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We Know Apple Cider Vinegar Has Many Health Benefits, But Can It Help You Lose Weight?
But can adding apple cider vinegar to your diet also help you lose weight?
This article explores the research about apple cider vinegar and weight loss. It also provides tips on how to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process (1).
First, apples are cut or crushed and combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. Second, bacteria are added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.
Traditional apple cider vinegar production typically takes about one month, but some manufacturers dramatically speed up the process so that it takes only a day.
Acetic acid is the main active component of apple cider vinegar.
Also known as ethanoic acid, it is an organic compound with a sour taste and strong odor. The term acetic comes from acetum, the Latin word for vinegar.
About 5-6 percent of apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid. It also contains water and trace amounts of other acids, such as malic acid (2).
One tablespoon (15 ml) contains about three calories and virtually no carbs.
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process. Acetic acid is the main active component.
Acetic Acid Has Various Benefits for Fat Loss
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in the body.
Some animal research suggests that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may lead to weight loss in several ways:
- Lowers blood sugar levels: In one rat study, acetic acid improved the ability of the liver and muscles to take up sugar from the blood (3).
- Decreases insulin levels: In the same rat study, acetic acid also reduced the ratio of insulin to glucagon, which might favor fat burning (3).
- Improves metabolism: Another study in rats exposed to acetic acid showed an increase in the enzyme AMPK, which increases fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver (4).
- Reduces fat storage: Treating obese diabetic rats with acetic acid or acetate protected them from obesity and increased the expression of genes that reduced belly fat storage and liver fat (5, 6).
- Burns fat: A study in mice fed a high-fat diet found a significant increase in the genes responsible for fat burning, which led to less body fat buildup (7).
- Suppresses appetite: Another study suggests acetate may suppress centers in the brain that control appetite, which can lead to reduced food intake (8).
Bottom Line: Animal studies have found that acetic acid may promote fat loss in several ways. It can reduce fat storage, increase fat burning, improve blood sugar and insulin response, as well as reduce appetite.
Apple Cider Vinegar Increases Fullness and Reduces Calorie Intake
In one small study of 11 people, those who took vinegar with a high-carb meal had a 55 percent lower blood sugar response one hour after eating.
They also ended up consuming 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day (10).
In addition to the appetite-suppressing effects of acetic acid, vinegar has also been shown to slow down the rate at which food leaves your stomach.
In another small study, taking apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal significantly slowed stomach emptying. This led to increased feelings of fullness and lowered blood sugar and insulin levels (11).
On the other hand, some people may have a condition that makes this effect a bad thing.
Gastroparesis or delayed stomach emptying, is a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Timing insulin with food becomes problematic, since it is difficult to predict how long it will take for blood sugar to rise after a meal.
Since vinegar has been shown to further extend the time food stays in the stomach, taking it with meals could worsen gastroparesis (12).
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar helps promote fullness, in part due to delayed stomach emptying. This may naturally lead to lower calorie intake.
One Study Shows That Apple Cider Vinegar Helps You Lose Weight and Body Fat
Results from one human study indicate that apple cider vinegar has some pretty impressive effects on weight and body fat (13).
In this 12-week study, 144 obese Japanese adults consumed either 1 tablespoons (15 ml) of vinegar, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar or a placebo drink every day.
They were told to restrict their alcohol intake, but otherwise continue their usual diet and activity throughout the study.
Those who consumed 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar per day had the following averages:
- Weight loss: 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg).
- Decrease in body fat percentage: 0.7 percent.
- Decrease in waist circumference: 0.5 in (1.4 cm).
- Decrease in triglycerides: 26 percent.
This is what changed in those consuming 2 tablespoon (30 ml) of vinegar per day:
- Weight loss: 3.7 lbs (1.7 kg).
- Decrease in body fat percentage: 0.9 percent.
- Decrease in waist circumference: 0.75 in (1.9 cm).
- Decrease in triglycerides: 26 percent.
The placebo group actually gained 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs) and their waist circumference slightly increased.
