Apple, Applesauce, Apple Juice

Have you had apple pie this fall or Thanksgiving holiday? Did you secretly think, "This counts as a serving of fruit, right?!" It's an interesting question from a nutrition standpoint: If you take a "healthy" food like an apple and eat it in another form, including pureed into applesauce or further processed in juice, does that make it lose its attributes?

The answer may depend on why you chose the apple, and what nutritional benefit you want to achieve. If you're eating the apple for vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B-vitamins or potassium, for example, those will still be there if the apple is processed into sauce or juice. But if you're choosing an apple as a snack for satiety, especially in a diet focused on weight management, the whole apple and further processed products are not equally beneficial. Why is that?

We know that foods like apples that are described as "satiety-producing," (meaning, they satisfy hunger cravings and promote a feeling of fullness when you eat them) can help you lose unwanted weight. These foods actually prolong the digestive process, thereby actually reducing appetite. A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that this goes even a step further: satiety-producing foods not only slow down digestion in the stomach, but go on to affect the small intestine and colon. Eating whole apples increased water volume in the intestines 2-4 hours after the apples were eaten, long after the stomach was empty. It's interesting then (at least to dietitians) to note that these researchers found that whole apple consumption positively affected both appetite and colon function. This is really important when it comes to weight management and stability.

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