Is Applesauce Good for Weight Loss? (Healthy or Too Sugary?)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 24 January 2022

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but does applesauce do the same, or is it too sugary? Apples are a staple of healthy diets everywhere, so you might be wondering if applesauce is good for weight loss. After all, it’s just the comfort food version of the fruit!

Here are the facts: applesauce can be part of your diet or weight loss regimen if you choose the correct variety (or cook it at home) and eat it in moderation. Here are a few things to keep in mind before shopping for some applesauce.

What Kind of Applesauce is Best for Weight Loss?

There are countless brands of applesauce on the market, but not all of them are great for weight loss. Choosing the right type of applesauce can be the difference between a nutritional snack full of antioxidants and a sugary treat. 

Eating less than you burn is the main reason for successful weight loss, and while all types of applesauce contain apples as their main ingredient, most also contain sugar and different fruits. 

These ingredients might be beneficial for weight loss, or they might not be, which is why you should remember to check the label to confirm you’re getting all the benefits of applesauce before buying any brand.

What should you check on the label? Consider these points when choosing the best applesauce, whether at the grocery store or for a homemade recipe:

Unsweetened Applesauce is Better for Dieting

We all know that sugar is full of calories – just one tablespoon of white sugar is a whopping 50 calories! Plus, sugary applesauce will make you crave sweet treats, so you end up eating more calories and veering off your diet. 

Unsweetened applesauce is good for weight loss since an average cup contains just 102 calories. Sugar can make these calories go up by 50-100%! A high-sugar diet may increase your risk of obesity, which in turn ups the incidence of high cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and stroke [1][2]. 

Avoid applesauce which lists high fructose corn syrup, or added sugar as ingredients. If you find unsweetened applesauce too bland, look for brands that use low-calorie sugars like stevia, sucralose, or saccharin.

Include the Peel for Antioxidant Effects

Apples contain phytonutrients – antioxidants that help fight the free radicals in your body. These radicals harm cells and increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. 

The apple peel contains the vast majority of these antioxidants. [3] Most off-the-shelf brands don’t include the peel, though. So, when choosing a brand or recipe, make sure to include the peels so you get all the benefits of an apple in puree form. 

But it’s not just the peel that matters –the majority of applesauce is the flesh or the inside of the apple, and the taste and nutrient content can vary slightly between each type of apple.

Does the Type of Apple Make a Difference?

There’s little difference between the vast varieties of apples as far as weight loss goes, although their taste profiles can be very different. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to use sweeter varieties like Red Delicious, Golden, or Fuji, but if you prefer a tart taste, go for Granny Smith or Pippin apples. 

The type of apple doesn’t make much difference on nutrition or weight loss, though, so look out for unsweetened varieties with peel included no matter what taste you’re in the mood for. 

Green granny smith is in the background with a red delicious apple in the foreground that has a measuring tape around it.

Healthiest Applesauce Brands for Weight Loss

So, applesauce is good for weight loss, but not all brands are. To make weight loss a little less complicated, here are a few healthy unsweetened applesauce brands that you can pick up on your trip to the store!

  • Musselman’s Unsweetened Applesauce – 50 calories per half-cup. It comes in fiber and antioxidant-boosted versions, too.
  • Vermont Village Organic Unsweetened Applesauce – 60 calories per cup. Includes cores and skins and is cooked in small kettles, allowing the whole fruit to retain its nutrients.
  • Mott’s No Sugar Added Applesauce – 40 calories per 90 g. It’s available in Granny Smith and Organic Apple varieties and various flavored versions.
  • Thrive Organic Applesauce – 90 calories per 2/3rd cup. It contains a blend of apple types with no added sugar. 
  • 365 Organic Applesauce – 70 calories per 4 oz bowl. It has a crunchy texture and tart taste for those who don’t like too much sweetness. 

Any unsweetened applesauce is a much better snack than a sweet dessert when it comes to weight loss, plus it provides many essential nutrients to boot. 

Why is Applesauce Good for Weight Loss and Overall Health?

Applesauce, when chosen correctly, is low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. It often contains lemon juice or ascorbic acid, boosting its antioxidant advantages. Here’s a breakdown of nutritional info in 1 cup of the average unsweetened applesauce [4].

Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrient Amount % of DV
Carbs 28 g 9%
Fiber 2.7 g 10%
Sugar 23 g 46%
Fat 0.2 g 0%
Protein 0.4 g 1%
Calories 102 *

It’s also low in sodium, meaning it doesn’t make you bloat up, and contains multiple beneficial nutrients, like:

  • Copper: 4% of the Daily Recommended Value (DV) for a 2,000-calorie diet
  • Iron: 3% of DV
  • Potassium: 4% of DV
  • Magnesium: 2% of DV
  • Zinc: 1% of DV
  • Riboflavin: 2% of DV
  • Vitamin B6: 4% of DV
  • Vitamin C: 3% of DV
  • Vitamin E: 3% of DV
  • Folate: 2% of DV

Applesauce is good for weight loss and overall health because it:

Reduces risk of cancer – The antioxidants in apple peel (as well as in apple flesh), in the form of phytonutrients and flavonoids, fight free radicals and reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung, liver, and digestive-tract cancers [5]. 

Makes you feel full – Apples are high in fiber, which translates to applesauce containing a good amount of fiber, too. This soluble fiber slows down digestion and keeps you full for longer [6].

Improves digestive health – Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in applesauce, and it can help with diarrhea, constipation, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome [7]. As a prebiotic, it promotes good gut bacteria and prevents bloating.

