While apple cider vinegar is getting a lot of media attention for its weight loss benefits, there isn’t a whole lot of information about how to use apple cider vinegar in your weight loss diet. Every study that comes out showing a link between apple cider vinegar (or regular vinegar) and weight loss has used a slightly different protocol to achieve clinical results.
So in this blog post, we’ll explore a simple method you can use as a starting point to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss. Once you’ve followed this basic method for a little while, you can make adjustments depending on how you feel and the results you’re getting.
Before we get started, let’s briefly discuss some of the known benefits of apple cider vinegar when it comes to weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar provides several benefits that play various roles in its overall weight loss effect:
A pivotal 2009 double-blind study by Tomoo Kondo et al. showed that daily acetic acid (the main component of vinegar) intake reduced body weight, body fat, and serum triglycerides (1). This study is important not only because it was a human study, but also because it had such a dramatic effect on these 3 markers of obesity. This suggests that daily vinegar intake should be included as part of a comprehensive obesity-prevention strategy.
Insulin resistance is a core problem in type 2 diabetes. One of the goals in treating type 2 diabetes is to re-sensitize your body to the insulin that’s already floating in your bloodstream. There’s some evidence that vinegar intake can make your body more sensitive to insulin, specifically, in response to a high-carbohydrate meal.
A 2004 human study by Carol Johnston et al. demonstrated that in patients who were already categorized as being insulin resistant or had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes showed improvements in insulin sensitivity with vinegar intake (2). The authors noted that the effects were similar to results seen with diabetic medications like Acarbose and Metformin.
From this study, we can conclude that while more research needs to be done, there’s promising evidence that daily vinegar intake delivers significant insulin re-sensitizing effects.
If you’ve just eaten a meal but didn’t get to the point of feeling “satisfied,” you’re more likely to go for seconds or thirds. But what if you could eat your first meal and find a way to “hack” your body’s satiation signals to turn on the “I’m full” signal a bit early? There seems to be a way to do that.
In a 2005 human study by E. Ostman et al., the authors demonstrated that vinegar intake had a significant effect on subjective levels of satiation following a meal with white bread (3). It was also found that as the vinegar intake went up, the satiation levels went up as well.
These results show that vinegar, when used strategically with meals, is a great way to “hack” your satiation signals without having to eat more food or fight the desire for more food.
Eating less and working out more is the tried and true method for weight loss for many people. But is there a way to maximize weight loss using other methods? The answer is yes: fat metabolism.
The way your body uses and metabolizes fat is another avenue for weight loss that, while difficult to control, can act as a catalyst when combined with other weight loss methods.
A 2016 Dietary Phytochemicals: Nutrition and Health article published by Hiromi Yamashita showed that acetic acid intake was associated with a decrease in fat-producing genes in the liver and abdominal fat accumulation (4). The conclusion of the article is that acetic acid appears to work against obesity at the metabolic level.
Energy expenditure goes up as exercise increases—that much is clear. However, is there a way to increase energy expenditure at rest? There is some evidence that we can influence our energy expenditure, even in the absence of exercise, with vinegar.
A 2010 study performed by Maiko Hattori et al. showed that a single dose of acetic acid significantly increased oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, and fat oxidation (5). This study strongly supports the argument that, even in the absence of exercise, acetic acid can increase energy expenditure and oxidize more fat.
A lot of people claim that coffee and other agents can suppress your appetite and, thus, tackle weight loss by merely avoiding food altogether. There is, in fact, evidence that acetate (a salt form of acetic acid) reduces appetite in your brain.
A 2014 study by Gary Frost et al. showed that acetate administration affected a wide range of signal pathways in the central nervous system, which eventually led to the effect of acutely suppressing appetite (6). This is significant because since we already know that vinegar improves satiation, we also know that vinegar can reduce appetite signals in the brain, which can make it easier to pass on seconds after a satisfying meal.
