Can an apple a day truly keep the doctor away? It’s not that simple

‘Eating an apple a day won’t hurt you, but without a nutritious diet, it may not be doing as much good as one would think,’ nutritionist says

A viral trend on TikTok has users sharing generational myths their parents told them. From how drinking water at night can cause nightmares to how — if swallowed — chewing gum can stay in your stomach for seven years. Health experts jumped on the trend to talk about the apple-a-day lore.

Apples have many nutritional benefits, including vitamins K and C, potassium, copper and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants and have been linked to lowering diabetes, contributing to weight loss, helping with gut health and could help fight asthma.

With its many benefits, is there truth to this old wives’ tale about how eating an apple a day can keep the doctor away?

In short, the answer is yes — and no.

“Eating an apple a day won’t hurt you, but without a nutritious diet, it may not be doing as much good as one would think,” Courtney Coe, RDN, a registered dietitian at WellTheory, told Well and Good.

In truth, too many apples can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea, and can lead to blood sugar issues. Apples also have high fiber properties, and introducing fiber too quickly to the body can “affect the body’s ability to absorb minerals and vitamins properly,” the University of California at Davis Department of Nutrition wrote.

“For people with poor metabolic health or diabetes, too much sugar from the fruit may also worsen insulin sensitivity or interfere with how well diabetes medications work,” nutrition expert and author Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, told Health Digest.

While apples come with caution, it doesn’t mean they should be wiped out of your meal plan. But experts recommend sticking with solid apples instead of apple sauce and juice.

According to Well and Good, the more diluted and mushed the apple is — like in apple sauce or pouches — the more nutrition and antioxidant properties are missing. As for apple juice, experts recommend staying away from it.

According to Melanie Murphy Richter, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and neuronutritionist, apple juice lacks most of the fiber and all of the antioxidants of the whole fruit, but has left the sugar.

“Drinking apple juice can give you almost as much sugar as a soda,” she said.

Apples are just like many other foods — they have benefits when eaten in moderation. So keeping the tale to “an apple a day” is better than consuming multiple apples or pairing them with apple sauce or juice.