The Lamen

Calories in an Apple, Nutrition, and Benefits

by | Nov 25, 2022

How Many Calories in an Apple:

  • Calories: 94.6
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fats: 0.3 grams
  • Protein: 0.47 grams
  • Fiber: 4.4 grams

These values are for a medium apple weighing 182 grams.

Calories  •  Fiber  •  Sugars  •  Nutritional value  •  Health benefits  •  Apple allergy  •  Recipes

Apples seem to be one of the healthiest fruits in existence, at least according to the 19th-century proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Available in a variety of sizes, flavors, and textures, most people still wonder one single thing about this fruit: how many calories are in an apple.

This article explores the nutritional content of apples, including carbs and calories, and their proposed health benefits.

Calories in an apple

The calories in an apple depend upon its size and variety.

The calories in an apple depend upon its size and variety among many other things. | Credits: Unsplash

According to the USDA, a medium apple contains 95 calories. This number depends upon the size of an apple.

Here’s a look at the calories for standard apple sizes:

  • Extra small (2 inches in diameter, 101 grams): 52 calories
  • Small (2 and three-fourth inches, 149 grams): 78 calories
  • Medium (3 inches, 182 grams): 95 calories
  • Large (3 and one-fourth inches, 223 grams): 116 calories
  • Per 100 grams: 52 calories

Nearly 80 percent of an apple’s calories come from carbohydrates, with only 3 percent from fat.

Apples are rich in fiber

Apples are mainly composed of carbs and water. What makes them great for your health is their high fiber content, with a single medium-sized apple containing about 4 grams of fiber. That is about 17 percent of the DV for a 2,000-calorie diet.

The fiber content for standard apple sizes (1):

  • Extra small (2 inches in diameter, 101 grams): 2.4 grams
  • Small (2 and three-fourth inches, 149 grams): 3.6 grams
  • Medium (3 inches, 182 grams): 4.4 grams
  • Large (3 and one-fourth inches, 223 grams): 5.4 grams
  • Per 100 grams: 2.4 grams

It is important to eat apples with their skin on, as an apple with skin removed only contains about 1.5 grams of fiber, instead of nearly 5 grams with the skin on.

Fiber comes in two varieties, both of which have specific health benefits:

  • Soluble fiber. It dissolves in water and aids in lowering glucose levels and blood cholesterol.
  • Insoluble fiber. This does not dissolve in water and instead helps move food through the digestive system. It promotes regularity and prevents constipation.

A portion of the fiber in apples comes from pectin, which is a long chain of indigestible sugars. Commonly used as a thickener, pectin may provide a variety of health benefits as a soluble fiber:

  • improves blood sugar levels (2)
  • promotes healthy digestive tract (3)
  • decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (4)
  • decreases the risk of colon cancer (5)

The high fiber content in apples also helps with the slow release of their natural sugars, making them a great source of carbohydrates.

Sugar in apples

It is a myth that sugar from fruits is bad for you. While a medium apple may get you nearly 20 grams of sugar, this amount of sugar is relatively safe to eat. This is because fruits take a much longer time to digest due to their high fiber content and water.

If you still want to track your sugar intake from fruits, here is the amount of sugar in standard apple sizes (6):

  • Extra small (2 inches in diameter, 101 grams): 10.5 grams
  • Small (2 and three-fourth inches, 149 grams): 15.5 grams
  • Medium (3 inches, 182 grams): 19 grams
  • Large (3 and one-fourth inches, 223 grams): 23 grams
  • Per 100 grams: 10.5 grams

Of the total sugar in apples, about 75 percent comes from fructose, commonly known as fruit sugar. While fructose can have a negative impact on your health, that is only in large amounts. In fact, fructose causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels compared to glucose, making fruits a much better fix for your sweet cravings.

Despite its high sugar content, the glycemic index of an apple ranges from 34-38. The lower a food’s score on the glycemic index, the slower it causes your blood sugar to rise, and the healthier it is for you.

