Most of us have grown up on the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ While it is true that the apple contains plenty of health-giving compounds, the real question many of us keto lovers should have been asking is . . .
Does an apple a day keep the weight away?
For those of us who have switched to the keto diet as their weight loss solution, that question then becomes . . .
Is the apple a low carb fruit that is permitted on the ketogenic diet?
That’s what we are about to discover – along with a whole host of other fascinating keto diet apple information.
Carbs and Keto
On the traditional high carbs diet, carbs are broken down into glucose, which is what fuels the body. However, carbs also cause a huge surge in blood sugar levels. As a result, the pancreas releases insulin to clear the blood sugar out. But this leads to an overcompensation which drives hunger, causing us to crave more carbs. In this way a vicious cycle of eating carbs is set up.
In contrast, when eat a high fat ketogenic diet, the body will break down those fats for use as energy. In addition, when your intake of carbs intake is very low, it will turn to the fat that is stored on your body to get the fuel that it needs to function. In effect, your body will switch from being a carbs reliant glucose based energy system to a fat based keto energy system. In addition to providing a ready source of clean energy, fat produces no insulin spikes which means that you will not experience cravings for carbs or mood swings on keto.
The keto diet teaches the body to use stored fats first as energy rather than just storing it as when you rely on carbs for energy. When fats are burned for energy, ketones are produced and used as the primary energy source. When this occurs you are in the state of ketosis, which is the goal of the keto diet.
In keto, our body will be able to tap into the stored fats in your body as its main fuel source rather than using ingested carbs in the form of glucose.
Many people have believed for a long time that apples are a great snack to help with weight loss. They are shocked when they actually look at the nutritional profile of this fruit and discover something quite different. While they are very low in saturated fats, and have zero cholesterol, they have a massive amount of carbs (25 grams in an average-sized apple). What’s worse is that 19 of those 25 grams are sugar. A large apple may have around 40 grams of sugar in it. This is not good news for people on the keto diet
Now when you are on the keto diet, your goal is to limit your intake of carbs as much as possible. Depending on your specific keto diet goals, you will want to keep your total carbs for the entire day to between 20 grams and 50 grams. So, if you eat a single apple. it will use up your entire ketogenic diet allotment of carbs for a whole day. If you eat a large one, which may contain 50 grams of carbs, that is going to prevent your body from burning fat for as much as two days.
From this information, we can see that apples do not belong as part of a keto diet meal plan. They will quickly kick you out of ketosis. In fact, many people on the keto diet who have done really well to get into ketosis are thrown out of it when they innocently reach for what they perceive to be a perfectly healthy snack of slices of apples. Apples are a generally healthy fruit- but they are just too high in carbs to be permitted on the keto diet.
This fruit provides a good source of fiber, which is important for people on the keto diet. Average-sized apples will provide about 17 percent of the daily value for fiber. Fiber helps to lower blood sugar levels while also improving fullness. The insoluble fiber that is contained in the skin of the apple is extremely filling, making it a great aid to weight control. It also provides roughage, helping to prevent and overcome constipation.
Apples are brilliant at helping to control blood sugar levels. They contain fructose, which is a natural fruit sugar. The high fiber content of the fruit means that these sugars are released into the bloodstream at a very slow rate. This is a great aid in maintaining a steady supply of blood sugar levels.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for an average-sized apple:
- Calories: 52
- Water: 86%
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Carbs: 13.8 grams
- Sugar: 10.4 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
Apples contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps to absorb cholesterol. This reduces the chances of your arteries being blocked. This fruit is also packed with antioxidants which also fight bad cholesterol.
Helps Prevent Cancer
The antioxidants and inflammatory benefits are believed to be able to help prevent different types of cancer such as lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
The high potassium content prevents loss of calcium in the blood. This, in turn, prevents the loss of calcium in the bone. Eating an apple a day will help to preserve bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Gum & Teeth Health
When you eat an apple, you activate saliva. This kills up to 80 percent of the bacteria in your mouth. This, in turn, will help to prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth white. The vitamin C content in this fruit will also help to deal with bleeding gums.
The high vitamin C and antioxidant content helps to counter the free radicals leading to oxidative stress, which has been linked to fatigue.
Drinking apple juice mixed with carrot juice is a sure way to ease constipation. Just keep drinking it until your bowel moves – it will not take long.
Eating apples has been shown to prevent the decline of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine thus improving your memory. A study also found that this property of apples can slow the mental decline found in people with Alzheimer’s.
Preventing Asthma Attacks
Asthma sufferers often have low levels of antioxidants. Apples are high in vitamin C and flavonoids, which are beneficial water-soluble plant pigments. Both of these are antioxidants. One study found that vitamin C supplements helped to protect against exercise-induced asthma.
Apples contain powerful antioxidants. They also contain soluble fiber that helps to slow down the digestion of food and lessens the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, whch is good news for diabetic patients. That makes apples good snacking foods for diabetic patients.
