Can drinking apple cider vinegar help someone lose weight? The answer might be yes, but it is not proven.
The weight loss claims surrounding apple cider vinegar may stem from several small studies, mostly on animals. Nonetheless, these studies do show some possible benefits of apple cider vinegar and could open the door to further research.
Body fat reduction
Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural health treatment, and is thought to aid weight loss.
Acetic acid, a compound found in apple cider vinegar, has been cited in some studies as the active ingredient that helps with weight loss.
A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at how glucose, insulin, and feelings of fullness were different in those who consumed acetic acid versus those who did not.
Lower body weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol
A study in the Annals of Cardiology and Angiology found that apple cider vinegar showed “anti-obesity” effects in rats.
Apple cider vinegar may have other health benefits beyond weight loss. However, the studies to date on its health effects have been small and limited.
Some possible benefits of apple cider vinegar include:
Lower insulin levels after eating: A study in Diabetes Care suggests that drinking apple cider vinegar before a high-carbohydrate meal may lower blood sugar levels and insulin response afterward.
Lower blood sugar: People with well-controlled type 2 diabetes had lower waking blood sugar levels when they consumed apple cider vinegar with a high-protein snack at bedtime, according to another study in Diabetes Care. The participants continued using their regular diabetes medications while taking the vinegar.
Lower cholesterol: Apple cider vinegar lowered cholesterol in mice who were fed a high-cholesterol diet, according to a study in The Journal of Membrane Biology.
Improvement in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): A study in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine found that women who consumed apple cider vinegar daily showed improvement of PCOS symptoms after 110 days. This may be due to its suspected insulin-lowering effect, as PCOS is linked to insulin resistance.
Antibacterial ability: A study in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research found apple cider vinegar was able to kill two types of bacteria.
Reduction in stretch marks: A study in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine found that massaging apple cider vinegar into stretch marks from pregnancy reduced their size and appearance.
One of the easiest and healthiest ways to consume apple cider vinegar is to add it to a healthy oil, such as olive oil, and use it as a salad dressing. Most of the studies found that just 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar are enough to reap its health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is not for everyone, however. People who have stomach ulcers or acid reflux may find that apple cider vinegar makes their conditions worse.
Some small studies show encouraging results for apple cider vinegar’s weight loss benefits. However, it cannot take the place of proven weight loss methods.
Evidence-based weight loss plans encourage people to:
cut back or avoid processed foods and added sugars
focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats
exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Though it may help with some weight loss and health conditions, apple cider vinegar should not be used in place of medical treatment.
Before using apple cider vinegar, people should discuss its potential benefits and risks with their doctor.