Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

By Rachel MacPhersonMay 25th 2021

Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, has been a mainstay in diet culture for a long time. Various studies have surfaced over the years touting the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for burning fat, as well as other health benefits.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Despite the more recent frenzy over apple cider vinegar over the last couple of decades, it has been used as a tonic for thousands of years for various health concerns. Science supports these ancient practices, and apple cider vinegar can provide several health benefits.  (Read also: Can My Chiropractor Help Me Lose A Few Pounds?)

Keep reading to determine whether or not apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight and whether or not it's right for you.

What Is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?

Apple cider vinegar is made through fermentation, where yeasts turn sugar into alcohol, then in the second stage of fermentation, bacteria called acetobacter turns the alcohol into acetic acid. Acetic acid supposedly provides the health perks of apple cider vinegar and makes it smell and taste so strong. Most apple cider vinegars are about 5% acetic acid.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

The apple cider vinegar diet involves consuming ACV at each meal, either before eating or with your food, in the amount of about a tablespoon or two. The premise is that ACV helps burn fat and control blood sugar, which has some evidence to back it. Other claims are that it can help lower your blood pressure and cure cancer—both of which are false. (Check out: How Losing Weight Affects Your Body and Brain)

What Does the Science Say About Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?

There are many claims surrounding the health-boosting properties of ACV for weight loss and with those claims come researchers trying to prove once and for all which of them are true. Here are some of the results:

  • Better insulin sensitivity: Some research shows that people who are insulin resistant can see better insulin sensitivity when taking ACV, comparable to medications. More research is needed.
  • Reduced blood sugar: One small study showed that people who consumed 20 grams of ACV after a meal had significantly lower blood sugar levels than those who drank a placebo after the same meal. There have been similar studies that report the same results.
  • Helps with appetite control: A small study found that people who consume ACV have less appetite. However, this might be due to feeling nauseous after taking it.
  • Burns fat: A small trial found that people who consumed 0, 1, or 2 tablespoons of ACV per day for three months. The people who consumed vinegar lost 2-4 pounds and had lower triglycerides than those who did not.
  • Prevents fat storage: Studies performed with mice and rats who are overweight and diabetic showed reduced fat storage after consuming ACV. Studies on mice and rats are not very valuable for humans.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Other studies show that people who consume 15 ml of apple cider vinegar at lunch or dinner lose more weight than people who don’t when paired with a 250 reduced-calorie diet. Both groups in the study consumed reduced calories, but one group consumed ACV and one did not. The ACV group lost more weight. This study was done over 12 weeks, which is relatively short-term for a weight-loss study, and was only conducted on 39 people. There is no way to know if the effects of taking ACV provided long-term weight loss. 

What Are the Other Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar has some other benefits that go beyond weight loss as well. The acetic acid in ACV can kill harmful bacteria such as E.coli that can be harbored on foods like lettuce and other greens. It can also prevent food spoilage when sprayed on, helping your produce last longer. 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Some people swear by using ACV diluted with water or other liquid on the skin to help with breakouts. Others use it for conditions like eczema and psoriasis. However, the research on these benefits is lacking, and it could disrupt your skin’s natural acid balance and make situations worse. 

What Are the Drawbacks?

  • Apple cider vinegar can burn your esophagus if you drink it straight or too often. Always mix it with water or other liquid. 
  • The acid in ACV can wear down the enamel of your teeth if exposed too often.
  • Apple cider vinegar can interfere with some medications or supplements such as those for diabetes (insulin). It can result in too low potassium levels. Always consult with your doctor before taking ACV as a supplement if you are on medication.
  • People with chronic kidney disease may not be able to process the excess acid in apple cider vinegar.
  • Acid reflux conditions could be made worse by drinking ACV.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Right For You?

As with any new supplement, it’s vital to first talk to your doctor if you are on medications, have a health condition, or have any concerns. Apple cider vinegar is a relatively harmless food-safe substance that can be added to salad dressings, drinks, and other concoctions without risk for most people. 

If you’d like to try ACV for weight loss, it will work best to combine it with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise regime. 

How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Most of the studies on apple cider vinegar for weight loss had participants drinking 1 to 2 tablespoons before lunch or dinner, or both. Start with the lowest amount diluted in water to avoid potential burning of your throat or the wearing down of your tooth enamel.  (You may also like: How to Lose Weight In 12 Weeks)

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Weight Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Many people say that choosing an apple cider vinegar product that still contains the “mother,” or live culture of bacteria and yeasts responsible for the fermentation process is the best option. The mother is thought to have additional health effects and contain probiotics. You can find ACV at your grocery store or any health food store or online.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only, and although Reshape.Me strives to keep the information up to date and correct, it does not replace the advice of a healthcare practitioner. Be sure to consult a licensed medical professional if you require personalized support that may affect your health. Any reliance on this information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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