As more and more people look for less conventional – and perhaps fun ways to lose and keep their weight in check, nutritionists, doctors and health enthusiasts keep finding interesting ways to help their patients and followers along on their journey. One of these popular weight loss dietary options has to be the apple cider weight loss drink. For a couple of years now, this beverage has been praised by many who claim that consuming this first thing in the morning has helped them shed a considerable amount of weight and keep their appetite in check. But does this actually work or is it just another overhyped weight loss fad? Read on to find out some of the claimed apple cider vinegar benefits, potential side effects, recipe ideas, and above-all, whether or not you can shed some pounds by just drinking this popular beverage.
What Are Some Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits?
Apple cider vinegar is a household power house. This simple beverage can be used for many uses ranging from surface cleaning/disinfecting, washing hair, baking, as a salad dressing, food preservation (pickling anyone?) and much more.
However, in recent years, theories have come out suggesting that consuming ACV might have some incredible health benefits. Some of them include:
- Fat and weight loss – This is most probably the main reason why sales of this beverage have gone up in the last couple of years.
Some studies have found out that the consumption or addition of ACV in your diet might have the potential to help you shave off some unwanted pounds.
- In 2005, one small study found that supplementing a high-carb meal (one often seen as promoting weight gain) with vinegar reduced the postmeal responses of blood glucose and insulin and increased subjective satiety ratings. In the study participants who ate white wheat bread with vinegar ended up feeling full longer than their counterparts who only had the bread (22). Increased satiety has been known to aid weight loss because it may result in a person eating fewer overall calories throughout the day.
- In the same year, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a small study looking at the levels of satiety afforded by vinegar and peanuts. Participants consumed two different test meals (one with a high glycemic load and one with a lower glycemic load) under three different conditions (control, vinegar, and peanuts). At the end of the study, researchers found that participants who had either vinegar or peanuts with their high glycemic load meals had a reduced glucose response to the meal and ended up consuming 200 to 275 less calories in the remainder of the day, although this finding did not reach statistical significance (18).
- In 2008, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published an animal study showing that in lab mice – consuming a high-fat diet – supplementation with acetic acid (the acid in vinegar) helped suppress body fat and liver fat accumulation (2).
- In 2009, a study done on Japanese men and published in the Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry journal found that the body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in men who drank 500 ml of water mixed with vinegar every day for 12 weeks, compared with those who drank only water (21).
- In 2018, another study found that even when consuming a low calorie diet, supplementing with ACV led to better weight loss results. In the study , 39 people were divided into two groups, while all the subjects were required to cut 250 kcal from their daily calorie intake, only one group supplemented their diet with 30 ml ACV per day.
At the end of the 12-week study, the ACV group had lost more weight, had a lower BMI, decreased hip circumference, and even their triglycerides and total cholesterol levels had gone down (5).
- Improving PCOS symptoms – A clinical study published in The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine found that consuming a beverage containing 15 g of apple cider vinegar daily for 90 to 110 days helped restore ovulation in four of the seven participants. The authors suggested that this may have been due to an improvement of insulin sensitivity (13).
- Improved insulin sensitivity – A letter published in Diabetes Care described a small study which found that in people with insulin resistance, taking a drink with 20 g ACV can improve insulin sensitivity after a high-carb meal by 34 percent (19).
- Decreased ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels – A few animal and human studies have shown that this beverage may help reduce bad cholesterol levels which can significantly improves your heart health (5, 4, 3).
Other studies have also found that this beverage may have the potential to reduce obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, cancer and microbial infections as it has possible antioxidative, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-obesity, antihypertensive, and cholesterol-lowering properties (8, 16).
Most of these studies are small, flawed, or limited in their scope. However, since the potential benefits of weight loss and improved health are so desirable, and (as we will discuss) the risks of adding ACV to the diet for most healthy people are probably small when diluted properly and done in moderation, you may decide that it is worth a try. Always talk to your doctor first to make sure that it is safe for you.
How To Make A Weight Loss Drink With Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe
The base ingredients of this weight loss drink – i.e. water and ACV never change, however, depending on your preference, you can add a few extra ingredients to change up the flavour profile of the drink in question.
Here are four different ways to make an apple cider weight loss drink
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- 1 cup of water
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- ice – optional
- A few drops of liquid stevia
Directions: Mix everything in a cup/bottle, stir/shake and enjoy.
