Apple cider vinegar has become a tremendously popular natural home remedy. People swear by its effectiveness in alleviating a plethora of bodily complaints.
Vinegar is made from the fermentation of alcohol (ethanol) by acetic acid bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider or apples.
People swear by its effectiveness in alleviating sore throats and acid reflux, along with improving skin quality, lowering cholesterol, etc.
Researchers certainly have uncovered convincing evidence that apple cider vinegar does have benefits, including its bacteria-killing abilities 1.
One of the biggest claims about apple cider vinegar (ACV) is that it can promote weight loss. Can it really? Let’s get to the bottom of these claims.
Can Vinegar Help You Shed Pounds? Let’s Look at Acetic Acid
To shed light on this question, let's look at the published research pertaining to apple cider vinegar.
There is little research on this specific form of vinegar (apple cider vinegar), but there is research on vinegar in general, and most importantly, on the shared compound in both vinegar and apple cider vinegar, acetic acid.
Vinegar: The Evidence
First, let’s look at whether vinegar in general can promote weight loss.
In obese people, consumption of vinegar-containing beverages resulted in reductions in “body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, [and] waist circumference” 2.
Since vinegar has been shown to reduce weight in animal studies, researchers decided to test it on humans 2.
In obese people, consumption of vinegar-containing beverages resulted in reductions in “body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, [and] waist circumference” 2. Good news! It worked in this case! Better yet, vinegar can increase satiety 8. In other words, it makes you feel full so that you eat less.
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So what are the exact reasons that vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, can help you shed pounds?
Acetic Acid: The Evidence
Vinegar and apple cider vinegar have very similar chemical makeup. They each contain acetic acid. We know that all vinegars work similarly in the body.
Lowers Glucose and Insulin
Researchers have proven that vinegar, and specifically the acetic acid in vinegar (including apple cider vinegar), can lower glucose and insulin levels. High insulin levels can contribute to weight gain 3,4. Insulin is a hormone that makes your body store calories and fat. So lowering it can aid you in shedding fat.
Enhances Energy Expenditure
The acetic acid in vinegar and apple cider vinegar can even enhance the uptake of glucose into your cells, to be burned instead of stored as fat 5.
There’s also evidence that acetic acid stimulates an enzyme called AMPK, which speeds up the burning of fat and sugar 6,7. When this enzyme is activated, your body burns fat, and when it's not activated, your body stores fat. Luckily, apple cider vinegar activates it.
The bottom line is that there is ample evidence backing up the claim that apple cider vinegar helps keep extra weight off. And research has shown us the mechanisms as to why that is.
It’s not a magic bullet that will miraculously shed all your fat in an instant, but it's a helpful tool for those seeking to reach their ideal weight. When it comes to losing weight, apple cider vinegar is one factor of many, and it should be one of many habits you utilize to stay lean and healthy.