Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss

by Lauren Hannibal, RD, CDE, Clinical Dietitian

I am sure that you have heard about the magic of apple cider vinegar and its power to help people lose weight. But have you wondered if there is any truth to those stories about drinking apple cider vinegar?

Researchers have been studying the effects of apple cider and its possible benefits in helping people lose weight. The key ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which is found in other vinegars as well. In an interview with Time Magazine, Carol Johnston, a nutrition professor at Arizona State University, said that you could receive the same benefits of apple cider vinegar from other vinegars because they all contain acetic acid. Other vinegars include red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and even white vinegar.

Most research studies on vinegar are animal studies.  So far the research indicates that vinegar has the potential to lower blood sugar levels, improve metabolism, reduce fat storage, burn fat and suppress appetite. In one rat study acetic acid helped liver and muscles take up sugar from the blood, but it also showed the potential to help the body burn fat due to a reduced ratio of insulin to glucagon. Another study done on lab rats looked at acetic acid’s ability to improve metabolism. Acetic acid was shown to increase an enzyme that increased the rat’s body’s ability to burn fat and decrease fat and sugar production in the liver. Lastly, a lab rat study found mice fed a high-fat diet had less body fat build up because the genes responsible for fat burning were significantly increased.

However, it is important to know that ingesting vinegar straight, or in an excessive amount can cause problems. If you have decided to try apple cider vinegar for weight loss it should be diluted in water. Drinking vinegar straight has been shown to erode tooth enamel, and potentially to cause damage to your esophagus, or throat. One women developed severe burns in her esophagus when an apple cider vinegar tablet had gotten lodged in her throat.

You may experience some unpleasant digestive symptoms as well. One study showed that the decreased appetite was due to feelings of nausea and not tolerating the ingestion of vinegar. There is a case report of a woman who consumed an excessive amount of vinegar (6 tablespoons a day) for 6 years and had electrolyte imbalances. Particularly her potassium levels were low and had signs of osteoporosis. Doctors believe that her body was pulling nutrients from her bones to prevent her blood from being acidic.

It is also important to note that vinegar can interact with certain medications for diabetes or diuretics. People taking insulin or insulin stimulating medications may experience low blood sugars or low potassium levels, and people taking certain diuretic medications with vinegars can cause potassium levels to drip to low. It is also really important not to drink apple cider if you have something called gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is the slowing of food being digested and this can be exacerbated with large amounts of vinegar.

Here is the big take away, you do not need to drink vinegar and water to help weight loss or insulin sensitivity. Incorporating vinegar in your diet can be a great way to add flavor to food with the added benefits of acetic acid. Swapping out your creamy dressing for a vinaigrette, adding pickled foods to sandwiches and marinating your meats and other proteins with vinegar is a simple way to boost your vinegar consumption. Much more research needs to be done to determine the effects of vinegar on the body. In the meantime you can always try this tasty recipe with vinegar.

Salt and vinegar roasted potatoes


  • 2 lb. small red potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, divided (white and red wine vinegar would also work)
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut potatoes into 1 ½ inch chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oil, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add the potatoes to the bowl. Stir to evenly coat the potatoes in the vinaigrette.
  3. Pour the potatoes onto a large baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Cook for 25 minutes. Use a heavy spatula to scrape the potatoes up from the baking sheet and flip them over. Cook for 20 minutes more. Again, use the spatula to scrape the potatoes from the baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle the potatoes with an additional tablespoon of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir the potatoes to evenly coat them in the additional salt and vinegar


Recipe:  Please email me with questions for the next article at

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