- 1 tbsp ACV with the mother
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp organic honey
- 1 cup warm water
Instructions: Add all ingredients to a mason jar, stir, add some ice cubes if desired and enjoy
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp organic apple juice
- 1/2 tsp monk fruit sweetener or stevia
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup of cold water
Directions: Add everything to a bottle, shake thoroughly and enjoy.
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with the mother
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp zero calorie sweetener of choice (or honey)
- 1 cups of cold water
- Mint leaves
Instruction: Add everything (apart from the mint) to a cup and stir until combined. Add some ice – if you choose – and garnish with your mint leaves
Want to build an attention-grabbing bubble butt, blast away fat that’s stored in all the wrong places, spring-clean your diet, turn back the clock on your skin, skyrocket your self-confidence and shatter your insecurities? Check out the BetterMe app and set this plan in motion!
When To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss While Intermittent Fasting?
For many people trying intermittent fasting for the first time, figuring out what to consume during the fasting window can be quite the hassle, as you never want to eat or drink anything that will break your fast.
During your fasting window, your body is in ketosis – where it burns/uses your stored fat as a source of energy. When you eat something with carbs or protein during this time, your body switches to burning up the ingested carbs thus effectively taking you out of ketosis for the rest of the day.
Is it believed that your body takes about 12 hours to reach ketosis (17) (although this may vary by individual) so breaking your fast too early messes up your progress for the day. So can you drink the apple cider weight loss drink during your fasting window?
Yes, you can. A tablespoon of ACV has about 3 calories, with 0 grams of fats and proteins and less than one gram of carbs (0.0139 g) (23). These trace amounts are not nearly enough to raise your blood sugar levels and thus this drink – just like plain water, black tea or black coffee -is highly unlikely to break your fast.
Please note that this does not count for an apple cider and honey drink. While ACV and water is perfectly fine for an intermittent fasting diet plan, adding honey automatically adds enough carbs to take your body out of ketosis – just 7 grams of honey has 21 kcals and a tablespoon of the same contains about 60 calories (9).
If you must have a sweetener in your apple cider weight loss recipe, we suggest zero calorie sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or Neotame – they are just as sweet as (if not sweeter than) sugar or honey but have no calories.
What Is The Best Time To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss?
Interestingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be a perfect time for you to consume this weight loss drink. While most people prefer to have the apple cider vinegar weight loss drink early in the morning – on an empty stomach – you are okay taking it at different times of the day or with food.
Its benefits aren’t restricted to a morning or night. If an early morning ACV drink is not for you, you can drink it at night right before bed (20) or during the day, just before your meal or even with a meal – in place of unhealthy options like alcohol, soda, or an energy drink.
How Much Weight Can I Lose Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?
As seen in the benefits section above, initial studies on ACV and weight loss have yielded some promising results. However, not only is apple cider vinegar not a miracle worker, but since our bodies and metabolic rates are different, figuring out the exact weight one person can lose while drinking the apple cider vinegar weight loss drink can be hard.
With that being said, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , while on a safe weight loss journey, you can expect to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week (resulting in a 4 to 8 pounds of weight loss per month).
But this does not happen with just ACV alone – if you pay attention to the studies shown above, most study participants who lost significant amounts of weight combined drinking ACV with either some workout routine or reducing their daily calorie intake.
What Are Some Potential Disadvantages Of The Apple Cider Weight Loss Drink?
Despite all the apple cider vinegar benefits listed above, this hailed ‘miracle drink’ can cause some less than desirable effects on some people. Some such effects include:
It May Worsen Gastroparesis Symptoms
Gastroparesis is a condition that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Unlike other situations where this movement in the stomach or intestines is stopped or slowed by some blockage, with this disorder there is no blockage that leads to this.
Also called delayed gastric emptying, it is a condition commonly found in diabetes patients and its symptoms include heartburn, bloating, and nausea. One study published in 2007 in the BMC Gastroenterology journal found that in patients with type 1 diabetes who drank about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, food tended to stay in their stomach longer than in those who drank plain water (6).
So if you have gastroparesis or early satiety, ACV may not be for you.
Anyone who tells you that apple cider vinegar is easy to drink is very likely lying to you. Not only does it have a slightly foul smell but it does not taste good. In fact one study published in 2014 in the International Journal of Obesity found that while this drink does help enhance satiety its taste is not very tolerable and quickly invokes the feeling of nausea in many people (12). The authors suggest that other studies which found an appetite-suppressing effect of ACV may be explained by poor palatability and the induction of nausea, which would make it inappropriate to recommend as an appetite suppressant.