Apples are nutrient-rich

While apples are primarily known as a good source of dietary fiber, they provide you with some essential nutrients as well.

One medium apple provides you with the following nutrients (7):

  • Vitamin C: 10% of DV
  • Vitamin K: 5% of DV
  • Potassium: 4% of DV
  • Vitamin B6: 4% of DV

Apples are also rich in a number of phytochemicals like quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid, all of which act as strong antioxidants (8).

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells from free radicals – harmful compounds that cause DNA damage and cause chronic health conditions like brain degeneration, heart disease, and cancer (9).

Impressive health benefits of apples

The belief that a single apple every day could keep you away from a doctor might be the reason why they are the most consumed fruit in the world (10). From juicy varieties like Gala to the baking staple Granny Smith, they are available in over 7,500 different varieties.

Apples claim a similarly large variety of health benefits, including:

  • Diabetes and blood sugar management. Apples are rich in fiber and have a high antioxidant content, which may provide protection against diabetes. An assortment of studies found that regular consumption of apples could reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes by 18 percent (11).
  • Could protect you from cancer. Apples are rich in a phytochemical called quercetin. Studies have shown that quercetin inhibits tumor growth in humans, having an anti-cancer effect (12).
  • Promote a healthy heart. Studies suggest that apples could lower your risk of heart disease. One reason behind this may be their soluble fiber content, with multiple studies indicating a high-fiber diet lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has also been suggested that certain apple flavonoids like quercetin provide protection against cardiovascular diseases (13)(14).
  • Could help fight asthma and other allergic diseases. Studies show that quercetin suppresses inflammation – which is the body’s reaction when exposed to certain allergens. This anti-inflammatory effect is suggested to help manage allergic diseases like asthma and atopic dermatitis (15).
  • They really do keep the doctor away

Most of an apple’s fiber and quercetin is present in the skin. This makes it extremely important to consume apples with their skin to get the most out of them (16).

Allergy to apples

Although rare, an allergy to apples is possible. Allergy to apples in areas with birch is much more common, with up to 5% of the population in the area being affected. The allergy usually manifests as tingling on the mouth, tongue, and lips, followed by more severe symptoms.

Symptoms usually begin within minutes and can range from mild to life-threatening. Allergy to apples generally manifests itself as Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), having the following symptoms:

  • itchy mouth and throat
  • itchiness in the eyes
  • asthma

This more serious reaction is known as anaphylaxis. A severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure. If emergency treatment is not received, anaphylaxis can lead to death within half an hour.

How to get more apples in your diet

Eating an apple every day can get boring. While having them with some peanut butter or cinnamon can surely spice things up, you can take things a step further with these simple apple recipes.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

A quick stovetop recipe that can be prepared in a few minutes. The apple cinnamon oatmeal can be prepared in under 10 minutes with just 5 ingredients:

  • Apples (1 cup)
  • Oats (1 cup)
  • Butter or ghee (half a tablespoon)
  • Milk or water (2 cups)
  • Brown sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook for a few minutes until the apples soften.

Pour in the milk, turning the heat up to high. After the milk comes to a boil, add the oats, and reduce the health to medium. Cook while stirring occasionally until desired consistency is reached.

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

A quick, healthy smoothie that you can stir up in minutes. With the only utensil required a high-speed blender, you need the following ingredients:

  • Apples (1 cup chopped)
  • Banana (1 medium)
  • Protein powder of your choice (2 scoops or 50 grams)
  • Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • Flax seeds (2 tablespoons)
  • Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  • Nutmeg (1 teaspoon)

All you need to do is add all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. You can add more or less ice for a thicker or thinner consistency.

In a nutshell

Apple is a highly nutritious fruit rich in fiber and antioxidants, providing multiple health benefits.

Regular consumption of apples can protect you from multiple chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Best of all – you get all these benefits for less than 100 calories.