If you’ve been searching for ways to lose weight, you must have come across apple cider vinegar. From experts extolling its virtues to celebrities claiming to have lost weight thanks to this magical elixir, apple cider vinegar (ACV) seems to be the go-to drink for weight loss these days. But is there any scientific truth behind apple cider vinegar weight loss claims? Let us find out.
Apple cider vinegar weight loss facts are based on scientific discoveries such as it has acetic acid content which helps in weight reduction. ACV also controls appetite, reduces hunger and maintains a healthy gut.
Also, it helps in sleeping well, which in turn reduces the urge to eat and ultimately results in weight loss.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, also known as cider vinegar, is a type of vinegar that is made from apples. The apples are cut and combined with yeast to convert their fruit sugar into alcohol. To this mixture, bacteria are added to convert the alcohol into acetic acid.
This acetic acid is what gives apple cider vinegar its sour taste and strong odour. Other constituents of vinegar include vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids, polyphenolic compounds and non-volatile organic acids like tartaric, citric, malic and lactic acid (1).
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar contains just four calories, minimal carbs and no fats (2).
The scientific truth behind apple cider vinegar weight loss claims
Vinegar has been used as a cure for many ailments since the times of ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Hippocrates, the great Greek physician, used cider vinegar to treat his patients in 400 BC.
In the recent years, apple cider vinegar has become famous for its ability to help you lose weight. It contains vitamin B1, B2 and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin C. It also includes some small amounts of sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.
It also consists of significant amounts of acetic acid which has many weight loss properties.
1. Acetic acid helps in weight loss
Numerous studies have been done to see the effect of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar on weight loss. One study discovered that when rats were fed acetic acid, it activated the enzyme AMPK in their liver.
This enzyme increases fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver (3). According to another study, treating diabetic rats with acetic acid affects lipid metabolism in both liver and skeletal muscles and work against obesity and obesity-linked type-2 diabetes (4).
Another study investigated the effect of acetic acid on the prevention of obesity in high-fat-fed mice. The study found that there was a significant increase in the genes responsible for fat burning in these mice (5).
Acetic acid dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in the body. According to a study, acetate helps to suppress the centres in the brain that control appetite. This can reduce the intake of food and help in reducing weight gain (6).
Further human trials are needed to support the claim that acetic acid has a similar weight loss effect in men and women.
2. Apple cider vinegar aids in hunger control
Some studies have found that vinegar helps in weight loss as it aids in hunger control. According to two studies published in Journal of American Diabetic Association and European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vinegar has a positive impact on meal satiety.
According to a recent study on healthy, young, healthy weight unrestrained eaters who took vinegar with their breakfast, vinegar ingestion enhances satiety (7).
According to another small study on 11 healthy people, when they took vinegar along with a high-carbohydrate meal, it had a 55 percent lower blood sugar response. They also took up to 275 fewer calories through the rest of the day (8).
In another study at a University in Sweden, ten volunteers were given vinegar in addition to a starchy meal. This meal plan significantly slowed down the emptying of the stomach and increased the feeling of fullness in these volunteers.
Since apple cider vinegar consumption promotes satiety and delays emptying of the stomach, it can lead to lower calorie intake and promote weight loss.
3. Vinegar can reduce body weight
According to a 2009 Japanese study, vinegar intake can lower body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese individuals (9).
During this 12-week study, 144 Japanese volunteers consumed one tablespoon, two tablespoons apple cider and a placebo drink (made up of 1,250 mg of lactate) every day. Other than limiting their alcohol intake they were not asked to make any changes in their diet.
The group that consumed one tablespoon of apple cider drink lost around 1.2 kg on an average, and their body fat percentage came down by .7 percent. This group decreased their waist circumference by 1.4 cm, and their triglyceride levels came down by 26 percent.
The group that consumed two tablespoons of apple cider drink lost around 1.7 kg on an average, and their body fat percentage came down by .9 percent. This group decreased their waist circumference by 1.9 cm, and their triglyceride levels came down by 26 percent.
This Japanese study is the only study that has investigated the effects of apple cider vinegar in humans. More studies are needed to confirm the findings of this study.
4. Apple cider vinegar acts as a probiotic for gut health
Raw or unpasteurised apple cider vinegar still contains beneficial bacteria and can be a tremendous probiotic-rich drink. According to a study published in Journal of Clinical investigation, probiotic bacteria can treat obesity and other chronic diseases (10).
Another study discovered that obese people could reduce their abdominal fat by 5 percent and subcutaneous fat by 3 percent, just by drinking a probiotic-rich drink like apple cider vinegar over 12 weeks (11).
5. Apple cider vinegar promotes sleep, which can help with weight loss
Apple cider vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of honey has been used as a remedy for insomnia from the time of Ming Dynasty. The author of ‘The Healing Powers of Vinegar,’ Cal Orey recommends mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with honey and warm water and drinking this before sleep time to be able to sleep better.
Research has shown that sleep deprivation lowers the levels of leptin and increases the levels of ghrelin and this can stimulate hunger. So, apple cider vinegar can indirectly help reduce hunger pangs by helping you sleep better.
Other health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many other health benefits.
- It aids in digestion. It increases the acidity in the stomach and helps with minor digestive ailments like acidity and heartburn.
- It helps the body absorb nutrients if the stomach is not producing enough acids.
- It can help soothe a sore throat.
- It can help lower the bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can improve our bone health.
- It helps in eliminating bacteria that cause bad breath in the mouth.
Apple cider vinegar has many beauty benefits as well. It helps in the treatment of acne, dandruff. It also helps to soothe sunburnt skin and improve yellowed nails. Apple cider vinegar is also known for its anti-ageing properties.
How to add apple cider vinegar to your diet?
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits. Many weight loss experts recommend having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of warm water early in the morning.
However, it is not exactly the most pleasant drink to have. Here are a few other ways in which you can add apple cider vinegar to your diet.
- Drizzle a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar on to your salad or mix it with another salad dressing.
- Mix it with a spoon of olive oil and use it as a marinade for meats and chicken.
- Drizzle some apple cider vinegar over grilled or sautéed vegetables for a unique flavour.
- You can mix apple cider vinegar with honey and add to your smoothie.
- Rinse your fruits and vegetables with apple cider vinegar. This removes harmful bacteria and pesticides from your food and adds beneficial apple cider vinegar.
The correct dosage for weight loss
Weight loss experts recommend having 15 to 30 ml of apple cider vinegar diluted with water per day for effective weight loss. Do not take more than 15 ml in one go or it may cause nausea.
Apple cider vinegar tablets are not safe and are not recommended (12).
Side effects of apple cider vinegar
Although there are several apple cider vinegar health benefits, taking it in high doses can have harmful side effects.
Apple cider vinegar taken in a large dose over a long period can lead to low potassium levels and bone loss. A case study of a 28-year-old woman who had 250 ml of apple cider vinegar over a period of six years showed that she was suffering from osteoporosis. This is because overconsumption of apple cider vinegar leached minerals from her bones (13).
Erosion of tooth enamel
The acetic acid content of apple cider vinegar can damage the enamel of teeth. According to a case study, a 15-year-old girl suffered dental decay as she used undiluted apple cider vinegar as a weight loss aid (14).
You should never consume apple cider vinegar undiluted as it can cause throat burns.
Final words on apple cider vinegar weight loss benefits
Apple cider vinegar can be a useful aid for weight loss as it helps reduce appetite and increase satiety. It contains acetic acid, which has numerous weight loss benefits. Do not consume more than 30 ml of apple cider vinegar in a day and always dilute it with water before you drink it.