How Does Adding Apple Cider Vinegar To Your Diet Help You Lose Weight?
You’ve probably noticed that apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been in the spotlight as of late, and for good reason. ACV has quite a lot of health benefits, but lately people are touting that it works for weight loss by helping melt belly fat. Yet the question remains, does it really work for weight loss? And if so, how?
According to Vanessa Rissetto, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. it’s important to understand that “apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples, squeezing out the juice. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, which converts the sugars to alcohol. In a second fermentation process, which converts the sugars to alcohol.”
“In a second fermentation step, the alcohol is converted into vinegar bacteria,” she adds. And while a number of Instagram influencers and more importantly, holistic health experts share that it really works, regardless of whether it helps you shed actual pounds isn’t so crystal clear.
This is what research and experts have to say about using apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
What’s the Science Behind Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?
Despite how popular ACV has become, there’s only a bit of evidence that has directly tied it to weight loss in humans. The Journal of Functional Foods released a study that shared how 39 adult volunteers took in a tablespoon of ACV at both lunch and dinner time, while removing at least 250 calories from their diet per day. They lost around 8.8 pounds in a matter of 12 weeks. Meanwhile, those that also cut out the same number of calories yet didn’t drink ACV only lost 5 pounds.
Another study released in the Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry had 144 adults that were considered obese to participate in their research. They were randomly requested to drink one to two tablespoons of ACV or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, the participants that drank two tablespoons lost almost four pounds. Those that drank only one tablespoon lost 2.5 pounds, while those that drank placebo even ended up gaining a little weight.
Yet, their outcome still didn’t prove that apple cider vinegar actually melts fat magically. In fact, Erin Palinksi-Wade, R.D., C.D.E., L.D.N. explains, “These studies were done on very small populations. But the consistent results indicate that ACV may be a beneficial tool in reducing body weight.”
To add to that, ACV also has properties that can help support one’s weight-loss efforts as well. A study from 2013published in the Journal of Functional Foods shares that consuming ACV before a meal can actually lead to smaller blood sugar spikes than usual.
Another study from 2010 that was published in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism shares that taking two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar at meal time could also help lessen sugar crashes and stabilize blood sugar levels. Although experts still don’t know exactly why this happens, one nutrition researcher that has studied the effects of ACV at the Arizona University, Carol Johnston, Ph.D., believes that ‘compounds in the vinegar interfere with the absorption of some starches.’
This is important is because when people’s blood sugar levels go high or how, this leads to cravings, and cravings for none other than sugary snacks and food. Amy Goodson, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., LD, explained, “So if apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar, this could help managed cravings and portion control, potential leading to fewer calories consumed.”
Moreover, another study from 2014 published in the Journal of Food Science says that vinegars – just like apple cider vinegar – can actually aid in reducing the effects of diabetes, as well as prevent issues with cardiovascular disease all due to its antioxidant activity. Because of ACV’s high levels of the polyphenol known as chlorogenic acid, this ‘could help improve heart health by inhibiting the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol.’
Another study by Johnston in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares that there is a chance the apple cider vinegar has a direct link that makes people eat less. The study found that participants that drank ACV before having a meal actually ate up to 275 calories less all throughout the day. Yet despite the results, it’s still not known exactly why that is. Maybe it’s because the apple cider vinegar has compounds that actually suppress one’s appetite, or maybe it’s because the actual act of drinking it is so unpleasant, people prefer not to eat after drinking it.
So Should People Try Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?
Although taking in ACV alone isn’t enough to make you lose weight, it could help with the practices that we know do work, like working out and eating healthy. And drinking it won’t do any harm as long as you don’t drink too much in a day, says Goodson and Palinski-Wade.
Johnston shares that because apple cider vinegar is like any other vinegar, the high acidity that it contains can actually aggravate the throat and even strip the tooth enamel. And Rissetto adds that “the acidity could bother you if you experience reflux.” Meanwhile, Palinksi-Wade warns, “ACV should never be consumed straight” and that users should take only one tablespoon twice daily, diluting it with eight ounces of water.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Diet for Weight Loss
If you’re wondering what the best time to drink apple cider vinegar may be, experts agree that it should be taken before or with a meal. That way, it will up the chances for it to help keep one’s blood sugar steady, as well as keep you feeling fuller longer. If you struggle to take the apple cider vinegar with water, you can find ways to add it into your actual food, like mixing it with olive oil to drizzle over a saddle, or possibly over some steamed vegetables or adding it to a smoothie.
In order to fully maximize the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, be sure to choose one that’s raw and unfiltered. Palinski-Wade explains, “Unfiltered versions contain proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria from the vinegar starter or mother.” Some of the most popular brands are Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar and Spectrum Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, both of which are thankfully easily found in your local grocery store.