Do Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Diets Work?

The apple cider vinegar weight loss diet consists of taking 2 tablespoons in a glass of water / juice before meals, and the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. To decide if this weigh loss diet will be beneficial, here are some basic facts.

The only vinegar that’s recommended for therapeutic purposes is apple cider vinegar, not white vinegar. It’s the dark colored vinegar derived from apples that’s unpasteurized (murky) and will contain acetic acid, especially in the bottom if it’s unfiltered.

The use of vinegar dates back to ancient times, used by Hippocrates as an antibiotic / tonic for energy. In modern times it became popular in the 50’s when Dr Deforest Clinton Jarvis published the book: Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health. Many people claim to have received health benefits by using the honey vinegar solution recommended by Dr Jarvis, getting relief from arthritis and boosting energy levels after illness.

The original book as well as reprinted versions of Folk Medicine by Dr Jarvis are still available. People interested in the apple cider vinegar diet should read what Dr Jarvis theorizes, bearing in mind that it’s controversial and lacks clinical proof.

In the 1970’s the diet was promoted again with seaweed (kelp) being added, and later with B vitamins and lecithin, as part of some apple cider vinegar weight loss programs. These were said to be fat burning weight loss systems.

Let’s look at why apple cider vinegar appears to be a metabolic stimulant.

  1. Does it burn fat or act as an appetite suppressant?
  2. Does it stimulate the metabolism?
  3. Are there studies to prove the effectiveness of ACV weight loss therapies?

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help with Weight Loss?

The benefits of apple cider vinegar have been documented in diabetics (type II). It was found that blood sugar levels decreased in morning tests (fasting blood glucose level) when taken before going to bed. (Further study required..)

One of the reasons that apple cider vinegar weight loss is thought to be effective is based on these glucose regulating effects (which theoretically helps diabetics). It’s thought that apple cider vinegar, when taken prior to meals, can make carbohydrate (starch) digestion become slower, ergo a person may feel full while having less glucose in the blood = contentment without overindulging.

Is it a fat burning food?

Probably not. It helps curb the urge to overeat and therefore helps with weight loss. It’s believed that an apple cider diet helps the PH balance in the gastrointestinal track, but there’s insufficient evidence.

Some conclusions regarding an apple cider vinegar weight loss program

Apple cider vinegar taken as recommended (a couple tablespoons in water) prior to eating, may help to reduce the need for excessive starch consumption and therefore may induce weight loss. If lessening the absorption of starch / carbohydrates (later converted into sugar) is the primary benefit, it would seem that eating a diet lower in starch, (eliminating rice, pasta, potatoes, bread), would have a similar effect. Instead of eating a high carbohydrate diet and taking apple cider vinegar, it makes sense to substitute simple starches for complex ones like carrots, certain vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, etc., and therefore not require vinegar. Remember that studies, which indicated that people required less starch to feel satisfied, were based on participants taking apple cider vinegar before eating BREAD. But bread, or a high carbohydrate diet, is not conducive to health or weight loss with or without vinegar.

Is there any harm in trying to lose weight using apple cider vinegar?

A healthy individual may not experience adverse side effects, however, it’s essential to be aware of possible consequences of taking apple cider vinegar, be it liquid or tablets.

Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Side Effects / Considerations

  1. acetic acid may cause burning may damage the delicate tissue of the esophagus if ingested pure. It must be diluted!
  2. it can have negative affects on potassium levels. It’s contraindicated for anyone with osteoporosis. Dr Jarvis theorized it increased potassium levels, but ACV actually has the opposite effect.
  3. medications used to treat heart conditions may be counteracted by taking apple cider vinegar. It’s not a harmless ingredient for people with certain conditions. Seek professional guidance if you have a heart problem or conditions related to circulation, blood pressure or glucose levels. Diabetics should use apple cider vinegar therapies under the supervision of a professional.
  4. apple cider vinegar has lowered high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and eliminated certain bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Nevertheless, in some cases gastrointestinal problems can be worsened, for example heartburn and acid reflux. One of the reasons vinegar helps blood pressure has to do with the way blood vessels constrict / tighten – a desirable or undesirable effect depending on the condition.

Apple cider vinegar therapies are not harmless cure-alls. There are weight loss programs, and ways to detoxify the body that may be healthier alternatives. Consult related posts on juice diet ideas, low calorie foods and how to reduce weight through body cleansing for more effective weight loss tips.

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

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The info in this site doesn't replace consulting with a dermatologist, micropigmentation expert, plastic surgeon or nutritionist prior to undergoing a dietary change or a cosmetic/surgical procedure.