7 Ways Apples Can Help You Lose Weight, Say Dietitians
Although there are popular diets out there that wouldn't recommend eating apples due to their high carbohydrate count (we're looking at you, keto diet) the belief that apples can't help you lose weight has been completely misconstrued. In fact, apples are truly one of the healthiest foods you can eat and should absolutely be a regular part of your healthy eating plan. But if you don't believe us, we spoke with a few registered dietitians to look at the specifics of why apples can help you lose weight, and what exactly they do for your body's health.
"The saying 'an apple away keeps the doctor away,' is a common one. True to it, apples are pretty nutritious, and I recommend them to many of my patients," says Edie Reads, RD and chief editor at healthadvise.org. "It's one of the few fruits that make it to the grocery list of those looking to lose weight. So, from an apple, a day keeps the doctor away to an apple a day keeps the excess weight away."
Here's what other dietitians had to say about apples, and for even more healthy foods to add to your diet, check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Apples fill you up.
Want to know the main secret to losing weight? It's all about making yourself feel full. This may not seem like something you should strive for, but it's true! Filling your body up properly with lower-calorie fats, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber-rich foods will keep you feeling full for hours. Apples easily fall into this style of eating.
"Apples are high in fiber, antioxidants, and low in calories—making it a filling snack and perfect for weight loss," Lisa R. Young PhD, RDN, and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. "I enjoy an apple (Fuji and honey crisp are my favorite) as a snack most days, [or] making baked apples to enjoy for dessert. I try buying organic apples when possible and eating the entire apple along with the skin. The fiber in the apple is high in fiber. Sliced apples also taste great when added to oatmeal before cooking."
Not sure how this "feeling full for weight loss" method works? Here's What To Eat in a Day To Drive the Most Weight Loss, according to a dietitian.
Apples are low in calories.
"Apples are high in fiber and low in calories, which makes them great for weight loss," says Megan Byrd, RD, from The Oregon Dietitian. "By eating fruit like apples instead of high-calorie baked goods, you'll be on your way to a healthy weight! Even though they aren't meant to be eaten as a meal, apples can be part of a balanced and healthy diet."
"Losing weight is as simple as restricting your caloric intake, rather, burning more calories than you consume," says Reads. "Apples are high in water, while low in overall calories. This is one fruit you want to eat as a snack. Its high water content will keep you full for longer so you can limit your caloric intake."
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Apples are rich in filling fiber.
"Apples can help you lose weight by using them as a healthful, high fiber carbohydrate choice within your eating lifestyle," Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN at A Taste of Health and Expert at Testing.com. "By including a high fiber carbohydrate choice like apples that also provide a sweet satisfaction with protein and fat, this can aid in satiety to help minimize overeating and, in turn, [help] promote weight loss."
Jamie Feit, MS, RD, and another Expert at Testing.com, points out that because of the high-fiber content in apples, you'll feel full for a longer period of time, giving your "brain the message that food is there."
"Fiber is also a crucial nutrient for those looking to lose weight," says Reads. "It slows down digestion so you can feel full longer and restrict your caloric intake while maintaining a good environment for the friendly bacteria in your gut to thrive."
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and owner of RD Career Jumpstart, points out that a medium apple has almost 4.5 grams of fiber in it, which is around 15% to 18% of your daily recommended intake of 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Apples give you that crunch satisfaction.
Craving crunchy chips as an afternoon snack? Swap it out with an apple! You'll still get that satisfying crunch factor without all of the added empty calories.
"Apples are a popular snack because you get that satisfying crunch when eating them," says MyNetDiary's Registered Dietitian and MS, Brenda Braslow. "At only 72 calories for a medium apple, you get 3 grams of dietary fiber to help keep you satisfied. Pair an apple with some protein from nut butter, nuts, or cheese and you have a satisfying snack to carry you through to dinner. This prevents you from approaching dinner being out-of-control ravenous, which often leads to overeating."
Apples help prevent overeating.
"It is no surprise that apples are a nutrient-dense food that can aid in weight loss efforts as well," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, with Balance One Supplements. "There are two primary characteristics of apples that make them an ideal addition to anyone's weight loss diet; fiber and water content."
"The fiber found in apples helps with weight loss by providing satiety and improving gut health," says Best. "Staying full for longer periods of time on a low-calorie food, like apples, can prevent overeating throughout the day on high-calorie foods. The fiber and water content both contribute to the weight loss benefits of apples in this way."
Apples prevent blood sugar spikes.
"Apples may promote weight loss by preventing blood glucose and insulin spikes," says Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, owner of Full Plate Nutrition and a New York City Media Rep for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Anthocyanins in apples may help adipose tissue and skeletal muscle take up blood glucose to burn for energy and reduce glucose production in the liver. The result is a decrease in circulating insulin levels needed to clear glucose from the blood. This can contribute to weight loss because insulin is a prime fat-storage hormone and you don't want excess levels floating around."
Apples satisfy your sweet tooth.
Craving a sweet treat in the afternoon? While eating a small amount of dark chocolate can benefit your health (they are full of antioxidants!), eating an apple is also a great way to naturally satisfy a sweet tooth without totally going overboard on your weight loss goals.
"Apples are naturally sweet so they may satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from grabbing a higher calorie sweet treat with added sugars," says Goodson. "Consider having an apple with peanut butter or dipping apple slices in yogurt for a snack. They can also be a great topper to oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, and salads!"
Make the most of your apple.
Apples truly are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Between the high fiber content, the complex carbohydrates, and all of those micronutrients and antioxidants, that little apple from the tree really can do wonders for your body—and for weight loss. Plus, they are naturally sweet thanks to the fructose of the fruit, while still staying under 100 calories. What's not to love about an apple?
The best way to enjoy your apple is by pairing it with another filling component to keep you feeling full for an even longer period of time.
"For best results, pair apples with a protein or fat source to keep you full for hours," Dr. Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from CollegeNutritionist.com. "For example, have an apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter as a snack."
While eating an apple with peanut butter is a usual go-to snack—and incredibly delicious—that doesn't have to be the only way you enjoy eating an apple. In fact, Hotz has a few other clever ways to make the most of eating your apples that can still help you to lose weight.
Hotz says choosing an apple as the carbohydrate in your snack or meal can be a great way to get that fiber intake while still keeping your meals low in calories. For a snack, she recommends enjoying an apple with "protein sources such as nuts, cheese, or nut butter. For a meal, you can replace the low-fiber carbohydrate options in your meal with slices of apple in a salad with greens, lean chicken, nuts, and a vinaigrette dressing.
Get started today with one of these 25 Delicious Apple Recipes!