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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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