At some point in your life, you have probably had someone preach the varied benefits of apple cider vinegar to you. This so-called liquid gold is hyped as an acne cure, a dandruff remedy, a sunburn soother and a mind-blowing weight loss aid. People add apple cider vinegar, or as fans know it, ACV, to tea, warm water, smoothies and sometimes, just take a sour shot of it.
If you’re unfamiliar with apple cider vinegar, it’s a concoction of apple cider with yeast added to start the fermentation process. The taste isn’t what most of us would describe as "enjoyable", yet people are still hooked on the substance and its benefits.
Men’s Health asked an expert to find out if apple cider vinegar really is a "magic bullet" for weight loss, or just another fad.
The science behind the ’liquid gold’
Carol Johnston, associate director of the nutrition program at Arizona State University, said there is some evidence that acetic acid targets body fat and therefore can assist people with weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar has a small amount of acetic acid that can activate your metabolism to help your body use fat as a form of energy rather than storing it, Johnston explains.
In a study published in the journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, people lost an average of 1.8 kilograms in 12 weeks after consuming one to two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar daily.
The acetic acid in vinegar is beneficial as it can control your appetite and is most effective when paired with starchy foods. The acid slows down the digestion of starch, helping you to feel fuller for longer, Johnston explained. Drinking ACV before a starchy meal can make you less likely to crave sweets, as there is some evidence showing it helps keep your blood sugars stable.
Does it actually work?
Provided you’re not after immediate weight loss results, experts say it’s worth a try.
“It’s not a magic bullet for weight loss,” said Johnston. “I have seen very modest weight loss in my studies, of one to two pounds [450 to 900 grams] after 12 weeks,” she added.
Put simply, the hot topic of apple cider vinegar is not a magical weight loss solution. Experts from Arizona State University agree that a change in your diet and exercise routine would be far more beneficial than taking shots of vinegar, although studies show it can assist the weight loss process.