To me, the mention of vinegar – especially apple cider vinegar for weight loss – is the peak fad diet territory. So why has my opinion changed? Well, earlier this year I embarked on something of a journey. I’d long been aware I had polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, and had been taking hormonal contraception for years to manage my symptoms. Come January, I decided to come off the pill and manage my symptoms naturally. I’d have to follow an inflammation diet, eat hormone-healthy foods, and be mindful of how the foods I eat would impact my blood sugar levels.
One of my go-to experts on this? Jessie Inchauspé, a French biochemist who first shot to fame online after sharing graphs of her blood glucose spikes after certain meals. I set about following her raved-about Glucose Goddess hacks, one of which was starting your day with apple cider vinegar, or having a shot of it before a particularly carb-heavy meal to reduce blood sugar spikes by as much as 75%.
Researching the trend, I saw that Jennifer Aniston and Katy Perry also swear by starting their days with ACV, so what did I have to lose, right? Unlike some of the other trends I’ve tried in my time, it’d be low-effort and easy to implement. So, eight months later, what’s my honest take? Keep scrolling.
Apple cider vinegar for weight loss: fact or fad?
First things first: it’s important to point out here, however, that there is no such thing as quick fixes or magic cure-alls when it comes to fat loss. Rather, the hard truth is that the only way you’ll lose fat is by maintaining a calorie deficit. The easiest way to achieve a calorie deficit? To eat well and move frequently.
Case in point: studies so far indicate that apple cider vinegar alone won’t help you lose weight, curb hunger or promote fullness. The results across the data are inconsistent – in other words, the current findings don’t correlate.
That said, the part I was most interested in wasn’t the weight loss element, but ACV’s ability to reduce blood glucose spikes and, in turn, inflammation. Several studies have shown that, when consumed before a high-carb meal, ACV can lower both blood sugar and insulin levels. Similarly, this 2022 study published in the Nutrients journal indicates that consuming ACV could improve insulin sensitivity, while another study from later that year concluded that drinking ACV could significantly lower your fasting blood glucose sugar levels.
Why does this all matter? Because if you have PCOS like me, taking control of your diet and harnessing it in a way that’ll balance your hormones and make you feel good could be life-changing. Trust me, I’d know – I’ve been following this lifestyle for eight months now and feel infinitely better than this time last year. Keep scrolling for where ACV comes into this, and how I got on month by month.
Months one to three
Month one, day one, and I’m off to stock up on apple cider vinegar. I know from my years of interviewing some of the UK’s top nutritionists and dieticians that the best kind of ACV you can buy is organic, raw, and unfiltered, not to mention sans artificial additives. It’s also key for it to contain a live mother, where possible – best for boosting your probiotic levels and overall gut health.
When I got back to my flat, I poured a couple of glugs of the ACV into a water glass and drank it. It’s tart, sour, and burns a little – not what you’d expect from a shot often hailed the be-all-and-end-all of wellness.
That said, I stick at it. After a few days of struggling with shooting it straight, I started mixing my ACV with water to dilute the taste a little (obviously a more sensible way to drink it). You can barely notice the vinegar taste.
Months three to six
Come month three, I’ve worked out a thing or two when it comes to ACV. Number one – don’t shoot it straight, like I was. It doesn’t taste good and can damage the lining of your oesophagus – something I discovered around month two (yup). Also, as I learnt – it’s really important to take no more than one to two tablespoons diluted with water daily or you risk upsetting your stomach lining.
Inchauspé’s second book, The Glucose Goddess Method, was released around this time. A large section of the book is dedicated to ACV “cocktails” which inspired my now go-to ACV concoction of freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. The lemon juice overrides the taste of the vinegar – with the two liquids combined, it’s a light, fresh and refreshing drink that I now look forward to every morning.
By this point, I’d also started using the vinegar in salad dressings more frequently to up my intake of food, too.
Months six to eight
I now drink apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice each morning and look forward to it – it’s a calming ritual that I feel has boosted both my physical and mental health.
Wondering why I was stuck at it for so long. The main appeal of daily apple cider vinegar, for me, was my change in energy levels. Of course, it’s worth pointing out here that I was adjusting a lot of other elements of my diet and lifestyle at this point, too.
That said, I can’t tell you how much better I’ve felt this year – more energetic and way less lethargic. This is in part due to ACV shots, sure, but largely down to getting my blood sugar spikes in check and, in turn, balancing my hormones.
Similarly, I haven’t been bloated or suffered from acne breakouts all year, two things I’ve struggled with all my life. While this will partly be thanks to the vitamins E, A, and P and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium in apple cider vinegar, other lifestyle factors have played a large part, too. Put it this way: I don’t believe I would have noticed these changes solely from drinking apple cider vinegar daily, however, it’s certainly played a part in a wider whole.
If you try ACV and don’t like it, ditch it – life’s too short to force yourself into doing things you don’t enjoy every single day in the name of health. Health is a simple combination of nourishing your body with a balance of nutrient-dense foods and foods you enjoy, and regularly working out in a way that brings you joy.
What a nutritionist thinks about daily shots of apple cider vinegar
So, what does a qualified nutritionist have to say about the trend of drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss? Good question. Boellinger shares that while apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits, it’s not a “wonder cure.” “It won’t magically result in weight loss without you making any other changes to your diet,” she shares.
That said, she sometimes recommends her client take it and even drinks it herself. Why? Well, from a nutritionist’s perspective, there are two key reasons. “Number one: it contains various enzymes which aid digestion by supporting the stomach in breaking down food,” she explains. And two? “It has both short and long-term effects on blood sugar balance, including the ability to reduce blood sugar spikes.”
So, why does this matter to you? In short, avoiding blood sugar spikes has a huge impact on many different areas of your health including sleep, energy levels, mood, hormonal health and more, shares the expert. “Any hacks that can help us achieve better balance and avoid the blood sugar roller coaster can only be a good thing,” she confirms. While it won’t singlehandedly cause weight loss, “it may assist in weight loss as fewer glucose spikes mean lower insulin levels, which in turn may reduce sugar cravings and cause your body to store less fat.”
The best way to take it is to mix it with water or lemon juice. Do opt for an organic brand with a live mother, and avoid fad “gummies” that are more sugar than vinegar.
Considering trying the trend for yourself? Make sure to do your research first and chat with your GP or a qualified professional if you’re concerned. It may not be suitable for some, for example, those that are breastfeeding.
This article was syndicated from Marie Claire UK
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer