The internet is replete with claims of honey, green tea and apple cider vinegar as magic bullets to weight loss, yet scientific evidence tells another story. Apple cider vinegar in tea for weight loss, green tea as a dietary supplement and honey as a diet elixir have no scientific backing.
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Honey and Weight Loss
A July 2018 review in Nutrients on the protective effects of honey, asserts that honey protects against metabolic syndrome — a cluster of diseases composed of obesity, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and hypertension — and prevents excessive weight gain.
Furthermore, in a small April 2015 study of 50 participants, published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, subjects were given 300 milliliters of honey-lemon juice four times a day for four days. The study found that a honey and lemon juice diet significantly reduced body weight in both men and women. That said, the study combined honey and lemon juice with fasting, which is not a recommended method of weight loss.
Instead, you can try healthy approaches to lose weight besides a mixture of honey, green tea and apple cider vinegar. Better Health Channel suggests some healthy approaches:
- Don't skip meals.
- Try having a healthier approach to food: Cut down on saturated fats and alcohol, increase your fruit and vegetable intake, eat a variety of foods (from all food groups) and replace sugary drinks with water.
- Try exercising whenever you can (e.g., walking the dog, playing outdoor games with your children, playing a sport, taking the stairs, walking instead of taking the car on short trips and strength training at least twice a week).
- NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) recommends changing cues that may lead to overeating or eating unhealthy food.
- NIH also suggests rewarding your diet success with material items or an act of self-kindness.
Read more: The Dangers and Benefits of Raw Honey
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox
Despite claims that an apple cider vinegar detox can aid in weight loss, there's very little evidence to support this. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic consuming too much apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and can irritate your throat if taken in large amounts. Moreover, apple cider vinegar can interact with certain supplements or drugs, such as diuretics and insulin, which can lead to low potassium levels.
According to Clinical Nutrition Coordinator Kelly S. Hogan, MS, RD, CDN, at the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai in a 2017 interview with ABC News, "There are so many claims that apple cider vinegar is helpful, but at the end of the day, it's not a magical elixir," adding that in smaller doses, apple cider vinegar hasn't been proven to do any harm.
Adding to the list of potentially harmful effects, Harvard Health points out that vinegar can alter insulin levels, and people with diabetes should be particularly careful about a diet high in vinegar.
Green Tea-Induced Weight Loss
Green tea is often used in weight loss supplements, and both caffeine and catechins — found in green tea — are believed to increase energy metabolism, which may result in weight loss.
There is some evidence that green tea, specifically green tea preparations, can aid in shedding weight. One study published in the May-June 2014 issue of Clinical Question found that subjects who consumed green tea lost 0.2 to 3.5 kilograms more than those in the control group over a 12-week period.
Contrary evidence from a December 2012 study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that green tea induces very small, insignificant weight loss in adults with obesity or overweight. What's more, green tea had no significant effect when it came to maintaining weight loss.
Green tea may not have significant weight loss benefits, but according to South Dakota Department of Health, green tea does offer other benefits, namely those that point to heart health, preventing oxidation of "bad" cholesterol and reducing the incidence of blood clots.
- Better Health Channel: "Weight Loss - A Healthy Approach"
- Cochrane Library: "Green Tea for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Overweight or Obese Adults"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight Loss"
- Clinical Questions: "Can Green Tea Preparations Help With Weight Loss"
- Nutrients: "A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey againstMetabolic Syndrome"
- NIH: "Guide to Behavior Change"
- Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine: "Does Short-Term Lemon Honey Juice Fasting Have Effect on Lipid Profile and Body Composition in Healthy Individuals?
- Mount Sinai: "Debunking the Health Myths Surrounding Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: Does It Really Work?"
- South Dakota Department of Health: "The Health Benefits of Tea"
- ABC News: "Debunking the Health Myths Surrounding Apple Cider Vinegar"