Apple cider vinegar has become a popular supplement in natural health and wellness circles for its potential weight loss benefits. Many people incorporate apple cider vinegar into their daily diets with the goal of suppressing appetite and stimulating fat loss.
While the science is still emerging on its precise mechanisms and effects, there is indeed some evidence that apple cider vinegar may aid weight management. Let’s take a closer look at 10 ways apple cider vinegar could potentially help suppress appetite and support weight loss results.
1. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
One of the primary ways that apple cider vinegar may help suppress appetite is by regulating blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels spike and drop too quickly, it can trigger hunger cues and cravings. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has been shown to slow the breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
By slowing the rise in blood sugar after meals, it helps you feel fuller for longer and prevents energy crashes that lead to overeating. Balanced blood sugar is crucial for maintaining satiety.
2. Increases Satiety Hormone Levels
Research done at the University of Tennessee found that apple cider vinegar could increase levels of peptide YY, an intestinal hormone that signals satiety. Peptide YY suppresses appetite by slowing the emptying of the stomach and reducing subsequent food intake.
The study found that consuming apple cider vinegar with a high-carb meal increased peptide YY by around 20% compared to consuming just the high-carb meal alone. Increased peptide YY levels may diminish feelings of hunger and decrease subsequent calorie intake at meals.
3. Regulates Ghrelin Hormone Levels
Ghrelin, often called the “hunger hormone,” is made in the stomach and stimulates appetite. Consuming apple cider vinegar before a meal was shown in a Japanese study to decrease ghrelin levels by 25% compared to when no vinegar was consumed. Lower ghrelin levels translate to less hunger and food cravings between meals. This could potentially lead to decreased calorie intake and therefore fat loss over time. While more research is needed, apple cider vinegar may help regulate hunger-regulating hormones in a way that curbs appetite.
4. Slows Gastric Emptying
Gastric emptying refers to how quickly food exits the stomach and enters the small intestine. Slower gastric emptying generally translates to more prolonged satiety due to feeling full for longer after meals. Studies have observed that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar slows gastric emptying. Slower stomach emptying combined with increased PYY and decreased ghrelin from apple cider vinegar may work synergistically to enhance fullness and reduce appetite after eating. This could lead to naturally consuming smaller meal portions and fewer daily calories over time.
5. Suppresses Carbohydrate Cravings
Carbohydrate cravings, especially for sugary and starchy foods, are a major driver of overeating and weight regain for many people. Apple cider vinegar may be helpful for curbing carb cravings specifically. In a 2013 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants consuming 15mL or 30mL of apple cider vinegar daily reported significantly less desire for carbs and sweets over 12 weeks compared to placebo. Reduced cravings likely translate to daily calorie savings by consuming fewer carbs and discretionary calories.
6. Contains Acetic Acid with Anti-Obesity Properties
Acetic acid is the main active component believed to impart apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. It’s been shown to reduce abdominal fat accumulation in animal studies. Researchers believe this may be partly due to acetic acid’s ability to delay gastric emptying and suppress appetite through increasing fat mobilization from adipose tissue. It may work by inhibiting the formation of new fat cells, breaking down lipids, and increasing fat excretion from the body. More research is needed, but acetic acid appears to possess anti-obesity properties that could aid natural weight loss over time.
7. Contains Pectin – A Soluble Fiber
Apple cider vinegar contains a small amount of pectin, a type of soluble fiber. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, promotes fullness due to its gel-forming properties in the stomach. It also slows digestion, which further enhances feelings of fullness. Fiber provides bulk with very few calories, allowing you to feel satisfied while possibly consuming fewer calories overall. The small amount of pectin in apple cider vinegar may work alongside its other appetite-suppressing compounds to enhance fullness when consumed before meals.
8. May Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Emerging research has linked improved insulin sensitivity to weight management success. This is because being insulin sensitive rather than insulin resistant allows the body to efficiently clear glucose from the bloodstream after meals, thereby helping to regulate energy levels and appetite over time. Studies have observed apple cider vinegar may possess insulin-sensitizing effects by lowering insulin responses after meals. This could indirectly aid appetite control and encourage a healthy metabolism. While more is still unknown, improved insulin sensitivity may prove to be another way apple cider vinegar supports weight loss.
9. Provides Prebiotic Fiber
Apple cider vinegar contains prebiotic fiber, non-digestible carbohydrates that nourish beneficial gut bacteria. Having a diverse, healthy gut microbiome is linked to appetite regulation and weight management according to research. The prebiotic fiber in apple cider vinegar feeds “good” gut bacteria while altering the gut environment in ways that are thought to influence hormones involved in hunger and fullness. More prebiotic fiber intake through apple cider vinegar may promote a microbiome optimized for natural appetite control.
10. Added Sparingly Won’t Increase Calories
Apple cider vinegar used judiciously doesn’t add many calories to the diet. For example, only about 5 calories come from 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It can provide appetite-supporting benefits when mixed into water or diluted in meals, while minimizing extra caloric intake. Using apple cider vinegar as a seasoning or flavoring rather than in large quantities makes it easy to achieve potential appetite benefits without disrupting calorie balance for weight loss goals.
As you can see, there are numerous potential mechanisms by which apple cider vinegar could contribute to appetite suppression and modest weight management when used as part of a healthy lifestyle. While the research is ongoing, adding 1-2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to water or meals before eating is a simple dietary tweak that may help many achieve balanced blood sugar levels, increased satiety, decreased cravings, and natural appetite control over time to support healthy weight loss results.