It’s no secret that apple cider vinegar, or ACV as most people fondly call it, is good for your health. It has been used for centuries to heal colds, acid reflux, and allergies. But is apple cider vinegar for weight loss really a trick to help you shed unwanted pounds?
There are plenty of studies on ACV and losing weight out there to give us an idea if it’s a good addition to your weight-loss plan.
It’s important to remember that, regardless of how awesome a supplement is, a healthy diet and proper exercise are an important part of obtaining your goal.
ACV is fermented apple cider, and it’s loaded with enzymes that promote health. This makes it a wonderful supplement for health in general, but is drinking vinegar that burns when it goes down worth it?
We checked out some of the more popular rumors and looked into what the science has to say about them.
Apple Cider Vinegar Reduces Belly Fat
There are plenty of reasons why we get a little extra jiggle around our middle. It can be caused by hormonal changes, certain types of medications, health issues like thyroid disease or leaky gut, age, or genetics.
Sometimes excess belly fat happens because we’ve been sneaking a few too many sweet treats on our work break or doubling up on the pasta.
Whatever might be causing it, sometimes it’s hard to get rid of, even when we’re sticking to our diet plan.
A Japanese research team did a 12-week study to see if drinking ACV had any impact on weight loss. They found that participants who took 30 milliliters a day (less than half an ounce) had a decrease in weight, body mass index, and belly fat. (1)
They believe its ability to fight weight around the middle comes from the acetic acid in it, which is also responsible for its unique flavor.
While they only lost an average of two to four pounds, the fact that they didn’t make any other changes to their lifestyle or diet means that it does work a little bit. Most of us will take a two-pound loss any day.
It Makes You Feel Fuller
When it comes to weight gain, sometimes portion size is a culprit. If you eat out a lot, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
A study was done to see if the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar could make participants feel more satiated after a meal. Acetic acid impacts glucose levels and insulin, so the researchers gave every participant a piece of bread, along with different doses of acetic acid.
The ones who had the highest dose felt the fullest, so the researchers concluded that ACV can be used as an appetite suppressant. (2)
There’s a catch, though; the only way to get the benefits is to take it on an empty stomach, which can make your belly nauseous. You can use it to make yourself feel fuller, but it’s probably not the best option.
Apple Cider Vinegar is Good for Gut Health
In order to lose weight, you need to keep your gut healthy by maintaining a balance of good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic, so it helps maintain the beneficial gut bacteria. (3)
People often get probiotics and prebiotics confused. Probiotic foods and supplements contain beneficial gut bacteria, while prebiotics are made up of carbs that your body can’t digest.
Good gut bacteria love to eat these carbs, which keep them healthy and flourishing.
The amounts of good and bad bacteria in your belly have a lot to do with your metabolism and ability to gain or lose weight. They control how many calories you absorb, cause food cravings, and produce certain types of fatty acids that boost the immune system.
Apple Cider Vinegar will help your system digest food and absorb nutrients, which helps with weight loss, but it can’t do it alone. It’s suggested that having ACV with fermented foods or a probiotic supplement increases its weight-busting properties.
It Can Help Get Rid of Candida Overgrowth
Do you have a sweet tooth, white bread, or pasta addiction? Chances are you’ve got too much candida, also known as yeast, in your system.
Too much yeast can cause these cravings, along with digestive issues, poor gut health, and many other health issues. The yeast feeds off these types of carbs, which causes your blood sugar to drop and makes you crave more of them.
It’s a vicious cycle and one that can cause serious weight gain.
Candida overgrowth can also mess with your adrenal glands, which makes the body go into an emergency response and hold on to dietary fats. If this happens for long enough, the body will start storing fat all the time instead of using it for fuel.
ACV is an anti-fungal, so it’s going to help you clean up the excess yeast in your gut that might be causing you to hold on to fat. Tests show that it’s a possible therapeutic treatment for candida overgrowth. (4)
ACV Can Balance Blood Sugar
There are multiple studies that show how effective apple cider vinegar is controlling blood sugar spikes, especially for people who are prediabetic or have type 2 diabetes. (5)
It’s not the vinegar alone, but the acetic acid that’s doing it. It interferes with the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down starches, like the ones you find in bread and pasta. If you had a bowl of fruit and ACV, it wouldn’t have any impact on your blood sugar levels.
Starches cause spikes in blood sugar, which causes you to feel hungry, so you eat more! The acetic acid causes the body to not digest starch, which means it doesn’t move into the bloodstream and contribute to your caloric intake.
Be careful, though! Before you run out and buy a bunch of ACV and stop at the donut store on your way home, remember this; if you overload on starchy foods, the apple cider vinegar can only take care of so much.
The recommended maximum amount you can take safely is 2 tablespoons a day, and it can only break down a certain amount of starches before it stops working. Moderation is your best bet.
How to Use ACV for Weight-Loss
Apple cider vinegar, along with a healthy diet and exercise, can help with weight loss, but it’s not the best tasting supplement in the world. It has a sour, acidic flavor that many people don’t like.
It also burns when you drink it, almost like a shot of tequila!
The easiest and most delicious way to get its health benefits is to use it as a salad dressing. Mix it with some olive oil and herbs.
It can also add some nice flavor as a marinade for pork or chicken.
If you prefer your cider straight, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons with 8 ounces of water and drink it. It’s important to mix it with water because it can erode your tooth enamel and irritate the soft tissues of your mouth and throat.
A good way to get around that is to eat it instead of drink it.
Make sure to get raw apple cider with the “mother,” or you won’t get its awesome benefits.
Here are Some Things to Consider Before Using Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is one of those foods that’s highly acidic outside the stomach. Many people in studies who reported that it was a good hunger suppressant did so because it gave them an upset tummy.
Like we said before, it’s also not good for the enamel on your teeth, the primary reason being that it’s so acidic. Mixing it with an alkaline oil helps balance out the pH, so eating it the easiest way to combat its ill-effects.
Apple cider vinegar is known to help with acid reflux, but if you use too much or don’t drink enough water with it, it can have the opposite effect and actually cause it! It can burn the mouth, throat, and esophagus if you overindulge or aren’t using it properly.
It’s important to know that apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels in your bloodstream. There has only been one reported case of this, but the person using it was drinking 8 ounces a day, in a classic example of too much of a good thing. (6)
If you’re taking certain meds, like diabetes medication or blood thinners, make sure to check with your doctor first. ACV influences insulin levels. If you’re pregnant, you should also ask your doctor about using it because it’s not pasteurized.