Can Apple Cider Vinegar Actually Help With Weight Loss?

apple cider vinegar for weight loss

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Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is said to have a variety of benefits ranging from helping with diabetes to easing digestion. Some people swear by their daily shot or elixir as an essential part of their wellness regimen.

Given its popularity, it's not surprising that there has been a diet created around apple cider vinegar. Supposedly, taking apple cider vinegar before meals helps you lose weight, and there are even pills and supplements available. But will it really help with weight loss?

The Research on Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss: Can It Help?

One study to test the idea was conducted in Japan in 2009. During the 12-week study, 175 people who were considered obese took either a drink that contained about 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or a drink without vinegar (but with added lactate to mimic the taste of vinegar).

At the study’s end, those who had consumed the vinegar drinks had a slight reduction in body weight compared to those who had the non-vinegar beverage.

The study in Japan was the first to validate the weight loss effects of drinking apple cider vinegar. After 12 weeks, the group that took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar lost about 2 pounds. Those in the group that took 2 tablespoons lost a little over 4 pounds.

In another study, a beverage containing apple cider vinegar was linked to weight loss, however, it was a very small study and participants were also on a 21-day low-calorie diet.

Consuming any type of vinegar before a starchy meal may slow the post-meal rise in blood sugar. A 2017 review published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice analyzed previously published studies and concluded that vinegar may be effective in blunting the glucose and insulin levels after meals.

Tips on Using Apple Cider Vinegar

If you're considering trying apple cider vinegar, some experts suggest limiting your intake to no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons a day, diluted with water or taken in food.

You can add apple cider vinegar to your diet in several ways. Some people add a teaspoon to a glass of water and sip it before meals. You could also try switchel (a refreshing beverage with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and other ingredients).

If you don't like drinking apple cider vinegar, try eating a salad with a splash of apple cider vinegar before a starchy meal. The vinegar can also be good substitute for bottled dressings that are often laden with calories, sugar, and fat.

Keep in mind that available apple cider vinegar tablets can contain varying amounts of acetic acid.

Possible Side Effects

It's important to know that apple cider vinegar (in liquid or tablet form) can irritate and injure the throat, esophagus, and other parts of the digestive tract—especially when they are taken concentrated or in large amounts.

At least one case study has found that the acidity of apple cider vinegar may erode tooth enamel. Drinking it diluted and through a straw may help by reducing direct contact with teeth.

People who have conditions such as gastroparesis, ulcers, hiatal hernia, GERD, and low potassium may need to avoid or use caution with apple cider vinegar. Additionally, apple cider vinegar may interact with certain medications like diuretics and medications for heart conditions or diabetes.

Excessive, long-term consumption of apple cider vinegar has been linked with low potassium levels and bone mineral density.

Consult your health care provider before taking apple cider vinegar regularly.

A Word From Verywell

Weight loss can be one of the most important things you do for your health. We all know how challenging it can be, but losing excess weight can help you feel better, sleep better, and decrease your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.

While it's possible that vinegar may offer some benefits, more research on apple cider vinegar for weight loss is still needed. The results of one study suggest that any effect is probably subtle. There's always a chance that any weight that is lost may return after stopping the vinegar.

Other studies that have been done have simply been small.

While apple cider vinegar in homemade salad dressing or other recipes adds flavor, it would be wise to skip it as a strategy for lasting weight loss in favor of a plan that pairs healthy eating with regular exercise and lifestyle changes.

Keeping a food diary, getting eight hours of sleep each night, and keeping your stress in check may also help you reach and maintain your healthy weight.

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