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Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Going back past your grandma’s grandma, apple cider vinegar has been hailed as a natural remedy for just about everything from removing warts to lowering blood pressure. Amongst all the fad diets and supplements for weight loss, apple cider vinegar is one that just won’t seem to go away.  Instead, the hype around apple cider vinegar just gets larger.  Since apple cider vinegar is readily available in supermarkets and very cheap (especially compared to other weight loss supplements), it is easy to understand why apple cider vinegar can seem so appealing to the millions of people struggling with weight loss.  But is there any truth to the claims that apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight?

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made through the process of fermentation.  In the same way that wine is made out of grape juice, apple juice can be fermented with yeast.  The yeast consumes the sugar in the apple juice and produces alcohol.  If the alcohol is allowed to further ferment, it becomes vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar is primarily made up of acetic acid but also contains nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

There is practically no end to the purported benefits of apple cider vinegar.  It has been used as folk remedies for dandruff, acne, allergy, cold, acid reflux, sore throat, lice, indigestion, dermatological problems, and arthritis.  It is also used throughout the home as a disinfectant and cleaner.  More recently, apple cider vinegar has been hailed as a treatment for diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

There are so many supposed benefits of apple cider vinegar that it is hard to differentiate the truth from the myth.  Researchers have studied apple cider vinegar as a treatment for many ailments.  In many cases, they found that apple cider vinegar really was effective – but only minimally.  As far as weight loss goes though, apple cider vinegar does seem promising.  While the number of clinical studies on apple cider vinegar and weight loss are limited, they do support the claims that these supplements can help suppress appetite and reduce weight.

How Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Weight Loss

Apple cider vinegar helps support weight loss in the same way that it can help treat type II diabetes.  When you consume food, your stomach starts to break food into glucose (sugar). As the food them moves into the intestines, this glucose is absorbed and the remaining food is further digested. Apple cider delays the stomach’s emptying, which limits the large surge in glucose often seen after a meanl. The immediate benefit of this is that you get sustained energy, rather than the sudden surge of energy (and subsequent crash) which comes with foods like simple carbohydrates.

The amount of sugar in your blood is also important for your appetite regulation.  Receptors sense when blood sugar levels become low and will trigger hunger cravings.  By sustaining the release of blood sugar, apple cider vinegar can help you feel full for longer after eating a meal.  These claims have been backed by studies from the American Diabetes Association as well as other independent research groups.

Numerous studies also link spikes in blood sugar to fat storage.  When your body suddenly receives a high amount of sugar, it is unable to use the energy efficiently and instead stores it as fat. By keeping blood sugar levels stable, apple cider vinegar can reduce the amount of fat which is stored.  The link between fat storage and blood sugar levels has been thoroughly studied.  However, few studies have researched this aspect in apple cider vinegar specifically.  One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that acetic acid (the main component of apple cider vinegar) reduced body fat by up to 10% in mice.  It is not clear exactly why body fat reduction occurred though researchers theorize that the acetic acid trigger genes to breakdown fat.

How to take Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

The simplest way to take apple cider vinegar for weight loss is drink it.  There have been no significant studies about how much apple cider vinegar to take for optimal benefits or safety.  However, most guidelines recommend taking two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water.  It is important that apple cider vinegar always be diluted with water (or another beverage) as the acid in it can cause damage to the mouth and esophagus.

In general, it seems that taking apple cider vinegar in moderate amounts daily is completely safe.  However, it should be noted that apple cider vinegar contains natural acids which can be corrosive. Chronic supplementation with apple cider vinegar may lead to potassium deficiencies and put you at risk of osteoporosis.  Some medications may interact with apple cider vinegar, including diuretics for high blood pressure

While small amounts of apple cider vinegar are considered safe, the safety of apple cider vinegar supplements is debatable.  Supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that prescription drugs are.  There are no requirements for these supplements to be backed by safety or efficacy tests and many supplements have misleading or outright false labels. Several studies have shown that the ingredients and amounts on the label often have little to do with what is actually in the pills.  If you do want to take apple cider vinegar for weight loss, it is best to stick to a reputable brand name or use a high quality, organic apple cider vinegar as can be found in health food stores.

References:

Bragg, Paul Chappuis. Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System. Santa Barbara: Health Science Publications, Inc. 2003.

Wong, Cathy. “Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss.” Altmedicine.about.com. About.com. 28 June 2011. Web.

altmedicine.about.com/od/applecidervinegardiet/a/Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Weight-Loss.htm

O’Connor, Anahad. “Really? – The Claim: Vinegar Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels.” Nytimes.com. The New York Times. 23 Nov 2009. Web.

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The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.