The apple, scientifically known as Malus Domestica, has long been regarded as a healthy and nutritious choice in our daily diet. With its delicious taste, crisp texture, and a wide range of health benefits, the apple has earned its place on the tables of many people worldwide, whether eaten on its own or used in countless sweet and savory preparations.
The Apple Diet is a part of the arsenal of diets used for quick fat loss and is often employed as a detox method, with the belief that it will prevent fat absorption. However, as promising as it may sound, it offers more than just that.
Have you heard the saying, ‘One apple a day keeps the doctor away’? Well, it doesn’t mean having only an apple throughout the day, as the apple diet may seem to suggest. Even if that were the intention, it contradicts the goal of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
Following such a restrictive eating regimen will likely result in weight loss, but primarily in the form of water and muscle loss, with minimal fat reduction. Additionally, it can lead to nutritional imbalances.
Nonetheless, apples are excellent fruits with positive nutritional benefits to consider. That’s why incorporating them into your diet is a great idea.
What is the Apple Diet About?
Originally, the apple diet emerged as a quick weight-loss regimen in the tumultuous Hollywood world of strict and extreme diets. In fact, it’s still being followed by some celebrities today.
Typically, it involves five consecutive days of consuming only apples throughout the day or eating apples as part of or between main meals. The diet’s definition can vary based on its structure and the target weight loss. The concept is to consume the entire raw fruit, including the peel, to harness its nutritional benefits rather than relying on products derived from it.
It is important to note that following this type of plan will indeed lead to weight loss, but it is not sustainable in the long term and lacks many essential nutritional elements. However, incorporating apples into a balanced diet and an active lifestyle can provide long-term benefits and significantly enhance the nutritional value of apples.
5 Health Benefits of Consuming Apples
Apples are an excellent addition to daily nutrition. They serve as a rich source of bioactive polyphenols and fiber, both of which have been demonstrated to reduce serum cholesterol, elevate HDL cholesterol, inhibit LDL oxidation, prevent atherosclerosis, and contribute to preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, pectin, the primary type of fiber in apples, influences transit time, gastric emptying, and nutrient absorption and modulates gut microbiota.
A typical medium-sized apple (100 g) contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and 0 grams of fat, totaling approximately 50 calories, primarily derived from complex carbohydrates. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber, with about 4 grams per apple (provided the apple is consumed with its peel), making it a satiating food that provides energy, aids in gut health, and supports digestion.
1. Nutritional Composition of Apples
Apples are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, with the most relevant being vitamin C, potassium, and small amounts of other B-complex vitamins. The fiber, polyphenols, and antioxidants present in the skin or peel of the apple further contribute to its health benefits.
All these components converge to offer various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and regulating blood sugar levels due to its moderate glycemic index, promoting healthy digestion and preventing constipation due to its high dietary fiber content, preventing the formation of gallstones, reducing the risk of heart diseases and LDL cholesterol levels due to its high antioxidant content, enhancing and strengthening the immune system, aiding in weight loss, and many other benefits that will certainly improve the quality of life for anyone who consumes them.
2. May Aid in Weight Loss:
By helping reduce body weight and adipose tissue, the apple diet may be associated with various benefits related to this event, such as a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol levels, improvements in blood sugar and insulin levels, reduced peripheral insulin resistance, mood and hormone state improvements, increased satiety levels, decreased blood pressure, among others.
3. Better Digestive Health:
The high dietary fiber content of apples helps maintain a healthy digestive system, improves the state of the intestinal flora, and may prevent constipation.
4. Antioxidant Properties:
Apples contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can help protect cells from oxidative stress and contribute to cardiovascular health.
5. Blood Glucose Control:
The fiber present in apples can help regulate blood glucose levels by slowing down sugar absorption and improving insulin sensitivity. This can be beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
How to Structure the Apple Diet?
The most balanced approach is to adopt a non-strict apple diet, where apples are integrated into an already established healthy diet but play a prominent role. It’s crucial to include other types of foods in the diet, such as whole grains, proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats, to ensure a well-rounded nutritional profile.
However, if the goal is rapid weight loss, particularly shedding water weight, carbohydrates may need to be gradually reduced over a specific period to ensure swift weight loss. This approach should be discussed and implemented with the assistance of a registered dietitian.
What is the 7-Day Apple Diet and How Does It Work?
The Apple Diet plan initially consists of a diet where most of your meals will be composed of apples. The plan involves consuming 3 to 6 apples per day for 7 days, starting the first day with consuming ONLY apples throughout the day, and then progressing in the following days to a diet based on apples but with the addition of other foods such as vegetables and lean meats, such as fish.
For example, on day one, only 6 apples will be consumed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Since the apple is a good source of fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in calories, it is often included in all kinds of carbohydrate-permitting diets. However, in this diet, the apple is not an added food to the common meal plan but rather considered the main actor. The type of fiber most commonly found in apples is a fermentable or soluble fiber called pectin. Its high content of this type of fiber results in a delay in gastric emptying, leading to more time for the food bolus to remain in the stomach cavity, creating a greater sense of satiety for a longer period.
Therefore, consuming an apple before main meals like lunch or dinner can create a sense of prior fullness, resulting in less hunger and preventing overeating. Additionally, apples are a natural thermogenic food, which can favor weight loss. However, apples will not directly cause you to lose weight just by consuming them; they are not a magical food with weight-reducing characteristics.
