Updated: Nov 9, 2020
"Take a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning and you will lose weight."
The vinegar trick to lose weight has been a trick for ages. People toot it as the secret ingredient to curving hungry, boosting metabolism, increasing fat burning and you can even use it to clean the bathroom (haha.) But does it really help you lose weight and burn fat? Let's explore!
So the process of making apple cider vinegar is simple (kind of) and is similar to the process of making alcohol. First, you crush apples to yeast, fermenting the sugar and creating alcohol. Next, you add bacteria to the mixture which turns it into vinegar or "acetic acid". Like apples, apple cider vinegar has pectin; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; biotin; folic acid; niacin; pantothenic acid; and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of the minerals sodium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. The structure of the acid can be used for multiple things and is very versatile. It can be ingested, unclog drains, kill bacteria, clean surfaces and be used in the good ol' volcano science project.
The claims that the vinegar can help with your health, started with diabetes. Vinegar was said to help lower blood sugar levels, improve your insulin insensitivity, reducing fasting blood sugar levels and a host of other things. Due to the lowering of blood sugar and insulin, it was then claimed to help people lose weight and consume fewer calories. And thus the spark that started the craze. A lot of media advertised to take a shot in the morning or adding a tablespoon to your water to drink throughout the day, to curve hunger and to aid in weight loss.
But Does it Work?
..... eh. The study that showed the ACV could help in weight loss was published in August 2009 by the journal "Bioscience and Biochemistry;" the study was a small group of obese individuals in Japan. After 12 weeks, Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, said that ACV (the unfiltered variety) “partially blocks the digestion of some starch and can act as a probiotic.” Another study of 14 people showed that individuals who drank ACV mixed with water had lower blood glucose levels.
ACV isn't a sure way to lose weight and may not work for everyone. The study in Japan suggested that ACV can help with weight loss but there haven't been any adequate follow-up experiments or recreations to back up the Japanese study. Carol Johnston, a professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, has been studying vinegar for over 10 years. She said “There’s some evidence that the acetic acid in vinegar may turn on fat metabolism,” she explains. “It just hasn’t been examined adequately in humans, so we don’t have good evidence that it’s effective.” Another study linked vinegar with loss of appetite—but mostly because after ingesting it created nausea.
Another issue with vinegar is the acidity, which can worsen acid reflux in people. "It can potentially irritate the esophagus as it’s going down, and not only that, then there’s more acid [in your stomach] to potentially reflux back out,” said Lisa Cimperman, RDN, LD, a clinical dietician at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. When you consume ACV in excess, it can disturb your digestive tract and burn your throat. There have also been many small studies linking ACV to weight loss, curving starch absorption and lowering glucose levels, but those studies have been only done on small groups, with the results have been blown out of proportion.
Apple cider vinegar isn't the worse thing, it is packed with good vitamins and benefits. But should you drink it? It is up to you. The studies have shown some correlation, yes, but the terms of the studies are small groups, no recreations and no long term studies. I recommend to replace your salad dressing with vinegar but not to drink it in water or alone. The acidity makes it pretty horrid to ingest by itself and the effects it is claimed to have, isn't universal across the board. To lose fat or boost metabolism the best way is still to change your diet and eat better. Read my guide to finding the right ratio, and how to eat carbs.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed in nutrition. These are my findings found with research and my personal opinion**