Apple cider vinegar is a common health tonic ingredient commonly used to various effects and improvements. The vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process. In the first step, fresh apples are cut, crushed, and combined with yeast. The yeast feeds on the natural sugars in the apples and produces alcohol and carbonation. Left at this stage, you would have regular apple cider. In the second step, bacteria are added to feed on ferment the alcohol, resulting in acetic acid.1
Apple cider vinegar is reported to have a wide range of potential health benefits, but growing studies suggest that it may support weight loss. Read on to learn more.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
The main active component in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which is alternately known as ethanoic acid. About 5 to 6 percent of apple cider vinegar is made up of this organic compound, which is responsible for providing the elixir with its characteristic strong odor and sour taste.
Various animal studies on acetic acid in apple cider vinegar suggest that it may work through several mechanisms to support weight loss.
1. Reduces blood sugar levels
In a rat study, rats were provided regular meals for 10 days. On the 11th day, rats were killed, given a meal of 0.7 g/kg of acetic acid, or given a regular meal with no acetic acid. At the end of the study, the rats who had been given a meal of acetic acid were found to have significantly lower serum lactate concentrations and ratios of insulin to glucagon. The results suggest that acetic acid may improve the ability of the liver and muscles to take up and use sugar from blood, instead of storing sugar as fat.2
2. Improves metabolism
In a mouse study, groups of mice were given either a standard diet or 0.3 percent acetic acid for eight weeks. Results suggested that acetic acid may directly activate an enzyme known as 5’ AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK. This enzyme is known to boost fat burning potential while decreasing fat and sugar production in the liver.3
3. Lowers fat storage
Obese rats with type-2 diabetes were given daily servings of acetic acid. Results found that the acetic acid protected the liver from accumulated lipid (fat) stores and prevented the buildup of abdominal fat. Results also suggest that the acetic acid increased the expression of genes responsible for metabolizing fat in the liver and the skeletal muscles.4
4. Suppresses appetite
Studies suggest that acetate (an ester of acetic acid) that has been fermented by the colon’s microbiota can cross the blood-brain barrier. When taken up by the brain, the acetate may suppress center of the brain responsible for controlling your appetite. This may ultimately lead to a reduction in overall food intake.5
5. Stimulates Fat-burningIn a study, mice fed a high-fat diet were given either plain water or acetic acid (in 0.3 percent and 1.5 percent concentrations) for six weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers found that acetic acid actively increased expression of the genes that triggered fat burning, inhibiting the accumulation of body fat and liver fat without any changes to food consumption or the weight of skeletal muscle.6
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet Studies
Acetic acid aside, studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can help to promote weight loss. In one study, 11 participants were given two different meals: a bagel and juice (a glycemic load of 81) or chicken and rice (a glycemic load of 48). They were then given either vinegar, peanuts, or nothing. Results found that the high-glycemic load group that had ingested vinegar had a 55 percent lower blood sugar response 60 minutes after eating. The group also consumed about 200 to 275 fewer calories for the remainder of the day. This study suggests that vinegar may help to suppress the appetite and increase the feeling of fullness.7
In another study, 10 healthy volunteers were provided a white bread reference meal as well as a corresponding meal supplemented with vinegar. Both had the same amount of starch, fats, and proteins. The results of the study found that the vinegar group had reduced blood sugar and insulin responses and increased feelings of fullness. This may be caused by a delayed gastric emptying rate.8
In a Japanese double-blind trial, obese subjects were split into three groups, and each group was given a 500 milliliter daily beverage containing either no vinegar, 15 milliliters of vinegar, or 30 milliliters of vinegar for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, both of the groups that had been given vinegar showed significantly lower body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels.9
Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Drink Recipe
Although you can absolutely take apple cider on its own, there are more palatable ways to incorporate it into your diet, like a smoothie.
Simply blend together a mix of:
- 1 frozen banana
- A half cup of blueberries
- A quarter teaspoon of minced ginger
- A tablespoon of chia seeds
- A half cup of your milk of choice
- A half cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Along with the apple cider vinegar, the additional fruits offer a wealth of vitamins and nutrients. Add a cup of kale, spinach, or other leafy greens for added fiber and minerals.10
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
Supplements offer an easy way to get your daily serving of apple cider vinegar. They come in pre-measured doses for added convenience when you’re in a hurry or on the go.
Taking a daily amount of apple cider vinegar may help to promote weight loss and improve your general health, especially when combined with a regular exercise routine and diverse, balanced diet. Consider incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet today.