According to this study, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your diet can help you lose weight. It can also reduce your body fat percentage, make you lose belly fat and decrease your blood triglycerides.
To date, this is the only human study that has investigated vinegar's effects on weight loss. Although the study was fairly large and the results are very encouraging, additional studies are needed in different populations.
One study in mice that were fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet found that the high-dose vinegar group gained 10 percent less fat than the control group and 2 percent less fat than the low-dose vinegar group (7).
Bottom Line: In one study, obese people who took 1-2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar daily for 12 weeks lost weight and body fat.
It Also Has Other Health Benefits
In addition to promoting weight and fat loss, apple cider has several other benefits:
- Lowers blood sugar and insulin: When consumed with a high-carb meal, vinegar has been shown to significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating (14, 15, 16, 17, 18).
- Improves insulin sensitivity: One study in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes found that adding vinegar at a high-carb meal improved insulin sensitivity by 34 percent (19).
- Lowers fasting blood sugar: In another study of people with type 2 diabetes, the group that took apple cider vinegar with a high-protein evening snack had twice the decrease in fasting blood sugar as those in the placebo group (20).
- Improves PCOS symptoms: In a small study of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who took vinegar for 90–110 days, four out of seven women resumed ovulation, likely due to improved insulin sensitivity (21).
- Decreases cholesterol levels: Studies in diabetic and normal rats and mice found that it increased HDL (the “good") cholesterol. It also reduced LDL (the “bad") cholesterol and triglycerides (22, 23, 24).
- Lowers blood pressure: Animal studies suggest that vinegar may decrease blood pressure by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for constricting blood vessels (25, 26).
- Kills harmful bacteria and viruses: Vinegar has been shown to fight bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including E. coli. One study found that vinegar reduced numbers of certain bacteria by 90 percent and some viruses by 95 percent (27, 28).
Bottom Line: Adding vinegar to your diet may benefit blood sugar, insulin, reproductive health and cholesterol. It also fights bacteria and viruses.
How to Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
There are a few ways to include apple cider vinegar in your diet.
It can also be used for pickling vegetables or you can simply mix it into water and drink it.
The amount of apple cider vinegar used for weight loss is 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day, mixed with water.
It is best to spread this out into 2-3 doses throughout the day and it may be best to drink it before meals.
Taking more than this isn't recommended because of potentially harmful effects at higher dosages. It's also best to start off with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) and see how you tolerate it.
Do not take more than 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, because taking too much at one sitting may cause nausea.
Although taking apple cider vinegar in tablet form may seem like a good idea, this doesn't seem to be the case. In one instance, a woman suffered throat burns after an apple cider vinegar tablet became lodged in her esophagus (29).
Bottom Line: About 1-2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar per day is recommended to get the full weight loss benefits. It is best to mix it with water and drink it.
Take Home Message
At the end of the day, taking a moderate amount of apple cider vinegar appears to promote weight loss and provide a number of other health benefits.
Other types of vinegar may provide similar benefits, although those with lower acetic acid content might have less potent effects.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.
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Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.
"The temperature of the Gulf of Maine is creating the right conditions for lobster, so it's helped our industry—and it's been a big boost for the Maine economy," Porter, the current president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, said. "But you never know what lies ahead. If it continues to warm, it may end up going the other way."
The Gulf of Maine is setting frequent temperature records and warming faster overall than 99 percent of the world's oceans, due in large part to climate change. Meanwhile, its lobster population skyrocketed by 515 percent between 1984 and 2014. In 1990, for example, lobster landings in Maine totaled 28 million pounds. Ten years later that figure was up to 57 million pounds. And in every year since 2011, the take has exceeded 100 million pounds, peaking at 132.6 million pounds in 2016 and turning lobster into a half-billion-dollar industry for the state.
Fishermen like Porter have been reaping the benefits of the boom, but he's right — as the Gulf of Maine's waters inevitably continue to warm, lobster populations will almost certainly decrease. The crustaceans thrive at temperatures between 61 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the water hits 70 degrees, its oxygen levels plummet, to the detriment of a host of marine plants and animals, lobsters included. According to a 2018 study, the gulf's lobster population could fall by 40 to 62 percent over the next 30 years, returning the industry — the nation's most valuable fishery — to early-2000s numbers.
