It’s crunch time: Leading nutritionist debunks Brits’ top food myths and promotes an apple a day to kickstart the new year

The New Year is hailed by Brits as the best time to set those important health goals. In fact, last year, over 23 million Brits relied on New Year's resolutions to improve their physical and mental health, and 2022 is looking to be no different.

However, many of us still struggle to understand what foods are beneficial for our health, with research unveiling that over a quarter of us decide whether something is good or bad to eat after searching through social media.

This year, leading nutritionist Rob Hobson has partnered with British Apples and Pears (BAPL) to debunk those widely held food myths and help us adopt a healthier lifestyle by incorporating nutritious British apples into our diets.

Recent research has revealed many of us believe the old myth that carrots can help us see in the dark due to their vitamin A content, helping to maintain healthy vision. Although, there is no concrete evidence to support this.

And sadly, eating celery doesn’t burn more calories than you gain from eating it, despite 23 percent believing this to be the case.

Surprisingly, many of those polled wrongly believe that drinking fruit juice is just as healthy as eating whole fruit.

Luckily the health benefits of apples are no myth. Research has shown that they have an abundance of nutrients, are low in calories and are extremely beneficial for weight loss.

In fact, the Happy Apple Plan states that eating an apple before a meal can aid weight loss. The apple helps to increase the overall fibre content of the meal, and that means you feel full and satisfied for longer, preventing mindless snacking between meals.

Apples are also rich in polyphenol compounds that act as antioxidants, protecting the body from damage caused by excess free radicals. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is essential for regular physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, this can cause oxidative stress, triggering a number of diseases as a result. Both the skin and flesh of apples have been shown to contain high amounts of the polyphenols, specifically flavonoid which is found in the skin.

Apples are also great for our gut. Our diet has a significant impact on our gut microbiota and gut environment. Consuming an apple a day encourages the growth of more ‘friendly’ bacteria in the large bowel, essential for maintaining a healthy gut. Apples also contribute to more regular bowel movements because they are a good source of fibre, which is key to supporting healthy digestion.

Leading nutritionist, Rob Hobson, is keen to help counter the healthy eating myths that lead to confusion: “We’re constantly learning new information about the benefits of different foods for our health, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest advice. However, simply incorporating a range of fruit and veg in our diets will make a significant difference to our overall health and wellbeing.”

Hobson adds,Apples in particular have several properties that increase feelings of fullness, being packed with fibre and containing up to 86% water content. This will help to aid weight loss and curb hunger so you can achieve those New Year’s health targets”.

As the nation scrambles to shed those extra Christmas pounds, healthy eating doesn’t have to involve anything too radical. Simply snacking on an apple a day is a small, delicious step we can all take to be healthier and change our diets for the better.

[1] Survey commissioned by Go Compare: New Year’s Resolutions: 23 million resolve to make 2021 healthier and happier (gocompare.com)

[2] Love Fresh Berries research – 2019, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-myths-diet-nutrition-fake-fruit-health-survey-a8969386.html

[3] Onken Yogurt Poll 2021, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/famous-food-myths-debunked-expert-b1920523.html

[4] www.utswmed.org/medblog/polyphenols/