I’ve heard that apple cider vinegar can help ease digestive discomfort and help as a weight loss aid. Is there any truth to these claims and if so, how much apple cider vinegar should I drink, and when?
While it’s not completely conclusive, some studies show that the acetic acid in vinegar (all vinegar, not just apple cider vinegar) may aid in weight loss. The research that has been done in this area shows that consuming 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of vinegar, with a meal, can help blunt the blood sugar rise that occurs after you eat a meal containing carbohydrates. When your blood sugar rises your body secretes insulin to help bring that blood sugar in to your cells. However, too much insulin secretion over time can also prompt your body to hold on to fat, instead of burning it.
Another potential weight loss benefit of vinegar is that it may make you feel more satisfied while you’re eating. That increased satisfaction could lead you to eat less and therefore help you lose weight.
The digestive benefits of apple cider vinegar are less clear, at least in terms of having any research to back them up. However, many people with acid reflux swear by using 2 tablespoons of the vinegar diluted in a cup of water as a way to get non-medicated relief from reflux. There are even registered dietitians and doctors who recommend this based on success with it among their patients. However, it’s important to note that you should always check with your doctor before going off any medication, or adding this as a treatment for any condition, as it may interfere with certain medications or diseases. Always remember to either dilute the vinegar in water or use it on food, since drinking it directly can damage your esophagus and teeth (it also doesn’t taste very good!)
Since using vinegar with meals can also help enhance flavor and certainly isn’t bad for you, we say go ahead and try it by drizzling it on raw veggies and salads with a teaspoon of olive oil (the oil helps your body absorb the nutrients in those veggies and may also make you feel more satisfied!). Please remember, given that the weight loss effects are likely small, including vinegar with a meal shouldn’t be an excuse to eat a less healthy meal, or too much food. We love a tomato salad with basil, feta, and red wine vinegar. We also enjoy stirring balsamic, red wine, or cider vinegar into soups to increase the depth of flavor.
What’s your favorite vinegar and how do you use it?