According to Men’s Health Magazine:
The science behind apple cider vinegar and weight loss
“There is some evidence that acetic acid can be good for weight loss, since it targets body fat,” explains Carol Johnston, Ph.D., R.D., associate director of the nutrition program at Arizona State University, who has done extensive research on the subject. “When you consume small amounts of acetic acid through apple cider vinegar, it activates your metabolism to help your body use fat as a form of energy rather than storing it,” Johnston says.
In one study, obese rats that were fed high-fat diets lost a significant amount of body fat when acetic acid was added to their food. In another study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, people lost an average of four pounds in 12 weeks after consuming one to two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar daily.
The acetic acid in vinegar can be beneficial in other ways, since it may help control your appetite, says Johnston. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to be most effective when paired with a diet full of starchy foods, as the acid slows down the digestion of starch. This could potentially assist dieters, because slow digestion keeps you feeling fuller, longer.
There’s also some evidence that drinking apple cider vinegar before a starchy meal could help keep your blood sugars stable, making you less likely to crave sweet snacks.
But does apple cider vinegar actually work to help you lose weight?
Johnston says it’s worth trying — provided you’re not looking for immediate results. “Vinegar is not a magic bullet for weight loss. I have seen very modest weight loss in my studies, of one to two pounds after 12 weeks,” she explained to the Washington Post.
If you eat whole foods with a high starch content, like potatoes or rice, you can try making apple cider vinegar a daily precursor to your meals. There is no official recommended dosage, since the research on apple cider vinegar use is limited, but Johnston recommends mixing one to two tablespoons with eight ounces of water to drink before meal time. (Be careful not to add any more — because it contains acetic acid, drinking a ton of straight ACV could cause esophagus burns or erode tooth enamel.)
Acetic Acid and Weight Loss:
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in the body.
Some animal research suggests that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may lead to weight loss in several ways:
- Lowers blood sugar levels: In one rat study, acetic acid improved the ability of the liver and muscles to take up sugar from the blood .
- Decreases insulin levels: In the same rat study, acetic acid also reduced the ratio of insulin to glucagon, which might favor fat burning .
- Improves metabolism: Another study in rats exposed to acetic acid showed an increase in the enzyme AMPK, which increases fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver
- Reduces fat storage: Treating obese diabetic rats with acetic acid or acetate protected them from obesity and increased the expression of genes that reduced belly fat storage and liver fat.
- Burns fat: A study in mice fed a high-fat diet found a significant increase in the genes responsible for fat burning, which led to less body fat buildup .
- Suppresses appetite: Another study suggests acetate may suppress centers in the brain that control appetite, which can lead to reduced food intake .
Apple cider vinegar may promote fullness, which can decrease calorie intake .
In one small study of 11 people, those who took vinegar with a high-carb meal had a 55% lower blood sugar response one hour after eating.
They also ended up consuming 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day .
In addition to the appetite-suppressing effects of acetic acid, vinegar has also been shown to slow down the rate at which food leaves your stomach.
In another small study, taking apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal significantly slowed stomach emptying. This led to increased feelings of fullness and lowered blood sugar and insulin levels .
On the other hand, some people may have a condition that makes this effect a bad thing.
Gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying, is a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Timing insulin with food becomes problematic, since it is difficult to predict how long it will take for blood sugar to rise after a meal.
Since vinegar has been shown to further extend the time food stays in the stomach, taking it with meals could worsen gastroparesis