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Research showing that apple cider vinegar can help suppress your appetite is lacking, which means that it’s unclear whether consuming it can lead to weight loss. It may have some other health benefits, though having too much can cause side effects.
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a health tonic for thousands of years. Can adding apple cider vinegar to your diet also help you lose weight?
This article explores the link between apple cider vinegar, weight loss, and other potential health benefits. It also provides tips on incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet.
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process.
First, apples are cut or crushed and combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. Second, bacteria is added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.
Traditional apple cider vinegar production takes about one month, though some manufacturers dramatically accelerate the process so that it takes only a day.
Acetic acid is the main active component of apple cider vinegar.
Also known as ethanoic acid, it is an organic compound with a sour taste and strong odor. The term “acetic” comes from “acetum,” the Latin word for vinegar.
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in your body.
About 5–6% of apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid. It also contains water and trace amounts of other acids, such as malic acid. One tablespoon (tbsp), or 15 milliliters (mL), contains about 3 calories and virtually no carbs.
A few studies have suggested that apple cider vinegar may promote fullness, which can decrease calorie intake. However, the evidence is inconsistent, and more research is needed to back up this claim.
In a 2022 meta-analysis that looked at seven studies, only 4 out of 6 short-term studies showed that apple cider vinegar reduced appetite. None of the long-term studies came to this result.
In addition, those short-term studies that did show an appetite-suppressing effect used vinegar containing at least 24.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) acetic acid. There isn’t a guarantee that the vinegar you purchase will have that exact concentration, nor is there a guarantee that the effect will be the same at other concentrations.
Additional evidence suggesting that apple cider vinegar may slow the rate at which food leaves your stomach has also been found to contain a number of different kinds of bias, which indicates the results may not be reliable.
In addition, some people may have a condition that makes apple cider vinegar harmful.
Gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying, is a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Timing insulin with food intake becomes a challenge because it is difficult to predict how long it will take for blood sugar to rise after a meal.
Since apple cider vinegar has been shown to extend the time food stays in your stomach, taking it with meals could worsen gastroparesis.
It isn’t clear that apple cider vinegar can affect weight and body fat, as there’s only one study suggesting this and its findings haven’t been replicated.
The 2018 clinical trial involved 39 participants on restricted calorie diets, those who consumed about 2 tbsp (30 mL) of apple cider vinegar daily over 12 weeks lost significantly more weight and body fat than the participants who did not consume apple cider vinegar.
According to this study, adding 1 or 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to your diet may help you lose weight. It may also reduce your body fat percentage, help you lose belly fat, and decrease your blood triglycerides.
However, the participants were all either overweight or living with obesity based on their body mass index (BMI) and knew they were drinking the vinegar. This means there was no comparison between a control and a placebo group. The study also didn’t account for other factors that impact weight loss such as nutrition or exercise.
Learn more about how clinical trials work.
In addition to promoting weight and fat loss, apple cider vinegar may have several other benefits:
There are a few ways to include apple cider vinegar in your diet, though there isn’t enough evidence to suggest consuming it can help you lose weight.
An easy method is to use it with olive oil as a salad dressing. It is particularly tasty with leafy greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
It can also be used for pickling vegetables, or you can simply mix it into water and drink it.
The amount of apple cider vinegar used for weight loss is 1–2 tbsp (15-30 mL) per day, mixed with water.
It is best to spread this out into 2–3 doses throughout the day, and it may be best to drink it before meals.
Taking more than this isn’t recommended because of potentially harmful effects at higher dosages, such as drug interactions or the erosion of tooth enamel. It’s also best to start off with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) to see how you tolerate it.
It’s important to mix apple cider vinegar with water. Undiluted vinegar may burn the inside of your mouth and esophagus.
Although taking apple cider vinegar in tablet form may seem beneficial, it comes with potentially large risks, including the possibility of a burn to the esophagus.
Learn about the 7 side effects of too much apple cider vinegar.
There is limited research to support the use of apple cider vinegar for weight loss and general body fat loss, and there’s no current evidence that it can specifically help you lose belly fat. One clinical trial on this question is currently ongoing.
About 1–2 tbsp (15–30 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day is recommended to obtain full weight loss benefits. For best results, mix it with water and drink it.
It’s difficult to lose belly fat quickly, nor is it necessarily sustainable. The best way to lose weight is to do it slowly while exercising and eating a balanced diet. In addition, you can try one of these 18 effective tips to lose belly fat (backed by science).
Consuming a little apple cider daily isn’t harmful and may have positive health benefits, but be aware of some potential side effects, such as problems with digestion, nausea, and tooth enamel erosion. Also, tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications to make sure that there are no negative interactions.
Generally, 1-2 tablespoons or 15-30 milliliters with water or food, which is the amount recommended for weight loss benefits, is considered okay to consume every day.
Consuming a moderate amount of apple cider vinegar may promote weight loss, but the evidence suggests this is insufficient. Research shows, however, that it may have a number of other health benefits.
Other types of vinegar may provide similar benefits, although the effect of the vinegar may vary based on its specific acetic acid content.
Last medically reviewed on December 6, 2023
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Dec 6, 2023
Written By
Franziska Spritzler
Edited By
Alina Sharon
Medically Reviewed By
Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN
Copy Edited By
Copy Editors
Aug 7, 2023
Written By
Franziska Spritzler
Edited By
Alina Sharon
Copy Edited By
Copy Editors
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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.
Our team of licensed nutritionists and dietitians strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.
This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.