An apple a day keeps the doctor away, goes the saying. And now we hear three apples a day keep the weight away. This is because apples are low in calories and high in fiber, with barely any fat and almost no sodium. They are also full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that increase vitality and energy. Even more important than that for the dieter is the fact that apples are delicious and satisfying.
Three Apples a Day
The U.S. Apple Association reports that Rio de Janeiro State University (Brazil) researchers concluded that women who ate three small apples a day in a low-calorie diet lost more weight than women who did not incorporate apples into their eating plan. The three-apple-a-day diet calls for eating an apple before each of three meals. Using a raw apple in your salad or with your meal seems to work well too. Cooking apples reduces their nutritional and fiber content. A cup of chopped raw apple with skin has only 65 calories with no fat. A medium apple weighs in at about 110 calories.
High Fiber Content
Because apples are high in fiber, they help you feel satisfied and full for a longer period of time than low-fiber foods. Fiber actually expands in your stomach, leaving less room for other foods. When you feel full you eat fewer calories and smaller quantities. A medium apple, about the size of a tennis ball, contains around five grams of fiber. Compare this to bran cereal which has about seven grams a serving.
Low in Sodium
Lowering your sodium intake helps you release any water you are retaining. Retained water creates bloating and water weight. That is why apples, which have almost no sodium, help prevent water weight. They also help detoxify your system as they flush out the excess water.
High Water Content
Just eating apples increases your water intake for the day. Oddly enough, not just low sodium, but water intake itself decreases water retention. Also, people who don't take in enough water may think they are hungry and craving more food, when what they actually crave is hydration. High-water foods like apples keep you hydrated.
Low On the Glycemic Index
On a scale of zero to 100, apples have a low glycemic index of 35. The "GI" ranks carbohydrates, giving higher values to the foods that raise blood sugar the fastest. When blood sugar goes up, your body produces insulin, thereby increasing hunger. This may be why high glycemic foods trigger cravings for more carbohydrates, as noted in the saying, "sugar calls to sugar." Also, according to Nutrition Data, increased insulin "brings your blood sugar back down, primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat." However, when you eat the apple, peel and all, the fiber slows the rise in blood sugar. That is not true of apple juice or applesauce. So be sure to eat every bit of your apple but the core, and the blood sugar and the scale will cooperate.