Despite having the same primary ingredient, applesauce and raw apples are not exactly the same. On the surface, the appearances of the two foods are quite different, but the variance doesn't end there, as the nutritional profile of applesauce and raw apples are distinct as well. Depending on your dietary preferences, one may be much better for you than the other; be sure to check product labels, as different brands have slightly different nutrition facts.
If you are looking for a higher calorie food to fuel your activities, applesauce is the more beneficial choice. Applesauce is more calorie-dense than raw apples, with a cup of chopped raw apple providing just 65 calories, while a cup of applesauce provides 167 calories. The more calories, the more energy your body metabolizes from food. If you are an athlete and have high energy needs, applesauce would be preferable. For those dieting, raw apples would be a better choice due to the lower calorie content.
One benefit of apples, applesauce and fruit in general is that they provide your body with dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps promote healthy digestion and aids in providing feelings of satiety. Raw apples and applesauce have the same amount of fiber, as a cup of applesauce and a cup of raw apple slices contain 3 grams of fiber. Men should strive for 38 grams of fiber per day, while women should eat 25 grams daily.
Carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source, as your body can metabolize this nutrient into usable fuel more easily than other nutrients. If you're on a low-carbohydrate diet, raw apples would be the more beneficial choice; each cup of sliced apples contains 17 grams of carbohydrates, compared to 43 grams in a cup of applesauce.
Fruits and vegetables are beneficial because of the vitamins and minerals they provide. Raw apples provide slightly more vitamin C, with 5.8 mg per cup of slices, compared to 4.2 mg in a cup of applesauce. Men should have 90 mg of vitamin C per day, while women should have 75 mg of vitamin C per day. This vitamin helps heal wounds and repair teeth, bones and cartilage.
Fruits such as apples also tend to be rich in minerals such as potassium. If you want to increase your potassium intake, applesauce is the more beneficial option. Each cup of sliced raw apples contains 134 mg of potassium, while a cup of applesauce contains 184 mg. Potassium helps ensure proper muscle contraction and heart function, among other roles. Adults should consume 4.7 grams of potassium per day.
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- USDA: Nutrient data for 09020, Applesauce, canned, sweetened, without salt (includes USDA commodity)
- USDA: Nutrient data for 09003, Apples, raw, with skin
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.