Why do people peel the skins off their apples?

As a young boy, I’ve always wondered why some people peel the skin off their apples and some people don’t. If it’s edible why aren’t you eating it? It came with the apple. Must be the same type of people who only eat the whites around the eggs. I would call these class of people – apple peel syndrome, but that’s taken already. Did you know there’s an actual disorder called “apple peel syndrome”? It’s a rare genetic/birth problem and has nothing to do with apples.

The apple peel comes with phytonutrients like dietary fiber and minerals, and it is rich in anti-cancer properties called phenolics. Studies are even showing that ursolic acid, a compound found in the apple peels, reverses muscle wasting, reduces body fat, and stabilizes your blood sugar and cholesterol. Other studies show its miraculous benefit for the gastrointestinal system like colon cancer and preventing H.pylori, a bacteria that grows in cases of stomach inflammation and ulcers. Apples are also free radical scavenging fruits! Findings show it protects the mitochondria, a power generating structure of cells. So one apple a day does allow you to live longer and feel healthier!

Eat organic apples since apples and peaches are found to have some of the highest amounts of pesticides. I have frequently heard of individuals allergic to apples. Deep down inside me, I am doubting that these individuals are truly allergic to an apple. If they are, I believe it is due to the toxic exposure of pesticides sprayed on the crops. Some common symptoms include swelling/numbness/tingling sensations of the lips or tongue. Isn’t it a coincidence that those are the same symptoms being exposed to pesticides? If severe enough an anaphylactic reaction occur. Several cases of allergic reactions to apples have been solved just by peeling the skin. That doesn’t mean you are allergic to the peel, just the residue left on it from spraying. I’ve had farmers as patients before exhibiting symptoms like tingling, twitching, numbness, etc. found in neurological diseases. I wonder what they are constantly exposed to?

Apples should also be eaten as fresh as possible. One week’s worth of domestic storage showed a decrease in 75% of the available vitamin C. Peeling decreased the apple’s antioxidant properties by about 25%.

Unfortunately in today’s society, you will be exposed to thousands of chemicals without knowledge of them. Allergies to simple foods like an apple, nowadays, are a response mechanism from our body to tell you that this world is polluted with toxins. Take Charge Of Your Health!

Category of Apple Peels: anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial (H.pylori), anti-cancer, fat loss, stabilizes blood sugar, and stabilizes cholesterol.


He X, Liu RH. Phytochemicals of apple peels: isolation, structure elucidation, and their antiproliferative and antioxidant activities. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Nov 12;56(21):9905-10. Epub 2008 Oct 2.

Carrasco-Pozo C, Speisky H, Brunser O, Pastene E, Gotteland M. Apple Peel Polyphenols Protect against Gastrointestinal Mucosa Alterations Induced by Indomethacin in Rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May 19.

Kevers C, Pincemail J, Tabart J, Defraigne JO, Dommes J. Influence of Cultivar, Harvest Time, Storage Conditions, and Peeling on the Antioxidant Capacity and Phenolic and Ascorbic Acid Contents of Apples and Pears. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May 12.

Carrasco-Pozo C, Gotteland M, Speisky H. Protection by apple peel polyphenols against indometacin-induced oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and cytotoxicity in Caco-2 cells. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2010 Jul;62(7):943-50.

Pastene E, Speisky H, García A, Moreno J, Troncoso M, Figueroa G. In vitro and in vivo effects of apple peel polyphenols against Helicobacter pylori. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 23;58(12):7172-9.

Reagan-Shaw S, Eggert D, Mukhtar H, Ahmad N. Antiproliferative effects of apple peel extract against cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(4):517-24.

Gayathri R, Priya DK, Gunassekaran GR, Sakthisekaran D. Ursolic acid attenuates oxidative stress-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma induction by diethylnitrosamine in male Wistar rats. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):933-8.

Gerhauser C. Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components. Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(13):1608-24. Epub 2008 Oct 14. Review.


6 thoughts on “Why do people peel the skins off their apples?

  1. Hi Dr. Leung, I found your site because I was looking for information on pertussis-tetanus vaccination but had to read this one, as well, since I peel my apples.

    I peel them because I’m allergic to them. They make my mouth and throat itch. Some types are worse than others, and some barely cause a reaction at all. There doesn’t seem to be a difference between organic and conventionally-grown apples–I love apples so I’ve tried many times to eat the peels (less work, too). I also have this problem with peaches, and cherries are the worst (so I never eat them). It’s also happened with celery a few times, and an allergy test awhile back showed that I’m allergic to celery, though it rarely bothers me.

    Just thought I’d share my reason for peeling apples! Interesting site. Glad I found it.

    • Hi Leah,

      Thanks for finding my site interesting! Many times allergies are due to the body’s already burdened toxin load. It may be quite plausible that the foods you are reacting to is partially due to the amount of pesticides/toxins/heavy metals used on the crops with your already burdened body of toxins from thousands of chemicals you expose yourself to (i.e. mercury fillings, detergents, perfumes, alcohol, medications, stress, etc.). When eating organic apples, they still place wax on the outside of the apples so they last longer. Three things that you can do to remove toxins from the outside skin:

      1. Try scrubbing really hard with soap and water.
      2. Soak in alkaline water (11.0 pH) for 5 minutes and lightly brush apples.
      3. Scrub in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp baking soda in sink water (preferably alkaline, most likely not if straight from tap)


      Most of the food groups that you are allergic to apparently are the highest in “dirtiest fruits”, aka pesticide laden foods.


      Stay with local organic grown foods! Clean your body out of heavy metals and pesticides. Cheers!

      Dr. Leung

      • HI again, I’ve guessed that it’s the pesticides, and I always wash fruit but I’ve never really scrubbed, just a good rinse and rub, sometimes with a special soap. I’m going to do an experiment this weekend with different kinds of fruit, especially apples, and see if the extra scrubbing can make a difference with both organic/conventional. I checked out the links–the only foods that give me trouble are the ones I mentioned but also nectarines–blueberries, strawberries, no problem (I eat lots! I do wash well though, organic or not).

        Thanks for the idea!

  2. Hi Dr. Leung,
    This is an interesting post! Thanks for all the helpful information.
    I have always wondered the same thing too – why do some people peel their fruit? In Hong Kong, organic produce is expensive and oftentimes, imported organic fruit that looks great on the outside is already rotten on the inside. Did you know that ENJO has a Fruit & Veggie cloth that removes pesticides and waxes off the skin of all fruit and vegetables (berries included!)? Why not eat all the nutritiously rich fruit and veggie peel!!
    Best wishes,
    Therese Tee

  3. My mother’s friend was deathly allergic to apples.Every time her husband heard the apple-man had come by the neighborhood, he knew his wife would be laid up in bed, breathless and puffy, sore and barely able to talk about it. He begged her to stop eating the things but she was numb to the experience and her symptoms didn’t subside for years, actually until just shortly after the apple-man died. Apparently my mother’s friend was inconsolable about his death, so she didn’t bear him any grudge. That’s a good Christian woman for you.

  4. My stomach use to burn whenever I ate the peel from an apple, like I could feel the peel scratching my insides. Went to doctor and they tested for frutcose malsorption and everything tested good, later on they decided I was sensitive to the chemical Salicylate a natural chemical found in the peel. Turns out I’m also sensitive to some shampoos and soaps that contain this ingredient.

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