Health 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Weight Loss?

January 09, 2021 6 min read

Yellow apple trees in an orchard

Apple cider vinegar is more than just any ordinary pantry staple. In fact, people have been using this fermented ingredient as a health supplement for centuries. 

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is believed to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and even manage weight. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that consuming small amounts of apple cider vinegar can make people feel fuller, leading them to consume fewer calories. For this reason, many are now turning to apple cider vinegar to help with weight loss and appetite suppression.

Are you wondering if apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight? Keep reading to learn more about its benefits and how ACV can be a fruitful addition to a healthy and balanced diet. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

Mostly composed of apple juice, apple cider vinegar is made using a two-step fermentation process. After cutting up or crushing the apples, the manufacturer adds yeast to convert the sugar to alcohol. They then add bacteria to transform the alcohol into acetic acid. While making apple cider vinegar traditionally takes about a month, modern technologies have accelerated the process to about a day. 

A popular home remedy, apple cider vinegar is reported to have a wide range of health and wellness benefits. Its main active ingredient is acetic acid, which scientists believe is responsible for its various health properties.

However, in its unfiltered state, apple cider vinegar also contains bacteria, enzymes, and proteins known as the “mother.” Some enthusiasts believe the mother is what makes this ingredient a star. 

In recent years, many people have also begun to take apple cider vinegar to help with weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar and weight loss

There are various reasons to consider apple cider vinegar for weight loss. One of the primary benefits is its potential to support a healthy insulin response. According to a study involving rats, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar decreases the ratio of insulin to glucagon—an action thought to boost fat-burning. Though more research is needed to examine the translation to human health benefits, early studies show promise.

Additional research indicates that consuming apple cider vinegar may help boost your metabolism. In another animal study, rats given acetic acid demonstrated an increase in an enzyme associated with reduced sugar production and increased fat-burning. Similarly, rats suffering from metabolic issues showcased an increase in the expression of genes associated with lower-belly fat storage after taking acetic acid for a period of time. 

Consuming apple cider vinegar has also been linked to appetite suppression. According to studies, acetic acid works by impacting the parts of the brain that manage hunger. By taking apple cider vinegar, individuals may be able to reduce their food intake, resulting in weight loss. 

Additionally, apple cider vinegar may result in smaller blood sugar spikes. According to a 2010 study, consuming just two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar at mealtime helped stabilize blood sugar levels by interfering with starch absorption. As a result, participants experienced fewer sugar cravings. 

What results you can expect

It’s worth noting that most of the apple cider vinegar studies thus far have involved animals. As a result, more research is needed to assess precisely how apple cider vinegar impacts humans. Still, there’s limited evidence to indicate that consuming apple cider vinegar on a daily basis can help people lose body fat. 

In a study involving overweight Japanese adults, taking apple cider vinegar (ACV) every day led to positive results for both weight and body fat percentage. Study participants were assigned to consume either one tablespoon of ACV, two tablespoons of ACV, or a placebo each day. 

While the placebo group gained weight on average, those who consumed one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar lost an average of 2.6 pounds, and those who consumed two teaspoons lost 3.7 pounds over 12 weeks. Additionally, those in the ACV groups saw significant improvements in body fat percentage and waist circumference. Of note, study participants were asked to limit their alcohol intake but make no other significant dietary changes. 

A red apple before it's turned into apple cider vinegar

Tips for consuming apple cider vinegar

If you decide to consume apple cider vinegar, it’s important to do so in a way that’s safe and healthy. One of the easiest ways to add it to your diet is by using it in salad dressing. Simply mix apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and pepper, and pour a small amount over leafy greens and veggies.

If you don’t want to use a dressing made from apple cider vinegar—or you simply don’t eat enough salads for this to be a practical option—you might choose to drink it instead. It’s critical to mix your ACV with water before consuming it. Drinking undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause nausea, mouth burns, tooth-enamel erosion, and serious damage to your esophagus. For best results, add one teaspoon of ACV to around a cup of water and then consume. 

Finally, apple cider vinegar comes in pill or tablet form. Many people prefer this option because it doesn’t have the unpleasant vinegar flavor present in the liquid version. Along with aiding in weight loss, ACV pills may help maintain blood sugar levels already in healthy range while increasing your antioxidants.*

Should you take apple cider vinegar for weight loss?

ACV is generally regarded as a safe supplement for healthy individuals. However, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before embarking on a new dietary regimen. Additionally, individuals with certain pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, should avoid consuming apple cider vinegar regularly. 

Some medications are known to interact negatively with apple cider vinegar. If you take insulin or insulin-stimulating medicines, consuming apple cider vinegar could cause low blood sugar or low potassium levels, both of which can be harmful to your health. 

Additionally, those who take Digoxin or Lanoxin may want to avoid apple cider vinegar to prevent a drop in potassium. Finally, individuals who take diuretics on a regular basis should use caution when consuming apple cider vinegar, as these medications can result in the body excreting more potassium. 

Talking to your doctor is the best way to ensure a new supplement is safe and prevent any negative interactions with your existing medications.

In summary

Found on the shelf of almost any grocery store, apple cider vinegar is a supermarket staple with numerous benefits. No longer just a salad topping, apple cider vinegar is now believed to provide a wide range of health benefits. While anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar can help improve various skin issues, new research reveals that consuming a spoonful or two every day can reduce your appetite and even aid in weight loss.

Many existing studies involving apple cider vinegar and weight loss involve animal subjects. However, some research shows that apple cider vinegar provides positive health benefits to human participants.

By adding apple cider vinegar to your diet, you may be able to decrease your insulin levels, increase your metabolism, and reduce your appetite.* Additionally, research reveals that apple cider vinegar can help individuals lose weight and reduce both body fat percentage and waist circumference. More studies are needed to confirm that the product can have a positive long-term effect on weight and nutrition.

It’s worth noting that individuals need to take care when consuming apple cider vinegar. Because it’s highly acidic, drinking it straight can result in a host of adverse effects, including tooth decay, nausea, and serious burns to the mouth, throat, and esophagus. For best results, refrain from drinking ACV unless you mix it with an appropriate amount of water. If you dislike the sour taste of liquid apple cider vinegar, you may opt to take this supplement in pill form instead.

While apple cider vinegar is widely regarded as safe, not everyone is a prime candidate for this supplement. Those who have pre-existing conditions or take certain prescriptions should talk to their doctor before adding apple cider vinegar to their diet. In particular, people with diabetes and those who take medications that impact their potassium levels may want to avoid consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.

Do your research to determine if ACV is a safe and effective way of achieving your weight loss goals in the coming months. 

April Maguire - Contributing Writer, Physician’s Choice


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