Apples have been a popular fruit for lunchboxes and snacks for a long time, and they do have health benefits that can improve your overall wellbeing.
Are they diet-friendly, or are they fattening?
Read on to find out if apples are fattening, or are an ally in the weight-loss war.
1. Apples Are Low Calories
Much of an apple is made up of water – around 86% in a medium apple. Foods that are high in water are usually quite filling, so can lead to a reduced calorie intake.
Foods that have low calorie density (like apples), are mostly high in water and fiber, and both of those promote fullness and reduced calorie intake.
A study showed that apples helped to reduce calories eaten and encourage weight loss, while oat cookies with a higher calorie density (but similar amounts of calories and fiber to apples), did not.
2. High Fiber
One medium apple contains around 4 grams of fiber, which is 16% of the recommended daily intake for women, and 11% for men. This is a high amount of fiber considering that apples are low in calories, and this makes apples a great choice for reaching your recommended fiber intake.
Several studies found that eating enough fiber is linked to lower body weight, and a significant reduction in the risk of obesity.
Eating fiber can help slow digestion and make you feel more satisfied with fewer calories, and it may improve your digestive health too. Fiber could even feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which help to improve metabolic health and weight control.
3. Apples Fill You Up
The water and fiber in apples are what makes them very filling.
One study showed that whole apples were significantly more filling than apple sauce or apple juice when eaten before a meal.
Because the length of time spent eating is also a factor in feeling full, apples are a great food because they take longer to eat than foods that don’t contain fiber.
A study of 10 people found that apple juice could be consumed 11 times faster than a whole apple.
4. Weight Loss Benefits
Research has shown that including apples in a balanced diet may lead to weight loss.
Studies of overweight women who follow a low-calorie or weight-reduction diet show that apples are linked with weight loss.
One study followed women who often ate apples, pears, or oat cookies (these foods have similar calorie and fiber content). After 12 weeks, those who ate the fruit lost 2.7 pounds, while those who ate oat cookies showed no significant weight loss.
Another 4-year study showed that increased consumption of fiber and antioxidant-rich fruits like apples was linked with weight loss. The subjects who ate apples lost an average of 1.24 pounds.
5. Health Benefits
Apples are full of vitamin C and potassium, as well as other vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese and copper. Apple peels are very high in plant compounds that could lower your risk of diseases.
Low Glycemic Index
Apples are low on the glycemic index, which is a scale to measure how much blood sugar levels rise after eating.
Foods that are low GI can help control blood sugar and weight because they don’t make your blood sugar spike after eating them.
There is some evidence to suggest that a low-GI diet could help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
May Improve Brain Function
Animal studies have shown that apple juice might help lower the risk of mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
A rodent study found that apple juice reduced mental decline by reducing the amount of harmful reactive oxygen species in brain tissue, and it may also protect neurotransmitters needed for brain function.
Possible Anti-Cancer Effects
The antioxidants in apples may lower risks of some types of cancer, and several studies have showed that there is a link between consumption of apples and prevention of lung cancer in adults.
Other research shows that eating at least one apple a day can significantly reduce the risk of mouth, throat, breast, ovarian, and colon cancer.