The Truth About the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

Apple cider vinegar diet - Dr. Axe

The apple cider vinegar diet — an eating plan that involves simply adding a few spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to your daily diet  — may sound right on par with other fad diets that have long faded into obscurity. However, it’s actually a powerful ingredient that has been revered for its medicinal properties for centuries, and research shows that it may help boost metabolism, enhance fat-burning and support satiety to promote long-lasting weight loss.

So how do you use apple cider vinegar for weight loss, and what exactly is the apple cider vinegar diet? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?

With the multitude of positive apple cider vinegar diet reviews and before-and-after shots out there, you may be wondering what this popular diet plan entails and how it can impact your health.

As the name suggests, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a key component of the ACV diet plan. This food is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation, resulting in a final product that is lower in calories and sugar, plus packed with gut-boosting probiotics and healthy enzymes.

There are several different versions of the organic apple cider vinegar diet, but it’s typically a very simple concept that involves consuming one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before or with each meal. Not only can this keep you feeling fuller for longer, but some also claim that it can boost metabolism, ramp up fat-burning and keep blood sugar levels steady to minimize hunger.

Other variations also exist, many of which pair it with other ingredients used for weight loss. For example, some suggest consuming it with garcinia cambogia, a tropical species of plant that has been well-studied for its ability to reduce appetite and prevent weight  gain.

Eating apple cider vinegar and garcinia cambogia together is done in an effort to amplify results and speed up the metabolism. A combination of ACV and honey, or ACV and olive oil, can also be consumed before meals, often with other ingredients like spices or fruit juice added into the mix.

Why Apple Cider Vinegar Works for Weight Loss: 6 Benefits

1. Enhances Satiety

People often use ACV for weight loss thanks to its powerful impact on satiety and appetite. In fact, one study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming apple cider vinegar with white bread not only decreased blood sugar levels, but it also increased feelings of satiety. This is a benefit that may be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes.

Another study conducted by Arizona State University found that drinking vinegar with meals reduced caloric intake by 200–275 calories over the entire day, which could be incredibly beneficial for weight loss.

You may find that consuming ACV with meals keeps you feeling full faster, and for a longer period of time, so add it to your diet if you’re trying to reduce calorie intake.

2. Boosts Fat-Burning

When paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise, there’s no doubt that ACV helps with weight loss and fat-burning. Animal models show that acetic acid, one of the main compounds found in apple cider vinegar, can help block body fat accumulation by altering several specific genes and proteins involved in fat storage.

Similarly, a small study out of Aichi, Japan found that drinking 15–30 milliliters of vinegar each day led to significant reductions in belly fat, body weight and waist circumference compared to a control group.

3. Stabilizes Blood Sugar

One of the hallmark signs of low blood sugar is increased hunger and cravings. As blood sugar levels start to dip, hypoglycemia symptoms such as hunger, fatigue and weakness can start to set in.

Fortunately, adding an apple cider vinegar weight loss drink to your daily routine can help stabilize blood sugar levels to prevent sudden spikes and crashes. One study actually found that drinking ACV helped reduce blood sugar levels after a meal by 31 percent.

It’s also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to use insulin more efficiently to optimize blood sugar control.

4. Increases Metabolism

In addition to decreasing appetite and food intake, apple cider vinegar may also support weight loss by increasing your metabolism and bumping up the number of calories that your body burns each day.

For example, an animal study conducted by the Central Research Institute actually suggests that certain compounds in apple cider vinegar, especially acetic acid, were effective at activating AMPK, a type of enzyme involved in metabolism and energy levels. Researchers noted that acetic acid has beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetes and supports healthy metabolism.

5. Improves Insulin Resistance

Research indicates that ACV may improve insulin sensitivity to high-carbohydrate meals among adults with type 2 diabetes.

A 2020 animal study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research found that daily consumption of apple cider vinegar can reduce the rise in blood sugar and lipid profile in rats with a high-calorie diet.

A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis including nine studies shows that there are significant favorable effects of ACV consumption on fasting plasma glucose and blood lipid profiles.

6. Improves Cholesterol Levels

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Membrane Biology found that ACV is able to lower cholesterol levels in mice fed high-cholesterol diets. Researchers suggest that the food possesses oxidative stress scavenging effects, increases antioxidant enzyme and vitamin levels, and inhibits the free radical chain reaction that causes bad cholesterol.

The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet Plan

Although there are several ways to add ACV into your daily health routine, it’s most common to drink a small amount before each meal.

How much should you drink for weight loss? Drinking one to two tablespoons diluted with water before each meal is most often recommended. However, it’s best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase to ensure you’re able to tolerate it.

Apple Cider Vinegar Diet Drink Recipe

If you’re not a fan of drinking apple cider vinegar as is, there are many different apple cider vinegar diet recipe options out there that you can try out instead. Typically, these involve mixing ACV with some water, juice and a mix of herbs and spices to boost both the flavor and health benefits of the final product.

For those just getting started, try Dr. Axe’s Secret Detox Drink, which is made from apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and hot water, along with some ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and raw honey. All of  these compounds contain powerful medicinal properties that work together to support better health.

Other Ways to Use ACV

In addition to drinking your ACV, there are plenty of other possible apple cider vinegar uses to consider as well.

For example, it can be used to make sauces, marinades and salad dressings, all of which can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, well-rounded apple cider vinegar diet.

Apple cider vinegar pills are also available as a quick and convenient option for getting in your fix of ACV. However, research is limited on the effects of apple cider vinegar capsules, and it’s unclear whether or not they may boast the same health benefits.

Besides weight loss, apple cider vinegar may even work to:

  • Whiten teeth
  • Kill bugs and fleas
  • Treat poison ivy
  • Enhance circulation
  • Heal warts
  • Promote skin health
  • Relieve sunburns

Risks and Side Effects

What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar, and can you drink it every day?

Because of its acidity, some of the most common apple cider vinegar diet side effects include erosion of tooth enamel and burning of the throat or skin, especially if large amounts are consumed. To reduce the risk of adverse side effects, it’s important to keep intake in moderation and always dilute apple cider vinegar with water prior to consumption.

As a general rule of thumb, each tablespoon should be mixed with about one cup of water.

For some people, drinking it can cause negative symptoms like nausea or digestive issues, especially when first starting out. Be sure to start with a low dose and work your way up gradually to assess your tolerance.

It may also not be advisable for those taking medications for diabetes, as it can lower blood sugar levels and interfere with your medications. If you notice any negative side effects or have any concerns, it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Finally, keep in mind that the diet plan is unlikely to be effective unless paired with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle. Although ACV can help amplify results, it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick-fix for weight loss all on its own.

Related: Kvass: A Fermented Beverage with Many Probiotic and Cancer-Fighting Benefits

Final Thoughts

  • The apple cider vinegar diet involves consuming one to two tablespoons of ACV before each meal.
  • In some cases, it may also be combined with other ingredients. Garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar diet, for example, is another popular variation, and many people also use honey and apple cider vinegar for weight loss as well.
  • ACV can help promote weight loss by increasing metabolism, supporting satiety, boosting fat-burning and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
  • There are plenty of detox drinks and ACV recipes ideas out there, making it easy to squeeze in a few servings throughout your day.
  • In order to maximize apple cider vinegar diet plan weight loss results, be sure to combine ACV with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

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