The Pros and Cons of Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
|Expert Reviewed||Claire Martin, Registered Dietician|
Expert Advice About Losing Weight With Apple Cider Vinegar
"I do not think that ACV can lead to weight loss without making important changes to your eating habits and lifestyle," says Claire Martin, a registered dietician in Oakland, California. "Expecting that only drinking ACV would lead to weight loss without making diet or lifestyle changes is expecting magic from an otherwise useful tool.
However, if you make the appropriate life and food changes, ACV is an effective supplementary food that aids digestion and metabolism."
How to Lose Weight With ACV
- Dilute 2 teaspoons with 8 ounces of water.
- Use a straw to sip in order to protect your teeth, mouth, and throat.
- Rinse your mouth afterward, or brush your teeth with baking soda.
- Drink twice a day, before breakfast and after dinner.
- If you have trouble digesting acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruit, avoid ACV as it will likely upset your stomach.
What Are the Cons of Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?
- In large amounts, apple cider vinegar can decrease the body's potassium levels, particularly when combined with certain medications. Very low potassium levels can weaken the bones.
- If you take the heart medication digoxin, decreased potassium levels can increase the medication's side effects, including dizziness, confusion, and nausea.
- Drinking large amounts of apple cider vinegar while taking insulin can decrease potassium levels in the body. Avoid taking ACV if you take insulin.
- Diuretic medication, or "water pills," can decrease potassium levels on their own. Avoid using ACV if you take this medication.
- Apple cider vinegar might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels closely if you are diabetic and use ACV. You may also need to adjust your dose of diabetes medication.
- Studies into how ACV effects people with diabetes show that the vinegar delays gastric emptying—a benefit for most people, but this can lead to gastroparesis in people with diabetes.
- Use caution when taking ACV in tablet form. If the highly acidic tablet gets stuck in your throat you may have pain and difficulty swallowing long after the tablet has been removed.
- ACV can damage your teeth enamel and esophagus. Always use a straw when drinking apple cider vinegar, even if it's diluted.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an age-old ingredient for healthy living. Drinking it can bring a number of health benefits:
- Apple cider vinegar is loaded with 17 amino acids, vitamins like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus and minerals like B1, B6, and B12," says dietician Claire Martin.
- Research shows that ACV is a useful aid in losing weight. In 2009, The Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry journal published a study finding that drinking it for just three months caused significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference, and triglycerides.
- It can also improve heart health. The vinegar contains malic acid which clears clogged arteries, lymph nodes, and organ tissues.
- When applied to the skin, it can help eliminate acne, warts, and many other skin blemishes and discolorations. A lot of people add a touch of ACV to their bathwater in order to improve the health of their skin.
- "You could also use ACV as a hair conditioner or a facial toner because it is acidic and can help normalize your pH after using alkaline cleansers or shampoos," says Martin. "But I would be careful to patch test because CV's acetic acid content can be harsh for certain skin or hair types."
However, despite all the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar, it’s not a quick fix. If you’re looking to lose weight fast, then ACV is not right for you. Think of it as a marathon, rather than a sprint.
Read the guidelines below to learn how about taking ACV for weight loss.
How to Use ACV to Cleanse or Detox
Our bodies can cleanse and "detox" themselves when we eat a balanced diet with lots of fiber and raw vegetables. But we can give our metabolisms a boost by following these simple steps:
- Drink water! In addition to the water you mix with apple cider vinegar, drink another two liters every day. Staying hydrated is key to helping your body eliminate toxins.
- Cut sugar and alcohol from your diet. Avoid empty calories, like refined flour foods. You'll notice a real boost in energy!
- Boost the protein and fiber. This can mean lean meats, raw vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. These foods will keep you feeling full.
- Keep salt to a minimum. Avoid foods with added sodium to get rid of excess water and reduce that bloated feeling.
- Drink apple cider vinegar twice a day! Mix two teaspoons with a glass of water and drink with a straw to protect your teeth.
Always use a straw when drinking apple cider vinegar, even if it's diluted. This will protect your teeth from the acid.
Apple Cider Vinegar Drink Recipe
- 1 cup (8 oz.) water
- 2 tsp. apple juice, organic preferably
- 2-3 tsp. apple cider vinegar, organic preferably
- 1 tsp. honey, raw
- Blend ingredients together.
- Add more water or honey to taste.
Tips to Prepare Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
- Mix 2-3 tsp vinegar with a minimum of 8 ounces (225 grams, or one cup) of water. You can add more water if the taste is still too strong for you. You can also add honey, which really helps improve the flavor.
- The ideal quantity of ACV will vary from person to person. Typically I use 1 tablespoon (15ml) per 8oz water but I have known people who mix 4 to 5 teaspoons (20ml to 25ml) per cup of water.
How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
- I recommend drinking it with a straw. Highly acidic foods can damage the enamel on your teeth and, even diluted, ACV can cause some serious damage.
- I drink it in the morning on an empty stomach and at night before dinner. Others have found routines that work better for them.
Protect Your Tooth Enamel With Baking Soda
It’s not a bad idea to brush your teeth immediately before and after you drink ACV. Alternatively, rinse your mouth with a mixture of water and baking soda, which will counteract the acidity in your mouth and protect your teeth.
Apple Cider Vinegar Drink Nutrition Facts
|Serving size: About 8 oz.|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 7 g||2%|
|Sugar 7 g|
|Fiber 0 g|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 10 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Do you like this apple cider drink?
1. Which Brand of ACV Is Best?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It should be made from cider or apple juice and should have a pale to medium amber color. Pretty much any brand will do: Bragg and Heinz are two of the better-known ones, but there’s nothing wrong with a store brand or a generic version.
