Last week we mentioned apple cider vinegar as a potential way to decrease belly fat. It has become the recent “quick fix” craze among the many widely shared ways to lose weight, fast. I added it only as one of many additional methods that can be added to an overall healthy diet and exercise program. Apple cider vinegar comes from apples that have been crushed, distilled, and then fermented. Its high levels of acetic acid may be responsible for its supposed health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar has been around for thousands of years and said to improve strength, detoxify the body, used as an antibiotic and as a treatment for scurvy, and recently weight loss. This is because studies in obese rats suggested acetic acid can prevent fat deposition and improve metabolism. In a recent study, those who consumed a drink containing 2 tablespoons of vinegar each day, after three months had modest weight loss (2 to 4 pounds) and lower triglyceride levels than those who drank no vinegar. Another small study randomly assigned 39 study subjects to follow a restricted calorie diet with apple cider vinegar or a restricted calorie diet without apple cider vinegar for 12 weeks. While both groups lost weight, the apple cider vinegar group lost more.
A number of other studies suggest that vinegar might prevent spikes in blood sugar in people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes by blocking starch absorption. Those who took vinegar with a high carbohydrate meal had a 55% lower blood glucose response one hour after eating and consumed 200- 275 fewer calories for the rest of the day – perhaps another way it may modestly decrease weight.
Another small study showed it may slow the rate at which foods exit the stomach, leading to increased feelings of fullness and lowered blood sugar and insulin levels.
In a 12-week study, 144 obese Japanese adults consumed 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) of vinegar They were told to restrict their alcohol intake but otherwise continue their usual diet and activity throughout the study. Those who consumed the vinegar had the following benefits:
- Weight loss: up to 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg)
- Decrease in body fat percentage: up to 0.9%
- Decrease in waist circumference: up to 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
- Decrease in triglycerides: 26%
The placebo group actually gained 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs), and their waist circumference slightly increased.
According to this study, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your diet can help you lose weight. It can also reduce your body fat percentage, make you lose belly fat and decrease your blood triglycerides. This is one of a few human studies that have investigated vinegar’s effects on weight loss. Although the study was fairly large and the results are encouraging, more studies are needed.
Additionally, one six-week study in mice fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet found that the high-dose vinegar group gained 10% less fat than the control group and 2% less fat than the low-dose vinegar group
Apple cider vinegar is typically safe, but it may have side effects or disadvantages for some people:
- worsened acid reflux
- altering insulin levels
- worsening low potassium levels
- can also impact the kidneys in anyone who has a chronic kidney condition.
- The acidity of apple cider vinegar may wear away tooth enamel, especially if consumed undiluted.
Also use caution with supplemental forms of apple cider vinegar. Any concentration higher then 20% is enough to cause acid burns in your digestive tract.
Apple cider alone is not the cure-all it’s made out to be on the internet. But in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, from what I could find, if you have no underlying issues that can be affected by its use and proper precautions are applied, it can’t hurt to try.