Apples For Weight Loss?

December 11, 2021

Apples For Weight Loss?

Ladies, I refuse to tell you to eat an apple a day as a Female Hormone Specialist without sufficient evidence to support that apples aid weight loss, suppress appetite, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, protect your brain, boost mood and prevent Osteoporosis! [1-6]

So please look at the summary of my fourteen research studies supporting why apples are an amazing superfood and consider them your healthiest “White Food” choice. The skin of the apple DOES impact its ability to help protect you from aging. I will reveal at the end of the blog which apple is the most powerful superfood full of flavonoids! Can you make a guess?

#1 BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM

The Vitamin C, Quercetin, Carotenoids, and Flavonoids found in apples help to naturally boost the immune system. [1,2,3]

#2 WEIGHT LOSS

Can you believe that eating THREE apples per day caused women to lose weight and improved their cardiometabolic markers? [14]  A research study found that eating apples before meals improves satiety, therefore you feel full longer and eat less! [12] 

The real issue women struggle with when trying to lose weight…that I see every single day as a Naturopathic Doctor that specializes in Bioidentical Hormones, Weight Loss, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Insulin Resistance, and PCOS .....simply that women are not getting enough “Good Carbs” or complex carbohydrates such as apples in their diet. Some of my female patients oddly have strange food phobias like “Apples are high in calories,” and “I can’t eat carrots because they are too high in sugar, beets are bad.  Potatoes are poison.” 

We need to pair these good carbs with protein and good fats to keep blood sugar balanced and avoid binge eating. Binge eating happens when we get low blood sugar and end up grabbing the closest thing to eat and are not prepared and organized with the healthiest choice to make. [2,6,7]

The reality is that most of my female patients with hormone imbalance and weight issues actually need to be eating more fruit aka “Complex Carbs” and less junk food as the easiest trick to lose weight. Fruit can be just as much of a treat and satisfying!

Instead of snacking on chips, cookies and junk food try an apple or a smoothie as your bedtime snack. I thrive on eating an apple and nut butter or even apples dipped in warm melted chocolate as my bedtime snack because I know that while I am still getting a lot of carbs I am getting benefits from the apples that my junk food does not have. 

By eating 2-4 cups of low glycemic index fruits that are high in flavonoids such as apples, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries,  pears, peaches, and plums my patients deserve to celebrate their day with a sweet treat. Those that choose fruit will actually lose weight! Just keep the portion of fruit in mind. While 2-3 apples per day sound like a lot it really is not when we use them to replace your white bread, carbs, and desserts that are devoid of nutrients and leave you feeling constantly hungry!

#3 IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTION, LOWERS CHOLESTEROL

The pectin in apples helps as a special fiber that works to lower blood pressure for women. [1,2] The fiber and potassium in apples overall enhances cardiovascular function while lowering total cholesterol. 

Apples improve vascular function and also reduce the risk for women to form dangerous cholesterol plaques in their arteries that can cause stroke and heart attack. A research study found that 2 apples a day lowers cholesterol and improves vascular function. [10]

Women that ate apples every day had significantly lower cholesterol after 3 months! I see this often in my Women's Health practice when we add in superfoods and then recheck cholesterol numbers! [13]

#4 PROTECTS YOUR BRAIN

Apples boost brain health by protecting and nourishing nerves. With improved nerve function comes better memory and cognition. Apples are shown to reduce oxidative stress in the brain and remove free radicals and toxins responsible for neurodegenerative diseases and can be beneficial at preventing dementia and Alzheimers. [2,5] 

Eating TWO apples a day boosts tyrosine and tryptophan production in the gut which are important amino acids needed to form neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that help us feel happy! [11] Patients with mental health disorders, addiction disorder, chronic pain, impulse disorder and ADHD are often low in dopamine. Patients with low serotonin often have anxiety, depression, insomnia or all of the above! 

#5 PAIN RELIEVING ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

Apples help reduce inflammation via anti-oxidants. Less inflammation means less pain and swelling. Chronic pain and Autoimmune patients need to protect their cells from damage by free radicals with superfoods like apples. [1,2,3]

#6 MICROBIOME MAKEOVER

In Functional Medicine to have healthy hormones we must have a healthy gut! If you are not tending to your microbiome then you are at high risk for disease by not having a diverse flora in your digestion at all times. The fiber in apples is demonstrated to improve gut flora for optimal digestion. The pectin fiber in apples is known as a “Prebiotic” that is why you can take your probiotic as “Bonus Points” with your apple as a bedtime snack for optimal gut flora. [8]

#7 BUILDS BONE

Osteoporosis is the silent killer of women, and the good news is that apples are shown to improve bone density by improving mineralization of the bone. For women in their 20-40’s they should be working to build bone or “bank bone.” When women are perimenopausal they are estrogen dominant and this helps bank bone. For menopausal women it is important that they maintain the bone they have and do not lose anymore bone which typically happens with menopause as estrogen and tesosterone levels decline. Men don’t get osteoporosis because testosterone is also bone building. Do your weight bearing exercise, take calcium and other bone minerals for osteoporosis, vitamin D and pop an apple. [2,4]

#8  VITAMINS, MINERALS, PECTIN & FLAVONOIDS

I recommend women consider eating more apples and replacing them with their other “White Foods” as they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Quercetin, Catechin, Flavonoids and Carotenoids. 

