Like many other quick-fix weight loss wonders, apple cider vinegar (or ACV, for short) is having it’s time in the sun. And not only is it touted to help whittle your waistline – but improve digestion, lower cholesterol and strengthen your bones, too.
If you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true, I’m with you. Unfortunately, there’s little scientific research to support many of these claims – in most cases, it’s just another money-making ploy that wellness gurus and influencers have latched onto.
There is one positive, however, and that’s the fact that vinegar is known to reduce the glycaemic index of a meal. But it’s not just hyped-up apple cider vinegar; any vinegar will do (think: balsamic, red wine vinegar and white vinegar). That’s a good thing, because a low GI meal will be digested slowly and give you long-lasting energy (as opposed to a high GI meal that quickly spikes your blood sugar). This contributes to feelings of fullness and satisfaction, which in the long run can help with weight loss – but it’s not a direct result of the vinegar, per say.
While apple cider vinegar might sound like a magical elixir, just like most other superfood fads, it’s really not. Yes, it’s low in kilojoules, yummy in a salad dressing and can help to manage blood sugars, but apple cider vinegar isn’t going to help you miraculously lose weight. What’s more, if you’re downing a lot of it (which tastes gross, BTW), it can be harmful to your tooth enamel and mightn’t be good news for your oesophagus and stomach lining, either.
What to drink instead
If weight loss is your aim, I think you should stop sculling ACV each morning and focus on more sustainable healthy lifestyle strategies instead. So, here’s my top picks for habits that’ll help with weight loss and are more likely to stick around, for good.
As boring as it sounds, plain old water should always be your drink of choice. Not only is it kilojoule free, but super important for many bodily functions, too. Did you know that (amongst many other roles) water is required to keep your blood pumping, regulate your temperature and carry oxygen to your cells?
If you’re on struggle street when it comes to hitting your two litres a day, you can flavour it naturally with herbs and citrus fruits to help you drink a little more. Mint and lime works well, as does orange and raspberry. The combinations are endless.
For a healthy between meal bite with far less calories than your usual muffin or chocolate bar, a small homemade smoothie (read: not a jumbo-sized one from your local juice bar) is a great choice. Not only can a homemade smoothie help you reach your nutrient targets for the day, but also help to satisfy your sweet tooth without the sugar rush. My easy formula is one serve of reduced-fat dairy (think: 200 millilitres of milk and a spoonful of yoghurt) and one serve of fruit (like a banana or cup of berries) blitzed until smooth. Voila!
Yes, it’s another wellness trend that’s loving life right now, but hear me out. While the jury isn’t clear on the exact benefits of kombucha in relation to gut health just yet, I think kombucha is simply a great alternative to soft drink. With far less calories per bottle, making the switch from other fizzy drinks will help to cut calories and therefore help with weight loss over time.
Melissa Meier is an online and Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.