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Apples and obesity

For a long time now apples have been regarded as health promoting foods. Eve may not have been thinking of the fibre components of apples, or even the antioxidants, when she offered one to one Adam but ever since apples have been regarded as a healthy food. In an article in the American Medicine journal of 1927 it was said that apples are, “therapeutically effective in all conditions of acidosis, gout, jaundice, rheumatism, all liver and gallbladder troubles, and nervous and skin diseases caused by sluggish liver, hyperacidity, and states of autointoxication.” Whether apples will indeed help if you intoxicate yourself remains a moot point however, there is ample evidence that apples are very good for you. They contain vitamin C, quercetin, antioxidant polyphenols, and the skin provides fibre in the form of pectin. Now a new study has suggested that some of these components of apples survive into your lower intestine and may help you lose weight.

For the study researchers fed seven different varieties of apples to obese mice. This was an American study and the types of apples used were Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, and Red Delicious.

We know that in obese people, and in obese mice, there is an imbalance in gut bacteria. However, after eating Granny Smiths in particular the obese mice started to show a similar bacterial composition in their faeces to lean mice. That is, the proportions of Firmicutes, Bacteroides, Enterococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, E. coli, and Bifidobacterium were the same for lean mice and for obese mice after eating Granny Smiths. This is not to say that other species do not yield some benefits but this study showed that Granny Smiths had the greatest effect.

What appears to be happening is that fibre and some polyphenols from the apples are making it through to the intestines where they are acted on to produce butyric acid which in turn promotes good bacteria. Hopefully, this rebalancing of the intestinal bacteria will also lead to weight loss.

It seems an apple a day may keep the doctor away and it will keep the kilos away too.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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