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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 August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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