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Published on October 4, 2019

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss?

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss?

Few foods are as storied as the apple. Thanks to its widespread availability, it may not seem like a very exotic fruit, but it’s still significant to people and cultures all around the world — not just as a healthy staple, but as a mythological symbol (and an icon of science, as well).[1][2]

Part of the fruit’s fame lies in its versatility. From its sweet derivatives (like applesauce and apple juice) to the tangy (like apple cider vinegar), this gem of nature has a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. As for that vinegar? It might just be a little-known but vital way of peeling off the pounds.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss?

A lot of people want to know whether apple cider vinegar actually helps with weight loss. In a word, yes. Scientists have more than one theory about the underlying biological mechanisms, but the short answer is that it does make a difference. The knowledge we’ve gained from scientific inquiry goes a long way toward helping explain a part of apple history — the fact that vinegar from apples has been used as a medicinal tonic across many cultures, dating back centuries.

Studies using human subjects have shown that not only does apple cider vinegar help reduce weight, it also lowers body fat and serum triglyceride levels (triglycerides are the main constituent of the body’s fat cells).[3]

The research in question comes from a study of 144 Japanese adults suffering from obesity. They were split into three separate groups — one group added a single tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to their daily intake; one added two tablespoons, and the third group consumed a daily placebo.

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The treatment took place over a 12-week period. Other than limiting how much alcohol they drank, participants were not asked to change anything else about their diet or exercise routines.

The results were striking. On average, members of the group that drank one tablespoon of vinegar every day lost 2.6 pounds, experienced a 0.7 percent decrease in body fat, and dropped triglyceride levels by 26 percent — no small feat.

The group that consumed double the vinegar, however, saw even more impressive results — in addition to the same 26 percent drop in triglycerides, those participants lost an average of 3.7 pounds and 0.9 percent of their body fat.

As for those who only had a placebo, no weight loss occurred. In fact, those participants gained weight — 0.9 pounds on average.

One study is good, but science demands replication. Was the weight loss benefit from the Japanese study on obesity just a fluke? Not at all, based in part on the following:

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In terms of metabolism, humans and mice are quite similar, which is why the furry little guys play a big role in lots of nutritional studies. A separate, six-week-long experiment (also in Japan) showed that mice, too, experience weight-loss effects from adding apple cider vinegar to their diets.

Actually, the results were remarkably similar to the human trial; mice who took a high dose of vinegar gained less weight than those who took a lower dose, and both groups gained less than those who took none at all. This is despite each group being fed the same high-fat, high-calorie diet.[4]

How Does This Happen?

Again, there’s some debate about this. In at least one study, researchers were able to demonstrate that acetic acid (apple cider vinegar’s main ingredient) may lower blood sugar levels by aiding the liver and muscles in absorbing glucose from the bloodstream. The lowered blood sugar and insulin reduction that goes along with it, may promote the body’s ability to burn fat. And the more fat you’re able to burn at rest, the better everything goes.[5]

Acetic acid intake also correlates with levels of AMPK, an enzyme that contributes to cell homeostasis. The higher the AMPK availability, the greater the body’s fat-burning ability — and the less sugar produced by the liver, two things that can contribute to the kinds of results seen in the apple cider vinegar studies.[6]

Apparently, consuming extra acetic acid like that found in apple cider vinegar has an effect even on a genetic level — an additional study that treated obese, diabetic rats with acetic acid heightened the expression of certain genes that govern the body’s likelihood of retaining belly and liver fat. In other words, when you’ve got extra acetic acid, your genes are likely to tell your body not to add belly fat to your body — a welcome message.[7]

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Yet another study suggests that the whole thing could be as simple as the fact that acetate consumption reduces appetite. And when you eat less (even if it’s just a little bit less), you give your body a chance to adjust to a lower percentage body fat, etc. [8]

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Alone Work for Weight Loss?

It’s easy to get caught up in the headlines and the idea that something as simple as tossing a bit of vinegar down the hatch can help us accomplish our biggest health goals, but we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.

Apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss, but that doesn’t mean any of us should go out and stop exercising. Regular exercise, proper hydration, plenty of sleep, and a balanced diet are still crucial factors in both body mass measurements and overall wellbeing (which is something I can personally vouch for).[9]

Additional Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar isn’t just good for knocking inches off your waist, either; it’s got loads of other upsides for your health. For instance, it’s a probiotic, meaning it contains friendly bacteria that help support a healthy digestive ecosystem.

On top of that, it’s got a decent amount of antioxidants, those helpful little molecules that negate free radical damage. And those lowered triglyceride levels do more than just help you retain a pretty shape — they reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too.

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How to Reap Its Benefits

If you’re worried about the taste, it’s not as bad as you think. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water actually goes down quite nicely, especially when you add in a dash of honey. There are also plenty of other ways to incorporate it into your food, such as in a salad dressing, deviled eggs, or creamy vegan queso dip.[10]

Be mindful, though — you can get too much of a good thing. Too large a dose of the tonic can burn your throat (ouch!) or give you a stomach ache, not to mention interfere with your bowel regularity. Also, be sure to brush your teeth shortly after drinking it. The primary ingredient is acid, which can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. To be on the safe side, you can use a straw as an easy workaround for this.

Safe consumption practices include splitting the dose into portions rather than swigging it all at once, and heavily diluting it no matter how much you take. This also helps prevent your throat from feeling raw afterwards.

As far as the “right” dose, a review of apple cider vinegar’s therapeutic benefits found that 15 mL a day was enough to confer most of those. That’s about one tablespoon, or half of what was taken by the biggest losers in the Japanese weight-loss study.[11]

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that apple cider vinegar is probably the least expensive yet most effective health supplement you can pick up from any basic grocery store. There’s plenty of reason to believe that it can help you shave off — or keep off — the pounds.

An apple a day might not keep the doctor away, but based on all this evidence, a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar just might.

More About Healthy Weight Loss

Featured photo credit: Bárbara Montavon via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. David Minkoff

Health Expert | CEO BodyHealth | Co-Owner and Medical Director at Lifeworks Wellness Center | Author

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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