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What's the verdict on cooking apples?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 09, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Since going paleo, I've limited my fruit intake to just berries (though I eat a lot of them). I'm staying with my parents atm who have a tree in their back yard producing an abundance of cooking apples (I think these are called crabapples in the US? Not sure if they're the same thing). I stuck some in my crockpot overnight (6 hrs) at low temp and just tried one. Delicious!

I know when it comes to fruit, apples are far from a paleo favourite. But are organic cooking apples significantly different from most other varieties? In terms of sugar/fructose content, fibre content, vitamin content and what have you. I can't seem to find much info on this.

Specifically, how would these natural, organic apples obtained from our own tree rank in comparison to the supermarket berries?

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 17, 2013
at 09:20 PM

Wouldn't apples which are produced by GMO standards with added pesticides qualify as unnatural?

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on August 12, 2013
at 03:41 PM

No particular axe, but misuse of terms leads to sloppy thinking which leads to problems with reality. Oh, and all apples are "natural". I am unaware of any artificial (edible) apples.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 10, 2013
at 06:38 AM

Same Renee. I used to be a fruit FIEND. All kinds in unlimited amounts - it used to comprise at *least* half of my food intake. Now I stick to berries, half a lemon a day and the occasional banana or two. That said, I'm *really* liking these cooked apples! ^_^

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on August 10, 2013
at 04:24 AM

Sounds like you came to this thread with an axe to grind, rather than to give your best answer to the question

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on August 10, 2013
at 04:06 AM

High-FODMAP fruits may be Paleo but they scare the bejeezus out of me. Apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, guava, melon, cherries etc Bloat bloat bloat bloat bloat. I stick to berries and ripe bananas.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:29 PM

While hunting for the apple information I turned up a reference to green bananas being a very good source of resistant starch. As they ripen, that starch converts to sugars. So the ripening effect is similar to cooking in making the starch more digestible. The best true side-by-side I can think of for the effect of cooking is carrots. Their glycemic index is 40-50 if eaten raw, but GI rises to 90 if they're cooked, close to the level of pure glucose.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:16 PM

"Cooking apples hydrolyzes the starch in them, increasing the calories. The more mature the apple is, the less starch and more sugar it contains." Seems legit. The same thing happens to bananas. Less ripe/mature = more starch. Ripe/mature = more fructose, less starch.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:11 PM

All fruit is paleo. Some fruits are better than others according to paleo principles. Hence "paleo-approved fruit".

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 07:43 PM

You are entitled to that opinion.

F5a8a14fc6a4d33c2563d0dd3066698a

(714)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:23 PM

Well, I personally consider bananas to be radioactive, sugary and starchy death bombs ;-)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:09 PM

Though they do recoil in horror from hydrangeas, basil, osrmary and thyme. I need to find more like these.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:06 PM

Unless you hydrolyze the starch you digest it very poorly. The starch cellules have to swell and rupture to release the free starch. If you eat uncooked rice or flour for instance you don't digest it. The following article discusses in general terms the effect of cooking type on glycemic response (ie easy carb digestibility), and you can find many more. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23772830/

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:01 PM

They don't really eat the blueberries much or much out of the garden anymore. I think we finally cured them of that via pellet gun. :) They are pretty cute but they are also really delicious and I would have happily eaten them alongside the vegetables they had their eyes on!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 06:54 PM

Come to think of it they got most of my blueberries too. The other day I caught 2 fawns gnawing on a juniper in the yard. They still had spots, but this is way beyond cute. They seem to specifically target plants that are cared for in preference to grass and wild fruit like crabapples and blackberries.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 05:52 PM

K, vitamin C, fiber, fats and proteins are the same between the above examples, the only thing that changes is the carbohydrate content. It's added sugar. Baking does break down starch into glucose, but that happens at a 1:1 ratio.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 05:50 PM

Calories are not measured. They simply assay for fat, protein and carbohydrates, do the math and spit out a number. Bioavailability is not taken into account. X grams of starch is X grams of glucose (technically it's slightly more because of hydration effects, but whatever…)

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 05:17 PM

The body does lose a small percentage of the available energy when it has to break down nutrients to a useable form.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 05:16 PM

I had to laugh at the "paleo-approved fruit" phrase. Wouldn't it stand to reason that all fruit is paleo?

