A relatively recent health fad is the use of apple cider vinegar for, well, just about everything. It's been used as a cleanser, as part of a dietary purge, as a supplement, and yes, even for weight loss.
There's just one problem: there's zero evidence to suggest that vinegar of any sort, apple cider or otherwise, can do anything to help you lose weight.
The theory is pretty simple. Drinking some apple cider vinegar is meant to fill your stomach and suppress your appetite, while also providing a laundry list of other benefits. The trouble is, even though studies have been performed, there is so far zero evidence to support these claims.
Worse, apple cider vinegar is basically pure acid. While it's a relatively human-safe acid, it can still burn and irritate the sensitive flesh of your throat and stomach, especially if you're drinking it straight. It can also lower your bodily potassium levels and can interfere with some medications. Overall, it's more likely to do harm than good.
Luckily, if all you want to do is drink something to help you lose weight, there are some viable alternatives. Just be aware that they aren't going to help you melt off the pounds, they're just a relatively minor supplemental way to lose some weight.
One of the best, and simultaneously the worst, beverages you can drink to lose weight is coffee.
We say the worst because when we talk about coffee, we're explicitly talking about plain black coffee. At most, you can add a little collagen or another basic protein, but you absolutely should not add sugars, creamers, or anything to bulk it up without a very good reason. Those all add a ton of calories, which you'll then struggle to burn off.
Plain black coffee, on the other hand, is an excellent beverage to help with weight loss. It satisfies your need for flavor and can sate some cravings you would otherwise sate by eating. It helps fill your stomach and suppress your appetite. Plus, it contains plenty of caffeine, which boosts your metabolism and gives you energy which you can then use to burn more calories.
Using coffee as a weight-loss beverage can be tricky, however. It's a strong, bitter, acquired taste, and it can be difficult to actually want to drink it. It can also make you hungrier if you drink it on an empty stomach because the caffeine increases your energy consumption and your body wants to take in more energy to consume.
2. Green Tea
It should come as no surprise that tea is on this list, and to be honest, we could have put it in five of the ten positions. Every kind of tea is good, but a few will stand out as more potent than others.
Green tea is your go-to best tea for just about everything. It's a nice balance of herbal taste without too much bitterness, it's easy to find and easy to brew, and it has a good balance of phytonutrients and caffeine. Many all-natural teas – yes, even "decaf" tea – have some amount of caffeine in them. A strong-brewed cup of green tea can be similar to a cup of coffee in caffeine content, though it may also be overly bitter. Most average cups of green tea have a little less caffeine.
The primary benefits of green tea over something like coffee come in the other nutrients in the cup. Tea has tannins and phytonutrients, as well as a whole host of vitamins and minerals your body wants to use. It helps suppress your appetite without the same sort of cravings that coffee can give you later on.
Some people also like mixing green tea with coffee for a powerhouse blend.
3. Black Tea
Black tea and green tea are the same things, except black tea is processed a little longer to oxidize it. This gives it a distinct flavor and a bit of a harsher "buzz", though it's still softer than your average cup of black coffee. Black tea goes very well with a bunch of spices and herbal tea blends and is the foundation of the typical chai beverage you know and love.
Pretty much all of the same benefits from green tea can be found in black tea. It's a matter of flavor profile as much as anything else. The same goes for other forms of tea; white tea is a little less harsh than green. Pu-erh tea is an aged version, like a wine version of tea, and can be very potent. Oolong tea is somewhere between green and black. All of these different varieties of tea have similar health benefits, so choose the one that fits best with your desires for the day. Trust us; once you acquire a taste for tea, you'll end up with cupboards full of blends, and can pick your favorite for the day at your leisure.
4. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas are all the different kinds of "tea" that don't include the true tea plant. There are as many different teas as there are plants that can be steeped and consumed without poisoning yourself, which means there are thousands of them.
There are a lot of possibilities here. It's impossible to list all of them, but some of the best for weight loss include:
There's a huge array of plants that may have some health benefits and can help stimulate the body into losing weight, help you suppress your appetite, or otherwise promote a healthier lifestyle. Feel free to make your own blends, or pick up your favorite blends from a local tea vendor. Be sure to check out our supply of teas such as our Baja Libra Tea!
Another benefit of drinking teas, particularly different kinds of herbal tea, is that they tend to have side effects that can help with the symptoms of discomfort from working out. Some may help relieve pain and inflammation, some can boost your healing, and some can help alleviate other bodily issues. Tea, overall, is a great beverage to pick up.
