The Sour Truth
Question: I had a baby 6 months ago and would like to lose
some weight. I know that if you're nursing, you're not
supposed to diet. I have been eating healthy foods high in
nutrients, and I have lost a little weight. Would it be
harmful to the baby if I started taking apple cider vinegar
pills to help with weight loss?
Answer: A few vinegar pills probably won't hurt you or your
baby, but they won't do one bit of good in helping you lose
weight either. This old diet fad dates back to the 1970s,
when a combination of apple cider, kelp, vitamin B-6, and
lecithin was touted as the miracle cure for weight loss. The
rationale for this concoction was that it tricked your
According to the claims, lecithin emulsified body fat, B-6
metabolized the loosened fat, kelp supplied iodine to
stimulate the thyroid gland to manufacture more thyroxin to
speed metabolism, and vinegar supplied potassium. Like salad
dressings where oil and vinegar don't mix, this was supposed
to help rid the body of fat.
There Is No Proof
There is no scientific basis, or even rational reason, for
any of these claims. For example, a teaspoon of vinegar
contains only five milligrams of potassium, a meager amount
compared to the 400 milligrams in a cup of grapefruit juice.
Swallowing more iodine will jump start a thyroid gland only
if you are deficient in this mineral (you'll know if you are
iodine-deprived because you will have developed a goiter, or
an enlargement of the thyroid gland). When people lost
weight on this regimen it was because they also followed the
accompanying low-calorie diet. Like all the other diet fads,
from starch blockers and collagen products to herbal diet
teas and hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the vinegar pills fit
most or all the criteria of a useless gimmick:
They promise to melt away fat.
They promise fast and effortless weight loss.
They promise weight loss greater than one to two pounds a
They focus on one or a few foods and limit or exclude whole
They are based on pills or "secret formulas."
Start Your Weight Loss Program After Breastfeeding
Save your money and follow the advice of thousands of people
who have not just lost weight, but maintained the weight
loss. Consume daily a wide variety of nutrient-packed
vegetables, fruits, whole grains, extra-lean meats and
beans, and nonfat milk or yogurt. Watch your portions, and,
most importantly, exercise each day. You also are right
about not dieting while breastfeeding. It took nine months
to gain the weight during your pregnancy. Plan to begin your
weight-loss plan after you've stopped breastfeeding, and
give yourself at least nine months after that to regain your
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