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 09, 2013
at 04:04 PM

I wouldn't! :) I don't have any crabapples, though. They leave the pecans and persimmons (and roses) alone enough, but those jerks eat all the pears and plums every year.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:56 PM

I'd let the deer have all the crabapples they want if they'd stay out of my roses.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:52 PM

^See, I find that confusing. Ultimately, starch is just a long-chain polymer of glucose, no? Why would hydrolysis (the breakdown of the bonds in the starch, if I remember my biochem correctly) increase the available calories? Are calories lost when your body breaks down starch as opposed to consuming straight glucose? I.E. are the calories from glucose more bio-available than the calories from starch?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:40 PM

Cooking apples hydrolyzes the starch in them, increasing the calories. The more mature the apple is, the less starch and more sugar it contains. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/30/1/104.full.pdf

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:16 PM

I did not say that organic is a variety of apples, but yeah okay it's a certification. Substitute "natural".

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:16 PM

I did not say that organic is a variety of apples, but yeah okay it's a certification.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:15 PM

I considered it simply concentration/dehydration, but everything else stays roughly the same. If it was dehydration, other metrics would also concentrate.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:08 PM

what is your optimization criteria?

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Yes, I am seeking to compare two different foods...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:53 PM

cooking the apples with cook off some of the moisture (reducing the weight by almost half). so per 100g serving you are comparing the sugar in 2 apples to the sugar in 1 apple. Cook your apples, no need to add sugar though.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:17 PM

I think the difference between your baked and raw apples are added sugar. Nothing else changes significantly.

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7 Answers

best answer

5
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:24 PM

If they are crabapples, they definitely have less sugar/fructose than a supermarket variety. Crabapples are smaller, much more tart, harder, and have a higher pectin content. I love the things and wish I could buy them at the store! There's no way you could prevent me from eating them, cooked and raw.

If they are just a regular cooking apple they are going to have a similar content to supermarket varieties. I would still eat them (if the mean birds, squirrels, and deer didn't eat them all, like they do to my stuff!)

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:01 PM

They don't really eat the blueberries much or much out of the garden anymore. I think we finally cured them of that via pellet gun. :) They are pretty cute but they are also really delicious and I would have happily eaten them alongside the vegetables they had their eyes on!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 09, 2013
at 04:04 PM

I wouldn't! :) I don't have any crabapples, though. They leave the pecans and persimmons (and roses) alone enough, but those jerks eat all the pears and plums every year.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:09 PM

Though they do recoil in horror from hydrangeas, basil, osrmary and thyme. I need to find more like these.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 06:54 PM

Come to think of it they got most of my blueberries too. The other day I caught 2 fawns gnawing on a juniper in the yard. They still had spots, but this is way beyond cute. They seem to specifically target plants that are cared for in preference to grass and wild fruit like crabapples and blackberries.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:56 PM

I'd let the deer have all the crabapples they want if they'd stay out of my roses.

6
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 02:42 PM

Eat them, they are as paleo as anything else promoted on this site. Don't worry a short term macronutrient percentages, and just eat real foods.

3
F5a8a14fc6a4d33c2563d0dd3066698a

(714)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:30 PM

Apples are something of a staple of mine when there isn't a lot of other fruit in season. By staple I don't mean a bushel a week or anything-- which you can definitely go through if you spend a lot of time cooking them-- but more on the order of four smallish ones eaten raw every week as a dessert.

While using them as a staple I have lost about 75 pounds and become fitter than I have ever been.

I am no stranger to the metabolic effects of sugars/carbs making me want to eat more sugar/carbs. But a small apple does not seem to kick off this cycle in me. So I say just eat a few and enjoy them! And I like the raw advice. I can see how when cooked one would begin to lose a handle on serving sizes.

At modest serving sizes the macronutrient difference between them and other more paleo-approved fruit staples does not seem to matter at all. At least to me. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on August 10, 2013
at 04:06 AM

High-FODMAP fruits may be Paleo but they scare the bejeezus out of me. Apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, guava, melon, cherries etc Bloat bloat bloat bloat bloat. I stick to berries and ripe bananas.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:11 PM

All fruit is paleo. Some fruits are better than others according to paleo principles. Hence "paleo-approved fruit".

F5a8a14fc6a4d33c2563d0dd3066698a

(714)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:23 PM

Well, I personally consider bananas to be radioactive, sugary and starchy death bombs ;-)

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 07:43 PM

You are entitled to that opinion.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 05:16 PM

I had to laugh at the "paleo-approved fruit" phrase. Wouldn't it stand to reason that all fruit is paleo?

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 10, 2013
at 06:38 AM

Same Renee. I used to be a fruit FIEND. All kinds in unlimited amounts - it used to comprise at *least* half of my food intake. Now I stick to berries, half a lemon a day and the occasional banana or two. That said, I'm *really* liking these cooked apples! ^_^

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:55 PM

comparing apples to berries is like comparing apples and oranges (bad pun, sorry).

