Problems with overweight and obesity plague people all over the world, giving way to the current $600 billion dollar weight loss industry. However, there is a readily available and very affordable weight loss solution known as Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) that has been used for centuries with great effect.
Apple cider vinegar is the fermented by-product of crushed apples combined with yeast. Once fermentation is complete, bacteria is added to the resulting alcohol and the mixture is left to ferment some more until it becomes acetic acid, which is the most beneficial compound in ACV.
Along with acetic acid, organic and unpasteurized ACV also contains a cloudy cobweb-like substance known as “mother”. The mother contains the enzymes, proteins and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that make apple cider vinegar effective for weight loss and overall health.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, which is known for its potent detoxification and anti-microbial properties, has numerous health benefits, which include:
- Weight Loss
Studies show that many people experience weight loss by including apple cider vinegar as part of an overall health regimen, which includes diet and exercise.
When pure organic ACV is taken regularly for at least three months, some individuals notice a significant reduction in body fat and weight as well as the levels of triglycerides (or fat) in the blood.
- Controlled Blood Sugar
Apple cider vinegar has the ability to reduce the glycemic index of food (taken before meals) and keep blood sugar levels steady, preventing dramatic highs and lows associated with hyper and hypoglycemia. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against diabetes and excess weight, which are both largely driven by imbalances in insulin production.
- Heart Health
The malic acid content in ACV helps to clear arterial blockages as well as any congestion in lymph nodes and organ tissues. This improves the cardiovascular system and increases overall heart health.
- Improved Digestion
Apple cider vinegar increases nutrient absorption and reduces gas and bloating in the intestines. ACV also decreases the transit time of fatty foods so that less of the fat and calories are absorbed into the body.
Drinking ACV regularly introduces more acid into the stomach, allowing nutrients such as proteins (which build growth hormone that breaks down fat cells) to be digested efficiently and better absorbed.
- Candida Control
ACV helps to control cravings for sugar, starches and other carbohydrates because of its anti-fungal effect on candida throughout the body. The reduction in candida and the resulting decrease in cravings, slows weight gain while simultaneously boosting weight loss.
Aside from these important health benefits, apple cider vinegar can also be used for the following:
- Healthy cooking
- High cholesterol
- Immune system
- Acid reflux
- Free radical damage
- Hair loss
- Boost energy
How Does ACV Cause Weight Loss?
Many experts believe that apple cider vinegar should not be considered a method for losing weight. They state that only a few poorly-designed studies and inadequate research have been carried out in an attempt to prove otherwise.
However, while some studies have been carried that reveal the positive effects of taking apple cider vinegar for weight loss, it remains unclear as to why it works.
There are several theories of how ACV affects multiple physiological responses in the body that lead to weight loss, which include:
- Appetite Suppression:
When taken with food, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar causes an effect in the body that experts refer to as “delayed gastric emptying”. This is what many believe leads to the appetite suppression and subsequent weight loss that some people experience from drinking ACV on a regular basis.
Pectin, which is a compound found in apples (and apple cider vinegar), boosts satiety and reduces the incidence of overeating. In fact, apples and ACV contain the same amount of pectin per serving (approximately one and a half grams) and so, have an almost identical effect on appetite suppression.
Another way that ACV works for appetite suppression is by enhancing an individual’s taste for healthy unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. This makes it easier to stick to a healthy diet and avoid “junk” and processed foods.
- Increased Metabolism:
The enzymes and organic acids contained in apple cider vinegar make it extremely effective for speeding up the metabolism and increasing the rate at which fat, protein and other nutrients are broken down.
The higher absorption of proteins brought on by drinking ACV on a regular basis, increases the level of growth hormone in the body, which facilitates weight loss (even without basic activity or exercise).
ACV also boosts metabolism by enhancing the way the body absorbs and utilizes iron. Iron transports oxygen throughout the body via the blood cells and is an important factor for producing the energy required for the body to function properly.
The acetic acid content in ACV helps to improve the levels of myoglobin and hemoglobin throughout the body to boost the metabolism and enhance energy levels and weight loss.
- Lower Insulin Levels:
Insulin is known as the “fat storage hormone” of the body. It is also the hormone responsible for the level of sugar in the blood at any point in time.
