In today’s world, many people are struggling to achieve their ideal weight and are actively seeking quick and effortless ways to manage it. One trend that has gained enormous popularity in this pursuit is the consumption of Vinegar, especially Apple Cider Vinegar, which is touted as a guaranteed and easy method for weight loss.
Any claims for weight loss must never be taken at face value and some amount of background check on the topic should ideally be done. So, let us take a brief look into what Apple Cider Vinegar or any Vinegar is, and if it does help with weight loss. Or is it just a fad that will soon become ‘out of fashion’? Let us know about it all.
What is Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar is crushed apples that are distilled and then added with yeast to undergo a fermentation process. The end product has acetic acid as a component. In the case of regular vinegar, it is another carbohydrate source like grains in place of apples.
Acetic acid is produced naturally by the ‘good bacteria living in our gut. This acid plays a role in breaking down and reducing fats. So the logic used is that acetic acid when ingested will also break down fats and help with weight loss. Of course, the way this acid works in the body is not so straightforward.
When speaking about the calorific content of Apple Cider Vinegar, it contains no proteins, no fibre, but also no fats and is low in calories (No more than 3-4 calories in a spoonful of ACV) So, while there aren’t any significant nutritional benefits, it doesn’t seem too bad as well.
Claimed Benefits of Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar
While declaring ACV as an excellent way to lose weight some reasoning was applied. There were some studies conducted on obese rats as well as humans, that showed that consuming acetic acid assisted some weight loss.
Acetic acid suppresses appetite and so helps lose weight. Acetic acid slows down the digestion of heavy starchy foods, which in turn means that the person feels full for a longer duration of time, which invariably means lowered appetite.
Another reason that backs ACV consumption is that it helps maintain blood sugar levels. Consumption of vinegar is supposed to help with insulin resistance. If insulin resistance is the reason for your fluctuating blood sugar, then it might be beneficial in terms of weight gain caused by it.
Vinegar may help improve metabolism. Visceral fat is claimed to be one of the factors that come into play in one’s metabolism. Vinegar supposedly helps reduce visceral fats which helps improve metabolic rate, thereby helping weight loss.
Similarly, it is said to help with hypertension, triglyceride levels and overall heart health.
Is any form of vinegar better than the other?
Various kinds of vinegar have different amounts of acetic acids in them. But the presence of acetic acid also makes the taste of vinegar sour and difficult to consume. You can choose the vinegar that is most palatable for your liking. Apple cider vinegar is one of the most liked vinegar variants.
How much vinegar must be consumed?
While there is no exact prescribed dosage of vinegar, commonly about a teaspoon or so is consumed at a time. Care has to be taken never to overuse vinegar or drink it straight up as it may have detrimental effects on the oesophagus, like corrosion of the inner lining of the oesophagus.
How can one consume vinegar?
Vinegar on its own has a sour taste and cannot be consumed directly, so is often consumed diluted with water, or used with olive oil in a salad dressing.
Side effects of drinking vinegar
There is limited study to fully understand the benefits of vinegar consumption, but what is known is the fact that excessive use of vinegar can have harmful effects on the body.
Here are some of the possible side effects of overconsumption of vinegar.
- Corrosion of the oesophagus: Being an acid, if vinegar is consumed directly, it may corrode or damage the oesophageal lining.
- May be harmful to people suffering from gastroparesis: Since vinegar slows down the digestion of starch, it may be counter-productive for people already suffering from a delayed emptying of the stomach which is known as gastroparesis.
- It may reduce blood sugar levels which can be harmful in the case of diabetics.
- It also interferes with certain medications like diuretics or blood thinners. And people using these medications must use vinegar sparingly.
- It lowers potassium levels.
- Consumption of vinegar may irritate the digestive system and give rise to symptoms like irritation of the throat, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset etc.
- Excessive and high dose consumption of vinegar may also erode the enamel which is the protective lining over teeth.
Final Thoughts on Vinegar in Weight Management
Depending exclusively on Apple Cider Vinegar or any other vinegar to lose weight might end in a bitter disappointment! Or if you use vinegar consumption as a short-term way to lose weight, that is an assured failure!
Firstly, there are no shortcuts to weight management and vinegar alone is certainly not the answer. If your diet is rich in starchy foods like potatoes or rice, you may consider having ACV in a diluted form before that heavy meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar consumption may assist in weight loss, only and only if it is accompanied by other steps like a restricted diet and moderate exercise a few times a week.
Another important step for weight management is to rule out any underlying health condition that may be interfering with your metabolism. If a health issue is found, the same must be addressed and with the advice of a professional, a weight management program can be charted out.
Without any major health concerns, simple steps can be taken starting from home, that can do wonders. Replacing unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives, like ditching a cheesecake and choosing a piece of dark chocolate. Replace fried snacks with crunchy nuts and seeds. Munch on a fruit or a carrot while watching a film.
Portion control is yet another sensible way to manage weight. We very often eat or overeat just because of taste and not of hunger. Being more conscious of how much you eat is also important.
Getting enough sleep, drinking sufficient water and yet some more crucial steps. Staying physically active along with dietary care can do wonders for your body. All of this can be paired with some vinegar as an additional step towards weight management.