5. Coconut Water
Coconut water isn't entirely just water; it's more like the juice of the coconut. It's water infused with all manner of healthy vitamins and minerals, without all of the pesky sugar that comes from sports drinks and other beverages, particularly fruit beverages.
Coconut water is high in electrolytes, and it has the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all of which are useful for the body when you're trying to lose weight.
Now, coconut water is best used the same way you might use a sports drink: as a way to recover after working out. You can't just sit and drink it at your desk job and expect the weight to fall off your hips and stomach. You need to actually get up and do some exercise, and use coconut water to restore yourself.
Finally, remember that you want to be drinking coconut water, not coconut milk. Coconut milk is much richer and sweeter and contains a lot more carbohydrates your body will want to store, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
6. Vegetable Juice
Vegetable juices, when you juice them yourself, can be quite healthy. We recommend avoiding most of what you can buy in the store; those processed juices are going to be full of preservatives and, usually, sugar and fruit juices, which eliminate the benefits you would get from the vegetable juice.
In addition to simply juicing the vegetables, you might try pureeing them and making a smoothie instead. This way you get more of the whole fibers.
Fiber is very important for both a healthy diet and for weight loss. Here's why:
Fiber is prebiotic. It lingers in the gut and feeds the bacteria that are healthiest for your body to have in abundance, which allows those bacteria to fight off and overpower the bacteria that would grow on sugars and leave you with health problems.
Fiber is slow and hard to digest. This means it stays in your body longer. While this might not seem like a benefit, the truth is, when your digestive process is slower, your hunger cravings are less frequent and less harsh. In essence, it's nature's most powerful appetite suppressant.
7. Protein Smoothies
If you pay attention to weight loss circles, you've probably seen something like Slim-Fast recommended. Slim-Fast is essentially a protein shake. Protein shakes are shakes or smoothies aimed at giving you a fiber-full, protein-full beverage you can drink in place of a meal. The healthy nutrients inside the shake make it easier to avoid eating, keep you feeling full for longer, and suppress your appetite. They're engineered to be as low-carb and low-sugar as possible, to help keep your body in the ketosis phase of digestion.
The trick with a smoothie is that you need to drink it in place of food you would otherwise be eating. If you just drink one alongside your meal, you're consuming even more calories and will just gain weight. You're meant to drink a shake in place of a meal, so you maintain a caloric deficit and can lose weight.
8. Fruit-Infused Water
Fruit-infused water is not meant to be confused with fruit juice. Fruit juice is basically just sugar water with some citric acid and a few vitamins in it. It's actually really bad for you! All of the best stuff in fruit comes from the flesh of the fruit, not so much the juice. Whole fruits are infinitely better for you than just fruit juice.
Fruit-infused water is a lot better for you, primarily because it doesn't include all of that sugar. It's also very easy to make.
First, pick a selection of your favorite fruits. Berries, citrus, they're all good, so pick a few that have flavors that mix well together. Next, wash those fruits thoroughly. You want to make sure any of the waxes, pesticides, germs, or dirt that is on the surface of the fruit is washed off. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.
For larger fruits, slice them into slices or wedges. For smaller fruits like berries, they're fine as they are. Simply put a bunch of them into a pitcher and fill with water, then refrigerate. Over the course of a few days, the fruit will begin to break down and lend its nutrients to the water.
After a few days have passed, you are free to drink the water. We recommend straining out the remnants of the fruit – if left too long, they can rot, and that will spoil the water.
9. Aloe and Moringa
Aloe Vera and Moringa are two relatively healthy plants you can use as mix-ins for water that infuse it with a host of beneficial nutrients and can help you lose weight in many of the same ways that other vegetables do. Aloe in particular is a useful weight loss plan, so long as you're using it to replace other foods in your diet. With moringa, you're able to use it as a fiber supplement that can suppress appetite and make it easier to lose weight with dieting. They're both great when added to water.
There's one thing you may have noticed about this list: almost everything on it is based on water. Coffee is bean-infused water. Tea is leaf-infused water. Fruit-infused waters are, of course, water. It's water all the way down.
There's a good reason for this. Water is great! While it doesn't carry nutrients or vitamins or anything else in it, it's also completely free of fats, carbs, and calories. Drinking water is essential to a healthy body, and it's a great way to help lose weight.
Plus, one thing you might notice is that a lot of times when you think you're hungry, you're actually just thirsty. Drinking a few sips of cold water can help still those hunger pangs, both by quelling the stomach and by giving your body what it likely wants.
Drink more water! Once you've gotten into the habit of drinking enough water each day – and it's more than you might think – then you can start looking into other ways to enhance it and get more out of your intake.