Could an apple a day help keep obesity away? In a new study, researchers at the University of Iowa found that ursolic acid, a compound found in the waxy skin of apples, increased muscle mass and reduced total body weight.
The researchers put two groups of mice on high-fat diets where 55% of their calories came from fat. But for one of the groups, researchers added an ursolic acid supplement to their diet. The mice that had the supplement developed more muscle mass, were able to exercise longer and had an increase in brown fat—a type of tissue that burns large amounts of calories to maintain body temperature—than the mice without the supplement. Turns out, the ursolic acid led a multi-pronged, calorie burning assault on the high-fat diet of the mice. Not only that, but it reduced glucose intolerance and fatty-liver disease, common ailments for obese people.
The results suggest that ursolic acid is “a potential therapeutic approach for obesity and obesity-related illness,” the researchers write. More muscle, more energy, more calories burned? Maybe that’s why Eve ate the apple.