We’re exposed to toxins every day. Toxins can come from food containers, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, pollution, and even from the food itself. These toxins can wreak havoc on our hormones and disrupt the process of losing weight (7).
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and improve the overall health of your detox defense system (8). This is important because as you lose weight, the level of toxins in your bloodstream from oxidized fat cells goes up (9), so dealing with the increase is vital to avoid further toxic damage.
Many people who engage in a weight loss strategy are doing so through various exercise methods such as marathon running, Crossfit, or intense weight lifting routines. However, these methods can suppress your immune system (10). That’s why it’s essential to maintain a regular detox: to optimize your immune function by controlling bacteria and viruses.
Vinegar has been shown to kill and prevent the spread of various pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella (11, 12). So when using apple cider vinegar, you’re also detoxifying your body of dangerous pathogens that could become a problem if your immune system is low from strenuous exercise.
So whether you’re using apple cider vinegar in your morning detox cleanse or elsewhere in your diet, it’s a good idea to keep a regular detox as part of your overall weight loss strategy.
Now let’s get to the fun part: How to actually use apple cider vinegar as part of your diet to achieve weight loss.
First things first: there’s not really an “apple cider vinegar diet” per se. What we’re doing here is trying to figure out a way to include apple cider vinegar in your current weight loss diet to use it as a catalyst.
Apple cider vinegar isn’t a magic weight loss supplement. You can’t eat a poor diet, never work out, but take apple cider vinegar randomly and expect to lose weight. I can almost guarantee the results won’t be what you expected.
That said, based on the research we have so far, there seems to be an emerging strategy to optimize using apple cider vinegar in your weight loss efforts. Let’s get right into it:
If you have any pre-existing conditions that are sensitive to electrolyte changes and/or glucose and insulin changes, you should first consult with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
While not an exhaustive list, here are some conditions that could be affected by apple cider vinegar use:
You still might be able to use apple cider vinegar, but you should consult with your doctor first, as they might need to monitor you a bit more closely.
Remember: no magic pill will make you lose weight while still maintaining a poor diet and a lack of exercise. Exercise and proper nutrition are essential to your weight loss regimen.
If that’s the case, you might be wondering: Then why bother with apple cider vinegar? It’s really a matter of the speed at which you want to reach your goal. If you’re looking to lose weight faster for cosmetic or even competitive reasons, apple cider vinegar can help speed up the results of your current weight loss strategy.
But be realistic about it: If you expect fast results, you should expect hard work.
Many of the studies linking vinegar to weight loss were done using vinegar during or just before meals. So it makes sense to follow the templates used in the study.
Here is the strategy:
The liquid form of apple cider vinegar comes with some precautions:
These precautions are necessary because drinking pure apple cider vinegar can damage your esophagus and erode the enamel of your teeth from the acidity content. Diluting the apple cider vinegar in water, rinsing your mouth of the acid, and using a straw will all help to avoid the dangers of drinking straight vinegar and will prevent unnecessary overexposure to the acid.
While drinking apple cider vinegar is acceptable, some people don’t like the taste of vinegar, even if it’s diluted. It’s also impractical to always prepare the drink ahead of time. That’s why more companies are creating apple cider vinegar pills: for easy ingestion and greater convenience.
The great thing about the pill form is that companies are also adding synergistic enhancements like cinnamon and cayenne pepper to their formula so you can get a more substantial benefit from these 3 elements working together.
Companies are putting together pills with about 285–1500 mg of dehydrated apple cider vinegar per capsule, which is about 1–4 teaspoons of the liquid form.
Using apple cider vinegar as part of a comprehensive weight loss diet plan is gaining popularity. While more research needs to be done to clarify effective dosages to achieve the weight loss benefits, there’s enough evidence to actively support using it to enhance your nutritional and exercise program to speed up weight loss.
As mentioned above, many people use apple cider vinegar for a variety of reasons, but always consult with your doctor before embarking on an experiment with it in your weight loss program.
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