Can Apple Cider Vinegar Accelerate Weight Loss?
We all love superfoods and super hacks to a healthy living, more energy, fat loss, and building muscle and strength, and one that has gained a lot of popularity in the past couple of years is Apple cider vinegar.
Claims of many health benefits from its supporters like aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, improving the symptoms of diabetes, and others have been mentioned all over the internet and other media, especially if consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
But is there some truth to it, or can you be just harming yourself? read on to know the facts and get some actionable steps for you at the end of the article.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar, from the french vyn egre (sour wine), is an acidic liquid produced through the fermentation of ethanol by bacteria, the acid is most specifically acetic acid.
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It contains the usual acetic acid content of any vinegar and smaller amounts of various phytonutrients found in apples. Just so you know phytonutrients are chemicals that can only be obtained from plant sources. (yes there are also zoonutrients that can only be obtained from animal sources, but that goes off-topic). Like many other kinds of vinegar, it has a very long shelf life and has a distinctive sour and acidic flavor, and it has many practical uses like pickling, stimulating chemical reactions while cooking and baking, tenderizing meat, and even as a disinfectant or cleaning product!
Analyzing the most common health claims.
A lot has been said about apple cider vinegar and it’s claims might seem to be too good to be true so let’s take a look:
Controlling blood glucose levels: Although more research is needed and the results are not strong, there is moderate evidence showing that intake of apple cider vinegar has a minor effect on controlling blood glucose levels after meals, and also a mild improvement for people with type 2 diabetes.
Weightloss: here we also have moderate evidence that suggests a minor effect on diminishing appetite, fat loss, and weight management. More studies are needed to confirm these results but so far a minor effect is shown.
Insulin sensitivity: here the evidence is a bit mixed, for healthy individuals there doesn’t seem to be a lot of benefits. However, there is evidence of an effect on liver function for diabetes (experiments conducted in rats that still need testing in humans) and even in women with PCOS helping restore ovarian function and insulin sensitivity.
Triglyceride reduction: Here we see important evidence that there’s a minor effect on reducing triglycerides in the blood, both for obese people as well for people without diabetes or overweight. There are more studies to be made but the evidence shows a statistically significant greater reduction in triglycerides, very little change in total cholesterol and a slightly greater increase in HDL.
So as we can see the claims might not be too crazy after all. Remember all of these effects seem to be mild and not as pronounced as we would hope. However, they are real and could offer some benefits combined with a proper diet and physical activity regimen.
Safety and potential risks
Here’s the tricky part. It has a lot of benefits but there are also some safety concerns that we should also address. Due to its acidic nature, there’s the potential for tissue damage for example on the enamel of teeth, the esophagus, gastroesophageal sphincter, skin, and mucous. It might also cause nausea if ingested on an empty stomach or in some cases it was shown to increase the likelihood of gastric cancer when people consumed pickled food in excess, but this is true for all types of vinegar.
All of these studies show a potential for risk but they all have something in common: they happen when consumption is excessive or when taken in an appropriate manner.
For example, tooth enamel decay is noticeable when taken alone or only swished in the mouth. Same thing for gastric and esophageal symptoms, when taken alone or on an empty stomach, and even on the skin when applied continuously for a prolonged period of time.
Recommendations and evaluating the benefit or risk.
Ultimately it is up to the consumer, but the keywords here are “moderation” and being “smart” about it. Here’s our most important advice on how to go about this and how to stay safe while trying.
You are the one that has to make the decision and see if it would benefit you. Obviously make sure you don’t have a preexisting health condition that could be aggravated by it, for example, a stomach ulcer.
There are safe ways to consume it without putting yourself in danger and enjoying the enhanced flavor: take it after your meals, add it to your salads or soups, take it diluted with water before a meal, etc. All of these are safer and can prevent potential side effects.
Again, the key is always moderation, don’t overdo it, and stop if you feel it is not good for you. The previously mentioned studies all were conducted on doses under 30 ml a day and spread throughout the meals, so be safe about it and don’t exceed that amount. By the way, 30 ml is a little less than 2 tablespoons.
If you’re willing to try, be curious and scientific about it. Try it for a couple of weeks and have a journal of how you’re feeling and if you’re seeing the effects you were hoping for. If you do, you can go on but remember to take a break every now and then and not consume it in excess. And if you don’t see the result you wanted be critical about it and stop, there is plenty of other ways to improve your health.
Summing it all up
Here are our main takeaways for you:
The claims are not that crazy after all, there is some evidence that the benefits are real, however, they are mild and not as marked as its supporters would like us to believe.
Always check with your doctor before trying any nutritional advice and make sure you don’t have any preexisting medical conditions that can be aggravated, like a stomach ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, etc.
There is a smart way and a dangerous way, don’t consume it on an empty stomach and try to spread it out through your meals. Don’t exceed a 30ml per day dose, which is less than 2 tablespoons.
Be very critical about the effects, if you see improvement go on. If you do not see the benefits you intended stop and try something else. Keeping a journal can be helpful here to really see what is going on with yourself. And obviously, if you see any unwanted side-effects appear stop.
Enjoy it! It definitely adds a lot of flavors and can definitely be used sparingly to season your meals and make them tastier and not only as a supplement taken systematically.
So there you have it. The truth, the good, and the ugly. Let us know if you’ve tried it and what result you’re getting from it. Stay safe and enjoy.