As registered dietitian nutritionists and personal trainers, our clients often ask us for our own easy weight loss hacks and health secrets, and they want to know if apple cider vinegar (ACV) is worth the hype and if so, if it’s a ‘get healthy hack’ we use. Our answer? “Hack, yeah!” 🙂 Today we’re sharing when and why we use ACV and answering whether it’s right for you too. Plus, we’re answering all your burning questions including… Is it worth the hype? Does apple cider vinegar help you lose weight? Can it help with diabetes? How much should you use and which kind? And so much more!
Does apple cider vinegar really cure diseases like cancer?
If you’ve heard about apple cider vinegar, you’ve likely seen the claims as they’re running rampant across the internet…it cures cancer, reverses diabetes, protects you from the coronavirus—and everything else under the sun. But is it really the magic potion you’ve read about?
Um, NO! Those internet rumors are just rumors. And while apple cider vinegar isn’t a magic bullet to cure all that ails you, there are proven scientific health benefits—and those are the ones we’re sharing and all of ACV scoop, including how to reap those benefits.
What gives apple cider vinegar its’ health benefits?
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars of crushed apples, making them into alcohol and then adding a bacteria which allows the alcohol to ferment into acetic acid. Its’ this fermentation process, in addition to the health attributes you’d find in apples, that appear to yield some of the good-for-you benefits.
Shake your bottle before each use since the ‘mother’ settles on the bottom.
Which ACV should you buy?
Choose ACV that contains the ‘mother.’
We think of this as the mother lode, in the best way possible. Yep, a gold mine. The ‘mother’ has all the good stuff. If your ACV has it, it means your ACV’s been fermented, contains good-for-you bacteria (probiotics), protein and enzymes and helps you to produce gastric juices that are needed for digestion, and that tend to lessen with age. Without enough stomach acid & enzymes, you can’t efficiently absorb nutrients and you may have heartburn, among other issues. We initially started adding ACV (with the ‘mother’) to our lives because we wanted to boost our nutrient absorption and knew it was likely that our gastric juices could use a little waking up, as is the case for many people. This is also one of many reasons we often have our clients get some ACV and typically they say that it immediately helps their digestion. Often, once they start adding some ACV in the ways that we recommend, they also notice that they have fewer cravings. Although we’re not sure of the exact mechanism that ACV helps to reduce cravings, in theory, it may help because if they are absorbing nutrients and nourishment that they previously weren’t, this would help them to feel more satisfied. Some of these nutrients do effect neurotransmitters, so that also may be helping to take the edge off and lessen cravings. Or possibly, it’s because of a third reason regarding appetite that we address later in this blog, read on…
Does apple cider vinegar kill bacteria?
“I’ve got chills… they’re multiplying…”
If you’re a fan of the movie Grease, you know the “multiplying” part isn’t referring to bacteria, but maybe that’s because they were using vinegar to sanitize…:) The main substance in vinegar — acetic acid — can kill harmful bacteria or prevent them from multiplying. In fact, ACV has been shown to kill E. coli, C. albicans, as well as S. aureus, the harmful bacteria responsible for staph infections. ACV is often used as a disinfectant and we personally use vinegar as a natural cleaning agent since we try to minimize our use of harsher chemicals.
Fun tip: Add a splash of vinegar and lemon to your salad- they’ve each been shown, separately, and even more together, to reduce salmonella on salad greens. With all of the salmonella outbreaks on spinach and lettuce we’ve all heard about lately, this is a tasty and healthy way to help keep yourself safer!
Can apple cider vinegar help fight diabetes?
Get this… it can help! Apple cider vinegar may help so much that it’s important to talk to your doctor if you take diabetes medication and want to take ACV since they both may benefit blood sugar and insulin levels. In fact, researchers found that apple cider vinegar may work similarly to the diabetes drug, Metformin and can significantly lower blood sugar and insulin responses in people with insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes (2). Results showed that the apple cider vinegar improved insulin sensitivity by 19-34% after subjects were fed a high carb meal.
