While the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may not hold true, apple cider vinegar boasts a range of its own nutritional benefits. This fermented juice, derived from apples, contains an active ingredient that experts believe may provide a modest contribution to weight loss. Moreover, it offers various other health advantages.
However, it’s essential to note that apple cider vinegar isn’t a magical solution for weight loss, as some proponents claim. Some healthcare professionals have become cautious about exaggerating its benefits, especially while ongoing research continues. Nevertheless, there are several well-established advantages to occasionally incorporating apple cider vinegar into one’s diet, with virtually no known downsides.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, as its name implies, is vinegar made from apples. The process involves pressing apples to obtain apple juice, which is then subjected to fermentation. This mixture, typically containing yeast, water, and sugar, has become a popular ingredient in various foods, including pickles, salad dressings, and marinades. You can also find it in pill, gummy, or powder forms, but it is most commonly available in grocery stores as a pasteurized, clear, and filtered liquid. There’s also an unfiltered version, which features a thick, cloudy layer of probiotic bacteria on the surface, known as “the mother.”
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?
“The mother” in apple cider vinegar contains probiotics that are often promoted as beneficial for gut health, although scientific evidence supporting this claim is limited. The primary active component in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which has been associated with positive health outcomes, including the reduction of some risk factors linked to heart disease.
According to Josh Redd, NMD, author of “The Truth About Low Thyroid,” additional research suggests that consuming apple cider vinegar may help lower cholesterol levels, particularly in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar is a rich source of essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, vital for overall health and proper organ function. Additionally, it contains antioxidants that help combat free radicals in the bloodstream, potentially preventing or reducing the risk of illness and disease.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Aid in Weight Loss?
Apple cider vinegar has also been associated with weight loss. Such claims often stem from small studies suggesting that it may prevent obesity by improving metabolism and addressing inflammation issues. Lisa Young, PhD, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” notes that the vinegar has been shown to increase feelings of fullness, which can subsequently reduce appetite. She recommends a daily intake of no more than 1-2 tablespoons.
According to Redd, consuming apple cider vinegar with meals might help reduce blood sugar spikes and improve insulin sensitivity, potentially promoting weight loss. However, he emphasizes that ongoing research is needed to draw more conclusive results. Nonetheless, one can safely reap some of the other health benefits of the product by consuming it in small doses, with the caveat that due to its high acidity, it should be diluted with water to prevent tooth enamel erosion.
Barbara Olendzki, RD, associate professor of population and quantitative health sciences at UMass Chan Medical School, advises diluting the product and stresses that while apple cider vinegar is not a miraculous remedy for obesity, ongoing research suggests it may have a beneficial impact on the gut microbiome, which can be crucial for weight management.