"Temperature is a big part of the story here," said Andrew Pershing, chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) and a coauthor of the study. "Lobster is likely to decline, and that's obviously more worrisome in the North, where it has been booming."
Maine lobsters are normally brown, but about one in every two million is blue.
Richard Wood / Flickr
Marine scientist Susie Arnold of the Rockland, Maine–based Island Institute notes that rising temperatures have also contributed to a decline in other fisheries like shrimp, cod and scallops, leaving fishermen in Maine precariously dependent on the thriving lobster populations. "A lot of fishermen in coastal communities in Maine are relying on just one fishery, and as we're seeing the impacts of climate change, that definitely gets people worried," she said. In response, Arnold and her colleagues are encouraging fishermen to think about diversification opportunities like aquaculture. "We're trying to help coastal communities maintain their cultural heritage, and a large part of that has to do with making a living off a healthy marine ecosystem."
State lawmakers, too, are taking note of the warming trend and rising up in support of climate action. Maine Governor Janet Mills cited concerns about climate change impacting the lobster industry in her February announcement that the state would join the U.S. Climate Alliance. She has also linked the recent creation of a Maine Climate Council and ambitious statewide renewable energy goals to the health of local fisheries. (Mills recently signed several climate bills into law that will help the state transition to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and reduce emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.)
Such a head-on response to the impacts of climate change facing Maine offers a much-needed boost to the future of both lobsters and the coastal communities that rely on the fishery. Meanwhile, the iconic sea creatures have already benefited from generations of conservation efforts, as noted by Pershing and his fellow researchers. In addition to heeding minimum and maximum catch size limits, fishers must refrain from taking any egg-bearing female lobsters. Instead, when they catch these breeders, they clip their tails with a "V notch,"—a mark that will stay with a lobster through several molts—then release them. (The clipped tail signals to other fisherman who may encounter the same lobsters that they are off-limits.)
Porter and other fisherman liken this investment in the future of the industry to putting money in the bank. And marine scientists, including NRDC's Lisa Suatoni, call it smart climate policy. "Leaving these large, fecund females in the water is a really good idea in the context of a rapidly changing environment," Suatoni said. "It isn't just fixated on how to get maximum sustainable yield but also expanding our objective to also get increased ecological or evolutionary resilience."
The decline of the lobster industry in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, where waters are warmer and regulations less stringent than in Maine, serves as a cautionary tale for their northern neighbor. Landings in southern New England shrank by as much as 70 percent from 1997 to 2007, but the industry has resisted many conservation measures, and again rejected fishing restrictions brought to the table by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2017.
The proposed restrictions would have changed the legal harvesting size and reduced the number of traps allowed per fisherman, among other regulation changes. Had Maine followed the same lax approach, Pershing and his colleagues estimate that lobster populations in the Gulf of Maine would have increased by less than half as much as it did during their 30-year study period.
While Pershing praises Maine's forward-looking approach for boosting the resilience of its lobster industry in the face of the growing climate crisis, "there's a limit to how much we can adapt and how much we can manage around it," he said. "When you look beyond 2050 in a high-CO2 world, it's a scenario where fisheries are really challenged no matter where you look in the country. We have to figure out how to avoid that because everything gets so much more difficult in that world—and we can make that case in a really concrete way with some of the fishery models."
Pershing says that climate change is having impacts up and down the food chain in the Gulf of Maine. For example, a sharp decline in a species of tiny copepod — a shrimp-like creature that is a favorite food of herring, seabirds and endangered right whales — is putting further stress on these creatures.
"These aren't just faraway changes that are happening in the ocean where nobody really sees them," Pershing said. "There are real consequences for the Gulf of Maine and the communities that live on the coast."
Nicole Greenfield is a writer at NRDC whose articles on religion, the environment, popular culture and social justice have appeared in many publications.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.