Talk:An apple a day keeps the doctor away

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From the English language? Only in the English languageEdit

This saying is used pretty much everywhere in the world, not just in English. In Danish it is "Et æble om dagen holder holder doktoren borte/væk". That is a direct translation I'd assume. Or maybe the word did not really originate in English, originally. You can also say "Et æble om dagen holder doktoren holder lægen fra døren". Which directly translated to English means "An apple a day keeps the doctor from the door". Also, while I don't feel like the article literally states this, it has this vibe of the saying being strictly an English thing, since it doesn't even mention that it's used all over the world in different languages. --Luka1184 (talk) 09:44, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

"An apple a day..." is an English expression because it is a common expression in English. More to the point, the article cites reliable sources indicating it originated in Wales. None of this precludes translations being used in other languages. If you have independent reliable sources discussing its use in other languages, that might make a useful addition to the article. - SummerPhDv2.0 13:03, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

Scientific EvaluationEdit

More studies to add to this section:

  1. A 2004 lit review from Nutrition Journal says this: "epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol."
  2. A 2005 study in Calcified Tissue International found that a flavanoid exclusive to apples protected bone mineral density in rats.
  3. A 2013 study in Atherosclerosis found "an inverse association of fruit and vegetable consumption with stroke risk. Particularly consumption of apples and pears and green leafy vegetables was inversely associated with stroke." (talk) 05:51, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Also, article from Tufts University talks about what specifically it is about apples that makes them good for you-- polyphenols (e.g., Quercetin, Chlorogenic acid, Anthocyanins). Specifically, the article states that you should try to maximize polyphenols in apples by picking firm, richly-colored fruits, storing them in the refrigerator to preserve nutrients, throwing away bruised apples which may cause your other apples to ripen more quickly, and eating the whole apple including the skin. The article states that the fuji apple has the "highest levels of phenolic and flavonoid compounds" in the USA and that apple juice may not contain as much polyphenols. The article also suggests moderation: "“While apples are a fruit and eating more might well be good for you, we should be encouraging more diversity in fruit choices.” (talk) 07:19, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
The 2004 Nutr J review is outdated per WP:MEDDATE and expansive speculation from primary research, so is removed. The 2005 rat study and 2013 stroke risk reports are primary research, so are removed. Dietary polyphenols from apple skin or any food source have never been shown in vivo to affect any human disease mechanisms, and are unlikely to ever show biological activity because their post-digestion metabolites cannot be traced quantitatively in vivo, explained in the article, Health effects of natural phenols and polyphenols and in this review. Shown in the Apple article nutrition section, a medium-sized apple (100 g) supplies no micronutrients in any significant content and a modest content of carbohydrates from fructose, with only a small amount of dietary fiber provided. Apples should be enjoyed for their attractive appearance and refreshing flavor, as there are no significant nutritional benefits. --Zefr (talk) 14:14, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
Again, you are making WP:BOLD changes to articles that have no basis in fact. The 2015 JAMA study is a PRIMARY study. Why you would blank the entire section (including a literature review) and leave 1 primary study and not include its entire main conclusion: "Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; however, the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications." This is beyond the pale. Furthermore, your rule says that it "may need to be relaxed in areas where little progress is being made or where few reviews are published." (few reviews are published on this topic) and that "A newer source which is of lower quality does not supersede an older source of higher quality." (why would 1 primary study overrule a lit review of dozens of studies?) Also, MEDRS says that "Assessing reviews may be difficult. While the most-recent reviews include later research results, this does not automatically give more weight to the most recent review." But the 2015 JAMA is not even a review, it's just a primary study... (talk) 22:35, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Please use WP:MEDRS when making scientific claims. The "review" you cited is an informational page on an university website and is not published in any journal. (talk) 22:46, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

Improve THE HISTORY PART OF Article by Adding more SourcesEdit

More potential sources we can add:

  • Wright EM. Rustic Speech and Folklore. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing; 2010.
  • Alchin L. The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes. New York, NY: Neilsen Publishing; 2013. (As found in reference section of 2015 JAMA article
  • "An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work", by Caroline Taggart; published 2009 by Michael O'Mara Books [1]
  • Pollan, Michael (2001). The Botany of Desire: a Plant's-eye View of the World. Random House. p. 22, cf. p. 9 & 50. ISBN 978-0375501296. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015. [2] (from apple wikipedia page) (talk) 08:42, 21 September 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ "An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work", by Caroline Taggart; published 2009 by Michael O'Mara Books
  2. ^ Pollan, Michael (2001). The Botany of Desire: a Plant's-eye View of the World. Random House. p. 22, cf. p. 9 & 50. ISBN 978-0375501296. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)