To make this beverage more palatable, we suggest adding some cinnamon and sweeteners such as honey or stevia. If it still makes you nauseous, don’t drink it.
Hypokalemia And Osteoporosis
Hypokalemia is a condition where a person has a lower than normal level of potassium in their bloodstream. Osteoporosis is a condition whereby a person’s bones become brittle and fragile due to hormonal chances, old age, or a nutrient deficiency.
In 1998, a 28-year old woman was admitted to hospital with significantly low potassium levels and other abnormalities in her blood chemistry. While learning about her history to try and figure out what was wrong with her, the doctors found out that the woman had been consuming 8 ounces (250 mL) of apple cider vinegar diluted in water everyday for 6 years.
The doctors theorized that her low potassium levels were caused by the ACV which leached minerals – including potassium – from her bones to buffer the acidity of her blood (10).
To make matters worse, the young woman was also diagnosed with osteoporosis. For the most part, people know that Calcium and Vitamin D are the minerals needed for good bone health. However, according to a more recent study published in the Nutrition Research and Practice journal, a higher daily potassium intake significantly reduces the risk of osteoporosis at the lumbar spine in postmenopausal women (15).
May Lead To Tooth Decay
At a pH level of 2 to 3 apple cider vinegar is considered to be quite acidic – and a high intake of acidic foods and drinks has been linked to a higher risk of tooth erosion (14). One comparative study of vinegar on dental erosion saw that in just 4 hours, vinegar can cause an erosion of 1 to 20 percent depending on the variety used (11).
Another case study done on a 15-year-old girl and published in 2012 found that an excessive intake of ACV – about 1 cup per day – caused severe dental decay (1). While just a tablespoon of ACV a day may not cause teeth erosion, we suggest brushing your teeth every time you drink this weight loss beverage.
May Cause Throat Burns
One case reported to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the use of apple cider vinegar tablets can lead to throat burns if it gets stuck in your throat. Please note that this is only in relation to ACV tablets and not to the diluted ACV drink itself (7).
When it comes to weight loss, progress is made by inches, not miles, so it’s much harder to track and a lot easier to give up. BetterMe app is your personal trainer, nutritionist and support system all in one. Start using our app to stay on track and hold yourself accountable!
How Do You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss?
The best way to drink ACV for weight loss is to dilute it with water. You should also stick to just 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day. Anymore – or just drinking straight up undiluted ACV – is likely to lead to tooth decay, low potassium levels, and more side effects.
You also don’t have to drink ACV. You can include it in your diet in other ways, like making an oil and vinegar-based salad dressing or marinade.
The Bottom Line
The health and weight loss claims promised by proponents of ACV are enticing. While there is some scientific evidence of potential benefits, it is limited and may be explained by unpalatability and nausea, which would not make it a healthy weight loss aid.
If you and your doctor feel that ACV is safe and worth a shot for you, be sure to note the potential side effects of undiluted as well as too much ACV. While some people often add 2 tablespoons of ACV to their water, we suggest starting with just 1 tablespoon and adding some sweeteners. This can go a long way in helping negate the terrible taste and nausea that comes with apple cider vinegar. But if it still makes you nauseous, don’t drink it. You can always make a salad dressing or marinade with it instead.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- [Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar] (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Acute effects of vinegar intake on some biochemical risk factors of atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic rabbits (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Apple cider vinegar attenuates lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial (2018, sciencedirect.com)
- Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study (2007, bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com)
- Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Functional Properties of Vinegar (2014, ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Honey (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar (1998, karger.com)
- In vitro study on dental erosion caused by different vinegar varieties using an electron microprobe (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intake of vinegar beverage is associated with restoration of ovulatory function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Relationship between Food Habits and Tooth Erosion Occurrence in Malaysian University Students (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The association of potassium intake with bone mineral density and the prevalence of osteoporosis among older Korean adults (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Therapeutic effects of vinegar: a review (2016, sciencedirect.com)
- Time to try intermittent fasting? (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- Vinegar and peanut products as complementary foods to reduce postprandial glycemia (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes (2004, diabetesjournals.org)
- Vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations in adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects (2005, nature.com)
- Vinegar, cider (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)