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Apple Cider Vinegar’s Bitter Truth

A Teaspoon Or Two May Not Trim Pounds

does apple cider vinegar work Do apple cider vinegar diets work? The science isn't promising.

By John Salak –

Do a quick Google search for apple cider vinegar diets and in less than one second more than 29 million links will appear. Okay, maybe not all of them are exclusively tied to apple cider vinegar diets, but that’s still a lot of digital traffic floating out there on an increasingly popular yet not fully proven weight loss plan.

No one is dissing apple cider vinegar in general. There are plenty of reports on its varied benefits, including its ability to settle upset tummies, sooth sore throats and boost heart health. And, yes, apple cider vinegar’s benefits include its reputed ability to help people trim unwanted fleshy bits. In fact, Harvard Health reported that in 2017 it was the most researched diet method on the planet, although advocates have been shouting about its weight-loss prowess for decades and maybe longer.

The problem proponents face is that there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back up their weight-loss claims. More worrisome for them is that there are an increasing number of recent reports that question its effectiveness altogether.

The apple cider vinegar diet can take a variety of forms but in its simplest iteration it comes down to taking a teaspoon or two around meals. Harvard Health, however, skeptically noted that this vinegar may be able to help detox the body, serve as an antibiotic and maybe a few other things. But its ability to help trim a person’s pudge may not be one of its charms.

Good Housekeeping chimed in on the debate recently when Stefani Sassos, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute, reported the association between apple cider vinegar and weight loss might be misplaced. She suggested that individuals who lose weight when they start embracing the diet may actually be benefitting from the larger impact of simultaneously shifting to a healthier diet as they also start swallowing teaspoons of the vinegar.

Sassos also noted that previous studies that supported the vinegar weight-loss benefits were probably flawed because the individuals monitored during the study had usually already embraced a low calorie diet.

However, using apple cider vinegar as part of a diet may have benefits if its appealing taste encourages dieters to eat more vegetables, she added.

Advocates are still quick to note that this vinegar has a more direct impact for trimming pounds, claiming it acts as an appetite suppressant. They even cite a 2005 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reported participants who ate bread with vinegar felt markedly fuller than those who just ate bread. Obviously, feeling fuller is probably a good way to ultimately eat less and lose weight, but others still aren’t convinced that apple cider vinegar is responsible.

The Mayo Clinic, in fact, was pretty clear in its assessment of the diet. “Apple cider vinegar isn’t likely to be effective for weight loss,” Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian, reported for the clinic.

Zeratsky even went beyond simply noting the diet lacks scientific support. She warned that taking too much too often can lead to problems.

Since it is highly acidic, she noted too much could cause throat irritation. It could also undermine  impact other necessary supplements or drugs and individual is taking, such as diuretics and insulin, and contribute to low potassium levels.

Ultimately, the bitter truth about apple cider vinegar when it comes to losing weight is that it may be better for salads than as a magic pound-shedding bullet.

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