Can Apple Cider Vinegar Really Help With Weight Loss?

Woman measuring her waist
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Apple cider vinegar is often touted as a natural weight loss aid. Produced during the fermentation of apple cider, the vinegar contains acetic acid (a substance found in many other types of vinegar). Although there's limited evidence that acetic acid may have some effect on body weight, research on apple cider vinegar and weight loss is currently lacking.

What are the Claims?

Proponents claim that consuming apple cider vinegar before a meal can help suppress your appetite, speed up your metabolism, prevent bloating and keep your blood sugar in check.

However, there's no evidence to support these claims.

Are There Benefits of Taking Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?

To date, there is a lack of studies testing the effects of apple cider vinegar on weight loss. While preliminary research indicates that consuming small amounts of vinegar in food may offer some protection against obesity, little is known about the potential weight-loss benefits of apple cider vinegar in particular.

The available research on vinegar and weight loss includes a 2009 study from Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. Every day for 12 weeks, 175 obese adults consumed 500 ml of a beverage containing 15 ml of vinegar or 30 ml of vinegar or no vinegar. By the end of the study, members of the vinegar-drinking groups had a significantly greater decrease in body weight, body mass index, abdominal fat and blood fat levels compared to those in the placebo group.

In addition, a 2009 study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that mice fed a high-fat diet and given acetic acid developed up to 10 percent less body fat (compared to mice not given acetic acid). The study's authors suggest that acetic acid may prevent the buildup of body fat by activating genes involved in breaking down fats.

However, it's too soon to tell whether acetic acid might provide similar weight loss benefits in humans.

Given that there are no available studies testing the effects of apple cider vinegar on weight loss, no conclusions can be drawn about the product's effectiveness as a weight loss aid.

Possible Side Effects

There's some concern that undiluted apple cider vinegar (in liquid or pill form) may harm the esophagus and other parts of the digestive tract. What's more, the acidity of apple cider vinegar may damage tooth enamel if sipped.

There's also some evidence that excessive apple cider vinegar consumption may lower your blood potassium levels and bone mineral density. Pregnant and nursing women and children should avoid it.

Given these safety concerns, it's important to talk to your doctor before using apple cider vinegar for weight loss.

Some Final Thoughts

Although your interest may be piqued by what you've heard about apple cider vinegar, using large amounts of apple cider vinegar (above what you would normally use in food) or taking apple cider vinegar supplements isn't recommended. While there are studies suggesting that vinegar in general may offer some health benefits, we can't be solid about the connection between apple cider vinegar and weight loss since there's a lack of supporting clinical trials (the kind of research we'd want to see before putting stock in a treatment).

Apple cider vinegar in salad dressing or other recipes can add real flavor. But due to the lack of research and safety concerns, it would be wise to skip this supplement as a strategy for losing weight 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 a healthy weight.


Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Kaga T. Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 8;57(13):5982-6.

Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga T. Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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