Can Eating Too Many Apples Hinder Weight Loss?

Although eating apples likely won't hinder weight loss because apples are low-calorie fruits, adding too many apples to your meal plan -- in addition to your usual calorie intake -- can stall weight loss or even lead to weight gain. However, apples, in moderation, make excellent additions to weight-loss plans.

A bowl of ripe green apples. (Image: Olha_Afanasieva/iStock/Getty Images)

Calories in Apples

Choosing apples over higher-calorie fruits and sweets is often beneficial when you're trying to lose weight. One cup of sliced apples provides 57 calories. In comparison, a cup of sliced pears contains 80 calories, 1 cup of grapes provides 104 calories and a cup of sliced bananas contains 134 calories. However, adding apples to your meal plan without cutting calories elsewhere can lead to weight gain.

Weight-Loss Calorie Needs

Eating apples won't hinder weight loss if you're burning off more calories than you eat daily. To safely and effectively lose weight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest reducing your current calorie intake by no more than 1,000 calories daily. Creating a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories allows you to safely lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, since 3,500 calories equals 1 pound. Many women can safely lose weight -- without medical supervision --eating just 1,200 calories daily, while men need at least 1,500 calories a day for safe, unsupervised weight loss, according to Harvard Health Publications.

The Risk of Nutrient Deficiencies

Even if you're sticking with your weight-loss calorie allotment and are losing weight eating apples, consuming too many apples puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. While apples are rich in carbohydrates and fiber, and contain potassium, vitamin K and vitamin A, they provide insufficient amounts of protein and numerous other vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids. Eating a variety of foods from all of the foods groups is the healthiest way to lose weight -- and keep your energy level high.

Recommended Portions

Many adults following reduced-calorie diets don't need more than about 1 to 2 cups of fruits, including apples, daily. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggest eating 1 cup from the fruits group daily when following a 1,200-calorie meal plan, and 1.5 cups of fruits when eating 1,400 to 1,800 calories a day. One small apple is equivalent to 1 cup of fruit from the fruit group. If you get tired of eating apples as your fruit of choice during weight loss, try other low-calorie fruits such as strawberries, cantaloupe and honeydew melon.

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