Promotes lung and heart health – Fruits like apples can protect against cardiovascular disease and may even help restore heart and vascular function [8]. The fiber in applesauce also helps lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke [9]. The antioxidants in applesauce can also prevent lung damage, protecting you against lung disease.

Mitigates inflammation – The antioxidants in applesauce, especially quercetin, can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation [10].

Facilitates healthier skin – Not only does the vitamin C in applesauce protect your skin from UV exposure and free radical damage, but it also reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation while boosting collagen production [11][12]. Since collagen gives your skin elasticity and bounce, you look younger and healthier with plenty of vitamin C.

If you’re tempted by these benefits but can’t find the right applesauce for you, you can always make it at home!

How to Make Healthy Applesauce

Are you tired of analyzing labels and googling ingredients? Make your applesauce at home and store it in a glass or plastic jar to get rid of the stress. 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 apples of your preferred variety
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice 
  • 5 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. Remove the core and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add the apple pieces to a saucepan along with the cinnamon, lemon juice, and water and stir.
  3. Cook over medium heat till the mixture starts boiling, then bring the heat down to medium-low and keep stirring until the apples turn tender and a bit brown. This step should take 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and mash or puree the apple mixture.

Your applesauce is ready! Pour it into your preferred container and enjoy.

Can You Lose Weight by Eating Applesauce Only? (Applesauce Diet)

If you eat just applesauce every day, your body won’t get nearly the amount and quality of nutrition it needs to function. One-food diets, like a watermelon based weight loss regimen or pickle diet, lack variety, and while applesauce does provide many essential nutrients, it’s not enough for a balanced diet. For example, it contains almost no protein necessary for muscle growth and preservation. 

If you eat just unsweetened applesauce, you’ll also consume an insufficient number of calories per day, making you lose weight. This weight loss isn’t sustainable, though, since low-calorie fad diets make you more likely to binge and gain the weight back afterward while making you tired, dizzy, and weak [13].

Your body needs enough calories and nutrients from a variety of foods to remain mentally and physically healthy and prevent diseases. Besides, you’ll constantly be thinking about eating other foods instead of focusing on your work or hobbies. It’s much better to eat a diet of various tasty, healthy foods that you can sustain long-term.

Include applesauce in your diet as a snack instead of a whole meal – it’s not filling enough to push you through to dinner! 

So, is applesauce good for weight loss?

When made the proper way with no added sugar and paired with other healthy, nutrition-packed food, applesauce is good for weight loss and can become a staple for those who crave snacks throughout the day. 

5 Related Articles:

  1. Is watermelon good for weight loss?
  2. Are oranges good for weight loss?
  3. Is pineapple good for weight loss?
  4. Is jello good for weight loss?
  5. Are honey nut cheerios good for weight loss?

References

[1] Stanhope K. L. (2016). Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences, 53(1), 52–67. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26376619/ 

[2] CDC. (2021, March 22). Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences | Overweight & Obesity. CDC. Retrieved January 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html 

[3] Vieira, F. G., Borges, G., Copetti, C., Gonzaga, L. V., Nunes, E., & Fett, R. (2009). Activity and contents of polyphenolic antioxidants in the whole fruit, flesh and peel of three apple cultivars. Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion, 59(1), 101–106. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19480352/ 

[4] USDA Food Data Central. (2022). Nutrition Facts for Applesauce Canned Unsweetened Without Added Ascorbic Acid (Includes USDA Commodity). Nutrition Data Tools. Retrieved January 8, 2022, from https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts/171695/wt1 

[5] Fabiani, R., Minelli, L., & Rosignoli, P. (2016). Apple intake and cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Public health nutrition, 19(14), 2603–2617. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27000627/ 

[6] Burton-Freeman B. (2000). Dietary fiber and energy regulation. The Journal of nutrition, 130(2S Suppl), 272S–275S. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10721886/ 

[7] Xu, L., Yu, W., Jiang, J., Feng, X., & Li, N. (2015). Zhonghua wei chang wai ke za zhi = Chinese journal of gastrointestinal surgery, 18(3), 267–271. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25809332/ 

[8] Zhao, C. N., Meng, X., Li, Y., Li, S., Liu, Q., Tang, G. Y., & Li, H. B. (2017). Fruits for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases. Nutrients, 9(6), 598. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28608832/ 

[9] Threapleton, D. E., Greenwood, D. C., Evans, C. E., Cleghorn, C. L., Nykjaer, C., Woodhead, C., Cade, J. E., Gale, C. P., & Burley, V. J. (2013). Dietary fiber intake and risk of first stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Stroke, 44(5), 1360–1368. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23539529/ 

[10] Li, Y., Yao, J., Han, C., Yang, J., Chaudhry, M. T., Wang, S., Liu, H., & Yin, Y. (2016). Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients, 8(3), 167. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/ 

[11] Sanadi, R. M., & Deshmukh, R. S. (2020). The effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation – A systematic review. Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology : JOMFP, 24(2), 374–382. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802860/  

[12] DePhillipo, N. N., Aman, Z. S., Kennedy, M. I., Begley, J. P., Moatshe, G., & LaPrade, R. F. (2018). Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, 6(10), 2325967118804544. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6204628/ 

[13] NHS. (2019, November 18). Very low calorie diets. NHS. Retrieved January 8, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/managing-your-weight/very-low-calorie-diets/ 

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.