Believe it or not, 'vinegar' was one of the most searched terms on Google last year. What's all the fuss about and does it have weight loss benefits?
There are so many varieties of vinegar out there. We all know that some are brilliant for cooking, while others are great for simply putting on your chips.But does apple cider vinegar work for weight loss?
What is apple cider vinegar?
Put simply, it is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is normally used in things like salad dressings or marinades, but for weight loss, people normally have it on its own.
The vinegar creating the most buzz is apple cider vinegar, for its supposed health benefits, with fans including Elizabeth Hurley, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston, who all reportedly drink it every morning.
With an acidity of 5% (the same as lemon juice), it’s best diluted in warm water with honey added for sweetness, if you are digesting it. It's not recommended to drink it without diluting, as it can damage tooth enamel.
Warning: it is also not recommended for people with diabetes to consume a high vinegar diet, as vinegar can alter insulin levels. Always consult with your doctor before making any major diet changes.
Read on for the lowdown on how to use apple cider vinegar and where to buy it...
Apple cider vinegar diet: Apple cider vinegar for weight loss
The apple cider vinegar diet has long been touted as a cure-all diet, given how the ingredient has been used medicinally for decades now.
So how does apple cider vinegar help with weight loss?
Harvard University explains that its high levels of acetic acid are what is responsible for its apparent health benefits.
Studies have suggested that it could help with weight loss. So how would apple cider vinegar for weight loss work? One study on humans, from 2009, surveyed 175 people. A cross-section of these people consumed a drink containing 0, 1, or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each day. And, after three months, those who drunk the most vinegar had seen some weight loss (2 to 4 pounds), compared to those who drunk no vinegar.
Devotees – who call it ACV (standing for apple cider vinegar) – claim that 1tbsp each morning helps improve digestion, particularly for people with lower stomach acid levels.
“There are elements of scientific truth in some of the claims made for adding apple cider vinegar to your diet,” says registered dietitian Helen Bond. “If you add acidic vinegar to a meal, it lowers the overall glycaemic index (GI) of that meal. A lower GI means you’ll digest the meal more slowly, and this helps keep blood-sugar levels steady, which in turn makes you feel fuller for longer. And the fuller you feel, the less you're likely to overeat.
However, many medical professionals agree that there is not a huge range of compelling scientific evidence for the apple cider vinegar diet as a weight loss method.
Other benefits of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar for your skin
The similarity between the pH level of our skin and cider vinegar helps restore balance to irritated skin. ACV can also stimulate circulation and tighten the skin. This has led some to call vinegar an 'anti-ageing formula'.
But dermatologist Dr. Marie Jhin, from the American Academy of Dermatology questions the validity of the treatment of vinegar for anti-ageing purposes. Speaking to CNN in 2017 she said, "It might fade dark spots, or maybe you could use it as a skin toner, if you dilute it a great deal. But I wouldn't recommend it. We have much more effective and safe methods today than this."
If you want to try it, take 1tbsp mixed with two cups of water. Gently wipe it over your face using a cotton pad.
Apple cider vinegar can help with your hair too! The acetic acid is very effective at removing residue from product build-up. Lots of people use it instead of shampoo as it helps add body and reduce frizz, leaving you with smooth, shiny hair.
"There is also evidence that a low-GI diet is beneficial in the treatment of acne and spots.”
Which cider vinegar should I buy?
Aim for an ACV that’s raw, unfiltered and unpasteurised. Victoria Beckham is an advocate of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (£6.99; Boots.com), which contains the “mother” (the gunky-looking stuff at the bottom of the bottle that’s packed full of enzymes and friendly bacteria).
Will you be trying it?
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Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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