Long-hailed as a powerful disinfectant, apple cider vinegar is now gaining popularity as a staple in weight loss regimes.
Scour the internet and you are likely to find a multitude of claims in favor of apple cider vinegar (ACV).
While there are currently few claims backed up by research studies, the anecdotal claims to the positive effects of ACV are hard to ignore. In fact, with little to zero risk in consuming (unless you count the very pungent taste and smell!) it certainly seems enticing!
But is apple cider vinegar really the magic potion it’s hyped up to be? We find out.
How it’s made
Similar to other fermented foods, the first step is to crush the apples and ferment the sugars into alcohol. Bacteria is then added to the alcohol to further break down the sugars and turn them into acetic acid, which is the main ingredient in vinegar.
The one with the ‘Mother’
When shopping for an apple cider vinegar, purchase one that lists “With The ‘Mother’” on the label. Braggs is the most popular brand in the US.
The “mother” refers to those little floaties in the vinegar. These are the cobweb-like strands of proteins, enzymes and good gut bacteria left from the fermentation process when making unrefined apple cider vinegar. It’s these floaties that contribute to the beneficial qualities of ACV, so be sure yours contains the ‘Mother’.
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Benefits of ACV
1. Aids in digestion
Vinegar is a fermented food, which has shown to support the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Furthermore, the pectin (those little floaty bits) in the ACV may help with intestinal cramping and spasms. For those with IBS symptoms, try adding ACV into your daily routine to soothe an inflamed gut.
2. Soothes a sore throat
Due to apple cider vinegar’s acidic properties, taking a tablespoon in water may help alleviate sore throats. Many germs cannot survive in the acidic environment. Try gargling a few times a day to soothe symptoms.
3. May balance pH levels
Some supporters claim that apple cider vinegar balances pH levels by increasing alkalinity in the body. Currently, there is no research to back these claims, but if true, ACV could contribute to increased metabolism and immune function.
4. Lower blood sugar
Of the many beneficial claims to taking apple cider vinegar, this one is backed by research. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels when consuming a high carb meal.
Insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels are characteristic in Type 2 diabetics. Taking apple cider vinegar in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet can help lower these conditions in Type 2 diabetics and can help those who want to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
5. Can help you lose weight
Apple cider vinegar increases satiety after meals, which leads to fewer calories eaten throughout the day. Coupled with stabilized blood sugar levels, this leads to a decrease in calories consumed and maintains the caloric deficit necessary to lose weight.
How to take it
Although some may claim the best way to consume the rather aggressively tasting vinegar, is to “shoot it straight,” the better option is to dilute the vinegar in water. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic and overtime can harm your tooth enamel and esophagus.
So start out with 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 4 ounces of water and work from there. A typical daily dosage is anywhere from 1-2 teaspoons to 1-2 tablespoons.
Some findings show the best time to take it is first thing upon waking or 30 minutes before your first meal. However, gastrointestinal distress can occur in some people when taken on an empty stomach. In this case, try consuming with food or after your first meal.
There is currently no definitive research on the best time to consume for optimal results. So find what works best for you and form a new daily habit.
Apple cider vinegar is not a “cure all” or miracle potion. Simply adding ACV into your routine will not produce drastic weight loss on its own.
However, taken in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and exercise routine, it seems to aid in weight loss by increasing satiety, regulating good gut bacteria, increasing insulin sensitivity, and increasing metabolism.