Who can deny the appeal of a drink that drops the pounds? We’ve called them everything from miracle elixirs to weight loss wonders, but do all of them actually hold up to their claims? With more and more people turning to apple cider vinegar to trim down their tummies, we thought it was about time to look at the hard and fast science to see if there’s some serious benefit here or if it’s just another trumped-up snake oil. We checked in with Jim White, RDN, spokesperson and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios to see if there’s any substance behind the slimming claims.
“There have been claims that show apple cider vinegar can help improve diabetes, lower cholesterol, and even get rid of leg cramps,” White says. But he’s quick to caution people from thinking of it as a cure-all, noting that “more research is needed to back up these claims.” Anecdotally, people claim it helps banish their cravings for sweets, which would make it easier to resist sweet and salty treats that tend to pack on the pounds--but whether this is due to some property of the vinegar or simply the sour flavor making it less appealing to turn to snacks is still up for debate.
While there was one study out of Japan that found that supplementation with apple cider vinegar could help prevent fat and weight gain in humans, White says the idea that it can help you lose weight if taken regularly “is a blown-out claim.” The study in question, he adds, “showed a very modest loss over a 3 month period but nothing to get excited about.”
In fact, the study set up the vinegar--or more specifically, the acetic acid found in the vinegar--as a possible effective block on the build-up of frustrating fat, not a means of melting away what’s already there. Moreover, the study was done on mice, so any results that promised a slimming effect aren’t guaranteed to hold true in humans.
Though the weight loss effects may be considerably smaller than we all hoped, it’s worth trying in your diet for a couple weeks to see if it helps with your cravings--which will end up helping you whittle your middle in the long-term. Just make sure you’re diluting the vinegar with plenty of water, cautions White. One to two tablespoons in a full glass of water can be taken a couple times a day with meals, he says, as long as you check with your doctor if you’re on a prescription medication. Overall, White says, the vinegar is better as a part of a well-rounded approach to health that still includes sticking to an overall healthy diet and logging some exercise time.
If you’re looking to give the liquid a try, just make sure you’re picking up the right bottle. Not just any vinegar will do! Choose apple cider vinegar with labels that say it includes “the Mother,” the part of the liquid with the majority of the benefits. And don’t gloss over easy ways to get more into your diet, either! It’s the perfect additional to healthy marinades and salad dressings, which deliver the same health benefits without the throat-stinging effects of sipping it.
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