommendations below or follow your palate.
Apples are a great portable snack. Eat a medium apple on its own. Cut into slices and squirt with lemon juice to help prevent browning. Peel it, cube it, and mix it with other low-calorie fruits, like berries or melon, into a fruit salad.
Pair it with walnuts for some omega-3s and boost its antioxidant power. You can eat it with a protein like nut butter, nuts, or cheese.
Apples can be baked, cooked down into puree, or a chunky sauce to pair with other foods. Cooking it and adding cinnamon to add flavor can help you avoid sugar.
Include In Your Dishes
Cube your favorite apple and include it on your salads. Try a variation of a Waldorf salad on a bed of greens. Be adventurous; include apples in your tuna or chicken salads. They can also just be a part of your fruit salads. Or use it on your oatmeal, cream of wheat, or cold cereal.
Include it in smoothies. Fresh apples, when added to your smoothie, may impart thickness and texture. Add liquid if you would like to thin down your smoothie. Try an apple, banana, and peanut butter smoothie. Add your favorite protein powder if wanting to use it as a breakfast option.
When working on weight loss, it may be beneficial to avoid apple juice. Although consuming it may help you reach your daily fruit and vegetable targets, it does not have all the benefits of the fruit itself, such as fiber. Processing takes away the fiber and some of its antioxidants. Cloudy apple juice or apple cider may contain the fruits’ nutrients intact and can be an option.
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermenting crushed apples. The yeast in the processor converts the alcohol formed into acetic acid, which gives its flavor. There have been some studies that suggest the potential of the use of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on body weight. The reason behind it is unknown, although theories exist that it can increase metabolism, but no data yet on this. The vinegar may have other side effects like nausea and erosion of teeth.
Are apples good for weight loss? In conclusion, apples are a great fruit to support overall health. It is satiating, portable, and conveniently available in many parts of the world year-round. Apples may also confer many other health benefits, mainly focusing on disease prevention like diabetes, heart disease, and potentially cancer.
Including apples in your diet can also support weight loss attempts. This delicious crunchy food can help keep you full for longer and make it easier for you to eat less at a later meal. You can also use it as a tasty dessert instead of a high-calorie or sugary sweet. And with all the varieties of apples, it will be hard to get bored with this fruit.
+ 22 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- USDA (2020). What is MyPlate? | MyPlate. [online] www.myplate.gov. Available at: https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate.
- Howarth, N.C., Saltzman, E. and Roberts, S.B. (2009). Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 59(5), pp.129–139. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb07001.x.
- Asgary, S., Rastqar, A. and Keshvari, M. (2018). Weight Loss Associated With Consumption of Apples: A Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, [online] 37(7), pp.627–639. doi:10.1080/07315724.2018.1447411.
- Ramage, S., Farmer, A., Apps Eccles, K. and McCargar, L. (2014). Healthy strategies for successful weight loss and weight maintenance: a systematic review. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, [online] 39(1), pp.1–20. doi:10.1139/apnm-2013-0026.
- CDC (2022). How much physical activity do adults need? [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
- Eatright.org. (2022). About RDNs. [online] Available at: https://www.eatright.org/about-rdns-and-ndtrs
- Usda.gov. (2022). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171688/nutrients
- Usda.gov. (2022). AskUSDA. [online] Available at: https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-much-dietary-fiber-should-I-eat
- Miquel-Kergoat, S., Azais-Braesco, V., Burton-Freeman, B. and Hetherington, M.M. (2015). Effects of chewing on appetite, food intake and gut hormones: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiology & Behavior, [online] 151, pp.88–96. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.07.017.
- Schnepper, R., Richard, A., Wilhelm, F.H. and Blechert, J. (2019). A combined mindfulness–prolonged chewing intervention reduces body weight, food craving, and emotional eating. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, [online] 87(1), pp.106–111. doi:10.1037/ccp0000361.
- Illinois.edu. (2013). Apple Facts – Apples and More – University of Illinois Extension. [online] Available at: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm
- Harvard Health. (2015). Glycemic index for 60+ foods – Harvard Health. [online] Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods
- Guo, X., Yang, B., Tang, J., Jiang, J.-J. and Li, D. (2017). Apple and pear consumption and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Food Funct., [online] 8(3), pp.927–934. doi:10.1039/c6fo01378c.
- Flutto, L. (2003). PECTIN | Properties and Determination. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, [online] pp.4440–4449. doi:10.1016/b0-12-227055-x/00901-9.
- Jimenez-Garcia, S.N., Vazquez-Cruz, M.A., Garcia-Mier, L., Contreras-Medina, L.M., Guevara-González, R.G., Garcia-Trejo, J.F. and Feregrino-Perez, A.A. (2018). Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Secondary Metabolites in Berries. Therapeutic Foods, [online] pp.397–427. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-811517-6.00013-1.
- Oyenihi, A.B., Belay, Z.A., Asanda Mditshwa and Oluwafemi James Caleb (2022). ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’: The potentials of apple bioactive constituents for chronic disease… [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360365145_An_apple_a_day_keeps_the_doctor_away_The_potentials_of_apple_bioactive_constituents_for_chronic_disease_prevention
- Liu, B.-N., Liu, X.-T., Liang, Z.-H. and Wang, J.-H. (2021). Gut microbiota in obesity. World Journal of Gastroenterology, [online] 27(25), pp.3837–3850. doi:10.3748/wjg.v27.i25.3837.
- Monashfodmap.com. (2019). Starting the Low FODMAP Diet – Monash Fodmap. [online] Available at: https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/starting-the-low-fodmap-diet/
- Eatright.org. (2022). How Much Water Do You Need? [online] Available at: https://www.eatright.org/health/essential-nutrients/water/how-much-water-do-you-need
- Vallée Marcotte, B., Verheyde, M., Pomerleau, S., Doyen, A. and Couillard, C. (2022). Health Benefits of Apple Juice Consumption: A Review of Interventional Trials on Humans. Nutrients, [online] 14(4), p.821. doi:10.3390/nu14040821.
- Medlineplus.gov. (2022). Apple Cider Vinegar: MedlinePlus Supplements. [online] Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/816.html
- Anderson, S., Gonzalez, L.A., Jasbi, P. and Johnston, C.S. (2021). Evidence That Daily Vinegar Ingestion May Contribute to Erosive Tooth Wear in Adults. Journal of Medicinal Food, [online] 24(8), pp.894–896. doi:10.1089/jmf.2020.0108.