Dangerous Side Effects of Eating Too Many Apples, According to Science
We've all heard the proverb, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away.' And for a good reason: apples are packed with a landslide of nutritional benefits. As Serena Poon, a certified nutritionist and celebrity chef, explains that this red delicious (or green granny smith) fruit is an excellent dietary fiber source, supporting our gut and digestive system. And they're loaded with vitamin C and potassium. These are all wonderful additions to our diets, but as with many parts of life, too much of anything can have a negative impact on our health.
Generally speaking, Poon says the average person can have one to two apples a day. If you're having more than that, you could experience some uncomfortable—and potentially dangerous—side effects. Here, experts weigh in, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
You could experience digestive issues.
We all need fiber in our diets, but when we have consumed too much, Poon says it can lead to digestive issues, including bloating and constipation. As she explains, more people need between 20 and 40 grams of fiber per day, depending on age and gender. And if you go above 70 grams, it's often considered too much. Though you would need to eat about 15 apples to get to 70 grams, it's essential to consider the other sources of fiber in your diet, like beans, whole wheat grains, and other vegetables. If you're eating a healthy meal plan packed with these high-fiber foods and having three to four apples per day, it could send you over the edge.
To get other types of fiber into your meals, check out our list of 20 Easy Ways to Add Fiber to Your Diet.
You could experience blood sugar fluctuations.
Because apples are high in carbohydrates, they may provide an energy burst before or after working out. You may also experience a lift in your mood since they help you release 'feel-good' neurotransmitters like serotonin, according to nutrition expert and author Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S. However, he says if you have too many apples, you could notice some blood sugar fluctuations and experience the symptoms of 'hanger.' And it could also lead you to crave more sugar, as well, too.
"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," says Dr. Axe.
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You could be consuming pesticides.
Unfortunately, apples regularly top the Environmental Working Group's dirty dozen list, which lays out the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue each year.
"The pesticide diphenylamine is a chemical commonly found on apples which are banned by the European Union because it is a potential carcinogen. Eating too many conventional apples could also mean eating too many chemicals," says Poon.
However, the number of apples that would need to be consumed in order for these chemicals to actually have a negative effect on your body would be an incredibly high number. According to an analysis from the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), women could consume up to 850 apples before those pesticides could have any adverse effects on your body. Nevertheless, it is still good to know what is in your produce and what you are consuming.
You could gain weight.
Because apples are full of healthy carbohydrates that give our body the fuel it needs to move, groove, and digest, many health experts, including Stephanie Mansour, recommend them to their clients. However, when we have more than one or two a day, it could cause us to gain weight or struggle to lose weight.
"This is because the body burns carbs first, so eating too many apples can restrict your body from burning the fat it needs to lose weight," says Mansour.
You could damage your teeth.
Because apples are acidic, Mansour eating too many might damage your teeth more than certain sodas. However, this can be avoided if chewed with the back teeth or if eaten alongside a meal as a snack.
"As long as you don't go overboard and stick to about one apple a day, you shouldn't have to worry too much about your teeth," she says.
You could put extra stress on your intestines.
Many gastrologists will use the FODMAP diet to identify food sensitives or allergies. It can also be used to give our gut a 'reboot' after going through a difficult sickness. It's also the recommended way of eating for those who have severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Every food is assigned a ranking based on how much sugar it contains and how difficult that sugar is to digest. Poon says apples rank high, and usually, they're not recommended for people who experience frequent bloating, gas, or digestive discomfort.
"Eating more apples could increase these negative effects if you are sensitive," she says.