One of the most essential and overlooked aspects of human health is the beneficial bacteria living throughout the body. Apples help to improve the functioning of the bacteria living inside the large intestine. Early studies show that apples change the metabolism within the digestive tract, and change the balance of bacteria, which leads to improved health by maximizing nutrient uptake and eliminating harmful bacteria and toxins.
Keto Approved Alternatives
Ideally, you should keep snacks to a minimum when you are on the keto diet. Every time you eat, you will be spiking insulin levels, which is not what you want when you are trying to lose body fat. However, if you are going to snack, you should opt for those that are high in fat and protein and low in carbs. Food in this category would include cheese, Greek yogurt, and nuts such as walnuts, cashew nuts, and peanuts. You can also opt for fruits low in carbs. That means going for the berry fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
By the way, another beloved fruit that people take to lose weight but that has too many carbs for keto is the banana. Carbs in banana foods will also kick you out of keto. Check out our complete overview of keto, carbs and bananas here.
A Keto Apple Primer
Apples come in many different varieties. Some have a very tart taste, while some are sweet to eat. The fruits can have subtle undertones of other flavorings, such as vanilla or berry, or be classically flavored with balances of tartness and sweetness. Many apples have a long shelf life, and some are more resistant to bruising and browning than other varieties. While some are classically delicious to eat in pies and baked goods, others do not stand up to heat and will lose their shape and flavor. Here are six of the most popular apple varieties of all time with some information to help you choose what variety is best suited for your tastes and needs.
The Red Delicious is the most popular variety to eat in the United States. It has a taste that is sweet and mild, with very little tartness. It has a thick skin and a crumbly texture. It is best for eating right off the tree; Red Delicious apples are generally not preferred in baking.
In 1811, farmer John McIntosh discovered the fruit that would come to bear his family name while he was clearing some land. While it isn’t entirely clear where the variety came from, the McIntosh seems to be related to the Snow. McIntoshes have a soft skin with very tender flesh. The taste of the fruit is sweet, with just a hint of an acidic tang. They are very versatile for using in fruit salads, making applesauce, or eating fresh from the tree. They aren’t good fruits for baking, though, as they will collapse in the oven.
The Pink Lady is trademarked for its great taste. The Pink Lady is the perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of tartness, and is a very crunchy, firm variety of apple that is paired with cheeses, eaten fresh off the tree, and baked into pies. It is a cross between the Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious apple varieties. A fruit is only considered to be a Pink Lady if it meets strict standards for its acidic and sugar levels and has the right coloration. Over half a season’s yield will be considered substandard and sold as an off-brand variety.
If a Pink Lady apple fails to meet industry standards, it is classified as a Cripps Pink apple. These apples have the same balance of sweetness and tartness as the Pink Lady and is called the Queen of Apples. Cripps Pink apples came to the Australian marketplace around 1985, making the journey to America during the 1990’s. Cripps Pink apples have an excellent shelf life if kept cold, up to three months, and their flavor is enhanced by being kept refrigerated for a month prior to consumption. It’s recommended that a Cripps Pink apple be taken from cold storage for an hour before it’s eaten to really bring out the flavor.
This variety of apple will also keep well at room temperatures for about two weeks. The Cripps Pink is excellent for a large variety of use in the kitchen. Its naturally sweet flavor makes it a popular choice for baking in pies and making apple sauce. Because the Cripps Pink is resistant to browning after being sliced, it’s a great choice for eating fresh or for adding to a cheese platter.
The Braeburn is a naturally occurring fruit, not a cultivated one. In 1952, these fruits were found in the Braeburn Orchard of New Zealand and are currently one of the most produced fruits in that country. The Braeburn keeps very well and is highly resistant to shipping damage. It can be safely refrigerated for up to a month.
A relatively new variety, Braeburn is a versatile variety known for its classic taste, both tart and sweet, along with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Braeburn fruits are best fresh off the tree, and they produce very few juices when baked.
The Granny Smith was originally an Australian cultivator named after Maria Anne Smith who created it. It is quite tart and the variety resists browning after being sliced far longer than other varieties.
The Granny Smith is juicy and firm with a distinctly tart taste, full of very subtle sweetness that will be more apparent if it is kept in cold storage. It is a bright green fruit, often found with whitish speckles on its thick skin. In colder climates, it may be pinkish or yellow.
The Granny Smith is very versatile in the kitchen, often used in applesauce, cheese platters, stuffing, pancakes, as well as eaten fresh. They are excellent for baking pies because they have a high acidic content and keep their shape during baking.
Apples are one of those fruits that are on the keto no go list when it comes to people on the ketogenic diet. Just one serving will exceed the carb limit and kick you out of ketosis. If you’re after a keto carb approved snack, go for such low carb fruits as berries. That way you will be able to enjoy your snacks while staying in ketosis.