Patients are always complaining that eating gluten free is expensive….not when you are using apples instead of gluten free bread! Your gluten free processed foods do not have these built in magical plant chemicals and are not aiding you with the other immune boosting, cardio and neuro benefits I also found in the following research studies. While a piece of bread has roughly 100 calories and 20 carbs similar to an apple it does not contain the magical healing compounds found in the whole foods form of an apple! [1]

#9 NATURAL ANTIHISTAMINE

Natural allergy relief can be found with the natural compound quercetin which apples are a rich source of! You can read more about quercetin in my Seasonal Allergies Blog. [1,2,3]

#10 ANTI-CANCER

The anti-cancer, antioxidant benefits of apples have been shown to be beneficial in lung cancer while also improving lung functionality and removing toxins from the lungs [1,2,3]

Does "An Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?" Or is it just a myth

Yes. My research concludes 1-3 apples per day shall keep your Doctor far away and you should eat an apple a day if not even 2-3 apples a day! My experience as a Female Naturopathic Doctor concludes you should simply switch your grains and desserts with 1-2 apples a day to see what happens. Add protein with your apple to balance your blood sugar or use apples as a substitute to white bread at lunch or toast at breakfast. 

Does the Color of the Apple Matter?

Red Delicious Apples score the highest at 20.02mg of total flavonoids and 3.86mg of Quercetin, Granny Smith has 10.33mg of total Flavonoids with 3.69mg of Quercetin, and Golden Delicious had 10.3mg of total flavonoids with 3.69mg of Quercetin. So this is fantastic news for me since I detest Granny Smith Apples! Therefore Red Delicious are by far superior!

Can too many apples be dangerous? 

Definitely do not eat the seeds. Only buy organic apples otherwise they are coated in nasty glycophosphates. Always work with an experienced Naturopathic Doctor when using new Functional Foods for your diabetes, high blood pressure or other chronic disease as your numbers may quickly change and you likely will need to be tapered down from your medications. If you have a Food Sensitivity or allergy to apples, pears and plums have also been researched to provide many of the same benefits. 

If you need my help as an Integrated Women’s Health Doctor simply pop over to my appointment SCHEDULE page and I would be happy to help you fight your chronic disease with functional foods, herbs and Naturopathy

Sincerely,

Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD

(480) 837-0900

Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert  in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for MenopauseThyroidHashimotosPMS, PerimenopauseAutoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best-integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!

References:

  1. Boyer, J., & Liu, R. H. (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutrition journal, 3, 5. 
  1. Hyson D. A. (2011). A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 2(5), 408–420. 
  1. Gerhauser C. (2008). Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components. Planta medica, 74(13), 1608–1624. 
  1. Shen, C. L., von Bergen, V., Chyu, M. C., Jenkins, M. R., Mo, H., Chen, C. H., & Kwun, I. S. (2012). Fruits and dietary phytochemicals in bone protection. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 32(12), 897–910. 
  1. Rogers, E. J., Milhalik, S., Orthiz, D., & Shea, T. B. (2004). Apple juice prevents oxidative stress and impaired cognitive performance caused by genetic and dietary deficiencies in mice. The journal of nutrition, health & aging, 8(2), 92–97.
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  1. Cho, K. D., Han, C. K., & Lee, B. H. (2013). Loss of body weight and fat and improved lipid profiles in obese rats fed apple pomace or apple juice concentrate. Journal of medicinal food, 16(9), 823–830. ’
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  1. Ulaszewska MM, Koutsos A, Trošt K, Stanstrup J, Garcia-Aloy M, Scholz M, Fava F, Natella F, Scaccini C, Vrhovsek U, Tuohy K, Lovegrove J, Mattivi F. Two apples a day modulate human:microbiome co-metabolic processing of polyphenols, tyrosine and tryptophan. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Dec;59(8):3691-3714. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02201-8. Epub 2020 Feb 26. PMID: 32103319. 
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  1. Chai SC, Hooshmand S, Saadat RL, Payton ME, Brummel-Smith K, Arjmandi BH. Daily apple versus dried plum: impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Aug;112(8):1158-68. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.005. PMID: 22818725.
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