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Does an Apple in the Morning Speed Up Your Metabolism?

author image Sandi Busch
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.
Does an Apple in the Morning Speed Up Your Metabolism?
Apples are good sources of vitamin C and fiber. Photo Credit Nick Dolding/Taxi/Getty Images

Eating an apple in the morning will speed up metabolism, but don’t expect it to help you lose weight -- one apple alone has a small impact. If you really want to crank up your metabolism, keep the apple, and add other protein-rich foods to your morning meal. And don’t forget that to keep your metabolism going at full speed, you’ll need to eat at regular intervals and stick with an exercise regimen.

Effect of Eating an Apple in the Morning

Your metabolism increases every time you eat because it takes energy to digest food. In fact, over the course of a day, this rise in metabolism burns about 10 percent of your daily calories. The increase caused by a particular food or meal depends on the mix of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Fat digestion uses very little energy, so it has a small effect on metabolism. Carbohydrates use about three times more energy than fat, and proteins use two to three times more than carbs, which means that proteins speed up metabolism most.

Most of the calories in an apple come from carbohydrates, so it kick-starts your metabolism a bit. You won't get the extra boost from digesting protein because one apple has less than a gram of protein. You’ll get a better balance of nutrients -- and accelerate metabolism -- if you combine apples with other protein-rich foods. Try topping yogurt or oatmeal with apple slices and walnuts, or make a healthy shake with yogurt, apples, bananas and protein powder.

Nutrients in Apples Support Metabolism

When you eat an apple, you get more benefits than a boost in metabolic rate. Apples contain a variety of vitamins needed to keep your metabolism running at top capacity. An apple provides most of the B vitamins, which are essential, because they turn protein, carbs and fats into energy. You'll also get vitamin K from apples. While it's not associated with the same type of metabolic support as B vitamins, it has a role in protein and bone metabolism.

Some minerals promote a healthy metabolism. Magnesium powers the conversion of carbs and fats into energy, while manganese helps metabolize carbs and proteins. Both minerals have critical roles turning protein into glucose when needed for energy. Potassium is also an important player in carbohydrate metabolism. You'll get all these minerals from eating an apple.

Apples, Breakfast and Weight Loss

Eating apples will help you drop pounds, as long as they’re part of a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. A medium apple only has 95 calories, which fits in a low-calorie diet, whether at breakfast or as a snack to keep your energy up between meals. Apples have a secret weapon in the battle to lose weight; they contain lots of fiber. Fiber fills you up, making it easier to eat less. It also slows down digested food as it travels through the digestive tract. This leisurely movement means that sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, so an apple doesn’t spike blood sugar. When blood sugar gets too high, the extra amount is stored as fat, so keeping blood sugar steady prevents weight gain.

A breakfast that doesn’t spike blood sugar is more likely to speed up metabolism than a meal packed with refined carbs that send blood sugar soaring, according to a study published in the February 2011 issue of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease. If you munch on your apple slowly, or take time to eat breakfast rather than gobbling it on your way out the door, you may lose more weight. Eating quickly increases the risk of being overweight more than skipping breakfast, reported the authors of a study published in Eating Behaviors in January 2016.

Tips to Boost Metabolism

If you’re tempted to cut calories to the extreme, think twice. Your metabolic rate slows down if you consume too few calories. Women need at least 1,200 calories daily, and men should aim for a minimum of 1,800. If you plan to drop calories lower than the minimum, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to be sure you don’t fall short on nutrients. You’ll also maximize energy by spreading calories out over the day. You don’t need to eat five or six small meals if that doesn’t suit your style, but try to plan three meals with roughly equal calories. Also, be sure to have about the same amount of protein at each meal to maximize its metabolism-boosting power.

Tips to boost metabolism wouldn’t be complete without mentioning water and exercise. Don't overlook water's essential role in metabolism. It keeps electrolytes balanced and carries nutrients, oxygen, hormones and all other vital substances through the body. When you skimp on water, metabolism slows down, and you feel tired. A good goal is 9 cups of water daily for women and 12 cups for men. Exercise elevates metabolism, and it stays high for a while after activity stops. Apples may further upgrade your exercise results since they provide vitamin C, which helps burn more fat as you exercise. Try to plan 30 minutes of aerobic exercise -- such as walking, dancing, swimming and bicycling -- at least four times weekly.

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