There are many health claims surrounding apple cider vinegar, including that it can promote weight loss. There is some evidence to suggest that acetic acid, a component of vinegar, might help weight loss, to an extent.
Some research has suggested that taking apple cider vinegar alongside a calorie restricted diet can help people with overweight reduce their weight.
However, this study and others only have very small sample sizes, and scientists still need to do more research.
In this article, we will explore what apple cider vinegar is, how it might help with weight loss, its other health benefits, and how to use it.
Producers make apple cider vinegar by first making apple cider.
To do this, they mix apples, sugar, and yeast, and allow the mixture to ferment. This process creates alcohol.
Specific strains of bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid. When all the alcohol is gone, the mixture becomes apple cider vinegar.
Because apple cider vinegar contains bacteria and yeast, some people claim it is a source of probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that benefit health.
In unrefined apple cider vinegar, bacteria and yeast form a loose clump at the bottom of a bottle that people call “the mother.”
Evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss when people combine it with a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise.
A 2018 study on 39 people analyzed the impact of a low calorie diet and apple cider vinegar compared with a low calorie diet alone for 12 weeks. Researchers found that the participants who took apple cider vinegar:
- lost more weight
- had a lower body mass index (BMI)
- improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels
These findings suggest apple cider vinegar may support other proven weight loss approaches.
Another small study with 20 participants looked at the effects of taking 20 milliliters of apple cider vinegar per day in water. The researchers found a lower BMI in the 10 people who were overweight and lower fasting glucose in the other 10 subjects who had type 2 diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar may also cause people to feel full for longer after eating.
A crossover study in the Journal of Diabetes Research notes that acetic acid, one of the compounds in apple cider vinegar, helps to slow the rate at which food leaves the stomach in healthy people and those with type 1 diabetes.
It is important to note that while some studies find apple cider vinegar aids weight loss, these studies are small, with a low number of participants and only modest results.
Apple cider vinegar alone is unlikely to change a person’s BMI dramatically.
Apple cider vinegar may have other health benefits for some people.
Many studies on apple cider vinegar are small, but there is early evidence to suggest it may help:
Researchers have not replicated these results in humans, however, so it is unclear if apple cider vinegar would have the same benefits.
Some people claim that apple cider vinegar helps the body to remove toxins, but scientific evidence does not support this theory.
Apple cider vinegar is not a replacement for medical treatment, particularly for conditions that include diabetes, high blood pressure, or serious infections. Anyone with these conditions should seek advice from their doctor.
Apple cider vinegar is typically safe, but it may have side effects or disadvantages for some people.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar may wear away tooth enamel, especially if a person consumes it undiluted. For this reason, it is a good idea to dilute apple cider vinegar in food or drink.
A person may also wish to use a straw to drink it or to clean their teeth afterward.
Other potential side effects and interactions include:
Apple cider vinegar can also overburden the kidneys if people have a chronic kidney condition.
If a person has a preexisting health condition or takes any medication, they should consult a doctor before trying apple cider vinegar.
An older 2009 study found that taking a small dose of vinegar every day was the most effective way to use it for weight loss.
A person can take apple cider vinegar in several ways, including:
- as a supplement
- as a tonic
- in food and drink
A person who would like to lose weight can try taking a small amount of apple cider vinegar in water daily. An example might be 1–2 teaspoons in a glass of water, along with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Apple cider vinegar also works well when people mix it with olive oil as a salad dressing.