Fad diets have been around forever. There are so many claims made about fast fixes, "health" tonics or "natural" remedies that it's hard for the person who is serious about weight loss to sort through them and figure out what works, what doesn't--and what might actually be dangerous. According to the American Dietetic Association, one of the very first fad diets was the Vinegar and Water Diet, popularized by Lord Byron in 1820. The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet follows the same basic principles.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples to get the juice. Sugar and yeast are added to ferment it, and then bacteria are added to form an acetic acid.
The main component of the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet is that you take 1 to 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before every meal. There are apple cider vinegar pills available for people who can't tolerate the acidic nature of actual vinegar.
You are also advised to monitor your portions, keep track of your calories and exercise regularly.
Apple cider vinegar has been recommended as a health tonic for centuries, though there is no evidence to back this up. Dr. D.C. Jarvis, a Vermont country doctor, wrote a book in 1958 which claimed that taking apple cider vinegar causes the body to burn fat instead of storing it. "Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health" stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, sold over one million copies and, as of 2002, was still in print.
In recent years, health-food purveyors have claimed that vinegar contains a pectin that binds with cholesterol and allows it to be flushed from the body.
Chemical analysis of apple cider vinegar shows that it has no more or less healing properties than any other kinds of vinegar. It does contain some vitamin C, but does not have any effect on weight loss. There is some evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar has a positive effect on glucose levels and cholesterol, but as of 2009 no definitive study has been published.
Aside from the fact that there is no proof that apple cider vinegar will help you lose weight, taking it in its undiluted form for a long time can cause damage to your esophagus and stomach.
Dr. D.C. Jarvis recommended that you dilute it with water and honey. When taken this way, it may not help you lose weight, but should also pose no health risks.