An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but three apples a day might help you lose weight, claims registered dietitian Tammi Flynn. Flynn developed a 3-Apple-a-Day diet plan that, she says, can help you lose an average of 17 pounds in 12 weeks. According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson and registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, the 3-Apple-a-Day diet has guidelines that would be a beneficial addition to any eating plan. Talk to your doctor before starting any weight management program.
The 3-Apple-a-Day diet originated at a gym in Wenatchee, Washington, where Flynn worked as nutrition director, personal trainer and group training instructor. Flynn suggested to a client struggling with weight loss that she should eat an apple before each meal and use apples as snacks between meals. The woman reportedly lost nearly 2 pounds in a week. Flynn expanded the diet into a program at the gym, where she claims she observed similar results. In 2005, Flynn published details of the plan in her book, "The 3-Apple-a-Day Plan: Your Foundation for Permanent Fat Loss."
While the original plan involved simply eating an apple prior to your regular meals, the 3-Apple-a-Day diet now includes eating guidelines and an exercise regimen. Followers of the program are instructed to consume low-fat, high-protein meals that range from 1,200 to 2,500 calories daily, depending on weight loss goals. A typical day's menu might consist of a cheese and vegetable omelet for breakfast, whole-wheat spaghetti with sauce for lunch and a salmon salad at dinner with protein shakes and yogurt as snacks. Dieters also engage in a mix of cardiovascular, stretching and weight training exercises each day.
Benefits and Drawbacks
The 3-Apple-a-Day diet increases followers' intake of fresh produce and lean protein and establishes a habit of regular exercise without requiring the purchase of expensive dietary supplements or equipment. Laura Kelly, a writer for SunSentinel.com, tried the diet for a week in 2008 and reported that she wasn't hungry on the meal plan provided in Flynn's book. She did, however, find it difficult to work exercise into her schedule daily. Dieters may also tire of eating three or more apples a day for the entire 12 weeks that the program lasts.
A study published in 2009 in the medical journal "Appetite" confirmed the premise of the 3-Apple-a-Day diet. Adults who ate a whole apple before a meal consumed 15 percent fewer calories than subjects who did not first eat the apple. This may be due to the large amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in apples, which can help fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. In addition, a study in "Obesity" in 2012 determined that eating more soluble fiber is linked to a decrease in fat stores. Eating three small apples with their skins' intact would supply 3 grams of soluble fiber.