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Nutrition

All fructose is not equal! Combined with fiber, apples’ fructose doesn’t contribute to weight gain

by Linda Quinn, MS, RD, CDN

In early January 2013, news media extensively reported on a research report suggesting that eating fructose may contribute to weight gain and obesity. According to that research, the brains of study participants who drank fructose alone didn’t trigger a response to curb participants’ appetite, whereas the brains of participants who drank glucose did trigger that appetite-blunting response. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and summarized by WebMD.

What you should know: While apples do contain fructose (as do many fruits), eating apples shouldn’t contribute to weight gain – in fact, the opposite should occur. That’s because apples’ fructose is delivered in a high-fiber package. The fiber in apples acts like a time-release control, causing fructose calories to be released more gradually than when fructose is consumed without fiber. Eating fiber also triggers a signal to the brain that we’re full. In fact, several published studies have reported that adding apples to our diet can help promote weight loss.

The takeaway: Apples can be an important part of your diet, and of your weight control/weight loss plan! You should be eating more apples, not fewer. Don’t change your diet based on the findings of any single study; look at the weight (pun intended!) of all the research evidence taken together. As noted in the WebMD article, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics instead recommends reducing added sugars from our diet.