Apple cider vinegar, abbreviated to ACV, has been touted as the next weight loss miracle. It’s claimed that apple cider vinegar is great for digestion, blood sugar, weight-loss, heart health, and reducing insulin spikes. But are these benefits real and does apple cider vinegar work?
5 Potential Benefits of ACV
- Aids Fat Loss
- Kills Bacteria
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Reduces Insulin Spikes
- Reduces Inflammation
Many of the therapeutic benefits of apple cider vinegar are attributed to the ACV’s natural compounds, mainly acetic acid, which is found in vinegar. While apple cider vinegar is difficult to drink straight, studies show that acetic acid can help reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure, stabilize blood glucose levels, boost immunity, and alkalize blood to combat acidity.
ACV Kills Bacteria
A study published in Scientific Reports on the antimicrobial properties of vinegar found that apple cider vinegar has many antimicrobial properties that fight off microbial species, suppressing microbe growth.
This indicates that acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has potent antimicrobial effects that help prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeast in the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Fat Loss
Acetic acid, the main component of apple cider vinegar, has been shown to suppress body fat accumulation. In a Japanese study of obese individuals, participants were assigned to consume a beverage containing 15 ML, 30 ML, or 0 ML of vinegar (acetic acid) daily.
The results of the study found that bodyweight, BMI, visceral fat, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lowered in obese individuals who took vinegar compared to obese individuals who didn’t take vinegar.
This was corroborated by researchers at Arizona State University who found that people who consumed vinegar along with a high-carb meal experienced increased feelings of fullness and ended up eating 200-275 fewer calories during the day.
Note: in all of these studies, the researchers used vinegar, not apple cider vinegar. However, acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, is also found in apple cider vinegar.
One study published in the International Journal of Obesity examined healthy people and found that taking apple cider vinegar before a meal increased feelings of fullness. However, this feeling of fullness was found to be due to the poor tolerability of vinegar and feelings of nausea induced by acetic acid.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Insulin
Acetic acid in vinegar has been shown to block enzymes that digest starch, thus reducing fluctuations in blood sugar levels following a high starch meal.
A report in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that vinegar consumption helps to reduce post-prandial glucose and insulin responses in both healthy individuals and individuals with glucose disorders.
If you’ve ever tried taking a shot of something vinegary, be it apple cider vinegar or something else, you will know that vinegar isn’t easy to consume.
The great thing about apple cider vinegar is its versatility. Whether you put apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing, mix it in a drink, or take it as a shot, there are many ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet.
As apple cider vinegar can be rather potent and harsh on the teeth, diluting apple cider vinegar in water is often the best and easiest way to take apple cider vinegar.
In general, 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day is recommended. It’s also advisable to consume organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which contains the mother (the bacterial catalyst that creates vinegar).
Safety and Side Effects
While you may think apple cider vinegar is safe, there are some side effects to be aware of when taking vinegar. The main side effect is tooth erosion. As with any acidic food or ingredient, too much apple cider vinegar can lead to tooth enamel erosion.
Apple cider vinegar consumption can also interact with laxatives, diuretics, blood thinners, and heart disease, and diabetes medications. Hypokalemia, or low potassium levels, may occur after frequent consumption of undiluted apple cider vinegar.
If taken undiluted in excess amounts, apple cider vinegar can also cause throat irritation or gastric discomfort, so it’s best to dilute apple cider vinegar with water before consumption.
Effectiveness of Apple Cider Vinegar
Whether it’s helping with weight loss or reducing insulin levels, there are many claims about the positive effects of apple cider vinegar. However, many of these claims are not supported by scientific research. While apple cider vinegar may have some health benefits, these benefits cannot be attributed to any significant change in the body.
Adding or removing a single food or ingredient will rarely have an effect on reducing weight, decreasing fat, or lowering blood pressure. Your diet and lifestyle as a whole must change in order to elicit a significant and lasting change in the body.