Gala apples are the most popular apple variety in America — and for good reason. They're low in calories, rich in flavonoids and chock-full of fiber. Their thin skin and crispy flesh make them ideal for snacking, while their vanilla-like flavor goes well in pies, muffins and other baked goods.
Rich in fiber and low in calories, gala apples are perfect for dieters. One medium fruit has fewer than 100 calories and boasts high doses of pectin, phenolic compounds and other nutrients with anti-obesity effects.
Nutrition Facts for Gala Apples
Red Delicious has been America's favorite apple cultivar for over 50 years. Things changed in 2018, when Gala took its place, according to the U.S. Apple Association. The third most popular cultivar was Granny Smith followed by Fuji and Honeycrisp.
But what exactly makes Gala apples so popular? First of all, they boast a distinctive flavor, with subtle hints of vanilla. They're super crispy and make a healthy addition to smoothies, pies, cakes and other homemade treats. Like other apple varieties, they're loaded with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. One medium Gala apple provides:
- 98 calories
- 23.5 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 0.4 grams of protein
- 4 percent of the DV (daily value) of potassium
- 4 percent of the DV of copper
- 3 percent of the DV of manganese
- 2 percent of the DV of magnesium
- 1 percent of the DV of calcium
- 2 percent of the DV of vitamin E
- 4 percent of the DV of riboflavin
- 18.9 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin
- 18.9 micrograms of beta-cryptoxanthin
If you do a browser search for "Fuji apple nutrition facts" or "Fuji apple calories," you'll get similar results. A medium Fuji apple, which is slightly bigger than one medium Gala apple, boasts 121 calories, 29.2 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber and 4 percent of the daily recommended potassium intake. Green apples and Red Delicious apples have pretty much the same nutritional value.
Potassium, one of the most abundant minerals in this fruit, regulates sodium and fluid levels in the body. It also plays a key role in nerve and muscle function, keeps your blood pressure in a healthy range and maintains a normal heart rate.
According to a systematic review published in Nutrients in March 2016, high potassium intakes may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for insulin resistance and diabetes. Furthermore, some studies suggest that diets rich in this mineral may protect against obesity, but more research is needed to validate these findings. As the researchers note, potassium influences the body's ability to metabolize carbs and produce insulin, which may explain its role in the prevention of diabetes and obesity.
Are Gala Apples Diet-Friendly?
No single food can help you lose weight and keep it off. Gala apples are no exception. These fruits, however, are low in calories and high in fiber, which can make weight loss easier.
A May 2015 study featured in the Nutrition Journal indicates a strong link between apples, weight loss and diet quality. Researchers analyzed the eating habits of 13,339 children and teens and found that those who consumed apples regularly were 25 percent less likely to be obese. Additionally, apple consumption was associated with higher diet qualities.
These delicious fruits also boast high doses of polyphenols. According to a study published in Nutrients in May 2017, apple polyphenols may help reduce body weight, body mass index and waist circumference in older adults who are at risk for cardiovascular disease. They not only aid in weight loss, but may also protect against chronic diseases. As the scientists point out, these antioxidants may increase fat oxidation, suppress fat accumulation and inhibit obesity-induced inflammation.
The fiber in apples further enhances their anti-obesity effects. This nutrient has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, increase satiety and trigger positive changes in the gut flora. Dietary fiber doesn't directly cause weight loss — instead, it improves appetite control and increases "good" gut bacteria, which in turn, may help decrease fat mass and body weight.
Other Health Benefits of Apples
Whether you prefer Gala apples, Granny Smith apples or other varieties, these fruits fit into most diets. Each serving provides about 16 percent of the daily recommended fiber intake plus B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, for instance, may protect your eyes from light-induced damage and macular degeneration. Vitamin E scavenges oxidative stress, regulates platelet aggregation and boosts immune function. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, this antioxidant may help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, hemorrhagic stroke and Alzheimer's.
Gala apples contain only small doses of these nutrients and are by no means a cure-all. However, these fruits can help increase your daily vitamin and antioxidant intake, leading to better health. Simply replace your daily snacks with a small apple or add this fruit to smoothies, salads and homemade desserts. It's naturally sweet and can replace sugar in puddings, pancakes, muffins and other treats.
Additionally, certain nutrients in apples, such as the soluble fiber pectin, may help balance the gut microbiota, improve blood lipids and protect against cardiovascular disease. When combined with polyphenols, its benefits are even greater.
- U.S. Apple Association: "2018 Annual Review"
- USDA: "Gala Apples"
- USDA: "Fuji Apples"
- NIH: "Potassium"
- Medline Plus: "Potassium"
- Nutrients: "Potassium and Obesity/Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Epidemiological Evidence"
- Nutrition Journal: "Consumption of Apples Is Associated With a Better Diet Quality and Reduced Risk of Obesity in Children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2010"
- NCBI: "Polyphenolic Compounds Analysis of Old and New Apple Cultivars and Contribution of Polyphenolic Profile to the In Vitro Antioxidant Capacity"
- Nutrients: "Polyphenol Levels Are Inversely Correlated With Body Weight and Obesity in an Elderly Population After 5 Years of Follow up (the Randomised PREDIMED Study)"
- Nutrients: "Dietary Fibre as a Unifying Remedy for the Whole Spectrum of Obesity-Associated Cardiovascular Risk"
- BrightFocus Foundation: "Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Protection Against Macular Degeneration"
- NCBI: "The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases"
- NCBI: "Apples and Cardiovascular Health—Is the Gut Microbiota a Core Consideration?"