You’ve probably heard the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” As it turns out, apples may also help keep unwanted pounds away. Here are six ways that these shiny fruits can aid in weight loss:
1. They have a low impact on blood sugar.
Apples are considered low on the glycemic index scale. An average apple is only about a 36, while a banana is around 51 and a plain boiled potato is a whopping 78. This means that they are unlikely to cause insulin spikes and crashes. When insulin levels rise and drop, they can trigger cravings for sweets. Apples can help you satisfy a sweet tooth, without sending your blood sugar and insulin levels out of whack.
2. They’re low in calories.
A medium-sized apple (around 2-2 1/2″ in diameter) contains only 72 calories on average. Some varieties clock in at a bit more, like the sweet, 125 calorie honeycrisp. Even if you pick a larger or more calorie-dense apple variety, they’re still a smart choice.
While some health conditions can change how many calories the body needs, losing weight still comes down to calories in versus calories out. Having an apple in place of a higher-calorie snack can help make it easier to consume fewer calories than you burn, leading to weight loss.
3. They’re hydrating.
Believe it or not, dehydration can trigger weight gain. It’s very common for people to interpret thirst signals as hunger signals, leading to snacking on food when you actually need water. Apples are almost 90% water, which is part of why they’re low in calories. This means that they can help keep you hydrated and suppress the thirst signals that make you feel hungry.
4. They’re high in fiber.
Fiber, alongside protein and fat, is one of the components that makes food satiating. When food is satiating, you feel fuller, longer, and are less likely to want to snack between meals. For added satiety, pair them with a food that offers some fat and protein. Try dipping them in a small amount of nut butter, or eating them with a serving of cheese.
Consuming fiber also feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. This can improve your overall health and reduce gastric symptoms like bloating, which may help trim inches off of your waist. Fiber is also known to have a healthy impact on blood lipids, reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Research shows that it’s possible to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 18 percent by consuming 30 grams of soluble fiber per day. A large apple provides about a third of your minimum recommended daily fiber intake, roughly 80% of which is soluble.
5. They’re portable.
One of the biggest selling points of apples is their convenience. Once they’re washed, they can be toted in a lunch box without the need for refrigeration or eating utensils. That makes them the perfect snack to keep around for those times when you’re busy, running late, or just feel tempted to hit up a drive-through to save time.
Having some pre-cut fruits and vegetables at home can help reduce the desire to graze on higher-calorie foods. You can slice apples, sprinkle them with lemon juice (to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown), and keep them in the fridge for when the urge to snack strikes.
6. They’re a good litmus test for hunger.
There’s a bit of uncommon, but no less helpful, weight loss advice that goes like this: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry. A lot of times snacking isn’t really driven by genuine hunger. It might be out of boredom, or even just because something sounds, looks, or smells good in the moment. Pack along an apple. If you’re genuinely hungry, you’ll want to eat it. If it doesn’t seem appealing, you can safely skip snacking until your next meal.
Weight loss is simple, but it’s not easy. While there’s no magical food that will let you lose weight no matter how much you eat, some can definitely make losing weight easier. Apples are a low glycemic, hydrating, fiber-rich snack that provides numerous health benefits above and beyond promoting weight loss. If you don’t habitually keep them around to snack on, they may make a helpful addition to your diet.