None of these would add significantly to the article. --Zefr (talk) 14:15, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Are you being intentionally obtuse? Why would references currently included in the main apple article (Taggart, Pollan) discussing the phrase "apple a day keeps the doctor away" not add significantly to the article here? Furthermore, how did you assess the top two references (Wright, Alchin) as not adding significantly? Did you read them? (talk) 21:21, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
The proverb implies that eating an apple a day provides sufficient nutrient content and anti-disease protection that a consumer of one apple a day would not need to see a physician. There is no evidence for good nutrient supply (in fact, the opposite is true) or for anti-disease benefits. Wright, Taggart and Pollan are not scientists, physicians, authors of medical guidelines, or reliable medical-content authors. The only usable source is the JAMA article, which directly assessed the proverb. I agree it is a generally weak study, but is the only relevant one for a topic that most scientists would ignore as too trivial to study - which is why there are no good reviews addressing the proverb. The statement from the JAMA report – "the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications" – derived from the authors' tenuous conclusion in the Results section: "we did not observe a threshold effect, although such an effect is hinted at in the case of avoidance of physician visits by eaters of a medium or large apple a day (for which the P value for the trend across apple categories is marginal)." To extrapolate potential health benefits by eating one apple a day from other basic research sources is "synthesis" of interpretation and original research, i.e., WP:SYNTH. --Zefr (talk) 23:50, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Zefr that the material should not be included in this article for the above reason and another one.
- Please be advised what proverb stems from. The apple was a way to consume caraway seeds and keeping the doctor away was due to the benefits that was believed to come from eating caraway. Anyone having seen caraway seeds understands that an apple is a very practical and tasty way to eat the seeds. Caraway has been well known for its health effects probably for some thousands of years and is used as a medicinal herb today. Please consult w:de:Echter Kümmel and w:no:Karve. I'll see what I can find in addition to the sources in those two articles.
- But when that is said, research on apples and their medicinal effects belongs in the article about apples, likwise the effects of caraway in the article about caraway. This is an article about a proverb and not an article about apples (or caraway). The bit about apples that is included is quite sufficient and should not be expanded. I'll consult some sources and do something about the history of caraway and its usage and include a little bit in this article afterwards. --regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 17:18, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
I disagree that the "only usable source is the JAMA article." You are unjustifiably narrowing the proverb by saying the DV of relevant studies can only be doctor visits and not prescriptions or other health benefits that "keep the doctor away" or "keep the doctor from earning his bread" (which were found to decrease healthcare $$$ spending). The 2004 NutrJ lit review should be included. It does a good job summarizing the health benefits of apples as studied in the extant literature. (talk) 19:22, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
You have to remember that the health benefits refered to in the proverb stems from the medicinal effects of eating caraway. The caraway kept the doctor away. This also explains why the scientists have not been able to find any health benefits from consuming a daily apple. The medicinal effects of caraway have been known for a very long time and is described in several medical handbooks. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 15:40, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
It's ok to refer to the proverb having originated via the connection with caraway, as the source says. It's not ok to state ridiculous folk tales that caraway has 'medicinal effects'. That's just quackery nonsense and a myth from ancient folk medicine, for which there is absolutely no proof of medicinal effects in evidence-based medicine. --Zefr (talk) 19:08, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Rewrote the scientific part with WP:MEDRS highest quality sources, hope this helps! (also I restored the intro picture which I think fit pretty well) :-) --Signimu (talk) 22:39, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Addendum: although I agree with Zefr that we should address directly the literal proverb (one daily apple is enough to prevent diseases), we cannot just do that either, as a proverb is not a scientific statement, but only a broad hint/advice/common wisdom of some advisable behavior. Considering otherwise would be ridiculous, and that's why only 1 study exist on the exact question, because almost noone would bother to verify the truthfulness of the exact literal meaning of a proverb. It's the difference between asking "is it true?" with "is there some truth in it?", both being pertinent IMO. Thus, I think the section should (succinctly) answer the latter, which is that consuming apples (and thus fruits) is beneficial and along the US dietary guidelines, as I hope it does now. --Signimu (talk) 02:42, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Dyveldi, thank you for your input. Can you link english sources to the fact that this saying stems from its connection with caraway? The current source is in Norwegian. (talk) 09:59, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Signimu. Zefr is excluding all of the research that is related to the health benefits of apples as it pertains to "keeping the doctor away" which is why he thinks there is only 1 relevant article after 30+ years of research. (talk) 09:59, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Zefr has again reverted all edits from 3 different editors, without discussion... --Signimu (talk) 14:02, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