Different fruit with different micros. Both are good, eat what you enjoy.

As far as cooked fruit, I eat most fruit raw.

But this time of year, grilled peaches find their way onto my plate with regularity.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:08 PM

what is your optimization criteria?

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Yes, I am seeking to compare two different foods...

2
718fd304d7abab150730638bf2be5153

(184)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:14 PM

Eating local stuff from your own garden is almost always great, from a nutrition and also ecological point of view.

Now :

Raw apple nutrition data

Berries nutrition data

As you see, there is not a large difference - apples carry a bit more carbs than berries, although nothing awful (bananas are much sweeter than that for instance).

However :

Baked apple nutrition data

Cooking the apples doubles their carbs content. You need to take that into account if you need to watch your carb intake. Otherwise, enjoy yourself.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 05:17 PM

The body does lose a small percentage of the available energy when it has to break down nutrients to a useable form.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:17 PM

I think the difference between your baked and raw apples are added sugar. Nothing else changes significantly.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 09, 2013
at 02:53 PM

cooking the apples with cook off some of the moisture (reducing the weight by almost half). so per 100g serving you are comparing the sugar in 2 apples to the sugar in 1 apple. Cook your apples, no need to add sugar though.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:40 PM

Cooking apples hydrolyzes the starch in them, increasing the calories. The more mature the apple is, the less starch and more sugar it contains. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/30/1/104.full.pdf

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:52 PM

^See, I find that confusing. Ultimately, starch is just a long-chain polymer of glucose, no? Why would hydrolysis (the breakdown of the bonds in the starch, if I remember my biochem correctly) increase the available calories? Are calories lost when your body breaks down starch as opposed to consuming straight glucose? I.E. are the calories from glucose more bio-available than the calories from starch?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 07:06 PM

Unless you hydrolyze the starch you digest it very poorly. The starch cellules have to swell and rupture to release the free starch. If you eat uncooked rice or flour for instance you don't digest it. The following article discusses in general terms the effect of cooking type on glycemic response (ie easy carb digestibility), and you can find many more. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23772830/

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:29 PM

While hunting for the apple information I turned up a reference to green bananas being a very good source of resistant starch. As they ripen, that starch converts to sugars. So the ripening effect is similar to cooking in making the starch more digestible. The best true side-by-side I can think of for the effect of cooking is carrots. Their glycemic index is 40-50 if eaten raw, but GI rises to 90 if they're cooked, close to the level of pure glucose.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 05:50 PM

Calories are not measured. They simply assay for fat, protein and carbohydrates, do the math and spit out a number. Bioavailability is not taken into account. X grams of starch is X grams of glucose (technically it's slightly more because of hydration effects, but whatever…)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:15 PM

I considered it simply concentration/dehydration, but everything else stays roughly the same. If it was dehydration, other metrics would also concentrate.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 09, 2013
at 05:52 PM

K, vitamin C, fiber, fats and proteins are the same between the above examples, the only thing that changes is the carbohydrate content. It's added sugar. Baking does break down starch into glucose, but that happens at a 1:1 ratio.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:16 PM

"Cooking apples hydrolyzes the starch in them, increasing the calories. The more mature the apple is, the less starch and more sugar it contains." Seems legit. The same thing happens to bananas. Less ripe/mature = more starch. Ripe/mature = more fructose, less starch.

0
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on August 10, 2013
at 04:04 AM

Apples are high in fructose, so if you react to fructose like I do (3rd trimester-scale bloat) you may need to limit your intake.

-2
800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

on August 09, 2013
at 03:09 PM

But are organic cooking apples significantly different from most other varieties?

/facepalm. "Organic" means that the producer acquired a certification, a piece of paper from some authority. "Organic" is not a variety of apples (or any other food). Apples from your parent's backyard are not organic, by the way.

The only thing that you might reasonably expect from organic produce is a chance of a bit less pesticide and herbicide residue. All the nutrition is same as conventional.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:16 PM

I did not say that organic is a variety of apples, but yeah okay it's a certification.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on August 10, 2013
at 04:24 AM

Sounds like you came to this thread with an axe to grind, rather than to give your best answer to the question

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on August 12, 2013
at 03:41 PM

No particular axe, but misuse of terms leads to sloppy thinking which leads to problems with reality. Oh, and all apples are "natural". I am unaware of any artificial (edible) apples.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 03:16 PM

I did not say that organic is a variety of apples, but yeah okay it's a certification. Substitute "natural".

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 17, 2013
at 09:20 PM

Wouldn't apples which are produced by GMO standards with added pesticides qualify as unnatural?

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