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Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss: Doctors Explain If It …

Posted: May 22, 2020 at 11:46 pm

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Youve no doubt seen plenty of stories on social media touting apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a belly fat-melting elixir that can help you lose weight. But does it actually work? Many holistic health experts and Instagram influencers swear by the stuff. But whether ACV will really help you squeeze into a smaller pair of jeans isnt quite so straightforward. Heres what experts and the research actually says about apple cider vinegar for weight loss.

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Let's get one thing clear up front: Theres only a small amount of evidence directly tying ACV to weight loss in humans. One study in the Journal of Functional Foods, which followed 39 adults, found that participants who consumed a tablespoon of ACV at lunch and dinner, while cutting 250 calories per day, lost 8.8 pounds in 12 weeks. On the other hand, those who cut the same number of calories but didnt consume ACV lost only 5 pounds.

In another study in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 144 obese adults were randomly assigned to drink either a placebo or one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, those who drank two tablespoons had lost close to 4 pounds, while those who drank one tablespoon lost 2.5 pounds. (Those who drank the placebo actually gained a little bit of weight.)

However, those findings alone dont prove that ACV is a magic fat melter. These studies were done on very small populations, says registered dietitian Erin Palinksi-Wade, R.D., C.D.E., L.D.N. But the consistent results indicate that ACV may be a beneficial tool in reducing body weight.

Whats more clear? ACV seems to have properties that could potentially support your weight-loss efforts. For instance, a 2013 study from the Journal of Functional Foods suggests that drinking apple cider vinegar before eating is linked to smaller blood sugar spikes. Another 2010 study from the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism shows that having two teaspoons of ACV during meal time could help reduce sugar crashes and keep blood sugar levels stabilized. Why this happens isn't totally clear, but nutrition researchers like Carol Johnston, Ph.D., who has studied ACV at Arizona State University for years, suspects that compounds in the vinegar interfere with the absorption of some starches.

That matters because blood sugar highs and lows tend to lead to cravings for sugary snacks. So if apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar, this could help manage cravings and portion control, potentially leading to fewer calories consumed, explains registered dietitian Amy Goodson, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.

What's more, a 2014 study from the Journal of Food Science suggests that vinegars, such as apple cider vinegar, can help reduce the effects of diabetes and prevent cardiovascular disease due to its antioxidant activity. Apple cider vinegar has high levels of a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid, which could help improve heart health by inhibiting the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol.

Its also possible that ACV might directly make you want to eat less. One study by Johnston in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants who drank the stuff before a meal consumed up to 275 fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. But again, the reasons behind that are murky. ACV could boast compounds that actually suppress your appetite. But drinking it could also just be so unpleasant that you end up getting turned off from food for the rest of the day.

Drinking ACV alone isnt going to help you reach your goal weight, but theres a small chance it could support the efforts that we know work for weight loss, like eating a healthy diet and exercising more.

And it wont likely hurt you, say Goodson and Palinski-Wadeas long as you dont overdo it. Like all vinegars, ACVs high acidity can irritate your throat and strip tooth enamel, Johnston says. Stick with a tablespoon no more than twice daily, and always dilute it in eight ounces of water, recommends Palinski-Wade. ACV should never be consumed straight, she warns.

Wondering about the best time to take apple cider vinegar? You can drink a tablespoon of ACV diluted in eight ounces of water up to twice a dayideally, before or with a meal. Thatll increase the chances that the ACV will boost your satiety and help keep your blood sugar steady, Palinski-Wade says. If you cant stomach 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, Palinski-Wade suggests. Or add a tablespoon of ACV to a smoothie.

As for the best apple cider to drink? You want to choose an ACV thats labeled raw and unfiltered. Unfiltered versions contain proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria from the vinegar starter or mother, Palinski-Wade says. Try Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar or Spectrum Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar.

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