All the discussion and refutation of misleading sources not specifically about this article and synthesis/personal interpretation by 3 editors are above; WP:SYNTH. It is not consensus when 3 editors are misleading through POV-pushing and/or scientific ignorance about the article content; consensus is what the WP scientific community would agree to, see WP:CONLEVEL. This is a matter for medical-content dispute resolution per WP:CON. --Zefr (talk) 14:17, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

Everyone please stay calm. This is only baseless accusations. @Zefr: it would be helpful if you could reply directly to the arguments raised above, instead of just accusing randomly. Systematic reviews and dietary guidelines were provided, can you provide at least one source of similar quality to show that what you think is the scientific consensus? --Signimu (talk) 14:36, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
This is an article about a proverb and not about how it is advisable to eat fruit in general or apples in particular. Likewise it is not an article about the medicinal effects of caraway. I'll write a bit more about caraway in the article about caraway. Sorry most of the sources is in Norwegian. That is one reason I provided a quote in the reference. I was perhaps a bit long in what i wrote in this article. One sentence about the benefits from eating caraway which was very much a part of medicine and actual usage at the time the proverb came into existence could be added. Otherwise the article about caraway definitely should be expanded. Likewise reseach done on apples as food belongs in the article about apples. It just does not belong in this article. Dietary guidelines on eating fruits or apples should not be included in this article. --regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 18:53, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Agree @Dyveldi:, and that's what I somewhat tried to do for Apple (put there the infos and here only dietary guidelines). The rationale for this idea was found here: [1], which has the following title «An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it’s a healthy choice anyway». I think this is a nice summary of what the scientific section should reflect, and which it does not currently. So maybe it could be rewritten, but missing on the fact that dietary guidelines recommend a higher intake of fruits, and such proverbs are nudging in the correct way, would just be missing the big picture IMO. For caraway, I entirely agree, you have put it in the origin section as it was appropriate, and the medicinal use is even supported by a high quality reference (the European Medical Agency), so I can't understand why it was removed by Zefr? --Signimu (talk) 23:08, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

ALL, THIS SECTION WAS TO BE ABOUT DISCUSSING THE HISTORY OF THE PROVERB. The sources listed at the beginning pertained to the ORIGIN of the Welsh Proverb --WHY/WHEN/HOW it came into existence. Zefr INCORRECTLY ruled out these sources because he seems to INCORRECTLY believe that all sources in an article containing something to do with science have to meet WP:MEDRS guidelines: "Wright, Taggart and Pollan are not scientists, physicians, authors of medical guidelines, or reliable medical-content authors. The only usable source is the JAMA article, which directly assessed the proverb." This is NOT a valid reason for excluding these sources from the ORIGIN / HISTORY of the PROVERB section. See WP:MEDRS Biomedical v. General Information: "Sourcing for all other types of content – including non-medical information in medicine-articles – is covered by the general guideline on identifying reliable sources." (talk) 00:31, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Caraway seedsEdit

