Apple Cider Vinegar has long been touted as a weight-loss secret weapon, but does it work?
Some celebrities claim it’s the magic potion behind their perpetually flat tummies. Kourtney Kardashian reportedly drinks it twice a day, Victoria Beckam has it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and Hilary Duff swears by it.
We took a deep dive to find out the truth (and lies) about ACV. We looked at whether or not apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss, the risks, and benefits that come with drinking it, and whether you should try it.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process. Apples are cut or crushed and combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. It can be consumed in small quantities or taken as a supplement.
For thousands of years, compounds containing vinegar have been used for their presumed healing properties. It was used to improve strength, for “detoxification,” as an antibiotic, and even as a treatment for scurvy.
ACV continues to be used as a home remedy to treat various things, including sore throats and varicose veins. There isn’t much evidence to support the claims, but some researchers have been taking a closer look at apple cider vinegar, and if it helps with weight loss.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar ACTUALLY Help With Weight Loss?
While there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that apple cider vinegar will directly help with weight loss, many people have experienced a range of benefits from regular consumption of it.
Some of these benefits can help with behaviors that ultimately lead to weight loss. For example, apple cider vinegar can help increase feelings of fullness. This means you could end up eating fewer calories and thus lose weight as a result.
Apple cider vinegar can also help decrease sugar cravings by regulating your blood sugar levels. The healthiest and most effective way to regulate blood sugar levels is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a beneficial effect.
If you’re craving less sweet food, you’re less likely to eat it. Which, in turn, could cause weight loss if it was something you previously struggled to control.
Generally, apple cider vinegar may encourage weight loss by promoting fullness, lowering blood sugar, and reducing insulin levels.
Other people have reported additional benefits from regular consumption of apple cider vinegar, including feeling less bloated, clearer skin, and improved digestive health.
Because of its fermentation, apple cider vinegar can act as a probiotic on the body and promote healthier digestion. Healthier digestion means your body is better able to absorb all the essential nutrients from food. It also means fewer tummy aches, bloating, and discomfort.
Also, contrary to what you might think, if you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, apple cider vinegar can be an excellent natural reliever. ACV works by introducing more acid into the digestive tract. Some people find this helpful as heartburn can be caused by too little stomach acid.
What are the risks of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar needs to be diluted as the acetic acid in ACV will strip your tooth enamel, potentially leading to tooth decay. If you drink apple cider vinegar, be sure to wait for at least a half-hour before brushing your teeth, even if you’re using toothpaste. The acidity from the vinegar being in your mouth, combined with the brushing, can wear away enamel.
Apple cider vinegar can worsen or lower potassium levels. Low potassium is called hypokalemia. Someone with mild hypokalemia may not have any symptoms. However, moderate or severe hypokalemia can cause muscle weakness and paralysis, which can affect many parts of the body. It’s especially crucial for people taking certain medications that can lower potassium levels, to be aware of the effect that ACV can have.
Some people claim that apple cider vinegar applied directly to the skin can help with skin conditions. However, the acidity of vinegar means that applying it directly to the skin can cause burns and irritation, especially if the vinegar is undiluted.
People with certain health conditions may wish to speak to a doctor before consuming apple cider vinegar for medicinal purposes.
Should you try it?
Drinking ACV alone isn’t going to help you reach your goal weight, and there is no scientific evidence to prove anything, but there’s a chance it could support the efforts that we know work for weight loss, like eating a healthy diet and exercising more.
Provided you stick to the recommended dosage and make sure it’s well diluted, ACV is relatively low-risk.
To incorporate it into your day, you can drink a tablespoon of ACV diluted in eight ounces of water up to twice a day, ideally, before or with a meal. That will increase the chances that the ACV will boost your satiety and help keep your blood sugar stable. If you don’t like the idea of drinking vinegar, think about working it into your meals instead. Try drizzling ACV and olive oil over a salad or steamed veggies, or add a tablespoon of ACV to a smoothie.
Make sure you choose an apple cider vinegar that’s labeled raw and unfiltered. Unfiltered versions contain proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria from the vinegar starter or mother.
Have you tried using apple cider vinegar to help lose weight before? Let us know in the comments below!