Few foods are as storied as the apple. Thanks to its widespread availability, it may not seem like a very exotic fruit, but it’s still significant to people and cultures all around the world — not just as a healthy staple, but as a mythological symbol (and an icon of science, as well).
Part of the fruit’s fame lies in its versatility. From its sweet derivatives (like applesauce and apple juice) to the tangy (like apple cider vinegar), this gem of nature has a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. As for that vinegar? It might just be a little-known but vital way of peeling off the pounds.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss?
A lot of people want to know whether apple cider vinegar actually helps with weight loss. In a word, yes. Scientists have more than one theory about the underlying biological mechanisms, but the short answer is that it does make a difference. The knowledge we’ve gained from scientific inquiry goes a long way toward helping explain a part of apple history — the fact that vinegar from apples has been used as a medicinal tonic across many cultures, dating back centuries.
Studies using human subjects have shown that not only does apple cider vinegar help reduce weight, it also lowers body fat and serum triglyceride levels (triglycerides are the main constituent of the body’s fat cells).
The research in question comes from a study of 144 Japanese adults suffering from obesity. They were split into three separate groups — one group added a single tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to their daily intake; one added two tablespoons, and the third group consumed a daily placebo.
The treatment took place over a 12-week period. Other than limiting how much alcohol they drank, participants were not asked to change anything else about their diet or exercise routines.
The results were striking. On average, members of the group that drank one tablespoon of vinegar every day lost 2.6 pounds, experienced a 0.7 percent decrease in body fat, and dropped triglyceride levels by 26 percent — no small feat.
The group that consumed double the vinegar, however, saw even more impressive results — in addition to the same 26 percent drop in triglycerides, those participants lost an average of 3.7 pounds and 0.9 percent of their body fat.
As for those who only had a placebo, no weight loss occurred. In fact, those participants gained weight — 0.9 pounds on average.
One study is good, but science demands replication. Was the weight loss benefit from the Japanese study on obesity just a fluke? Not at all, based in part on the following:
In terms of metabolism, humans and mice are quite similar, which is why the furry little guys play a big role in lots of nutritional studies. A separate, six-week-long experiment (also in Japan) showed that mice, too, experience weight-loss effects from adding apple cider vinegar to their diets.
Actually, the results were remarkably similar to the human trial; mice who took a high dose of vinegar gained less weight than those who took a lower dose, and both groups gained less than those who took none at all. This is despite each group being fed the same high-fat, high-calorie diet.