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An Apple a Day Keeps Obesity Away?

Oct. 31, 2014|640 views
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We all know an apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away. This bit of folk wisdom is proving more true every day. Not only does an apple a day help keep you healthy, it may also prevent you from becoming obese. Apples have a lot going for them. They provide vitamin C, polyphenols, fiber, and quercetin, a flavonoid pigment that thought to promote cardiovascular and brain health.

Apples may also help you stay thin, say scientists at Washington State University. According to a new report in Food Chemistry, Granny Smith apples in particular contain significant amounts of undigestible compounds, including undigestible fiber and polyphenols. And that’s the key to their weight-suppressing success. The fiber is not broken down by the harsh acid environment of the stomach, passing undisturbed into the intestines. In the colon, friendly bacteria ferment this form of fiber, providing sustenance for themselves. And we then get to reap the benefits.

In experiments using a rodent model of human obesity, the researchers showed that the equivalent of an apple a day was enough to alter the makeup of the various types of friendly bacteria living in the animals’ guts. "The non-digestible compounds in the Granny Smith apples actually changed the proportions of fecal bacteria from obese mice to be similar to that of lean mice," investigator Giuliana D Noratto said. "What determines the balance of bacteria in our colon is the food we consume.”

Investigators noted that consuming the indigestible fiber in Granny Smith apples encouraged changes in the microbiome—the community of friendly bacteria living in the gut—and that in turn alters metabolic processes that then contribute to feeling of fullness. When people feel more full, they are less likely to overeat and gain excess weight.   

Luis Condezo-Hoyos, Indira P. Mohanty, Giuliana D. Noratto. Assessing non-digestible compounds in apple cultivars and their potential as modulators of obese faecal microbiota in vitro. Food Chemistry, 2014; 161: 208 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.03.122


Tags:  prevention, obesity, chronic illness, body image