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Can apple cider vinegar help me lose weight?

Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss | UPMC Health Plan

Maybe you’ve seen the advice on a popular television show, or read about it on the Internet. And now you’re wondering, “Should I be using apple cider vinegar to lose weight?” It’s a good question! So let’s take a deeper look!

The Claim

Taking one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day can aid in weight loss.

The Research

A few studies have been done on this subject. A study published in 2005 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that subjects who took apple cider vinegar before a meal experienced greater satiety (feeling full) than those who didn’t. This study was small – 12 participants – but this was the first study to evaluate the effect of vinegar on satiety.

A study done in 2009 published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found fat accumulation could be inhibited in mice fed a high-fat diet along with apple cider vinegar versus mice fed only a high-fat diet. The researchers suggested this may be due to apple cider vinegar “turning on” fat-burning genes, although that is not confirmed. However, results achieved in studies with mice are not always indicative of what will happen in the human body.

Finally, a study published in 2014 in the International Journal of Obesity investigated potential causation of an apparent decrease in appetite after taking apple cider vinegar. Researchers conducted two sequential feeding studies (randomized crossover balance design), which included 16 and 14 subjects. Both studies found vinegar ingestion seemed to enhance satiety. But the researchers noted the effect was largely due to poor appetite after ingesting vinegar, and strong feelings of nausea.

The Risks

Ingesting vinegar in foods as part of a normal diet carries little risk. However, consuming large quantities daily might be problematic. The following precautions should be taken if you are considering taking apple cider vinegar:

  • Apple cider vinegar is acidic and should be diluted before consuming. Drinking undiluted vinegar can lead to dental enamel erosion, damage to your teeth, and damage to your mouth and throat tissue.
  • Long-term use may cause hypokalemia (low potassium) and lower bone density.
  • Vinegar may raise your insulin levels – if you have diabetes, consult your doctor.
  • Can interfere with some medications including laxatives, diuretics, heart medications, and diabetes medications.

The Conclusion

Research on the subject is sparse and not conclusive enough to warrant advice to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss. While further studies are conducted, it is wise to continue using all vinegars as calorie-free flavor enhancers, dressings, and marinades, and stick to the tried-and-true lifestyle change approach for weight loss.

If you have any questions or need help with your lifestyle change, contact one of our lifestyle health coaches at 1-800-807-0751; Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.