Stephanie Brown/Ikonic Pix
There’s a new twist on the trendy Apple Cider Vinegar Detox — one so powerful, folks report using it to speed off up to 57 pounds in two months. The secret: adding metabolism-boosters like cayenne pepper, ginger, and turmeric to a tonic that includes unfiltered vinegar and water.
“It’s one of my biggest hacks to lose weight fast,” reveals diet coach JJ Smith, whose viral Facebook videos on apple cider vinegar (ACV) have gotten more than 18 million hits. Impressive science even has doctors excited. “Research shows that these drinks can help you lose significant weight without any change to your diet,” says Columbia University–trained nutrition expert Fred Pescatore, MD. And if you do eat healthier, the spicy ACV tonics can “profoundly speed fat loss."
Take it from Girosalee Hilliard. She was already using JJ Smith’s smoothie-based plan when she learned about cayenne-spiked apple cider vinegar tonics. The Arizona mom, 42, was skeptical at first. But, she laughs, “It seemed easy, and I’ll try anything once.” From the beginning, “I could feel it working. I was less hungry and I could feel my energy and metabolism pick up.” Twice daily, she began sipping a cayenne-vinegar combo — sometimes also adding lemon juice and stevia to make it tastier — and the number on the scale went down much faster. Girosalee dropped up to 11 pounds a week, shed 50 pounds in a matter of months, and is down 60 pounds in all.
She’s not alone: When Julie Ethier, 41, teamed up with her husband, Mike, and their friends Shawn and Stephanie to shape up, they likewise made the new apple cider vinegar trick part of their regimen. So far, they’ve sped off about 40 pounds apiece. The Ontario mom doesn’t just drink her vinegar, either; she loves turning it into salad dressing by whisking together spices, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. “Whether I take a ‘shot’ of vinegar or make dressing, it cuts hunger way down, so it’s easier to make smart choices,” she says. “I’ll keep taking my apple cider vinegar every day."
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox for Fat Burn
A landmark study from Arizona State University revealed that acetic acid in vinegar slashes blood-sugar and insulin levels by up to 64 percent after meals. “Compounds in vinegar mimic the diabetes drug Metformin, but with none of the side effects,” says natural-health expert David Jockers, DC, creator of The 30-Day Sugar Detox Challenge.
Dr. Pescatore adds that if you stir cayenne powder or turmeric into your vinegar tonic, you’ll flood your body with antioxidants that have been proven to further improve blood-sugar control and insulin function. Since insulin is a hormone that drives fat storage and blocks fat burning, the healthier your levels, the more fat you can burn — and the more weight you can lose.
How Cayenne Works to Spike Metabolism
Any spice that makes your mouth tingle contains compounds that create heat and boost metabolism — including turmeric and ginger, says Pescatore. The most potent: cayenne. A Japanese study revealed that eating the pepper can help you increase calorie burning a full 30 percent for several hours afterward.
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic Benefits
Choose “raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with a cloudy look,” advises Pescatore. Why? That means the liquid — which is made from fermented apple juice — is loaded with “probiotics that help bolster strains of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract,” he explains. Studies show that the beneficial bacteria in apple cider vinegar probiotics actually activate genes that help us shed up to 10 percent of our body weight in 16 weeks without any other lifestyle changes.
How to Detox with Apple Cider Vinegar
“One study showed that drinking apple cider vinegar actually decreased total caloric intake by up to 275 calories over the course of the day,” notes Pescatore. The reason: When we have healthier gut bacteria, they “turn off” genes linked to junk food cravings. Also crucial: Apple cider vinegar and spices like cayenne and turmeric help prevent blood-sugar spikes that trigger intense hunger. “This trend has a lot going for it,” says Pescatore. “Give it a try!”
How to Make a Detox Drink With Apple Cider Vinegar
To make your homemade detox drinks recipes with apple cider vinegar, stir 1 to 2 Tbsp. of vinegar (any unpasteurized, unfiltered brand, such as Bragg ($19.34 for a gallon, Amazon) plus 2 to 3 dashes of cayenne, turmeric, and/or ginger in at least 4 oz. of water (necessary to dilute vinegar’s acid and keep it from burning throat tissues). Add lemon and stevia, if desired. Sipping two tonics daily triggers weight loss even if you don’t diet — but for massive results, use any healthy-eating plan you like, sipping tonics 15 minutes before two meals a day, suggests Pescatore. As always, be sure to get a doctor’s okay before starting a diet plan.
Tufts University scientists say curcumin — an antioxidant in the spice turmeric — may block the growth of new fat tissue and speed the burning of existing fat. Pescatore adds that curcumin also targets belly fat.
The natural chemical that makes cayenne hot, known as capsaicin, is such a potent metabolism booster that in one Canadian study, it helped subjects burn nearly 1,000 extra calories a day. And separate research hints that it has the ability to decrease appetite and turn on fat-burning genes.
A couple of hearty dashes of ginger dials up the body’s thermostat so much, we end up burning an extra 43 calories, according to one Columbia University study. Bonus: The spice helps curb hunger, too.
ACV Spiced Potatoes Recipe
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, divided
- 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
- 2 lbs. small red potatoes in 1-inch chunks
- In large bowl, whisk the oil, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat well.
- Transfer to baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, flipping once. Serve drizzled with remaining vinegar.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.