Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Weight Loss?

For thousands of years, vinegar solutions—specifically those containing apple cider vinegar—have been regarded as a panacea for many common health conditions like sore throat, diabetes, varicose veins and even cancer. Vinegar was also said to have been used as an antiseptic to treat wounds and as an antibiotic to combat infection.

These days, however, apple cider vinegar has once again gained popularity due to its various health benefits and supposed ability to help with weight loss and detoxification.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is essentially apple juice combined with yeast to convert its sugar to alcohol, which is then fermented with bacteria that transforms it into acetic acid.

Acetic acid, being the main active component of apple cider vinegar, comprises about 5-6% of this solution. It also contains water and other elements in trace amounts, such as malic acid.

Traditional production of apple cider vinegar could take up to a month, however, some manufacturers are able to speed up the process to reduce turnaround time to a single day.

Effects of apple cider vinegar on rodents

Some studies conducted on rats and mice suggest that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar aids in weight loss by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels, improving metabolism and the fat-burning process, reducing fat storage, and suppressing appetite.

  • Lowers blood sugar and insulin levels: One rat study showed that the liver and muscles absorbed sugar from the blood better with acetic acid. The study also demonstrated that acetic acid reduced the insulin to glucagon ratio, which might contribute to fat burning.
  • Improves metabolism: Similarly, another study in rats given acetic acid exhibited an increase in AMPK, the enzyme that boosts metabolism and inhibits the production of fat and sugar in the liver.
  • Burns fat: An experiment conducted on mice that were put on a high-fat diet accompanied by acetic acid revealed a considerable expression of the genes that stimulate fat burning, resulting in less build-up of body fat.
  • Reduces fat storage: Administering acetic acid or acetate to rats that were obese and diabetic prevented them from gaining weight and encouraged the expression of genes that decreased liver fat and storage of belly fat.
  • Suppresses appetite: Another research indicated that acetate could suppress brain functions responsible for controlling appetite, causing food consumption to become less.

How does apple cider vinegar contribute to weight loss?

Research in human subjects also implies that vinegar has beneficial effects on digestion, weight and body fat.

A small study conducted on 11 people revealed that taking vinegar with a high-carb meal can reduce blood sugar response by 55% one hour after eating. The research also showed that it can help suppress appetite resulting in 200-275 fewer calories consumed subsequent to vinegar intake.

Moreover, apple cider vinegar has also been observed to delay the pace of food passage through the stomach so one feels full for an extended period.

Another small study demonstrated the same effect of slower emptying of the stomach after taking apple cider vinegar with foods high in carbohydrates, making one feel fuller longer and lowering levels of blood sugar and insulin.

A rather larger study on humans involved 144 obese Japanese adults segregated into three separate groups. The first group consumed 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar, the second one drank 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar and the third took a placebo drink. They did this every day for a period of twelve weeks.

Apart from being instructed to limit their alcohol consumption, the subjects remained on their usual diet and maintained their existing lifestyle throughout the study.

The following data are based on the average results gathered from those who had 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar per day:

  • Weight loss of 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg)
  • 0.7% decrease in body fat percentage
  • 0.5 inches (1.4 cm) decrease in waist circumference
  • 26% decrease in triglycerides

Those who consumed 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar daily exhibited a little more improvement compared to the first group as shown in the data below:

  • Weight loss of 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg)
  • 0.9% decrease in body fat percentage
  • 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) decrease in waist circumference
  • 26% decrease in triglycerides

On the other hand, the placebo group reportedly gained 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs) and measured a slight increase in their waist circumference.

This broader study conducted on humans concludes that including 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in your daily diet helps you lose weight by reducing your body fat percentage, trimming down your midsection and decreasing the stored fat and cholesterol in your blood.

Although the results of these studies were promising, further research and investigation still need to be done. It is also worth noting that the kind of vinegar in some of the studies conducted on humans was not specified, however, it’s rational to assume that the effects observed in these experiments can be attributed to the acetic acid content present in all forms of vinegar.

Incorporating apple cider vinegar in your diet

If you want to lose weight, studies say the prescribed amount of apple cider vinegar to take is 1–2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day. The best way of getting your daily fix may be to divide the amount into two to three dosages, diluting it in water and drinking the mixture once before every meal or consuming it with other foods.

Anything more than this could do you more harm than good as vinegar causes nausea, erosion of tooth enamel, as well as oral and esophageal burns when undiluted.

While there is not enough evidence and medical literature confirming that apple cider vinegar helps in weight loss, there is certainly no harm in trying it out for yourself, provided you limit your consumption to the prescribed daily amount. It’s also advisable to consult a doctor before taking apple cider vinegar, especially if you’re under medication as some drug interactions could pose a risk to your health.

Apple cider vinegar may contribute to weight loss, as well as provide other health benefits, but having a complete and balanced diet—in addition to exercising and living a well-rounded lifestyle—is the key to achieving your ideal weight and desired overall wellness.

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