When it comes to weight loss, there is no magic pill. But one ingredient that has been getting a lot of traction is apple cider vinegar. People have been claiming it to be a miracle food, taking a spoonful before bed, taking a shot of the sour substance in the morning, and using it for cooking. It has many health claims, such as controlling blood sugar spikes, reducing LDL cholesterol, and aiding in weight loss. But is there any science to back up these claims? Apple cider vinegar comes from processed, distilled, and fermented apples. The main active ingredient is acetic acid, which also happens to be found in other kinds of vinegar, and is probably the reason for any health benefits in the liquid. But apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and can potentially damage tooth enamel and the GI tract lining if consumed in large amounts, especially if it is undiluted. But this hasn’t stopped supplement manufactures from creating pills for consumers.
There are very limited studies when it comes to the effects of apple cider vinegar on weight loss. In one study, 39 participants took 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day and lost 3-4 pounds at the end of a 12 month period. In another study, 175 overweight participants took 2 tablespoons of regular vinegar every day, and there was a weight loss of about 2-4 pounds. These kinds of results are noteworthy, but they don’t compare to other proven diets and exercise programs. Some people claim that taking a tablespoon of diluted apple cider vinegar helps them feel fuller faster and helps with snack cravings towards the end of the day. One studio did find that feeling satiated was connected to the amount of acetic acid taken, so it could be the liquid helps with appetite suppressions, but there isn’t enough research to make this claim.
Apple cider vinegar isn’t the only vinegar with potential health benefits. Balsamic and wine vinegar, for example, have played an important role in the Meditteranean diet. One studied benefit of vinegar, in general, is its ability to help control LDL cholesterol thanks to its antioxidant content. Scientifically, when it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise are the key elements. It may not be as easy as taking a pill, but it is the healthier and more rewarding option that your body will thank you for. One of the best weight loss exercises is cardio, but if you aren’t a fan, you can consider strength training to help burn fat. An analysis of 58 different studies found that participants who incorporated strength training programs into their daily routines for five months lost 1.4% of their total body fat. With any claim, be wary, do your research, and take with a grain of salt.