Fat burning and wellness benefits of Apple cider vinegar
by FI Designer
When you hear advice about reducing body fat from a competitive bodybuilder you listen. But when you hear the same advice from multiple bodybuilders you take note and learn more. That was my experience when I heard seasoned bodybuilders on separate occasions raving about apple cider vinegar.
Today with the rising popularity of fancy high-end earth and animal-friendly products, do not forget what was in your grandparent’s cupboard. Using one low-cost product for many uses, from cleaning to cooking, has not been in style for a long time. But it is worth making a comeback.
Vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid that typically contains 5 – 8% acetic acid. Acetic acid is usually produced by the fermentation of ethanol or sugars by acetic acid bacteria. The pH of apple cider vinegar is about 2.5, which is considered mildly acidic. Its acidity is somewhere between that of stomach acid and orange juice.
The following are health benefits of acetic acid, but much of the research was performed on rats and mice, not humans.
- Lowers blood sugar
- Decreases insulin levels
- Improves metabolism
- Reduces fat storage
- Burns fat
- Suppresses appetite
Research on humans has produced results that are less conclusive.
As noted above, there is little scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar reduces body fat in humans. However, there is one such study that was published in 2009 that showed promising results. 175 obese Japanese subjects were tested over 12 weeks. Each group ingested a 16 oz beverage containing 1 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp, or 0 Tbsp (placebo) of vinegar. Bodyweight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in both vinegar intake groups than in the placebo group.
I started drinking apple cider vinegar daily in my 40s, near the beginning of 2019. That year was the most prolonged period of time that I maintained a leaner than normal body composition. Prior to that, I typically obtained a lean body composition in the summer and bulked up during the winter months. During 2019 I was able to carry the leanness through the winter months up until the pandemic of 2020.
In my late teens and early 20s I was a competitive bodybuilder. During this period my body composition cycled throughout the year between bulking up and cutting down for competitions. The cutting down often lasted only 2 months at a time. In those days I was not aware of the fat-burning benefits of apple cider vinegar, and I am unsure of how it would have compared to the thermogenic supplements that were popular. During my competitive career, I used the Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin (ECA) thermogenic stack to reduce body fat which is no longer legal for sale in the United States. The ECA stack was marketed under names like Xenadrine® and Ripped Fuel®. Using the ECA stack was the greatest regret of my bodybuilding career because I believe it contributed to my current sensitivity to caffeine.
I cannot prove my current reduction in body fat was entirely attributed to drinking apple cider vinegar, but even if my results were from a placebo I am fine with that. Drinking that unpleasant concoction first thing every morning may have acted as a habit cue (or trigger) that told my subconscious, “today I was going to practice a bodybuilding lifestyle.” James Clear discusses habit cues further in his article called “The 5 Triggers That Make New Habits Stick.”
- Dosage: 1 – 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 oz of water taken once a day.
- Flavoring: Add a splash of lemon juice to improve the taste and reduce nausea.
- Timing: Drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach maximizes health benefits and boosts your ability to process food. If you want to drink it after food, wait for at least 20 minutes.
- Frequency: If 2 Tbsp per dose causes nausea, try 1 Tbsp twice a day at different times.
Consuming acetic acid can increase your risk of burning the esophagus. Do not exceed 2 Tbsp a day. If you have concerns about burning to your esophagus you can mix it in with more than 8 oz of water, or take a drink of milk before and after the vinegar to coat your throat and reduce the acidity.
I have changed the way that I am taking apple cider vinegar so here is an update…
As stated earlier I take it first thing in the morning, but now with 20 oz. of water in a blender ball shaker instead of the previously mentioned 8 oz. of water. I mix it together with other supplements like creatine & beet root powder. The creatine is for muscle volumizing/strength, not fat loss. The beet powder is for vascular health and the brand I use (Country Farms Bountiful Beets) has a really good cherry flavor which masks the vinegar taste so I do not use lemon juice anymore. I am not getting any compensation for this or other recommendations.
I have also been pouring 2 Tbsp of milk into a shot glass and swishing half of it around in my mouth before I take the vinegar and the other half after I take it. I feel that reduces the damage the acid could do to my teeth or esophagus. Neither my doctor nor my dentist objected to this regimen of apple cider vinegar. I will probably continue unless there is a health reason to stop at some time in the future.
I also stopped buying organic apple cider vinegar at Aldi. Instead, I am now buying the one-gallon jug of regular Great Value brand apple cider vinegar from Walmart. The bulk product is about $0.04/oz versus $0.16/oz for the organic. The taste is a little worse for the bulk product, but I cannot really tell the difference when I mix it with 20 oz. of water. I also have to store the gallon container in the refrigerator so that it does not go bad before I can use it all.
FI Designer is not a medical doctor or nutritionist.
Call to Action
Please do not stop here. Consider the following actions, and please share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Drinking apple cider vinegar is a hard pill to swallow, pun intended, but committing to the habit may help you reach your goals of body fat reduction, assuming you are already exercising and practicing good nutrition.
- Consider how a habit cue (or trigger) can help reinforce habits that improve your health.
- If you commit to drinking apple cider vinegar every day for a month please post your results below. I would greatly appreciate hearing if you experience similar results as I did.