You may have heard of the apple cider vinegar diet and wondered if it's too good to be true. Can a couple of tablespoons of this household staple really help you to drop the pounds? The answer isn't a simple yes or no.
While apple cider vinegar is not a miracle weight loss solution that will transform your figure overnight, it could certainly help to support your weight loss efforts and give your overall health a boost.
What is apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from crushed apples which are fermented with yeast, a process which produces alcohol - in this case, cider. Bacteria produced during the fermenting process then feeds on the alcohol, which neutralises it and creates acetic acid, thus making vinegar.
For thousands of years people have been using vinegar for its purported health benefits. The Romans consumed vinegar to aid digestion during rich banquets, people washed hands and walls with vinegar in the 1700s to combat the spread of the Plague, and in the 1800s vinegar was a common ingredient in many ointments, tonics, lotions, soaps and salves since it was thought to have a whole range of health benefits, from relieving migraines to preventing the flu.
Today, modern medicine and scientific study has debunked or made redundant some of these traditional uses of vinegar. For example, we no longer use vinegar as an antibiotic, and you're unlikely to find anyone sniffing vinegar to prevent them from coming down with a cold.
However, apple cider vinegar continues to be a popular weight loss aid and there is both anecdotal and scientific evidence to suggest that ACV can benefit our digestion and health. Can apple cider vinegar really help you to lose weight? Although much research is still required to fully understand the impact of apple cider vinegar on weight, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that it can aid weight loss.
A trial conducted in 2009 had participants consume between 1 and 3 tablespoons of vinegar each day for three months, while a control group did not consume any vinegar during the same time period.
Those who drank vinegar lost between two and four pounds during the three-month trial while those who didn't did not lose any weight. In this particular study, the participants were not required to follow a calorie-restricted diet and yet those who consumed vinegar lost weight. Another study, conducted in 2018, had similar results, only this trial required the subjects to follow a calorie-restricted diet for 12 weeks. Half of the participants consumed apple cider vinegar daily and the other half did not.
While both groups lost weight, the apple cider vinegar group lost more weight overall. Although both of these trials had relatively small test groups and were conducted over short periods of time, they do suggest that vinegar - particularly apple cider vinegar - could help to aid weight loss. The reasons for this, however, are not yet clear, but there are some theories. Why does apple cider vinegar help weight loss? It is thought that apple cider vinegar can help to suppress appetite, which might make it easier for people on a calorie-restricted diet to control hunger pangs and cravings.
This might be because it works to slow the process of the stomach emptying, or it could be because acetate - a component of acetic acid which is found in vinegar - plays a role in appetite regulation. More research needs to be done to understand the link between ACV and appetite, but ultimately it seems like ACV could help you to consume fewer calories overall by reducing hunger. Apple cider vinegar could also help to stabilise blood sugar in order to reduce blood sugar spikes and drops which tend to lead to intense cravings of high-carb, high-calorie foods.
There is scientific evidence to suggest that the acetic acid found in vinegars like ACV works to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar and improve the body's insulin sensitivity. It is also thought that apple cider vinegar can aid with digestion due to the healthy bacteria it contains, which works to support the natural balance of bacteria in the gut that supports digestion.
When the gut is digesting our food more effectively, we can get the maximum nutritional benefits from our food which is an important factor when following a calorie-restricted diet. Some believe that ACV also acts as a natural laxative and can help to cleanse the digestive system. Although this does not necessarily contribute to weight loss, it does help us to feel lighter, less bloated and less sluggish, all of which is a bonus when we're striving to lose weight.
How should you take apple cider vinegar? It is not recommended to drink apple cider vinegar straight because its highly acidic nature means it can irritate the oesophagus and contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel when consumed regularly.
Instead, if you'd like to try the weight loss benefits of ACV by drinking it, one or two tablespoons should be diluted in 250ml of water, and you should rinse your mouth out afterwards to protect the teeth. Even diluted, apple cider vinegar is not the most palatable thing to drink. If you're having a hard time with the taste you could add other ingredients such as mint leaves, fresh ginger, lemon juice or honey to the diluted ACV. Alternatively, you could simply add the vinegar to your meals, for example by using it to make a salad dressing. An incredibly convenient way to enjoy the benefits of apple cider vinegar is to consume it as a supplement instead.
Our Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies don't have that unpleasant acidic flavour. Instead, they taste like delicious apple which means you can look forward to that daily dose of ACV instead of dreading it. They also contain added vitamin D, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, which helps them to contribute to the body's metabolic processes and support bone, teeth, hair, skin and nail health, all of which is helpful when we're following a calorie-controlled diet.
So there you have it. Apple cider vinegar might not be the holy grail of weight loss on its own, but when combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime, it can work to support your efforts and help you drop the pounds.