Although limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, candy and pastries, being physically active and losing excess weight is the best defense against Type 2 diabetes, ACV can be powerful too!
Can apple cider vinegar help you lose weight and shrink your waistline?
It just may! Research shows that apple cider vinegar can give you a weight loss advantage by increasing fat burning (3), suppressing appetite (4), and possibly improving metabolism, reducing water retention & more!
Think of it this way: you have a little apple cider vinegar. It helps you to feel full, so you’re less hungry and you eat less at meals and snacks. Calories are slashed and… you lose weight! Not too bad, especially considering it doesn’t require a lot of work.
One study found that having a daily dose of apple cider vinegar led to weight loss and reduced belly fat and weight loss in obese subjects.
ACV also seems to interfere with the body’s digestion of carbs/ starch. This means fewer calories get absorbed, which is a total score for any weight loss hopeful!
Who should avoid apple cider vinegar?
Avoid ACV if you have an ulcer, hiatal hernia, Barrett’s esophagus, or low potassium. Check with your doctor before using, especially if you’re on insulin or diabetes medication or if you have digestive issues. Apple cider vinegar works for our clients because we screen them first to make sure they’ll benefit.
How to add some ACV to your life:
– Start slowly with one teaspoon and work up to a couple of teaspoons of ACV diluted in eight ounces of water.
– ACV is acidic so always dilute it when you drink it. Do not drink it straight without watering it down as this can burn your esophagus and erode your teeth. Apple Cider Vinegar has diluted in these delicious recipes:
- Beet and Apple Detox Salad
- Apple Cider Vinegar Mint Detox Drink
- Watermelon ACV “Detox” Drink
- Apple Cider Vinegar Lemon “Detox” Drink
– Drink ACV water through a straw so the acid doesn’t damage teeth.
– Include ACV before meals to help your digestive juices, not after.
Do apple cider vinegar pills or gummies work?
Theoretically apple cider vinegar pills and gummies should have benefits, BUT we haven’t been able to find research that used gummies or powders in their studies. However, we have found other issues—like certain components of the supplements not being able to survive the process of being put in a supplement– or that the products are contaminated. Another issue is that some products may actually not end up containing what the company believes that they do. The testing to check this is intricate and complicated. So the answer is, it’s hard to give a concrete answer because it’s hard to know– ah! If you do decide to choose an ACV gummy or a pill, ask the company for studies using their products, and not just studies on ACV. And choose an organic apple cider vinegar so at least you’ll know contaminants are not used initially, and that those contaminants would then not only get more concentrated when concentrated into a gummy or pill. Hopefully, the company will have the studies, and we just aren’t aware of them!
A word of caution:
Be careful not to overdo it! Start by adding ACV to your life slowly to make sure you tolerate it. Begin with 1 teaspoon in a cup of water once a day—for example, try it before breakfast and work your way up to no more than a tablespoon in a cup of water before meals. If you overdo it, you may experience heartburn or burning sensation in your throat and neck. Stop immediately if so, and talk to your doctor before trying it again. Tammy was in a hurry and didn’t measure carefully several days in a row when she started using ACV and poured a splash in her water for and ended with a burning sensation in her throat. It resolved after a couple of days, but now she’s much more careful about how much she pours! 🙂 And remember to drink it through a straw. The acidic mixture can be harsh on teeth enamel.
WHY DO EXPERTS DISAGREE ABOUT APPLE CIDER VINEGAR BENEFITS?
INDIVIDUALITY! We’re all unique and some people can benefit more than others!
This is the same reason that the keto diet may work for your friends and not for you. And it explains why some people have found success on Weight Watchers or Paleo, but it may have only lasted temporarily for you since it wasn’t sustainable. We’re all unique and there is no ONE right plan for everyone! We all have our own food preferences, lifestyle habits, hormones, genetic make-up and so much more that make us, us! And this all must be taken into account when finding a healthy eating or healthy weight loss plan that works for you.
Struggling to find a weight loss plan that works just for you and your lifestyle?
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