Does apple cider vinegar really help with weight loss? We find out
Apple cider vinegar has been considered beneficial when it comes to keeping your weight down. But is it true?Updated: Jul 21, 2017 10:40 IST
If you have ever searched the Internet for weight loss information, you would have definitely come across the following tip: Apple cider vinegar has been considered beneficial when it comes to keeping your weight down. But is it true? “A lot of this is marketing,” nutritionist Lisa Drayer said, “ When you looked closely, the diet paired apple cider vinegar pills with a low-calorie menu. It’s no wonder people lost weight.
What’s the research say? Studies show that acetic acid, the main component of apple cider vinegar, can suppress body fat accumulation and metabolic disorders in obese rats. But of course, mice are not men, and rats are not women, so these findings prove little.
The most-cited study to prove a connection to weight loss was done in 2009. Over a 12-week period, the groups consumed a beverage that contained either one tablespoon of vinegar, two tablespoons of vinegar or no vinegar at all. At the end of the three months, those who consumed any amount of vinegar had a lower body weight, a smaller body mass index, less visceral fat, a smaller waist measurement and lower triglyceride levels than the placebo group that drank no vinegar.
That sounds fantastic until you look closely at the amount of weight that was lost. “Only 2 to 4 pounds in three months over a placebo,” Drayer explained. “That’s only a third of a pound a week. Most diets have a much bigger result. So you would you definitely have to do many other things to accomplish any significant weight loss.”
Regulating blood sugar
Dietitian Carol Johnston’s research has shown significant benefits from vinegar, however, is in blood sugar control. Studies that show vinegar helps control blood sugar spikes for people with type 2 diabetes and those who are prediabetic, also known as insulin-resistant. She’s even seen a slight benefit for healthy control subjects.
The theory, according to Johnston, is that acetic acid appears to interfere with enzymes that break down starch molecules. This anti-glycemic response can be induced by any sort of vinegar, such as red and white wine vinegars, pomegranate vinegar or even white distilled vinegar. It’s the acetic acid in the vinegar, not the type, that produces the result.
It’s possible that blocking starch absorption may help with weight loss as well, Drayer says, because starches cause blood sugar spikes and therefore act as an appetite stimulant.
The jury is still out
Though the research on acetic acid’s benefits looks promising, nothing’s definitive. It could be that other elements in apple cider and other vinegars also play a role. Take the trace chemicals in vinegar that vary based on where each brand was fermented.
“It could be that some of those ingredients are important or part of the effect we are seeing,” Johnson said. She added that it will take much larger randomized scientific trials to prove any cause and effect between vinegar and weight loss, and especially between vinegar and diabetes or cardiovascular risks.
“What I would recommend is using salad dressings that contain vinegar, as it contains no calories,” Drayer agreed. “When you make a dressing, use three parts oil to one part vinegar. Or reverse it and do one part oil and three parts vinegar.”
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