Not eating your apple a day? Perhaps you should be. Adults who eat apples, apple juice and apple sauce have a significantly reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems that are linked to numerous chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study results, presented at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting this week, were derived from an analysis of adult food consumption data collected in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the government's largest food consumption and health database.
Dr. Victor Fulgoni analyzed the data, specifically looking at the association between consumption of apples and apple products, nutrient intake and various physiological parameters related to metabolic syndrome. When compared to non-consumers, adult apple product consumers had a 27% decreased likelihood of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Fulgoni notes, “We found that adults who eat apples and apple products have smaller waistlines that indicate less abdominal fat, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for developing what is known as the metabolic syndrome.”
In addition to having a 30% decreased likelihood for elevated diastolic blood pressure and a 36% decreased likelihood for elevated systolic blood pressure, apple product consumers also had a 21% reduced risk of increased waist circumference – all predictors of cardiovascular disease and an increased likelihood of metabolic syndrome. Additionally, adult apple product consumers had significantly reduced C-reactive protein levels, another measurable marker related to cardiovascular risk.
Furthermore, apple product consumers' diets were healthier than non-consumers – they had an overall greater intake of fruit and key nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium. These consumers also ate less total fat, saturated fat, discretionary fat and added sugars.