We’re constantly bombarded by the latest discoveries of “miracle” weight loss nutrients, whether it’s on talk shows, health blogs, or even on news reports.
And as convincing as marketing can be, you probably know there’s no magic supplement that can rev up your metabolism as fast as a Ferrari.
But what about apple cider vinegar and weight loss?
The good news is, there are ultimate superfoods that promote sustainable weight loss – and apple cider vinegar is one of them.
Apple cider vinegar contains specific nutrients that help support your body’s natural functions like digestion. And when your body receives the nutrients it needs to function at its best, it sets the stage for natural weight loss.
So, let’s take a look at the science behind apple cider vinegar and weight loss that explains why this superfood isn’t just an old wive’s tale.
The ACV Weight Loss Connection
Being a fermented food, apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains probiotics, or friendly bacteria, that contribute to a healthy gut.
And when compared to other varieties of vinegar, ACV is tops in nutritional value – and that’s simply because it’s made from apples.
We already know that apples are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re rich in several essential nutrients such as fiber and several vitamins and minerals.
And when a food is fermented, the nutrients it contains can become even more concentrated (1).
A fermented food is also considered “living,” which means it naturally contains more enzymes that help support digestion.
One of the primary benefits of apple cider vinegar is that its main ingredient is acetic acid.
Acetic acid is an organic compound that’s produced by bacteria during the fermentation process. It contains antioxidants and has been proven to destroy harmful bacteria, is a natural antifungal, and, yes – it can also promote natural weight loss (2).
How Acetic Acid Helps with Weight Loss
One of the ways acetic acid helps us lose weight is because it’s been shown to keep your appetite satisfied for longer.
In a recent study, researchers found acetic acid slows down the body’s insulin response to carbohydrates like white bread.
The healthy individuals who participated in the study were also reported to have higher levels of satiety after consuming vinegar with bread, compared to those who only had the bread alone (3).
This suggests that acetic acid may help promote blood sugar balance and keep your appetite satisfied for longer: two factors that lead to natural weight loss.
The potential blood-sugar-balancing benefits of acetic acid may also prevent cravings for sugary sweets and starches.
A study done on mice for obesity prevention also showed that acetic acid could help prevent body fat accumulation.
For 6 weeks, the mice were given acetic acid with water, without changing their diet or food consumption.
Scientists found a reduction in body fat and liver lipid upregulation genes, further suggesting that acetic acid helps with weight loss.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss Explained
So now we know how one component of ACV – acetic acid – facilitates weight loss. But does apple cider vinegar help with weight loss in other ways?
The answer is yes.
1. It Helps with Natural Detoxification
Apple cider vinegar contains a nutrient called pectin, a type of fiber that can help promote bowel regularity and natural detoxification (2).
Regular and healthy digestion is essential to weight loss. If you aren’t eliminating daily, waste builds up in your digestive tract and can be stored as extra pounds.
Also, if your body’s elimination process isn’t up to speed, toxins can recirculate in your bloodstream and get reabsorbed, which can lead to weight gain.
For instance, let’s take xenoestrogens, which are environmental toxins that we’re exposed to in our environment, especially in plastics, household cleaners and cosmetics.
Xenoestrogens are considered toxic because they mimic the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is a female sex hormone that promotes growth and development. When it’s found in the body in high levels, excess estrogen can promote weight gain (4).
When we absorb xenoestrogens, our entire – and delicate – hormonal balance can be thrown off.
2. More (Better) Trips to the Bathroom
Your body works hard to detoxify from toxins such as xenoestrogens, but when your elimination isn’t working efficiently, these toxins can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream.
When toxins are reabsorbed, they have the ability to damage your cells and negatively interfere with your hormones, which are responsible for controlling your metabolism and blood sugar levels (among many other functions).
Now, healthy digestion doesn’t just mean going to the bathroom once per day. In fact, from a holistic perspective, you’re considered constipated if you’re only having one bowel movement per day. The goal for optimal health is two to three bowel movements per day.
And when it comes to healthy poop, we’re not talking about rabbit pellets here. Healthy poop should have an “S” shape, or look similar to a big brown banana, without a foul scent.
3. It Helps You Digest Protein
While apple cider vinegar aids in natural detoxification, the acid it contains can also help with protein digestion – and I’ll explain how this relates to weight loss in just a moment.
But first: protein requires an acidic internal environment to be properly digested.
While the pH of stomach acid is sufficient to digest protein, one of the most common health problems today is low stomach acid.
Low stomach acid is commonly caused by stress, diets high in processed foods, and frequent antibiotic use. It also naturally depletes with age.
Now, poor protein digestion can prevent you from losing weight by interfering with your hormone production.
This is because protein is a macronutrient your body uses to build certain hormones, such as the growth hormone (5). Growth hormone plays a role in weight loss because it helps us burn energy (or calories) while we’re at rest.
4. Hormones, Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss
I also briefly mentioned above that your hormones play a key role in regulating your metabolism.
This is because hormones are chemical messengers that work closely together to perform nearly every function in your body. That being said, when your hormones are out of balance (which can occur from poor protein digestion), they aren’t able to communicate as efficiently. The communication between your hormones can have a direct impact on whether you gain weight, lose weight, burn fat or store fat.
By increasing your stomach acid with apple cider vinegar before a meal, you’ll improve your protein digestion and make it more usable for hormone synthesis.
5. ACV and Tryptophan
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to release proteins during digestion that the body uses to make tryptophan (6).
The amino acid tryptophan is essential for weight loss because it can helps us feel full and satisfied from meals.
You see, tryptophan is the sole precursor of the “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. And because serotonin promotes feelings of serenity and satisfaction, it can also prevent overeating and cravings for sweets.
In fact, studies have linked low serotonin to increased carbohydrate consumption and obesity (7).
ACV Helps in Many Ways
What does apple cider vinegar do for weight loss? As you can see, it the link between apple cider vinegar and weight loss is multi-pronged.
While apple cider vinegar can act as an ultimate superfood for weight loss, it contributes to weight loss in complex ways through protein digestion, natural detoxification, and promoting hormone and neurotransmitter production.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Hawaiian Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
To use ACV for weight loss, simply stir 2 tablespoons of vinegar into 500 ml of water (a little more than 2 cups) before each meal (8).
If that mix doesn’t appeal to you, try my other apple cider vinegar drinks:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Soda Drink
- Hawaiian Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
- Switchel: The Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink
You can also add apple cider vinegar to your salad dressings for a tangy flavor. I love this Apple Cider Vinegar and Greens Detox Salad, and here are a few more Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing recipes you might love.
To receive all of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, I recommend choosing raw and unpasteurized version, such as Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. It contains all of the enzymes and beneficial bacteria found in vinegar that are destroyed during pasteurization.
Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar will also contain “the mother” of the vinegar, which is a somewhat slimy substance that’s highly concentrated in protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria.
Don’t fear the mother – while it’s not the most visually appealing clump of goodness, it does enhance the overall nutritional content of apple cider vinegar.
Precautions for Taking Apple Cider Vinegar
Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, I always like to throw out the disclaimer that it can erode your tooth enamel when you drink it. For this reason, it should always be sipped through a straw and diluted in water.
The acid in apple cider vinegar can also burn your esophagus if you drink it straight, which is also why it’s important to dilute it.
Try it For Yourself
As you can see, when it comes to apple cider vinegar and weight loss, there’s no harm in adding it to your routine for its unique health benefits.
While ACV isn’t a cure-all for weight loss, it can certainly help support your overall health and enhance the weight-loss-promoting benefits of a nutrient-dense diet.
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