Researchers who set out to determine if the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is actually true have found it a bit more complicated.
In their study, published online Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, they concluded that people who consumed apples daily were not less likely to stay overnight at a hospital or visit a mental health professional, but they were likely to use fewer prescription medications.
The study authors reached that conclusion after surveying 8,399 people (753 were apple-a-day folks). Apple eaters were more likely to be educated, less likely to smoke and more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority.
“Our findings suggest that the promotion of apple consumption may have limited benefit in reducing national health care spending,” the study authors write. “In the age of evidence-based assertions, however, there may be merit to saying ‘An apple a day keeps the pharmacist away.'”
Even if apple lovers still have to visit the doctor, there are other perks to eating fruit every day — a healthy habit Americans are encouraged to pick up.