However, all these properties mentioned earlier, like providing more satiety, can reduce cravings and prevent excessive food consumption, helping to maintain the caloric deficit and, therefore, reduce body weight and fat mass.
The Role of Healthy Habits and Physical Activity
Despite all these benefits, it’s important to mention that the Apple Diet plan is a diet primarily aimed at generating a caloric deficit to reduce daily calorie intake and thus decrease body weight. This is a protocol that cannot be undertaken without the control and supervision of a healthcare professional. To maintain its results, it is essential to make lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy, balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, with lean meat consumption, free of ultra-processed foods, low in simple sugars, avoiding saturated fats, low in trans fats, and with minimal sodium consumption.
Additionally, it is crucial to understand that a non-sedentary lifestyle, with planned and unplanned physical activity, will greatly improve our quality of life and our health indices.
Disadvantages of the original restrictive Apple Diet:
- It may become tiresome to follow, as the primary fruit is apples, and variety is not guaranteed.
- Following this diet can be detrimental to one’s health and provide minimal to no long-term nutritional benefits.
- The restriction of other foods can intensify cravings and hurt mental health.
- It is not recommended for individuals with a history of eating disorders or body dysmorphia.
Last things to consider:
Maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is the sole sustainable method for losing weight and keeping it off. Diet plans are designed according to a patient’s specific needs; hence, it is not advisable to follow this or any other popular diet if you have a medical condition or ongoing illness. Always consult with your doctor.
Foods Allowed During the Apple Diet Plan
- Fruits and vegetables
- Low-fat meats – skinless chicken, fish, lean meats
- Low-fat dairy
- Healthy fats – raw vegetable oil
- Whole or multigrain breads
Foods to Avoid During Apple Diet
Fats and oils – lard, butter, coconut oil, mayonnaise, cocktail sauce, palm oil, margarine, etc.
- Fats and oils – lard, butter, coconut oil, mayonnaise, cocktail sauce, palm oil, margarine, etc.
- Non-lean meats – meats high in fat content, processed and ultra-processed meats
- High-fat dairy
- Ultra-processed foods
Apple Diet Plans (5 and 7 Day)
If you want insight into a sustainable Apple Diet, here is an example of how to organize it in a 5-day approach by our Nutritionist Kerly Cordova:
|Meal||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5|
|Breakfast||2 scramble eggs with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms||Bowl of oatmeal with 1 sliced apple||Smoothie with 1 sliced apple, ½ banana, ½ cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of skim milk, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter||Bowl of fruits with 1 sliced apple, strawberries, and kiwi||1 sliced apple|
|1 sliced apple||Nuts||Whole wheat tortilla with eggs, cheese, tomato, and spinach||Oatmeal pancakes with nuts and Greek yogurt|
|2 wholewheat bread toasts||2 hard boiled eggs||2 eggs benedict||Unsweetened coffee/tea||1 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice|
|1 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice|
|Lunch||1 glass of freshly squeezed apple juice||1-2 sliced apple with a salad||1 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice||1 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice||Salad with 1-2 sliced apples, strawberries, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, chicken, pasta and olive oil dressing.|
|1 to 2 sliced apples||Shrimp pasta||Quinoa salad with cooked potatoes and chicken||Rice with pork, steamed veggies, and avocado|
|Chickpea salad with olive oil||½ sliced apple|
|Dinner||1 sliced apple||1 sliced apple||1 sliced apple||1-2 sliced apples||1 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice|
|Half a sweet potato||Beef with sauteed vegetables||Chips and carrots with hummus||2 avocado toasts with tomatoes and arugula||Chicken pie|
|Grilled chicken||Potato pure|
Below is the 7-Day version of the Apple Diet Plan built by our nutritionist Guido Forti:
|1||1 Apple (250g)||3 Apple (150g each)||2 Apples (150g each)|
|2||1 Apple (250g) + 1 cup of skim milk||1 Apple (250g) and then a salad of 1 grated carrot and 1 beet + 1/2 bowl of leafy vegetables seasoned with olive oil and mustard||3 Apples (150g each)|
|3||1 Apple (250g) + 1 cup of low-fat yogurt||1 Apple (250g) + Salad of carrot, tomato, onion, walnut, low-fat cheese cubes and spinach||1 Slice multigrain bread + Scrambled eggs||1 Apple (250g) + Vegetable soup with egg|
|4||2 Apples (150g each) + 1 cup of skim milk||1 Apple (250g) + Grilled vegetables with baked fish||1 cup of chopped fruits||1 cup of fruit smoothie||1 Apple (250g) + Roasted pumpkin with vegetable pudding|
|5||1 Apple (150g) + Boiled egg||1 Apple (250g) + Grilled vegetables with baked chicken without skin||1 Cup of chopped fruits||1 Slice multigrain bread with a slice of skim cheese + 2 Almonds||2 Apples (250g each) + Vegetarian warp|
|6||2 Apples (150g each) + 1 cup of skim milk||1 Apple (250g) + 2 Servings of chard pie with cheese and egg||1 cup of chopped fruits||1 cup of fruit smoothie||1 Apple (250g each) + Grilled steak with broccoli salad|
|7||1 Apple (150g) + 1 Slice multigrain bread + Scrambled eggs||1 Apple (250g) + 3 Servings of vegetable pudding||1 cup of fruit smoothie||5 Almonds||1 Apple (250g) + 1 Serving of Chop Suey|