We have a Norwegian herbal source from 1973 ([å_Knatten this book), saying that the origin of the phrase is bound up with the practice of eating (maybe fried) apple and caraway seeds. Really? No other of the many sources say this and so per WP:EXCEPTIONAL I don't this we can include this. Alexbrn (talk) 07:44, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Please do not remove. You have no consensus to remove. This proverb was coined 1866 or earlier. The first appearance in print is 1866. Later usage of an old proverb does not remove the reason. It is ok to connect it to who said it and I'll not expand. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 08:07, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Please be advised that Alexbrn have removed the same content 3 times within 24 hours which brings the user close to Wikipedia:3RR. Please do not accuse other good faith editors of edit warring as you did on my talk page and please use the article talk page to discuss the matter. You alone is not a consensus. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 08:20, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't need "consensus to remove". If the intention is to include this content with the exceptional claim that its origin is bound up with eating caraway seeds, then I object and think we cannot include it. You are at 3RR (without discussion) and will likely be blocked if you revert again. The source appears to be about a herb garden in Norway - I cannot read Norwegian so ask: is this about a cultural practice in Norway? That might be includable but the implication that this is a universal practice is absurd. Alexbrn (talk) 08:25, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Please just stop your accusations Alexbrn. I had no intention of reverting for the third time. You are assuming intentions without having any reason. You have however removed content three times. Also please see discussion above. I have no intention of expanding about the caraway which I added once. I agreed whith the section being removed in one of the threads above. One sentence is however in my mind ok.regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 08:36, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
No it's not okay the way you did it, for the reasons I gave. Have you a response? Alexbrn (talk) 08:38, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Please start assuming good faith. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 08:52, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
What? Are you going to respond to my questions? Alexbrn (talk) 08:59, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Enough. If you have any questions and not just accusations, please find somewhere else to write. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 09:12, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Back to the caraway sentence. I think the one sentence is ok. Both because it is at good source, but also because to eat caraway with apples goes way back before the proverb first appeared in print. In Shakespares play Henry IV Falstaff is handed an apple and a plate with caraway which was a traditional ending to feasts at the time. The source is [[2]] on page 62. The original text is "I Shakespeares skuespill Henry IV blir Falstaff overrakt et eple og en skål med karve, en tradisjonell avslutning på datidens fester. " The source does not say if it is Henry IV, Part 1 or part 2. regards Dyveldi ☯ prat ✉ post 09:12, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

There no doubt that caraway was and is served with apple - but the origin of the phrase according to strong RS does not involve caraway. As I say, this is an exceptional claim so we need more than one source. Quite apart from anything else the proverb cannot be very old because its use of the word "doctor" is comparatively modern. Alexbrn (talk) 09:26, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

The phrase isn't literalEdit

"An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor Away" is not a literal piece of advice, rather it just mean that doing a healthy activity daily improves your health. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kanclerz K-Tech (talkcontribs) 17:32, 12 January 2021 (UTC)

Regarding a recent deletionEdit

With little explanation fellow editor Zefr in one edit deleted a large amount of sourced content (and sources). In the same edit content was restored that's refuted by the sources. (Here's the diff): [3]

Here's Zefr's explanation in the edit summary: "Discuss on talk page; source is not a WP:MEDRS review." However, WP:MEDRS indicates that the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology is indeed appropriate. It's a highly regarded source — it's Wikipedia page says it represents "30 scientific societies and over 130,000 researchers from around the world", and is "recognized as the policy voice of biological and biomedical researchers."

I'd like to restore the content. - Bitwixen (talk) 15:46, 11 August 2021 (UTC)

The source provided from ScienceDaily is misleading in several ways: 1) the headline title is being used as a conclusion, which it was not by any scientific standard; 2) it was not a full publication in FASEB Journal - nor was it an official publication by the FASEB organization, but rather was a news item (WP:NOTNEWS) about an upcoming presentation at a 2011 meeting; 2) further, the study was never published, as indicated by the PubMed listing for the lead author; 3) the study was primary observational research on a limited number of women, a dubious study design, as are all dietary studies, and so fails WP:MEDRS; 4) the author was quoted as describing apples as a "miracle fruit" and "Reducing body weight is an added benefit to daily apple intake", two ridiculous statements which should immediately raise doubts about veracity: Take a dose of skepticism. The source fails criteria for use in the encyclopedia. Zefr (talk) 16:49, 11 August 2021 (UTC)

The disparaging comments [above] that accuse Bahram H. Arjmandi of [CONTENT DELETED PER WP:BLP] are improper, and should be removed. Arjmandi is an eminent person, whose work is making serious contributions in a variety of ways [please check out the Wikipedia article on him]. Editors of Wikipedia need to be cautious about making negative comments about people, including those who are not here on this page to defend themselves. To respond to the above comments (numbered one through four) on the recent deletion: The original edit summary for the deletion referenced Wikipedia:MEDRS, but the comments above are either not supported by Wikipedia:MEDRS, or nothing specifically from that page is indicated. It is falsely suggested [above] that a report sourced to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology was never published in the Federations journal. In fact, it was published in the April issue of the "Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology". Other comments (including the disparagements of the study itself) are one editor's opinion. - Bitwixen (talk) 11:29, 12 August 2021 (UTC)

