Are Apples Weight-Loss-Friendly or Fattening?
Research shows they provide many health benefits, such as reducing your risk of diabetes (1Trusted Source).
However, you may wonder whether they’re fattening or weight-loss-friendly.
This article tells you whether apples make you lose or gain weight.
Low calorie density
Apples boast a lot of water.
In fact, a medium-sized apple consists of about 86% water. Water-rich foods are quite filling, which often leads to reduced calorie intake (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Water is not only filling, but it also considerably lowers the calorie density of foods.
Foods with low calorie density, such as apples, tend to be high in water and fiber. A medium-sized apple has only 95 calories but plenty of water and fiber.
Several studies show that foods with low calorie densities promote fullness, reduced calorie intake, and weight loss (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
In one study, apples caused reduced calorie intake and weight loss, while oat cookies — which had a higher calorie density but similar calorie and fiber contents — did not (8Trusted Source).
Apples are high in water, low in calorie density, and low in overall calories — all properties that aid weight loss.
High in weight-loss-friendly fiber
A medium-sized apple contains 4 grams of fiber (2Trusted Source).
This is 16% of the recommended fiber intake for women and 11% for men, which is extremely high given their low calorie content. This makes apples an excellent food to help you reach your recommended fiber intake (9Trusted Source).
Many studies demonstrate that high fiber intake is linked to lower body weight and a significantly reduced risk of obesity (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Eating fiber may slow the digestion of food and make you feel more full with fewer calories. For this reason, foods high in fiber may help you eat fewer total calories, which helps you lose weight (12Trusted Source).
Fiber may also improve your digestive health and feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which can also aid metabolic health and weight control (10Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Apples are rich in fiber, which may promote fullness and appetite reduction — and therefore weight control.
The combination of water and fiber in apples makes them incredibly filling.
In one study, whole apples were found to be significantly more filling than applesauce or apple juice when eaten before a meal (14Trusted Source).
Furthermore, apples take significantly longer to eat compared with foods that don’t contain fiber. Eating duration likewise contributes to fullness.
For example, a study in 10 people noted that juice could be consumed 11 times faster than a whole apple (15Trusted Source).
The filling effects of apples may reduce appetite and lead to weight reduction.
Apples have several properties that increase feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss by reducing overall calorie intake.
Benefits for weight loss
Researchers have proposed that including apples in an otherwise healthy and balanced diet may encourage weight loss.
In studies in women with excess weight who follow a low-calorie or weight-reduction diet, apple intake is associated with weight loss (8Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
In one study, women regularly ate apples, pears, or oat cookies — foods with similar fiber and calorie contents. After 12 weeks, the fruit groups lost 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg), but the oat group showed no significant weight loss (16Trusted Source).
Another study gave 50 people 3 apples, 3 pears, or 3 oat cookies per day. After 10 weeks, the oat group saw no weight change, but those who ate apples lost 2 pounds (0.9 kg) (8Trusted Source).
Additionally, the apple group reduced overall calorie intake by 25 calories per day, while the oat group ending up eating slightly more calories.
In a 4-year study in 124,086 adults, increased intake of fiber and antioxidant-rich fruits, such as apples, was associated with weight loss. Those who ate apples lost an average of 1.24 pounds (0.56 kg) (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Not only do apples appear to be weight-loss-friendly for adults, but they may also improve overall diet quality and reduce the risk of obesity in children (19Trusted Source).
Research suggests that including apples in a healthy diet may promote weight loss and improve your overall health.
Other health benefits
In addition to promoting weight loss, apples have several other benefits.
Apples contain small amounts of many vitamins and minerals and are well known for their vitamin C and potassium contents. One medium-sized apple provides more than 3% of the Daily Value (DV) for both (2Trusted Source).
This fruit also boasts vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese, and copper (2Trusted Source).
Additionally, the peels are particularly high in plant compounds that may lower your disease risk and provide many other health benefits (20Trusted Source).
Low glycemic index
Apples have a low glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how much blood sugar levels rise after eating.
Low-GI foods may aid blood sugar control and weight management since they help keep your blood sugar levels balanced rather than spiking them (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
Additionally, evidence suggests that a low-GI diet may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers (24Trusted Source).
The combination of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber in apples may reduce your risk of heart disease (25Trusted Source).
Apples have been shown to reduce your body’s cholesterol and inflammation levels, which are both key factors for heart health (25Trusted Source).
Other studies have found that foods rich in antioxidants, such as apples, may lower your risk of death from heart disease (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
The antioxidant activity of apples may help prevent certain types of cancer.
Several studies link apple intake and lung cancer prevention in adults (1Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Furthermore, eating at least one apple per day has been shown to significantly reduce your risk of mouth, throat, breast, ovarian, and colon cancer (1Trusted Source).
According to animal studies, apple juice may help prevent mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
In one study in mice, apple juice reduced mental decline by decreasing the amount of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in brain tissue (30Trusted Source).
Apple juice may also preserve neurotransmitters that are important for optimal brain function and Alzheimer’s prevention (1Trusted Source).
Apples have several properties that may boost your blood sugar control, heart health, cancer risk, and brain function.
The bottom line
Apples are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, water, and several nutrients.
The many healthy components of apples may contribute to fullness and reduced calorie intake.
Including this fruit in a healthy and well-balanced diet may indeed be useful for weight loss.
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