When I think of apple cider vinegar, my face immediately makes that distorted “sour” expression and a wave of heebee-jeebees washes over me. Which is why I don’t typically fancy myself a shot of it first thing in the morning — or, ever.
That said, apple cider vinegar has an astounding amount of health benefits. Though I do wish I could just spritz myself with ACV and call it a day, the health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar are far greater than my overall hatred of its taste. Here’s what happened when I drank it to lose weight (plus, we’ll look at some common apple cider myths you should know the truth about).
1. I felt less bloated
Since I couldn’t stomach the taste of ACV in the morning, I decided to mix a shot of it into ice cold lemon water. The lemon and chill factor helped mask its flavor and actually made the process somewhat enjoyable.
One of the first things I noticed was my bloat — or, lack thereof. I am someone who, unfortunately, gets bloated very easily, to the point where I don’t even notice it half the time. And, while I may not always notice my bloat, I definitely noticed when it disappeared.
2. I felt full faster
Another thing I noticed throughout my two-week experiment was how I actually felt fuller faster. According to research, that’s because apple cider vinegar can actually suppress appetite and decrease calorie intake.
3. My guts were happier
In addition to decreasing my bloat and suppressing my appetite, apple cider vinegar also helped out my gut. Because of its fermentation, apple cider vinegar can act as a probiotic on the body and promote a healthier digestion. And while compared to others, this benefit was minor for me, I definitely noticed fewer stomach aches and digestion issues while drinking ACV as opposed to not drinking it.
4. My skin looked clearer
Now, I have heard many good things about using apple cider vinegar on your skin (you can dilute it with water to create a toner), but have never actually tried it. While I didn’t try it topically, I did notice that my skin looked clearer and healthier after two weeks of drinking the substance.
A reason for this may be because ACV is naturally pH balancing. And while it may have been balancing my body’s alkaline pH levels, it was probably balancing my skin’s, too. After all, it is the body’s largest organ.
5. My cravings for sweets decreased (a huge win for me)
While weight loss was the goal (and I did see some, keep reading for those results!), one of the biggest bonuses of this experiment was my lack of sugar cravings. Like many people, I have a major sweet tooth and it takes a lot to suppress it. And while I didn’t stop craving sweets altogether, I did see a significant decline.
According to research, a reason for this may be caused by apple cider vinegar’s ability to decrease blood sugar levels after a meal. Another trick many suggest is drinking a splash of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water when a sugar craving hits. Noted.
6. My ‘skinny’ jeans fit better
We all have that one pair of jeans in our closet that doesn’t quite fit. But, we love them, so we reserve them for days when we feel skinny (or, feel like stuffing ourselves into them). I have a pair of those jeans. And while they aren’t so tight that they’d require me to lose inches upon inches, they’re tight enough that I won’t wear them unless I am feeling lighter and less pudgy.
With my bloat going down and my insides feeling good, I decided to slip into the jeans at the end of the two-week experiment. And much to my surprise, they actually fit better than usual. While they’re still not perfect, they’re a definite indication of the effects apple cider vinegar had on my body.
7. I lost 4 pounds in 2 weeks
As far as weight loss goes, I wasn’t expecting to lose anything, as I am already on the smaller side of the spectrum (about 120 pounds) and losing weight doesn’t come easily. But, much to my surprise, after two weeks of drinking apple cider vinegar, I actually saw the scale move.
Granted, four pounds may seem small, but for me and my body (and the fact that I didn’t change anything else about my diet or exercise regimen), that was a big win! I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing the weight loss was most likely due to the fact that I was eating fewer sweets and calories (thanks to ACV’s appetite suppressing properties) and the water weight I typically carry (aka, the bloat) had been suppressed.
8. Can it help with diabetes?
When it comes to cider vinegar’s ability to alleviate diabetes, there is some evidence to suggest it can help. One recent review reported vinegar may help control blood sugar. Still, the researchers admit the effect is more pronounced for those who don’t have diabetes. Furthermore, some studies are a bit on the strange side. One example from 2005 found consuming vinegar with a breakfast of white bread helped minimize changes in blood sugar after the meal. But when was the last time you ate a piece of naked white bread for breakfast?
Claims about apple cider vinegar’s ability to improve heart health also don’t hold up. No matter what you read online about how it can cure hypertension, the only studies you’ll find involve animals. Until there’s research involving human subjects, there’s just no way to know if vinegar can positively affect your ticker.
9. Negatives of too much apple cider
Downing too much vinegar can also be bad for your teeth. Even everyday foods like coffee and citrus can damage your enamel, so a more potent solution is just going to make things worse. One Dutch article actually reported a case of substantial tooth erosion in a 15-year-old girl who’d taken to drinking a glass of apple cider vinegar every day.
Myth: Contains many vitamins and minerals
Many fans of apple cider vinegar also claim that it boasts a heavy dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbs, and amino acids, and this is why the vinegar has such an incredible ability to heal the body. While this is a nice idea, it’s not based on any truth — Sandy Szwarc, a registered nurse, debunks the idea that apple cider vinegar is full of vitamins and minerals. In fact, apple cider vinegar has only trace amounts of any nutrients.
When looking at an analysis of what’s really in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, there is no protein or fiber and only a minuscule amount of carbs, and there are only trace amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese. With the average adult needing 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, the mere 1 gram that apple cider vinegar offers will not be helpful in reaching that goal. The multiple helpful acidic properties of the vinegar are what offer the health boost, but if you’re looking for a way to add more nutrients to your diet, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Myth: Will worsen your heartburn
When your chest aches with the familiar feeling of heartburn, you probably think that fighting acid with vinegar will never work, right? Actually, apple cider vinegar can be a safe natural remedy for heartburn, even though it is highly acidic. Though more research needs to be done, Healthline reports a dose of apple cider vinegar may be useful for those dealing with heartburn, but it also depends on what’s causing the problem.
Apple cider vinegar works to fight heartburn by restoring acidity to your stomach. Drinking a tablespoon diluted in water will work better than any antacid because it does exactly the opposite of an antacid — it provides your stomach with what it naturally needs to work properly.
Myth: Works best when undiluted
Though you may be tempted to reap all of apple cider vinegar’s benefits by drinking it straight up, you could be doing serious damage to your esophagus. Livestrong.com suggests a small amount of this vinegar (from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on personal preference) should be diluted in a full 8-ounce glass of water before drinking. The water will help protect your esophagus from the acidic burn.
Don’t go above the recommended dosage, either — though apple cider vinegar has its benefits, drinking too much can cause potassium levels to drop and it can interfere with certain medications like blood-thinners, diuretics, or insulin.
Myth: Fights cancer
There are various studies that have tested to see if apple cider vinegar could possibly be a natural cancer fighter, but these studies are inconclusive, and they yield slightly conflicting results. Worldhealth.net notes that while consuming apple cider vinegar could lead to a reduced risk of developing esophageal cancer, another study found that this vinegar can lead to an increased risk of bladder cancer. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar could mean that your digestive tract is cleaner and the chances of colon cancer and prostate cancer are slimmer, but this has yet to be proven as well.
Overall, it is suggested that regularly adding apple cider vinegar into your diet could help prevent cancerous cells from forming, but if you have a history of bladder cancer in your family, then it may be best to avoid it altogether.
Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler.