Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a health tonic for thousands of years.
Research shows it has many health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels.
In this article, Scitec Nutrition Athlete Emi Roberti gives you the research behind apple cider vinegar and weight loss and provides tips on incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar and how is it made?
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process:
- First, apples are cut or crushed and combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol.
- Second, bacteria is added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.
Traditional apple cider vinegar production takes about one month, though some manufacturers dramatically accelerate the process so that it takes only a day.
Acetic acid is the main active component of apple cider vinegar. Also known as ethanoic acid, it is an organic compound with a sour taste and strong odour. The term acetic comes from acetum, the Latin word for vinegar. About 5–6% of apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid. It also contains water and trace amounts of other acids, such as malic acid. One tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar contains about three calories and virtually no carbohydrates.
Acetic Acid Has Various Benefits for Fat Loss
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in your body. Studies suggest that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may promote weight loss in several ways:
- Lowering blood sugar levels: In one rat study, acetic acid improved the ability of the liver and muscles to take up sugar from the blood.
- Decreasing insulin levels: In the same rat study, acetic acid also reduced the ratio of insulin to glucagon, which might favour fat burning.
- Improve metabolism: In another study, rats exposed to acetic acid showed an increase in the enzyme AMPK, which boosts fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver.
- Reduces fat storage: Treating obese, diabetic rats with acetic acid or acetate protected them from weight gain and increased the expression of genes that reduces belly fat storage and liver fat.
- Burns fat: A study in mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with acetic acid found a significant increase in the genes responsible for fat burning, which led to less body fat buildup.
- Suppresses appetite: Another study suggests acetate may suppress centres in your brain that control appetite, which can lead to reduced food intake.
Apple Cider Vinegar Increases Fullness and Reduces Calorie Intake
Apple cider vinegar may promote fullness, which can decrease calorie intake. In one small study of 11 people, those who took vinegar with a high-carb meal had a 55% lower blood sugar response one hour after eating. They also ended up consuming 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.
In addition to its appetite-suppressing effects, apple cider vinegar has also been shown to slow the rate at which food leaves your stomach. In another small study, taking apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal significantly slowed stomach emptying. This led to increased feelings of fullness and lowered blood sugar and insulin levels.
However, some people may have a condition that makes this effect harmful. Gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying, is a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Timing insulin with food intake becomes problematic because it is difficult to predict how long it will take for blood sugar to rise after a meal. Since apple cider vinegar has been shown to extend the time food stays in your stomach, taking it with meals could worsen gastroparesis.
It May Help You Lose Weight and Body Fat
Results from one human study indicate that apple cider vinegar has impressive effects on weight and body fat. In this 12-week study, 144 obese Japanese adults consumed either 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar or a placebo drink every day. They were told to restrict their alcohol intake but otherwise continue their usual diet and activity throughout the study.
Those who consumed 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar per day had — on average — the following benefits:
- Weight loss: 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg)
- Decrease in body fat percentage: 0.7%
- Decrease in waist circumference: 0.5 in (1.4 cm)
- Decrease in triglycerides: 26%
Here are the results for those consuming 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar per day:
- Weight loss: 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg)
- Decrease in body fat percentage: 0.9%
- Decrease in waist circumference: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
- Decrease in triglycerides: 26%
The placebo group actually gained 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs), and their waist circumference slightly increased.
According to this study, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your diet can help you lose weight. It can also reduce your body fat percentage, make you lose belly fat and decrease your blood triglycerides. This is one of an array of human studies that have investigated vinegar's effects on weight loss. Although the study was fairly large and the results are encouraging, additional studies are needed to verify the results.
Additionally, one six-week study in mice fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet found that the high-dose vinegar group gained 10% less fat than the control group and 2% less fat than the low-dose vinegar group
Other Health Benefits
In addition to promoting weight and fat loss, apple cider vinegar has several other benefits:
- Lowers blood sugar and insulin: When consumed with a high-carb meal, apple cider vinegar has been shown to significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating).
- Improves insulin sensitivity: One study in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes found that adding vinegar at a high-carb meal improved insulin sensitivity by 34%.
- Lowers fasting blood sugar: In a study in people with type 2 diabetes, those who took apple cider vinegar with a high-protein evening snack had twice the decrease in fasting blood sugar as those who didn’t .
- Improves PCOS symptoms: In a small study of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who took vinegar for 90–110 days, 57% resumed ovulation, likely due to improved insulin sensitivity
- Decreases cholesterol levels: Studies in diabetic and normal rats and mice found that apple cider vinegar increase “good” HDL cholesterol. It also reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
- Lowers blood pressure: Animal studies suggest that vinegar may decrease blood pressure by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for constricting blood vessels
- Kills harmful bacteria and viruses: Vinegar fights bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including E. coli. In one study, vinegar reduced numbers of certain bacteria by 90% and some viruses by 95%.
How to Add It to Your Diet
There are a few ways to include apple cider vinegar in your diet.
An easy method is to use it with olive oil as a salad dressing. It proves particularly tasty with leafy greens, cucumbers and tomatoes. It can also be used for pickling vegetables, or you can simply mix it into water and drink it.
The amount of apple cider vinegar used for weight loss is 1–2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day, mixed with water. It is best to spread this out into 2–3 doses throughout the day, and it may be best to drink it before meals. Taking more than this isn't recommended because of potentially harmful effects at higher dosages. It's also best to start off with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) to see how you tolerate it.
Do not take more than 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, because taking too much at one sitting may cause nausea. It’s important to mix it with water, as undiluted vinegar may burn the inside of your mouth and oesophagus.
Although taking apple cider vinegar in tablet form may seem beneficial, it comes with potentially large risks. In one instance, a woman suffered throat burns after an apple cider vinegar tablet became lodged in her oesophagus
At the end of the day, taking a moderate amount of apple cider vinegar appears to promote weight loss and provide a number of other health benefits. Other types of vinegar may provide similar benefits, although those with lower acetic acid content might have less potent effects
How I use apple cider vinegar
I started using it myself and found benefits in having a tablespoon 15 minutes before a meal and found that it stopped me bloating on foods that I was struggling with. My diet is normally low to medium carbs so when I get ready for a show and I need to carb up a lot I find it really useful. I also realised that during low calories stages of prep it got rid of cravings. This is due to its acid nature and it reset my stomach Ph levels. I also recommended apple cider vinegar to friends with digestive problems and it has helped them as a general health supplement.
I also use to make a natural fat burner with it before fasted cardio:
- 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of ginger
- Half a glass of water
I take it with an espresso on the side / 3000mg of L carnitine + stevia
Hope you found this useful.
Some of the data provided by this article were taken from the Research company “SupportoVitaliEnc”