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No, apple cider vinegar isn't going to help you lose weight

Apple cider vinegar claims to cure almost everything, but its getting the most attention about claims of weight loss.

NEW ORLEANS — Many times we turn to supplements to help us get a jump start on weight loss.
Earlier, we told you about the new green tea phytosomes that studies show do help you lose belly fat. Weight Loss Wednesday, looks into another supplement to see if apple cider vinegar works.

You've probably used apple cider vinegar cooking, or to make a salad dressing, but lately it's on social media feeds, and shelves in the form of gummies. Apple cider vinegar claims to cure almost everything: stained teeth, dull hair, leg cramps, bruises, hiccups, high cholesterol and blood sugar, sore throats, even acne and wrinkles, but getting the most attention are claims like this about weight loss. 

“One of the things that does happen is, it seems to increase satiety. So, they may not be eating as much. For example, if someone were to eat complex carbohydrates, or even simple carbohydrates, then you take the vinegar and after eating the vinegar you're going to have a 200 calorie reduction in the amount of calories you're going to eat per day,” was a claim made in a TV report from 2017.

Internet health claims state that acetic acid in apple cider vinegar decreases abdominal fat, waist circumference, and weight when taken regularly. So, are you wasting your money in hopes of a smaller waist?

“There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that apple cider vinegar is going to improve your metabolism. It's not going to reduce your weight,” said Dr. Melinda Sothern, of the LSU Health Sciences School of Public Health.

Weight loss and exercise expert Dr. Sothern says the claim is a misconception. In one small, short-term study where people dieted and exercised, those who took two tablespoons daily lost a few more pounds than those who did not.

Some think it's because you eat less because you feel fuller or you're nauseated from it, but Dr. Sothern says studies show negative side effects.

“In high dosages it has side effects. It can be very bad for your GI tract. It's something that you can include in a salad or a dish, but there's no evidence that it's going to change any health parameter. It actually has been researched and there are negative findings to tooth enamel,” she said.

“Right now the actual science on apple products, or apple cider vinegar is very minimal, and the data that we do have doesn't show any specific benefit for weight loss,” said researcher and registered dietician Dr. Jacob Mey of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

He and Dr. Sothern say before using any supplement, check with your doctor, making sure it won't interfere with prescriptions. 

“In reality supplements often have a very little effect, but some people find personal benefit to using them, and we don't have studies on every single individual and how it affects that person. So, usually with supplements, I say, ‘Hey, try it out, and if you like it and you think it's helping you, keep going with it,’” said Dr. Mey.

Keep in mind, the health of the 100 trillion bacteria in your digestive tract affect everything from metabolism, to brain function, to your immune system. The tiny creatures are now being linked to many health conditions such as obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases. Fermented foods may help strengthen your gut microbiome, but it has to be naturally fermented and contain probiotics.

“We do know a couple of things about the gut bacteria, one, they are responsive to almost everything. If you change anything in your lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleep, the microbiome can be affected in some way. So, it's certainly possible it affects the microbiome. We just don't know what impact that would have on your whole body situation,” said Dr. Mey.

So, for now, don't ditch the portion control and exercise for a sour spoonful of promise.

Dr. Mey says losing just a little weight, like just five to 10 pounds, will improve your metabolic health and insulin use, way more than any of the supplements.

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