Benefits Of Apples For Weight Loss

What are apples

As one of the most consumed fruits in the world, apples are a popular choice of fruit that people incorporate into their diet. The nutritional value of apples is widely recognised, and the old but familiar saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ promotes its consumption. From helping with metabolism to reducing the risks of cancers and chronic diseases, various research has shown that apples are an important source of nutrients. There have also been suggestions that apples can help in weight loss. This article will give you reasons to consider adding apples to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight.   

Nutritional facts

Apples have high polyphenol content (polyphenols are a group of compounds with antioxidant effects). Lots of these polyphenol compounds in apples are easily absorbed by the body and have great benefits.1 Antioxidants, such as polyphenols, are important because they protect our bodies against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced as byproducts when our body carries out metabolic functions. If these free radicals accumulate in cells and are not removed, they can cause damage to the DNA and the cells. Antioxidants help ‘scavenge’ and remove these free radicals to prevent them from causing damage.

The antioxidants in apples are the main contributors to their health benefits. Not only do antioxidants prevent damage to cells and help slow ageing, but they also prevent DNA damage which can accumulate to increase the risk of cancers. 

Apples also contain various other nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin K, which have antioxidant properties; dietary fibres like pectin, which helps with digestion and metabolism; and minerals like potassium which helps lower blood pressure.

Which colour apple to choose? Red or Green? It seems that it does not really matter since red apples and green apples are similar in their nutritional content - they contain similar amounts of fibre and vitamin C. Green apples may contain slightly fewer carbohydrates and calories than red apples. The polyphenol contents of red and green apples may differ slightly, but scientist Diane McKay shared that this also depends on the location where the apples are produced and the way of harvesting and storing them.

Benefits of apples for weight loss

To understand how apples may benefit weight loss, we need to understand energy balance. We consume food to gain energy, and different kinds of food provide different amounts of energy. On the other hand, this energy is expended when our body carries out biological functions to support our daily activities. The balance between energy intake and energy expenditure, therefore, influences our weight. Our weight is more likely to go up when we obtain lots of energy but use little of it over some time. This is often the case for people who frequently consume high-energy foods and are inactive. The opposite is true for weight loss - more energy intake and less energy expenditure over time

Apples are a great source of nutrients, but with low calories, which means they are low in energy content and do not burden your body with excess energy. Besides that, apples are high in dietary fibre. This high fibre content has a satiety effect and makes you feel full quickly, which helps reduce hunger and energy intake.2 

Soluble fibres, such as pectin, help in preventing constipation and improve metabolism. Pectin acts as a prebiotic, essentially like a food to the gut bacteria, and promotes their growth. Pectin has been shown in animal studies to restore the balance of different types of gut bacteria and prevents obesity, which is associated with an imbalance in the proportion of different types of gut bacteria.3 Pectin also reduces the release of inflammatory proteins, which can cause insulin resistance.3 Insulin resistance may cause excess insulin to be released, which subsequently promotes the production of fats and increases the risk of obesity.

Apple polyphenols, such as ursolic acid, have been suggested to reduce body fat and prevent obesity.4 In a study done in 2007, the researchers observed a significant decrease in cholesterol levels and a slight decrease in visceral fat (fats surrounding internal organs) in participants who consumed the apple polyphenol capsules.5 The researchers suggested that apple polyphenols may reduce visceral fat by inhibiting fat absorption in the intestines and promoting the breakdown of fat (e.g., catechins).5 Excess visceral fat increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, while the researchers did not observe significant weight loss in participants who consumed apple polyphenol capsules, their results may suggest that apples have high nutritious values, which help in lipid metabolism. 

Other health benefits of apples

While ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ may not be entirely true, incorporating apples into your diet does bring important health benefits. Some cell line, animal, and human studies showed that apples could potentially reduce the risk of cancers, including lung, breast, and colon cancers.6 Gallus et al. (2005) observed that participants who consumed at least one apple per day had a significantly lower risk of cancers compared to participants who consumed < 1 apple every day.6 

Apples’ benefits and potential protective effects against certain health conditions can be attributed to their antioxidant effect. As mentioned above, apples contain high levels of polyphenols which are antioxidants. Because of their antioxidant effects, apples have been shown to lower the risks of chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress (the toxic effects of free radicals exceed the protective effects of antioxidants) and inflammation. These include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and neurodegenerative diseases.6 

Apples are also high in soluble fibres, which prevents cholesterol from accumulating on the blood vessel walls. This helps prevent high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. 

Side effects and other concerns

As mentioned above, apples’ nutritional content is heavily dependent on the environment that they grow and are stored, so it is difficult to determine exactly how many apples need to be consumed to achieve weight loss effects.   

An apple is nice to have till you have too much of it. Apples are rich in dietary fibre, so having too much of it alongside other fibre sources can cause constipation and bloating. The recommended amount of apples you should have per day is about 1-2 in addition to a healthy diet.

It is also important to note that while apples contain important nutrients, it is important to have a balanced diet such that you obtain the various nutrients required by the body. That means apples should not be the only fruit that you eat. The NHS recommends an intake of at least five portions of a mixture of different fruits and vegetables in our daily diet to get a good range of essential nutrients.


Apples are a great source of many important nutrients, such as polyphenols, dietary fibres, vitamins, and minerals. Among these, polyphenols and dietary fibres are particularly important in aiding weight loss. Polyphenols which have antioxidant activities, may reduce body fat and prevent obesity. Dietary fibres may help lose weight by promoting satiety and improving gut health and metabolism. Apples have also been shown to reduce the risks of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. 


  1. Selek Aksoy I, Otles S. Effects of green apple (Golden delicious) and its three major flavonols consumption on obesity, lipids, and oxidative stress in obese rats. Molecules [Internet]. 2022 Jan [cited 2022 Dec 10];27(4):1243. Available from: 
  2. Asgary S, Rastqar A, Keshvari M. Weight loss associated with consumption of apples: a review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition [Internet]. 2018 Oct 3 [cited 2022 Dec 9];37(7):627–39. Available from: 
  3. Jiang T, Gao X, Wu C, Tian F, Lei Q, Bi J, et al. Apple-derived pectin modulates gut microbiota, improves gut barrier function, and attenuates metabolic endotoxemia in rats with diet-induced obesity. Nutrients [Internet]. 2016 Mar [cited 2022 Dec 11];8(3):126. Available from: 
  4. Ko DY, Ku KM. Effect of anti-obesity and antioxidant activity through the additional consumption of peel from ‘fuji’ pre-washed apple. Foods [Internet]. 2022 Feb 9 [cited 2022 Dec 11];11(4):497. Available from: 
  5. Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ohtake Y, Shimasaki H, Kobayashi T. Apple polyphenols influence cholesterol metabolism in healthy subjects with relatively high body mass index. Journal of Oleo Science. 2007;56(8):417–28.  
  6. Hyson DA. A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health12. Adv Nutr [Internet]. 2011 Sep 6 [cited 2022 Dec 6];2(5):408–20. Available from: 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Pei Yin Chai

Bachelor of Science - BS, BSc(Hons) Neuroscience, The University of Manchester, England

Pei Yin (Joyce) is a recent neuroscience degree graduate from the University of Manchester. As an introvert, she often finds it easier to express herself in written words than in speech, that's when she began to have an interest in writing. She has 2 years of experience in content-creating, and has produced content ranging from scientific articles to educational comic and animation. She is currently working towards getting a career in medical writing or project management in the science communication field.

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