This is a MYTH.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of those products that seem to do it all. It has been a favorite “home remedy” since the 1950s. There are literally hundreds of home uses that include pickling, glass cleaning and removing hard water buildup out of your coffee maker.
There are also many human health issues that are aided by ACV such as soothing bug bites and jellyfish stings, stripping product build-up from your hair, removing painful planter’s warts from feet and treating lice.
What About Dropping the Pounds?
Using apple cider vinegar for weight loss is one application that has no scientific evidence to back it up. However, ACV does aid in digestion and balance body pH, which could indirectly contribute to weight loss.
Many weight loss gurus swear by it, and perhaps one day the evidence will bear results that match the claims – but not yet. Considering how many hundreds of years ACV has been used, it’s surprising that so few studies have been conducted analyzing its effects on weight loss.
What Does the Research Say?
There is promising research in the works and quite a few that have hinted at – but not proven – that apple cider vinegar is beneficial for:
- Regulating blood sugar and preventing diabetes
- Lowering high blood pressure and defending against heart disease
- Keeping LDL “bad” cholesterol low
- Slowing cancer cell growth
- Increasing nutrient absorption
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples; fermentation causes the sugar to be broken down. During fermentation, apple cider turns to alcohol and the continued fermentation results in vinegar. The translation of vinegar means “sour wine.”
What Are the Risks of Using Apple Cider Vinegar?
If you use apple cider vinegar as a food ingredient – such as in salad dressing – you’re consuming very little and any risks are minimal to zero. However, if you use ACV daily for a long period of time, scientists have found a few health risks to be aware of.
- Acetic acid – the primary component in vinegar – can be very dangerous if consumed undiluted. It can cause mouth and throat burns, damage to tooth enamel and severe heartburn.
- Apple cider vinegar inhibits the body’s absorption of potassium and can result in low bone density. Low bone density leads to an increased risk of bone breaks and fractures. If you have a history of low potassium, poor bone health or osteoporosis – talk to your doctor before adding ACV to your daily health regimen.
- Though prior studies have shown benefits to blood sugar and heart health – there is also evidence that ACV may negatively interact with medications prescribed for diabetes and heart disease.
The Risk of Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements
If you opt to take a supplement instead of consuming diluted apple cider vinegar – understand that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate vitamin or dietary supplements. During an examination of eight apple cider vinegar supplements currently on the market, one consumer advocacy group found that the ingredients were not properly reflected on the label; the ingredient quantities varied drastically by brand as did the dosage recommendations.
During laboratory testing, scientists found that some supplements didn’t even contain ACV!
Using an old folk remedy such as apple cider vinegar for weight loss is a shortcut that isn’t proven to work. Your best bet is better overall nutrition, increased exercise and plenty of rest.