In Fight 2 of our nutritional battle royale we’re pitting 2 healthy hitters against each other. These are 2 powerhouses in the nutritional world – some might argue each could be considered a superfood. I know, it’s an aggressive claim, but it’s not without merit. We’ll examine this a little closer in today’s prize bout – Apples Vs. Almonds.
Let’s get started with our fight.
In the blue corner, weighing in at 200 grams, residing from beautiful Washington State, we have one Laarrrge Orrrganic RRRRED AAAAAAPPPPLE!!!
In the red corner, weighing in at 28 grams, please give it up for Allllmonnnds – 23 to be exact!!!
Yes, that’s right, 1 whole apple vs 23 raw nuts. Both equate to roughly 1 serving if you’re wondering about the randomness of 23. I know what you’re thinking – the apple vs the almond, a battle too good to be true? Can there actually be a loser, that just doesn’t seem right!??
Well then, let’s proceed and get down to the goods. You’ll recognize the format from our 1st battle. (If you missed it click here).
Same rules apply. 3 round fight.Winner based on the following criteria:
- ROUND 1 – Macronutrients
- ROUND 2 – Micronutrients
- ROUND 3 – Taste & Satiety (fullness)
Ding Ding Ding….We’re off!
ROUND 1 – Macronutrients
|1 serving – Large Red Apple||1 serving – 23 raw Almonds|
Apple – It’s a solid part of good nutrition in that it’s nutrient dense (lots of good nutrients per calorie of food) and has a low calorie density (few calories per gram of weight). In other words, it’s a good way to consume 200 grams of food. Compare this with high calorie density/low nutrient density foods like cookies and crackers. You’re also getting a solid 5 grams of fiber which is a decent amount and will help with digestion.
If fat loss is your goal, the 30 grams of carbs is on the high side, especially 25 of which are sugar. You may hear the Paleo sphere get all hot and bothered about the high fructose (a type of sugar that can be problematic) content in apples. While this is accurate, apples do have among the highest percent of fructose of any fruit, that doesn’t mean we should dismiss it altogether. The 5 grams of fiber will help slow the digestion of fructose so it’s not nearly as bad as drinking apple juice or apple sauce (which is processed and void of any fiber). That’s a big no-no. Stick with the apple in its natural form and you’ll be just fine.
Almonds – Inside the ring, this raw nut is a daunting opponent. They have all the characteristics that make for a champion and it’s hard to knock down such a calorically, nutrient dense nut like the almond. But its strength is also its greatest weakness. Almonds are caloric bombs! Calories still matter and if your goal is fat loss, you have to be aware of calories.
You’re getting a good amount of fiber just like the apple, but you’re also getting ample protein and a healthy dose of good fat. Almonds contain virtually no sugar so insulin will not spike and your blood sugar levels will remain under control.
It’s important to note that while most of the fat in almonds is quality, almonds do contain Omega 6 fatty acids. You might have heard about Omega 6 & Omega 3 fatty acids before, both are polyunsaturated fats. It’s not that Omega 3 are “better” than Omega 6’s, it’s just that the body wants a nice balance of 1 to 1 ratio of Omega 3’s/ Omega 6’s. And unfortunately, with all the refined oils that we consume in the American/Western diet, most people have an Omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio that is skewed as high as 20 to 1. This can lead to inflammation in the body and and it’s why you hear people talking about supplementing with Omega 3’s. Almonds have a lot of Omega-6’s, so you have to be a little careful.
Scorecard Round 1 – The apple starts strong with healthy fiber, but it cannot withstand the constant blows from the almonds. With a complete macronutrient profile of protein, fat, and carbs, the almonds walk away with 1st point of the match.
Almonds 1, Apple 0
ROUND 2 – Micronutrients
- ✔ greater than 5% DV
- ✔✔ greater than 10% DV
- ✔✔✔ greater than 15% DV
Apple – If you looking for vitamin C, apples provide a healthy dose of this essential vitamin. Apples also have a good amount of phytochemicals, non-nutritive chemicals found in various foods that help in immune function and fight disease. This is powerful stuff and one of the main reasons behind the “apple a day keeps the doctor away” mantra we’ve heard all our lives. In recent years, science is learning much more about these powerful antioxidants and how vital they are in combating inflammation and disease.
Important to note is that apples tend to have the highest amount of pesticides out of all fruits. That’s why eating organic is so important, especially with apples. A good rule of thumb is that any food where you eat the skin (like an apple) you should try to eat organic to avoid consuming the toxins in pesticides. Compare that to protected fruits like pineapple or avocado where the flesh is protected – these are generally safe to consume non-organic.
Almonds – This nut really shines in Round 2. Check out the chart above. Almonds really bring the heat in a number of vitamin and mineral categories. Almonds provide a ton of vitamin E which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Almonds also carry a healthy dose of magnesium, a powerful mineral that helps in both fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Throw in healthy levels of phosphorus, manganese, and riboflavin and you’re looking at a formidable opponent.
Scorecard Round 2 – Both score a point in Round 2.
Updated score – Almonds 2, Apple 1
ROUND 3 – Taste & satiety (fullness)
Apple – great taste and offers a ton of different varieties – each with their distinct texture, flavor, and crispness. As far as healthy snacks go, it’s up there with the best. An apple isn’t going to keep you full for half the day, but it’s a great way to tide yourself over between meals. You’ll get a mild insulin spike from the apple, but nothing to be too concerned about. But without ample protein or fat, an apple will leave you hungry in the hours that follow. And let’s not forget the water content in apples – 85% of the apple is water. This can help with satiety a bit and is a good way to stay hydrated.
Almonds – They compete on taste quite well. But the problem I find with almonds is the ease at which it is to consume copious amounts of the delicious nut. I find it relatively easy to eat 2 or 3 handfuls at time. I mean, c’mon. When was the last time you ate just 5 nuts?! 2 to 3 handfuls of nuts is a serious dose of calories. And while the timing of calories and the type of calorie (proteins, fat, carbs) are much more important, calories still do matter on a certain level. And if you’re looking to stay lean you have to be careful about eating too many almonds. As with most nuts, almonds have virtually no water so it’s important to stay hydrated while consuming nuts.
Scorecard Round 3 – Variety, crispness and a high water content come through in Round 3 for the apple and score it a much needed point.
Updated score – Apple 2, Almonds 2
Oh shit we have a tie. See, in our world there can’t be a loser between these 2 powerhouse foods. I love them both.
What to do? I have an idea, let’s combine the 2.
We’re creating a hybrid champion – the perfect healthy champion – apple with almond butter!!
That’s it. Now you have it.
Both apples and almonds should be part of your good nutrition habits. And if you’re looking for a powerhouse of a snack, then go ahead and combine the 2 for a perfect, delicious snack.
Now you have a snack that contains carbohydrates, fat, and protein that packs massive nutrients in one punch.
That’s all for Fight #2 of the Nutritional Battle Royale. I hope you enjoyed all the coverage.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the apple was unfairly judged? I know some of you in the anti-fruit world will argue that almonds are superior, hands down, no questions asked. Ok. Fair. But why? Leave your comments below, that would be awesome.
Take care for now. Enjoy the rest of your week.