DIETERS are willing to try anything if it means shedding a few extra pounds.
Most of the products that claim they can help speed the process along like “skinny teas” either don’t work or are dangerous.
But one supposed weight loss tonic is a natural product that many of us use to flavour our salads.
For centuries, people have claimed that apple cider vinegar is a cure-all for anything from colds to acne. But it’s apple cider vinegar’s blood sugar level-lowering properties that many believe are responsible for fat burning.
Ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates is said to have used it to treat wounds and coughs as far back as 420BC – so effective where its anti-bacterial properties.
It’s all down to The Mother, which is packed full of good bacteria and is thought to be responsible for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol[/caption]
The key, apparently, is something called “The Mother” – the cloudy substance that sometimes floats in some bottles of vinegar.
The Mother is believed to be rich in natural proteins, healthy bacteria and acetic acid, and it only really forms in raw, organic vinegar – not the clear, cheaper varieties that you generally see in supermarkets.
“You can make vinegar out of a lot of fruits and vegetables,” dietician Sarah Flower told The Sun.
“Apple Cider Vinegar is made by turning the apple and sugar into alcohol before bacteria is added to turn it into acetic acid.
What do people use cider vinegar for?
The Ancient Greeks used the vinegar to cure sore throats[/caption]
“The Mother (the unfiltered, organic vinegar), has known health benefits not found in other vinegars. It is most popular for aiding weight loss but has also been shown to help lower blood sugars, cholesterol and fight infections.
“It can be taken orally as well as externally on skin for conditions such as acne, fungal infections and even warts. It can also preserve foods and has been shown to prevent bacteria from growing in food.”
That healthy bacteria, Holland & Barret claims, can help to keep your digestive system working properly.
On its website, the company said: “Cider vinegar could provide relief for those with stomach problems like indigestion or heartburn. This is because it neutralises stomach acid whilst acetic acid fights harmful bacteria.”
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In 2001, a study found that rats who ate a standard diet mixed with vinegar had a significant reduction in blood pressure, while another study on humans found that people who regularly consumed oil-and-vinegar salad dressings had a “significantly lower” risk of fatal ischemic heart disease than those who rarely ate them.
And Sarah isn’t necessarily in disagreement with the health food shop chain.
“I am a firm believer in using natural sources for health as long as they are safe and do not affect any other medication.
” We are seeing a rise in popularity of a lot of traditional remedies such as turmeric (curcumin) as a powerful anti-inflammatory. We still rely on a lot of these traditional remedies, especially herbs and spices – garlic, feverfew, cinnamon and many more.”
Weight loss and blood sugar
Studies have found that it can lower blood sugar levels after high carb meals[/caption]
A 2005 study found that vinegar lowers glucose and insulin responses, while increasing how full we feel after a bread-heavy meal.
12 healthy volunteers drank three different strengths of vinegar along with a portion of bread containing 50g of carbs at breakfast – with one group having no vinegar a tall.
Scientists found that after 30 minutes, there was a “significant” difference in the blood glucose readings of those who had had the vinegar and those who went without – with the highest strength vinegar not only being associated with the longest feeling of fullness, but also the lowest level of blood glucose at 30 and 45 minutes.
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That would suggest that consuming vinegar regularly would help to burn fat because we wouldn’t feel like snacking or eating too much.
Holland & Barrett have used this study to conclude that “the acetic acid found in cider vinegar could be beneficial.
“In fact, drinking four teaspoons of vinegar before a high-carb meal helped to prevent blood sugar spikes. And if you’re counting your calories, research found that acetic acid stops your body from absorbing the calories from carbs.”
Does apple cider vinegar help to reduce food cravings?
By balancing blood sugar levels, the vinegar can help to manage food cravings[/caption]
But…is that actually true? If there was a way to stop our bodies from absorbing carb calories then wouldn’t we all be stream-lining cider vinegar while eating our weight in tiger loaves?
“You can’t just take apple cider vinegar and eat what you like, hoping it will act as a magic pill for weight loss,” Sarah told us.
“Studies have shown it can help reduce food cravings and help keep you fuller for longer, meaning you are less likely to snack or overeat.
It has a lot to do with its balancing of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity as insulin. Keep your insulin balanced and you are less likely to lay down more fat.
The best way to keep blood sugar stable and belly fat low is to reduce your sugar intake[/caption]
“The main way to keep blood sugars stable is to reduce sugar and carbohydrates, keeping them as low as possible. However, you can also use apple cider vinegar as a tool to help alongside dietary changes as it can improve insulin sensitivity.
“Studies have shown it can reduce blood sugar by around 30% (one study showed a reduction of 34% when eating 50g of white bread). It also reduces fasting blood sugar by around 4%. I must stress, dietary changes are paramount. ”
Leading Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert also told The Sun that cider vinegar isn’t the weight loss miracle cure some would have us believe.
“Apple cider vinegar has definitely been the centre of attention on many occasions when it comes to crazy weight loss diets and ‘detoxing’,” she said.
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“Some suggest it helps lower blood sugar levels, improves metabolism and even burns fat, which may explain why people think it is some kind of ‘miracle drink’.
“However, the majority of research has involved very small samples sizes and mainly on animals – meaning results cannot apply to the general population.
“The largest and most cited study I’ve found with regards to weight loss and apple cider vinegar included 175 Japanese, overweight, but otherwise healthy subjects. Over three months, they drank up to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Results showed absolutely no significant difference between the placebo group and those who drank it.”
In other words, apple cider vinegar might taste good but it’s not going to help you shift those excess pounds alone.
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert stresses that no types of vinegar will undo the effects of a poor diet on your body[/caption]
“Let me assure you,” Rhiannon said, “no type of vinegar is going to undo a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle.
“Although it can be a lovely addition to a salad, don’t plan it on it being that magical cure that will ‘transform your body’.”
As with anything, you’re better off trying to follow a healthy, balanced diet alongside a basic exercise regime.
The very real benefits of consuming fermented foods
Cider vinegar may well have the same beneficial properties as other fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles.
We know that probiotic foods like these help to keep your gut tract clear, which is why they’ve been touted as being helpful in combatting irritable bowel syndrome and urinary tract disorders.
But it’s a little far to claim that they actually help you to lose weight and burn fat.
If you really want to drop a few pounds, try upping your protein intake and making sure that when you do eat carbs, you have them with a little fat and protein to make you avoid a blood sugar surge.
And whatever you do, don’t go overboard with the cider vinegar – even if you do believe that it has an effect.
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Sarah told us that its acid content can lead to dental erosion, poor stomach acid, nausea and indigestion problems.
“Some people can over-do the apple cider vinegar in the mistaken belief it will speed up results, but moderation is always key and when taken moderately, it is perfectly safe. ”
Last week, we revealed whether diet or exercise was better to boost weight loss.
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