As a weight-loss snack, apples not only provide a low-calorie, low-fat addition to your diet, they are also a nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are more than 2,000 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., and more than 100 of them are grown commercially, so you'll likely find a variety you like at your local grocery store or farmer's market.
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Apples as a Diet Food
One medium apple with peel, measuring approximately 3 inches in diameter and weighing 182g, contains only 95 calories. There are 0.31g of fat in a medium apple, making it a low-fat food. Like all fruits, an apple contains no cholesterol. If you are following a calorie-restricted or low-fat diet, apples can easily fit into your daily meal plan. A medium apple contains 4.4g of dietary fiber. Fiber helps provide satiety, a feeling of fullness, that can help you avoid overeating. Another major contributor to satiety is water content. A medium apple contains 155.7g of water, which means that over 85 percent of the apple's weight comes from water.
The glycemic index, or GI, of a food indicates how high and how quickly a standardized amount of carbohydrates in that food raise blood sugar in comparison to the rise in blood sugar caused by a pure sugar solution and the glycemic load, or GL, takes into account portion size and the amount of carbohydrates in a single serving. The glycemic index of apples is 40, and the glycemic load is 6, indicating that one apple only raises blood sugar levels a small amount. A low-glycemic diet can delay hunger and help control appetite, according to the Glycemic Index Foundation. People who primarily eat foods with a low GI or GL also tend to have a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A 2003 study published in the journal "Nutrition" randomly assigned 441 women to consume three daily snacks of apples, pears or oat cookies for 12 weeks. The women who ate apples or pears lost an average of 1.22kg, or 2.68 lbs., over the course of the study, while the weight loss for the women who ate oat cookies but no additional apples or pears was negligible. The intake of apples also benefited the health of study participants in other ways, including lowering blood glucose and cholesterol.
In addition to their impact on weight loss, apples can provide plenty of nutrients that you need for overall health. This nutrient-dense fruit provides vitamins A and C, two important antioxidants, and potassium for blood pressure control. Apples also contain phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and pectin, which may help protect the body from cancer, reduce blood pressure and act as an antioxidant to protect cells from free-radical damage. To get the most nutrition from your apples, consume them with the skin, not peeled.