Individuals who suffer with excessive insulin production and imbalances in blood sugar levels also tend to struggle with weight problems, and in some cases, type 2 diabetes. Lowering insulin levels and keeping them steady is one of the keys to permanent weight loss and controlling diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar helps to stabilize blood sugar and prevents the crashes and spikes that lead to uncontrollable hunger and low energy, while also reducing the amount of insulin released into the bloodstream.
In fact, studies revealed that drinking ACV before meals significantly reduces glucose levels in the blood when readings were taken after a meal, with the effect lasting as long as ninety minutes post-meal, depending on the amount of ACV taken.
- Reduction in Fat Accumulation:
Another way apple cider vinegar may help weight loss is by effectively reducing the amount of fat accumulation and cholesterol in the body.
Although there are few human-based studies that support this theory, studies carried out on rats in Japan revealed that the acetic acid content in ACV suppressed the accumulation of fat in the rodents, even though they were being fed very high fat diets.
Apple cider vinegar is known for being a potent detoxification agent that removes impurities from the body. It facilitates higher absorption of nutrients while boosting the metabolism.
ACV also contains high levels of soluble fiber, which helps to facilitate complete bowel movements while also absorbing toxins in the digestive tract.
- Reduced Water Retention
Apple cider vinegar is a rich source of potassium, which is a nutrient essential for optimal sodium balance in the body. Potassium is also necessary for reducing bloat, blood pressure and negative stress responses in the body.
Replacing salt in the diet with potassium rich ACV (on salads and other types of foods), lower levels of fluid retention, and reduces cravings for salty and fatty foods.
How Much and How Often Should ACV Be Taken?
For best weight loss results, a relatively small amount of apple cider vinegar is needed each day. Using ACV for losing weight is most effective when it is taken on an empty stomach in the morning, and before each meal of the day.
- Add approximately two teaspoons of ACV to sixteen ounces of water and drink the mixture up to three times daily.
- If necessary, add a small amount of honey to improve the taste of the ACV drink.
It is best to integrate ACV as part of a daily nutrition regimen on a gradual basis:
- Start by drinking one teaspoon in eight ounces of water each morning. Gauge the body’s response. If the stomach handles the acidity well, increase the dosage to two teaspoons in sixteen ounces of water.
- Increase intake by a second eight ounce glass of water (taken before the second meal of the day) and one teaspoon of ACV. If tolerated well, increase to two teaspoons of ACV in sixteen ounces of water.
- Increase the daily intake to a maximum of three sixteen-ounce glasses of water and a total of six teaspoons of ACV.
As a result of apple cider vinegar’s detoxification effect, energy and required trips to the bathroom may increase over the first few days of consumption.
It is important to note that apple cider vinegar only contains three calories per serving, so it does not contribute significantly to the daily calorie allowance while dieting.
Also, there is no benefit from drinking more than the maximum recommended daily dosage of ACV, as doing so does not lead to faster or more significant weight loss.
Warning: The high acid content of apple cider vinegar can irritate the stomach and throat and damage tooth enamel. It is important to dilute ACV in water or juice before consumption.
How Long to Take ACV for Best Results
To receive optimal benefits, stick to a healthy lifestyle and ACV supplementation for at least three to four months. However, because apple cider vinegar is a completely natural product, it can be taken forever for weight loss without any problems.
Apple cider vinegar encourages weight loss in many individuals, but the process is slow, steady, progressive and often permanent. Results will vary depending on individual circumstances such as age, activity level, diet and metabolism.
How to Speed Up Weight Loss with ACV
When taking ACV for weight loss, it is important to be realistic about the potential results. While many have seen positive and beneficial results, apple cider vinegar is not a miracle weight loss supplement.
Taking apple cider vinegar without adopting a healthy lifestyle does not produce significant weight loss or health benefits.
Since it is most effective as part of a healthy eating and exercise plan, use the following tips for best results.
- Exercise regularly: Work out at least five days a week for between twenty to forty minutes each day to speed up the rate at which the body burns calories while boosting the metabolism at the same time.
- Decrease sugar consumption: Include less sugar in the daily diet. This means eating even healthy sugars like fruits (which contain lots of vitamins and fiber) in moderation.
- Avoid certain types of food: Although it is not essential, avoiding excessive fat and carbohydrates along with foods prepared with unhealthy cooking methods (deep frying, etc.) helps to improve weight loss results while taking ACV.
While many individuals have taken ACV for long periods of time without experiencing any adverse effects, it is important to always discuss taking supplements with a physician before using them as part of a healthcare routine.