An Apple a Day Keeps Extra Pounds Away
Could an apple a day actually keep those extra pounds away? According to a recent study published in the journal, Food Chemistry, the answer is a resounding YES.
A wealth of research has already found that apples can improve your health in many ways and help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Results of this recent study indicate that apples can aid in the fight against obesity as well.
Sure, we already know that apples are rich in fiber, phytonutrients, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals including calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Apples are true nutritional powerhouses. You may find their weight reducing act even more interesting: apples promote the growth of “good” bacteria in your gut associated with weight loss. Let’s break it down.
The researchers investigated a variety of apple cultivars to determine their content of non-digestible compounds and assess their ability to modulate bacterial populations in the gut. The researchers characterized levels of extractable phenolics, non-extractable proanthocyanidins, and dietary fiber among Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious apples and found significant differences across the board. The Granny Smith cultivar had the highest content of these bioactive compounds.
The team then examined how these compounds affected feces from diet-induced obese mice and found that the Granny Smith bioactives were able to modulate gut bacterial populations in the obese mice to be similar to that found in lean (control) mice. Specifically, results indicated relative abundances in Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Enterococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and Bifidobacterium.
The study authors concluded that the non-digestible compounds found in specific apples, and especially in Granny Smith apples, could help prevent metabolic disorders including obesity by re-establishing the balance of a disturbed gut microbiome.
To summarize, compounds found in apples, some more than others —fiber and polyphenols—remain undigested until they’re fermented in the colon. These fermented apple fragments serve as food for friendly bacteria that then counterbalance the effects of “bad” junk food bacteria. Your newly restored microbial balance of powers appears to reduce chronic inflammation and promote weight loss. Who knew?!
An apple a day is one sweet treat you can feel good about eating. Just don’t throw it at anybody.
Condezo-Hoyas, L., Mohanty, I., Noratto, G. Assessing non-digestible compounds in apple cultivars and their potential as modulators of obese faecal microbiota in vitro. Food Chemistry. 2014, 161, 208-215.
Woods, R., Walters, H, Raven, J., et al. Food and nutrient intakes and asthma risk in young adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003, 78, 414-421.