Organic apple cider vinegar for weight loss: Does it really work?

By Ben Winters

Organic apple cider vinegar has a reputation for offering natural health support.

Weight loss, improved digestion and support for detoxifying the liver, kidneys and colon, are some of the benefits that are attributed to apple cider vinegar, making it a staple in many health-conscious individuals' diets. 

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice.

The process of creating apple cider vinegar begins with the crushing of apples to extract the juice. This juice then undergoes a fermentation process in two stages. In the first stage, natural sugars in the apple juice are fermented by yeast, converting them into alcohol, essentially making apple cider.

In the second stage, acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter) transform the alcohol into vinegar by a process called acetous fermentation. This process not only gives apple cider vinegar its potent sour taste but also attributes to its distinctive, pungent aroma. 

The final product is a pale to medium amber-coloured liquid, and contains a substance called the ‘mother’ which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. It is thought that the mother is responsible for most of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits, although more research needs to be done in this area..

The main active component of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which typically comprises about 5-6% of the vinegar. Acetic acid is known for its antimicrobial properties, making apple cider vinegar a popular natural preservative and disinfectant. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has also been studied for its potential to lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. 

Organic apple cider vinegar is thought to help as a weight-loss aid, by speeding up metabolism, reducing appetite, and minimising fat accumulation. 

It is believed to be the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar that is the key player, and has an influence on the body's metabolic processes.

Research indicates consuming vinegar with a high-carb meal may influence feelings of fullness, meaning that people consume fewer calories throughout the day. This suggests that apple cider vinegar might aid in weight loss by reducing overall caloric intake.

Organic apple cider vinegar is thought to have potential in improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar responses after meals. While these effects are more directly related to diabetes management, they could indirectly contribute to weight management by stabilising energy levels and reducing cravings.

A Japanese study in 2009 found that apple cider vinegar taken daily resulted in a modest decrease in body weight, waist circumference, and visceral fat over 12 weeks. This study indicates that apple cider vinegar may offer fat-reducing properties.

In addition to its potential usefulness in weight loss, apple cider vinegar is also associated with several other health benefits, particularly in areas like blood sugar control and cholesterol level improvement. 

These benefits are primarily attributed to its main component, acetic acid, and other bioactive substances found in apple cider vinegar.

One of the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it is believed to support the regulation of blood sugar levels. This makes it particularly interesting for people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. 

It is thought that consuming vinegar before a meal increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the blood glucose and insulin responses after meals. This effect is believed to be due to the acetic acid in vinegar, which may delay gastric emptying and inhibit enzymes responsible for digesting starch, leading to a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream.

While both organic and regular apple cider vinegar originate from the fermentation of apple juice, there are key differences that set them apart. 

Organic apple cider vinegar is made from organically grown apples and is considered more natural and potent in terms of health benefits than regular apple cider vinegar. It often retains a component known as ‘the mother’, a cobweb-like substance rich in healthful enzymes, proteins, and beneficial bacteria.

Regular apple cider vinegar, which is often filtered and pasteurised, lacks ‘the mother’. The processing it undergoes can strip away some of the beneficial elements, making it less potent. Non-organic varieties may also contain traces of pesticides and other chemicals used in conventional apple farming. 

While both forms of apple cider vinegar share similar basic health benefits and acidic properties, organic apple cider vinegar is often preferred for its natural composition and the higher concentration of beneficial compounds.

Organic apple cider vinegar, with its array of potential health benefits, can be a useful addition to a health-conscious diet. 

Its role in aiding weight loss, improving digestion, and potentially regulating blood sugar levels makes it a valuable natural supplement. For effective weight management and the best weight loss results, organic apple cider vinegar should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise.