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Number Of Calories In An Apple

Updated on March 14, 2015

How Many Calories In An Apple

Dietary calories are units of energy a food or drink gives you when eaten. Like all other fruits, the calories in an apple depends on its size.

A small apple weighing 149 g has 78 calories
A medium apple weighing 182 g has 95 calories
A large apple weighing 223 g has 116 calories

You may have heard the old adage that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". Even so there is some concern about the sugar in apples, technically called fructose. The concern is about how fructose is metabolized in the body. Fructose is primarily metabolized in the liver, excess fructose is converted to fat.

During fructose metabolism, the liver makes by-products among them are triglycerides, a form of fat. A build-up of triglycerides in the cells can damage the liver function. When released into the bloodstream, triglycerides can also promote the growth of fat-filled plaque inside the artery walls.

The other by-product from fructose metabolism is uric acid, which interferes with the production of nitric oxide, needed to protect the artery walls from damage. Free radicals are also produced during fructose metabolism, which can damage cells structure, alter the genetic information of the DNA, and cause cancer.

However, those who enjoy eating an apple a day would be pleased to know that unlike fructose extracted from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn, the fructose in raw apple is eaten along with its fiber-rich flesh, which slows down fructose absorption into the body, and its metabolism in the liver. This protects the body from the negative effects of fructose metabolism. In other words, there is no evidence that fructose from raw apple when eaten with the skin has adverse metabolic effect on the body.

Now that I have eased your concern about the calories and fructose in a raw apple, let's explore the many vitamins and minerals an apple brings into your body with your first bite.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Potassium

You need potassium for your cells to work properly. Excess potassium is removed from your body through urine. Potassium also helps to:

1. Maintain normal body growth
2. Break down and use carbohydrates
3. Build proteins and muscles
4. Control the electrical activities of your heart
5. Control the acid-base balance in your body

A deficiency of potassium, as a result of taking diuretics, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, or taking too many laxative can cause you to have hypokalemia. This can cause muscles weakness and spasms, abnormal heart rhythm, tingling and numbness, fatigue and heart palpitation.

Too much potassium because the kidneys are unable to remove the proper amount of potassium from the body, would cause you to have hyperkalemia, which can cause nausea, weak or irregular pulse, or sudden collapse when the heartbeat slows down or stops. An apple brings you more than calories, it also brings you potassium needed to keep your body functioning properly.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates are delivered to your body in the form of sugars, starches and fibers. They are grouped into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are found in fruits, milk, dairy, certain vegetables, table sugar and candy. The sugars in these foods are quickly digested and absorbed by your body.

Complex carbohydrates are in the form of starches and fibers, with 3 or more sugars and complex chemical structures. They are found in legumes, beans, lentil, starchy vegetables, whole-grain breads, pasta and cereals. If you guessed that complex carbohydrates are relatively slow to digest and absorb, you are right. But they are healthier.

Your body needs carbohydrates to make cellular energy for your tissues and organs, particularly for your brain and nervous system. It does this with the enzyme amalase that helps break down carbohydrates into glucose, which the body uses as energy.

Too much carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, would increase the amount of calories in your body. The excess calories are converted to fat that causes weight gain, high blood pressure, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and others.

A deficiency of carbohydrates would cause malnutrition, and all the diseases associated with malnutrition. You would also suffer from:

1. Fatigue and weakness
2. Have trouble fighting off diseases, and healing your wounds
3. Weakening of your immune system
4. Increased desire for fatty foods, and the risk of obesity

Along With Calories An Apple Has Dietary Fiber

Dietary fibers come in two types: soluble and insoluble fibers, each affects the body in different ways. Soluble fiber dissolve in water, turns to jell and slows down digestion. It is found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as in oat bran, barley, beans, nuts and seeds. It helps lower cholesterol and heart disease.

Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. It speeds up the movement of food in digestive system and helps to prevent constipation and the development of hemorrhoids.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of life. They are made by chains of amino acids. Without proteins your body cannot repair or make new cells, and it will die as a result. Babies and teenagers need proteins for growth and cognitive development.

You get your proteins from the food you eat, which are broken down into amino acids during digestion. Amino acids are of 3 types:

1. Those that your body cannot make are the essential amino acids
2. Nonessential amino acids are made from essential amino acids
3. Conditional amino acids are made when you are ill or under stress

Proteins from animals such as meat, fish, poultry, milk are called complete proteins because each has all the amino acids your body needs to remain healthy. Incomplete proteins are from plant-based foods like soy, beans, legumes, nut butters and some grains. You have to combine a number of these at a meal to have all the amino acids your body needs for repairs, growth and development.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 dissolves in water. Since your body cannot store it, excess vitamin B6 leaves the body through urine. For this reason your body needs a continuous supply of vitamin B6, either through food or supplements. You need vitamin B6:

1. To make antibodies to protect your body from diseases
2. To maintain proper functioning of your nerves
3. To make hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of your body
4. To maintain your blood sugar (glucose) at normal levels
5. To break down proteins as energy for your cells

While vitamin B6 is vital to your health, keep in mind that too much of it can cause difficulty cordinating your movement, feeling of numbness, or sensory changes, affecting your sight, hearing, tasting or feeling.

Too little of vitamin B6, on the other hand can make you confused, depressed, irritable, and mouth and tongue sores. It is important to maintain proper levels of vitamin B6 in your body.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Vitamin C

Vitamin C is water soluble. In your body it acts as an antioxidant. You need Vitamin C for:

1. Growth and repairs to your skin, ligaments and blood vessels
2. To heal your wounds and make scar tissues
3. To repair and maintain your cartilage, bones and teeth
4. To help block damage to your cells by cancer causing free radicals

Since your body cannot make vitamin C, it is brought in through the food you eat and supplements.

A deficiency of vitamin C would make you anemic, reduced your ability to fight infection, and heal your wounds. You will not be able to protect yourself from nose bleeding, gingivitis, decreased metabolism, or avoid weight gain, rough and dry skin, swollen and painful joints, and weakening of your tooth enamel.

Along With Calories An Apple has Calcium

Your body stores more calcium than any other minerals. More than 99% is stored in your teeth and bones to keep them strong. The rest is found in your blood, muscles and the fluid between your cells. Your body needs calcium:

1. To build strong bones and teeth
2. For blood clothing
3. To send and receive nerve messages
4. To secret hormones and enzymes
5. To regulate your heart beat
6. To contract and expand your blood vessels and muscles

Your best source of calcium is dairy products including milk, yogurt, cheese and buttermilk. You will also find calcium in leafy vegetables like broccoli, callards, kale, mustard greens, and in fruits like apples. But you need vitamin D in your diet to absorb and use calcium. And be mindful of how much wheat bran, spinach and rhubard you eat with a calcium-rich meal, as these can bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.

Too much calcium over a long period can cause you to have kidney stones. A deficiency of calcium increases your risk of osteoporosis, and other health problems.

Along With Calories An Apple Has Magnessium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body cannot make on its own, and must be brought in through foods, drinks and supplements. Magnesium is needed in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body including:

1. Maintaining normal nerves and muscles functions
2. Keeping your heart beat steady
3. Maintaining your immune system healthy
4. Helping to keep your bone strong
5. Helping to regulate your blood glucose levels
6. Helping to produce cellular energy, and making proteins in your body
7. Helping to prevent high blood pressure, heart attack and diabetes

It is unlikely that you would have an overdose of magnesium from your diet because excess magnesium is removed through the urine, but you could from supplements, so be mindful of that. A magnesium deficiency would cause you to:

1. Become hyperexcited and fatigue
2. Have tingling and muscles weakness
3. Become frequently sleepy
4. Become confused and experience hallucination

Along With Calories An Apple Has Iron

Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of your body. Iron is also involved in making myoglobin that helps muscles store and use oxygen.

Although your body stores some iron for when your iron level is low, if it cannot absorb sufficient iron for an extended period, you would develop a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which would cause you to have:

1. Decreased energy and shortness of breath
2. Headache and dizziness
3. Abnormal weight loss

To help improve your body's absorption of iron, mix some lean meat, fish or chicken with beans or leafy greens at a meal. Food rich in vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron.

While it is unlikely that you would absorb too much iron from food and drinks, those with the genetic disorder hemochromatosis would experience interference with their body's ability to control how much iron is absorbed. They should keep an eye on their iron level, as it may rise above or fall below the normal level frequently.

Before reading this article, if you thought apple gave you only calories, I hope I have convinced you that an apple brings to your table much more than calories.


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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I have had an apple a day for almost 10 years. And I have never regretted it. But thanks for the reinforcement. I am an apple evangelist. :) Voted up and shared.


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