Can Eating Apples Really Help You Lose Weight?
An apple a day keeps the doctor away…but can it also help you feel healthier? Here's what you need to know.
From Granny Smith to Gala, apples are a classic snack perfect for any time of year, but are apples good for you? (Check out our guide to the most common types of apples.) Turns out, they can help you lose weight! Here’s how:
Apples Are Loaded with Fiber
Apples are chock-full of fiber that slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer. One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate more fiber lost more weight and had a smaller waist circumference. A medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber, which is 16% of the recommended fiber intake for women and 11% for men. Just remember to eat the peel—most of the apple’s fiber is found there! By including fibrous, healthy foods like apples in your diet, you’ll start crowding out the junk food, ultimately reducing your overall calorie intake and losing weight.
Apples Have a Low Energy Density
Foods that are high in fiber and have a high water content (apples are about 85% water!) have a low energy density. This means that apples have fewer calories per bite than other foods. In one study, researchers looked at the consumption of low-density vs. high-density foods in middle-aged women. One group consumed oat cookies while the other consumed apples. Both had a similar calorie count and amount of fiber, but the apples had a lower energy density. At the end of 10 weeks, researchers found that the oat cookie group hadn’t lost any weight, while the apple group lost weight and consumed fewer calories overall.
Apples Have Good Nutrients
Apples also have other nutrients and compounds that help promote growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Although bacteria may sound undesirable, it’s actually important to have good bacteria—they help balance the bad bacteria that lives on junk food. By supporting the good bacteria, you’ll help reduce chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of obesity.
All apples make a great snack, but tart Granny Smith apples are the best for weight loss. They have a higher concentration of fiber compared to other popular apples, like Gala, McIntosh and Golden Delicious. Just don’t expect the same benefits in cooked apples—heating the apples can destroy some of the nutrients.