Ask anyone who is either deliberating weight loss or already into it to share a few quick weight loss diet tips. Chances are that, apart from suggesting regular physical activity, they would share some tried-and-tested natural ways to lose weight. From drinking honey and lemon in warm water, eating plain boiled potatoes, to ditching gluten – there are various dietary hacks to help you lose weight. One such often-suggested hack is to add apple cider vinegar to your diet. So, what is the truth behind this hack? Does apple cider vinegar really help you lose weight? We get you the answers right here.
Apple Cider Vinegar – How It Is Made
Apple cider vinegar is made through a two-step process of fermentation. In the first step, the apples are cut and crushed. Then yeast is added to it to help convert the sugar into alcohol. In the next step, some bacteria are added to the apple-sugar alcohol to ferment it into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar traditionally takes nearly a month for complete production. However, new-age manufacturers have found ways to accelerate this process to get the desired product in just one day!
The main active component of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid that has a strong odor and sour taste. Some parts of it also contain water. Due to its taste-enhancing ability, apple cider vinegar has traditionally been added in various dishes, as an accompaniment for starters, and at times also added to salads to make them more palatable. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is believed to contain just about 3 calories and almost zero carbs. It is perhaps this quality that makes it an ideal choice for those on weight-loss diets.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Weight Loss – What Studies Suggest
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is considered a short-chain fatty acid. Short-chain fatty acids easily dissolve in the acetate and hydrogen in our bodies1.
According to the suggestions of some studies conducted on animals, the acetic acid present apple cider vinegar can promote weight loss in various ways. Here we list some of them:
Improved Body Metabolism: A study conducted in rats showed that exposure to acetic acid resulted in an increase of the enzyme AMPK. This enzyme is known to promote the burning of fat and decrease sugar and fat production in liver2.
Reduction In Fat Storage: In a separate study, obese, diabetic rats were treated with acetic acid and acetate to protect them from gaining weight. This treatment not only prevented weight gain but also increased the expression of those genes that helped in reducing belly fat storage as well as liver fat 3 4.
Helps Burn Fat: In another study, mice were fed with a high-fat diet that was also supplemented with acetic acid. It was found that the acetic acid supplement in the diet promoted a significant increase in the genes that are responsible for burning fat. This resulted in low body fat buildup in the mice despite the high-fat diet 5.
Appetite Suppression: One of the major hurdles in anybody’s weight loss journey is suppressing their appetite. Now, according to another study, it has been found that acetate might be able to suppress those centers in your brain that can control appetite. Thus, helping you keep a control on those uncontrolled food cravings that can add a spoke in the wheel of your weight control plans 6.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Helps You Lose Weight
One research conducted to study the effects of apple cider vinegar on humans showed impressive results7. For the study, which was done for a period of 12 weeks, 144 Japanese adults who were obese were asked to consume 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, or a placebo drink every day. Apart from alcohol restriction, all of them were allowed to continue their regular diet along with vinegar or placebo consumption through the duration of the study. The results were documented as follows:
Those who consumed on an average 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar every day lost 2.6 pounds/1.2 kg of weight. Their body fat percentage reduced by 0.7%. Their waist circumference reduced by ½ an inch (1.4 cm). There was also a decrease in their triglycerides for up to 26%.
For those who consumed an average of 2 tablespoons of vinegar per day, they lost an incredible 3.7 pounds (1.7 kgs), their body fat percentage decreased by 0.9%, their waist circumference shrunk by 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) and their triglycerides decreased by 26%.
As for the placebo group, their weight actually increased by 0.4 kgs, and their waist circumference too increased slightly.
At first glance, the weight reductions and reduced waist circumference might not seem too much. However, you need to keep in mind that none of the participants in the study had to undergo any major changes in their lifestyle barring only alcohol restrictions. So, according to this study, if you were to add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your diet, it can indeed help you in reducing weight. Not only that, but if you also have increased triglycerides, belly fat, or body fat percentage, apple cider vinegar can help you reduce all these as well. while the results of this study about the role of apple cider vinegar and weight loss in humans are quite encouraging, more research needs to be done in this area. Yet, the study was large enough for us to vouch for the benefits of apple cider vinegar in helping us lose weight.
So, if you are considering taking apple cider vinegar to lose weight, you can go ahead and give it a shot. However, keep in mind to limit its intake to small quantities (15 ml) only in the beginning. In case you develop an allergy or are not able to keep it down, discontinue immediately. If you are someone who has underlying health issues, then it is also prudent to discuss this with your doctor before trying anything new in your diet.