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How to lose weight with apple cider vinegar

Updated on June 25, 2014

Look at enough home remedies, and you might get that idea that there's nothing that can't be done with lemon juice, honey, or vinegar. One of the most common uses of vinegar is weight loss, but does it really work? And is it safe?

Keep in mind, when people list the health effects of vinegar, they aren't talking about ordinary vinegar. The common everyday vinegar in the salad dressing aisle at the grocery store has been pasteurized and filtered, eliminating the health benefits. Some of them aren't even vinegar at all, but are imitations, like the difference between real and imitation vanilla extract.

If you're planning to take vinegar for your health, look for unfiltered, unpasteurized and undistilled apple cider vinegar. It may look something less than appealing, because it will be cloudy and have something that looks like stringy cobwebs floating in it. Don't turn up your nose – those strings are the mother lode. In fact, they're even referred to as mother. Technically, mother is acetobacter, which is a type of cellulose, and it works magic. It turns apple cider into vinegar. Without it, you'd have nothing more than alcoholic hard cider, which is certainly tasty, but not known for its healthful properties.

Although there are easily dozens of vinegar diets, they all come down to one main instruction – one or two teaspoons of vinegar in a glass of water, taken several times a day. The most common recommendation is to drink it before each meal. Fans swear by it, but what does science say?

Science doesn't say very much, and it's often pointed out that the claims of any weight loss benefit of vinegar are supported only by anecdotal evidence. If science were fair, however, it would also point out that very little research has been done of the subject, either.

One exception was a study by Japanese researchers that was reported in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers put a group of lab mice on a high fat diet. Half the group received only water, while the rest also received acetic acid, one of the components of vinegar. Neither group lost weight. In fact, all the mice gained weight, but the mice receiving acetic acid gained less weight than the water-only group.

The effects of apple cider vinegar on diabetics has been better researched, if only slightly better. Studies have found a positive correlation between the use of apple cider vinegar and lowered glucose levels. One 2007 study looked at patients with Type II diabetes and found that those who took 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed had morning glucose level 4-6% lower than normal. Some studies have noted weight loss as well, but it should be noted that all of these studies were small and limited in scope. Much more widespread research needs to be done before the question of efficacy can truly be answered.

Even with scientific support, you may think, "It might not help, but it can't hurt, right?" Yes and no. Vinegar is usually thought of as harmless, but there are some cautions to keep in mind.

The apple cider vinegar used for weight loss or other health purposes is unpasteurized – after all, heat treatment to kill bacteria would kill the good bacteria along with the bad, which would defeat the purpose of using vinegar in the first place. Vinegar is generally acidic enough to prevent the growth of bacteria, even E.coli 0157:H7, but handle and store it carefully.

Keep in mind that the acid that prevents bacterial growth can have its own hazards. Never drink straight vinegar; dilute it with water or juice. Straight vinegar can irritate the soft tissue of the mouth and throat, and even damage tooth enamel.

Have you ever tried the vinegar diet?

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As always, check with your doctor before starting any diet plan. Like many foods, vinegar can interfere with medications. This can be especially worrisome for people taking medicines for diabetes or heart disease. Studies have also found a link between vinegar use and lower bone density, so a vinegar diet is probably not recommended for anyone who has or is at risk for osteoporosis.


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    • Angie497 profile image

      Angie497 5 years ago

      Once you learn to ignore the funky look of it in the bottle, the vinegar's no problem. I don't think it would be dangerous, but I definitely avoid drinking big globs of 'mother.' And to me, it tastes better than the pasteurized version.

      Lemon juice is darned near as useful as apple cider vinegar - and I've got a hub planned for it, too. :)

    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 5 years ago from st louis,mo

      Great information and interesting.Now I know why this diet didn't do a thing for me last summer when I tried it. I definitely got the "unleaded" version. I think I will pass on the stringy vinegar, though. Lemon juice?:)

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting information. Never heard some of these ideas before.

    • profile image

      Shala 6 years ago

      ACV is great for heart burn. world quick and doesn't have drug interactions. Vinegar leeches calcium from bones, that is why it can cause lower bone density but I think from reading Weston A Price those people already have bad bones from bad diets and you would have to drink lots of vinegar to have issues with it.As for the weight loss claims, notice the people Drake a whole glass of water to dilute the minuscule amount of the vinegar for the salad and just drink plain water.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I had a vinegar tonic once that worked quite well - within 3 days, my singing voice became much more clear because toxins passed out of the body. Your Hub reminds me to get some more. rated Up!