Following the above discussion about the source, I have restored the content, but now I have supported the content and added two additional sources. - Bitwixen (talk) 12:49, 12 August 2021 (UTC)
Warning to Bitwixen here and on their talk page - do not edit the talk page comments by other editors, WP:TALKNO. [CONTENT DELETED PER WP:BLP]. There are no WP:MEDRS sources or common sense to support these bizarre ideas. Final warning before reporting you to admin for WP:DE and violation of WP:TALK. Zefr (talk) 16:53, 13 August 2021 (UTC)
This revert was justified because: 1) the source for the Netherlands study was a newspaper blog, failing the WP:MEDSCI requirement for content related to human diseases, such as stroke; 2) the 8-year old BMJ study (see WP:MEDDATE) was a modelling projection of retrospective dietary practices which only estimated apple consumption among other fruits and vegetables. It is impossible to see the significance of this study to address the proverb; 3) this USDA source on apple nutrients (choose portion from the picklist) does provide nutrient Daily Values and the amounts for different sugars, including fructose, under Carbohydrates - more details. Bitwixen is attempting to rewrite the article out of revenge for perceived disparagement of author Arjmandi. Changes to the existing article - which is about a proverb, and so has not been subjected to detailed WP:MEDRS-quality studies - will need support from other editors per WP:CON. Zefr (talk) 18:30, 15 August 2021 (UTC)

user-user dispute, not pertinent to the articleEdit

collapse WP:FORUM content. This is not appropriate for this talk page.— Shibbolethink ( ) 21:11, 1 September 2021 (UTC)

There are a number of false statements being made. He [fellow editor Zefr] misrepresents the policy violation, for one thing. I am not going to bother to refute all of them. It is a form of fallacious argument to create a mountain of false accusations, misstatements, misinterpretations, and in that way destroy the discussion itself on a talk page. To answer them all point-by-point would be a mountainous project, and that would probably be followed by more of the same fallacious nonsense. And who would want to read all that? Nobody. I will refute one of the pettiest comments: My fellow editor claims I am thin-skinned. I am not. My friends all say I am the opposite. They complain about it. The truth is my fellow editor is behaving like that character under the bridge in the children's story, "Billy Goat's Gruff", who won't let anybody cross over. He wants this Wikipedia page to say a certain thing, and no amount of reliable sources that contradict his personal opinion will prevent him from getting his way. It is in a small way how Wikipedia contributes false information to the unsuspecting reader. Unfortunately there are plenty like him here. - Bitwixen (talk) 08:50, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

It is not a bad idea to ask if there is any truth to the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The article could then point out what various reliable sources say, whether it’s good or bad or whatever. There are a number of reliable sources out there that weigh in on the topic. But in this case one editor says: "No! Reliable sources be damned! This article must, must, must express my own personal opinion!" And that editor will go to war to assert his own opinion. That’s a problem, and it’s not uncommon. (I think it’s the reason founder Larry Sanger left Wikipedia.) - Bitwixen (talk) 08:51, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

This edit concerning the Netherlands study was reverted because
a) the content as written provides misinformation, such as eating fruit (not specifically apples) can lower the risk of stroke, apple dietary fiber can lower the risk of hypertension, and apple quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties - none of these effects has been established in the medical literature;
b) the source is a newspaper blog, and therefore does not provide a reliable source for discussing human health per WP:MEDRS. There appears to be no peer-reviewed publication in the literature to justify use of this content, indicating it was a weak study unworthy of publication, and therefore unworthy of use in an encyclopedia.
Please discuss the changes, recruit other editors to establish consensus for your changes per WP:CON, and use reliable sources. The burden of proof for new text in the article is on the person wishing to change the content, WP:BURDEN. That has not been established here. Zefr (talk) 16:03, 16 August 2021 (UTC)
This edit was justified to 1) clarify the BMJ study as only an estimation from computer modelling (this is actually primary research and speculation, and therefore the paragraph and source may be removed as only preliminar research with excessive conjecture); and 2) add the source and link to the apple article nutrition section here for the paucity of nutrients in a 100 g apple. The section is relevant because the proverb is misleading to imply that apples are nutritious - which they are not - and may therefore supply a health effect that "keeps the doctor away". Only the dietary fiber amount in a raw apple has nutritional significance, but the health effects of apple dietary fiber have not been assessed and published under peer-review. Conclusion - Apples provide no signficant nutrients and are nothing more than a tasty snack. Zefr (talk) 17:04, 16 August 2021 (UTC)