2. Organic or Non-Organic?
I strongly recommend that you buy the organic version. Organic apple cider vinegar is made with organically grown apples. This is the best choice as you won't be exposed to harmful pesticides or herbicides.
3. Is Raw the Same as Unpasterurized?
Yes. Raw apple cider vinegar will be unpasteurized, unfiltered, and unheated. You will notice some strand-like sediment at the bottom of the bottle. This is the "mother," a substance filled with living nutrients and bacteria that are responsible for many of ACV's health benefits.
By contrast, pasteurized ACV will be clear in colour.
Make sure you shake your bottle of ACV before each use, to mix the cobwebby bacteria material into the vinegar.
4. Can I Drink ACV by Itself?
While a 5% acid concentration may not seem like much, that’s actually pretty high for something you eat. As such, I would not recommend drinking the vinegar by itself since the taste can be pretty intense and the acid could damage your teeth and mouth.
5. How Much Should I Drink?
Mix 2 teaspoons of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Don't drink more than 4 teaspoons a day. If you experience any burning or nausea, either reduce the amount of ACV or try drinking it at a different time.
6. Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Control Blood Pressure?
There are no studies to show whether apple cider vinegar reduces blood pressure in humans. Research using rats, however, does show a reduction in systolic blood pressure when ACV is consumed.
7. Can I Drink It With Tea, Coffee, or Juice?
Many people don't like the taste of ACV and would prefer to mix it with something a bit more appetizing and there is no harm in doing that. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that caffeine may slow down the absorption process, so use herbal or decaf tea if possible.
Also keep in mind that if coffee, tea, and juice are all acidic. So if you are mixing ACV with a fruit juice, you will be increasing the acidity levels of the drink, which is not very good for your teeth.
A number of people have also asked if they can mix the vinegar with carbonated water, soda, or energy drinks. I say, if it helps you get past the taste, do whatever you need to. However, soft drinks and energy drinks are not good for your health: they contain a lot of sugar and other chemicals which are best to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight. And soda is even more acidic than coffee or juice!
For best results, I recommend (as I said above) plain water (with a bit of honey mixed in) at a ratio of about two teaspoons of vinegar to eight ounces of water.
It's not advised to drink ACV with milk, since the vinegar will cause the milk to curdle.
Did You Know?
ACV contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps break down and remove unwanted fat from your body
8. When Is the Best Time to Drink It?
Another common question is, “What’s the best time of day to drink the mixture?”
You can drink it any time of day, but I’d recommend drinking it before meals because it improves digestion. My recommendation is to drink it right after waking up and again right before dinner.
9. How Often Should I Drink It?
I would recommend taking it twice a day. Drinking more won’t help you lose weight faster. Simply upping the frequency or dosage won’t really benefit you. Quick weight loss is not possible with apple cider vinegar. You have to give it time to work.
10. Can I Take ACV in Pill Form?
While many people prefer to take it the old-fashioned way, there's a growing number of people who opt for pills because of their convenience and ease. Taking pills can also address your concern about damaging your teeth. However, there isn't much research about the pills' effectiveness.
Be careful, however, and use a lot of water when swallowing the tablet. If one gets stuck in your throat, it can cause pain and difficulty swallowing long after the pill has been removed.
Personally, I prefer the liquid form. I like seeing the strand of the "mother" at the bottom of the bottle and knowing that the probiotics will soon be helping me.
Consult Your Doctor Before Using ACV
• If you are diabetic.
* If you take heart or diuretic medications.
* If you are pregnant.
* If you are breastfeeding.
11. Does ACV Interfere With Medications?
Some studies report that, when combined with some medications, ACV can lower potassium levels and may interfere with the absorption of some medicines as well. These medications include some heart medicine, diuretic medications, and insulin.
If you are taking prescription medicines or have an existing medical condition, consult your physician before going on cider vinegar diet.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should speak to their physician about apple cider vinegar and its effects. While there’s no research indicating that there should be any danger, there’s no research guaranteeing its safety either.
Many doctors recommend that pregnant women not consume any unpasteurized foods to reduce the risk of ingesting bacteria. This would eliminate organic vinegar, which is the kind that has all the health benefits.
12. What About Using Garcinia Cambogia to Lose Weight?
Garcinia cambogia, also called garcinia gummi-gutta and Malabar tamarind, is a tropical fruit that resembles a small, pale-green pumpkin. Promoted by Dr. Oz as a weight-loss aid, the supplement is sold in pill form. Some people claim that combining apple cider vinegar with garcinia cambogia accelerates weight loss. Studies don't back this up, however. In fact, anyone taking medication to control cholesterol or blood sugar levels should avoid this supplement altogether.
13. What Is Acetic Acid?
Acetic acid gives vinegar its taste and smell. By itself, acetic acid may help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, but it is the complete vinegar—with all of its enzymes, minerals, and vitamins—that make apple cider vinegar beneficial for health and weight loss.
How to drink apple cider vinegar
Take a Break for Best Results
For best results, take a week off of using ACV once you are in a routine of using it every day for three or four months.
One final word: I recommend taking a break every now and then to give your body a rest. You don’t want your body to get used to it and have the effects diminish over time. I try to take a week or two off after every 3 to 4 months.
Also, some research shows that prolonged use of cider vinegar may deplete the body of iodine. So, taking a break from cider vinegar may also help your body recover.
Have you tried apple cider vinegar for weight loss?
If you have any questions about cider vinegar, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.
Don't forget to read all the existing comments, as you may find the answer to your question there.
© 2014 Alana Niall