Apples vs. caffeine: How apples can help keep you awake

As the old saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The fruit is known for its vitamin C, as a good source of fiber, and its legendary powers at sucking up to grade school teachers. But what else can the all-powerful apple do? Is there more to the apple than the old wives’ tale is letting on? Absolutely. After decades of using the apple to help kick the flu, the fruit has proved it’s more than just health food; it can help keep you awake. That’s right, that healthy apple, the same one that you trade for a baguette at Panera Bread, has similar effects to those of coffee.

Do apples have caffeine?

No. Not even a little bit. Apples, as a pomaceous fruit, do not naturally contain caffeine. They do, however, have about 13 grams of sugar – natural sugar, which is much healthier than the 4 grams of Sweet’N Low mixed into your daily coffee. So despite the high sugar levels, eating an apple is a much healthier alternative to drinking coffee. The sugars are also one of the main reasons apples have similar effects to caffeine.

Vitamins from apples, specifically the skin, are released slowly throughout the body, making you feel more awake. There is no jolt of energy. No mood swings. And, most importantly, no crash. The results wear off as gradually as they started. With this argument, though, any healthy snack can help fight sleepiness. (Snacks that are too sugary or fatty will actually have the opposite effect, causing your body to crash.) So why apples? What do they have that other healthy foods don’t?

The vast information source that is the internet offered me several possible explanations to this question:

  1. It is actually the crunch of eating the apple that wakes you up.
  2. Apples are the chief chemical in methamphetamines (Although I wasn’t able to consult with a reliable drug addict for a source, this was my favorite — and least likely — answer.)
  3. Its “gentle and lingering” scent naturally wakens the body.
  4. It contains natural glucose.

After some further research, I discovered that number four is the correct answer. The process of digesting the glucose (natural sugars) helps wake up your body, and then keep it that way – for about as long as it takes for your body to process the apple.

But, as was stated before, under this definition, any healthy foods can have the same effects. So how did apples get all the hype? Perhaps it’s because they contain less natural sugar? (The average banana has 14 grams, while an orange contains a whopping 23 grams of sugar.) Or maybe it’s the combined sensory experience that can be achieved when eating an apple. (When was the last time you heard a banana crunch?) Whatever the reasoning, it has worked – a simple Google search will result in hundreds of articles coming to the apple’s defense.

And while the apple may not replace your regular coffee routine all together, it offers a healthier alternative to staying awake. So the next time you’re feeling a little tired or need an extra pick-me-up, pass on the coffee and try a fruit salad instead.

Bethaney Wallace is a social media advocate for the mortgage rate information site, Mortgage Sum. She is passionate about blogging and eating fruits. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Have a Namaste.

Post Author
Bethaney
Bethaney Wallace has been writing and editing professionally for more than four years. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English from Kansas State University, she expanded her newspaper and magazine abilities into a full-time operation. Now working through The Social Robot, she provides a variety of writing services, such as blogging, ghostwriting, format editing, print writing and editing, blog and social media management, and more.

Comments

10 Comments
    • posted by
      Karen
      Jun 17, 2012 Reply

      Wow, thanks. I will look into it!

    • posted by
      Karen
      Jun 18, 2012 Reply

      I contacted the other site and it looks like the unauthorized article has been removed. Thanks for letting me know!!

  1. posted by
    Carol
    Jun 22, 2012 Reply

    I think apples are also known to be “heavy” or hard to digest at night. That’s why our mother always discouraged us from eating them before going to bed

    • posted by
      amiT
      Feb 9, 2013 Reply

      & therefore perhaps ultimately:
      might keep you awake?! :)

  2. posted by
    A substitute for coffee? « Perennial Student
    Jul 27, 2012 Reply

    […] apple? Since when does that combat sleepiness? She sent me a link to a blog post explaining it. Unfortunately I had no apples handy to test it out. After I finished my coffee, I had […]

  3. posted by
    Before you go into 2013 « Snapbacks&Pearls
    Dec 29, 2012 Reply

    […] and food groups is incomparable to that Starbucks that you have to have every morning. I found this post about apples versus caffeine by Bethaney Wallace of The Social Robot to be enlightening and I hope you do as well. Fruit is a […]

  4. posted by
    Thomas
    May 14, 2013 Reply

    i just ate an apple…zzzz……..zz.z..z…….OMG WHAAAAAAAAAT UGHH…. YEAH BABY YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. posted by
    Dyan
    Jul 31, 2013 Reply

    I’m really sleepy here in the library and I was planning on buying coffee. Good thing I have an apple with me. Time to check if this really works. Thanks!

  6. posted by
    omidh
    Oct 19, 2014 Reply

    That’s true but many people are addicted to caffeine so they would prefer a cup of coffee.

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