A wise proverb says: “an apple a day keeps a doctor away”. Well, things have changed since then.
And let me say this upfront: if you are on a SAD diet, love junk, and your dietary choices are all over the place, an apple a day can keep your doctor away… for a bit longer. After all, apples are healthier than chips or a cheesecake.
But, if you have been following a junk-free diet for some time, yet somehow your health isn’t perfect, maybe you can leave that apple for another day. Just saying…
An apple experiment that backfired
A few years ago, I did an experiment. I ate two (organic) apples a day for a few months. I did that to help my congested gallbladder. I did it faithfully and with full dedication believing that my liver and gallbladder will work better with the proverbial “an apple a day”.
Four months later it was a complete bust. The apple experiment actually caused more harm than good. My gallbladder got inflamed more frequently, I started to retain water, felt fatigued, than even put on weight.
What the heck? It was actually the opposite to what was supposed to be happening. How can it be?!!
Apples aren’t perfect, even if organic
Then I discovered a few things about apples that my body did not like: sugar, fiber, fructose, and especially that awful wax coat shining on the skin.
And here something you should give a though about: if you eat a healthy diet, but aren’t in perfect health, don’t continue dismissing your issues as genetic or hormonal. The problem may be exactly where you are least expecting it: in your healthy food list.
Apples contain sugar, lots of it
That’s right, there is plenty of sugar in an apple, a whooping 7 tsp in a medium sized fruit. “Sure, but, that’s natural sugar. It’s different than white sugar”, you may think. Unfortunately, when it comes to sugar, “natural” or “white” makes no difference to the body. It still goes to the same places.
The fastest way to verify apple effect on your health is to check your blood glucose about 45 minutes after eating it. You will see it even more clearly with a continuous glucose monitor. If you have a smidgen of blood sugar issues (you don’t have to be a diabetic for that) your numbers will go surprisingly high. So, what?
Subcutaneous fat is not a problem, but visceral fat definitely is. And visceral fat builds up especially fast in people who eat a lot of fructose. And takes us to another point about apples:
Apples are high in fructose; is that healthy?
Excess fructose converts to fat in liver resulting in nothing different than a fatty liver.
An apple on its own may not cause any liver issues, but if you add other sources of fructose or other apple products like: apple juice, apple pie, caramel apples, apple sauce, dried applies, sweet apple cider, home made cobbler, etc. your liver may not like it, even if you call it a healthy diet.
Fructose intolerance, another health concern
Fructose, besides being hard on the liver, can also be hard on the digestive tract. Fructose intolerance is more common than believed and you may have it without suspecting a thing.
Apples are very high in fructose. They contain about 7% of fructose by weight, which is about 4 teaspoons (13g) of fructose in a medium fruit. So, if you find yourself gurgling, cramping, or backside-hissing after an apple, maybe your gut isn’t fructose-tolerant.
In that case, throw away your apples together with other high fructose fruits like pears, mangos, and grapes. Your tummy may get a relief. Fructose intolerance and fructose don’t match, even if you think fruits are healthy.
Apples are high in FODMAP, a stomach bloat trap
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. It’s a mouthful, but the gist of it is this: foods high in FODMAPs are foods that are high in fermentable carbohydrates, which can cause bubbling and turbulence inside many tummies.
FODMAP foods can be literally a pain in the butt. Carbohydrate fermenting can lead to stomach pain, bloating, reflux, gas, bowel urgency, or constipation. And you don’t have to have IBS to experience that.
Environmental concerns about apples
Did you know that apples are on the dirty dozen list? They are ranking as the highest in pesticide residue, only to be taken over by strawberries, spinach, and nectarines.
Interestingly, organic apples are not free of pesticide residue either. Hence, if keeping pesticide-free is important for you, maybe apples should not be on your grocery list altogether.
Should you stop eating apples?
What’s the moral of the story? Stop eating apples? That’s not the point.
The point is that if you aren’t well, you aren’t eating what you should, regardless how healthy you think it is.
Healthy food is the one that makes you healthy, not the one that someone claims so on the internet.