It seems that the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may have some truth to it, because apples are a very healthy choice if you are trying to lose weight. In addition to being a nutrient-dense fresh fruit that can help regulate blood sugar, apples may also reduce the risk of heart disease, help prevent cognitive decline, and could also help prevent certain cancers.
What is it about the apple that makes it an ideal addition to a successful weight loss program?
- Apples are filling. The fact that they take a long time to eat gives the body a chance to communicate to the brain that it feels satisfied, resulting in fewer calories consumed than if you were to snack on nutrient-poor foods such as potato chips or pretzels.
- Apples have a low calorie density. Apples are approximately 85% water, and although water contains zero calories, it helps create a feeling of fullness. In a study comparing the consumption of oat cookies to the consumption of apples, participants who ate three apples a day for 10 weeks lost more weight than participants who ate oat cookies, even though the cookies and the fruit contained the same amount of fiber and total calories. This demonstrates that the source of your calories — not just the amount you eat — is an important consideration for weight loss.
- Apples are high in fiber. One medium apple offers approximately four grams of fiber. Four grams is 16% of the recommended daily intake for women and 11% of the recommended daily intake of fiber for men. Studies suggest that high fiber intake results in lower body weight. The slow process of digesting fiber keeps the body feeling full longer and decreases the total number of calories consumed throughout the day.
- The low glycemic load of apples is also beneficial to weight management. A food’s glycemic load tells you how quickly it causes glucose to enter the bloodstream and how much glucose it can deliver. Anything under 10 is considered low; apples have a glycemic load of 5, meaning they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar the way sugary foods do.
- The nutrient content of apples can help reduce cravings by feeding the body what it needs. Apples are well known for their potassium and vitamin C content, but they actually contain many other vitamins and minerals in small amounts. When your body gets the nutrients it needs, it’s less like to keep craving other foods in search of those nutrients.
- Apples are thought to help reduce inflammation in the body. When inflammation is present inside the body, it can lead to cellular damage, swelling, and fluid retention — all of which can impact your weight and impair the body’s ability to release excess weight.
Another benefit of the apple is its portability. In a world filled with unhealthy convenience food at every turn, the apple is a viable alternative that fits easily into a briefcase, backpack, or purse, and needs no preparation to enjoy.
Adding apples into a healthy plan of diet and exercise may be one of the easiest, and tastiest, ways to boost your overall health and weight-loss efforts.
At Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers, our medically supervised weight-loss programs are designed to help identify and manage the underlying health issues that can make weight loss difficult. Request a free consultation to find out how the experts at Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers can safely guide you on your weight-loss journey.
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on March 8, 2018