Apple cider vinegar has become a very trendy drink for health conscious people, especially those who want to lose weight. It's hard to miss all the hype about apple cider vinegar, also called ACV. Among other benefits, it may balance the body's pH (acidity) and could be good for gut bacteria.
But while many studies confirm there are benefits to drinking apple cider vinegar, can it really help with weight loss?
It seems that way! A 2009 Japanese study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry found that regardless of when it's taken or what type, vinegar can have impressive weight-loss benefits.
Participants who drank one tablespoon of vinegar per day lost an average of 2.6 pounds and a half inch from their waists. The results were even better for those that drank two tablespoons of vinegar, losing an average of almost four pounds and close to an inch from their waists.
Read more: 10 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Best Time of Day to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
This Japanese study found that adding one or two tablespoons of vinegar to the diet can help reduce both weight and waist size, and it wasn't necessary to take it before bedtime to see results.
"The best time to take apple cider vinegar is before or with a meal, the time of day doesn't really matter," said Colette Heimowitz, nutritionist and VP of Nutrition Communication & Education at Atkins Nutritionals.
So why might bedtime still be the best time to drink ACV for weight loss? One 2007 study conducted at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Arizona <st1:placetype w:st="on">State <st1:placetype w:st="on">University tested volunteers with type 2 diabetes.
The participants drank two tablespoons of ACV or water with one ounce of cheese before going to bed. The scientists found that the study participants who drank apple cider vinegar had lower blood sugar levels in the morning than when they drank two tablespoons of water before sleeping instead.
While the study didn't check if the participants lost any weight, reduced blood sugar means lower insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that helps turn some of the food we eat into body fat.
"Besides moderating blood sugar levels, consuming apple cider vinegar at bedtime may also slow the digestion of carbohydrates, which could help with weight control," said Heimowitz.
However, this was the only study to investigate vinegar's effects depending on the time of day it's taken. Although the study was fairly large and found encouraging results, more research may be needed to confirm these benefits.
Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Before Bed
1. Control Blood Sugar Levels
The participants in the study conducted at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Arizona <st1:placetype w:st="on">State <st1:placetype w:st="on">University found that ACV before bed can result in lower blood sugar levels by morning.
2. Help With Weight Loss
The Japanese study concluded that one to two tablespoons of vinegar taken daily can reduce both belly size and body weight.
3. Potentially Prevent Gastric Cancers
One 2014 study published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology involved stomach cancer cells from rats and humans. The study found that acetic acid (the main ingredient in ACV) effectively killed the cancer cells. The authors suggest that vinegar may have potential for treating certain gastric cancers.
4. May Help Balance pH Levels
A 2012 Japanese study published <ahref="https: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov="" pmc="" articles="" pmc3406944="" "=""> </ahref="https:>in the Nutrition Journal found that ACV can help make the body more alkaline and help remove excess uric acid (high levels can cause gout) from the body.
5. Could Encourage Gut Health
A 2016 study <ahref="https: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov="" pmc="" articles="" pmc5082693="" "=""> </ahref="https:>published in Nutrition Today found that apple cider vinegar may or may not be considered a probiotic depending on the bacteria levels in food that's eaten and whether those bacteria are a type that benefits the gut.
How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
The amount of apple cider vinegar that seems to work for weight loss is one to two tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) per day. It can be consumed straight or mixed with food, water or another beverage.
"A good idea would be to mix ACV with water since undiluted vinegar could burn the inside of your mouth or esophagus," said Heimowitz. "Another way to get your dose of ACV is in a salad; just mix it with olive oil and your favorite vegetables."
For someone who doesn't usually include vinegar in their diet, it might be a good idea to start with one teaspoon every day to see how well your stomach tolerates it.
Precautions When Drinking ACV Before Bed
While drinking apple cider vinegar before bed is considered safe for most people, ACV is an acid, and there are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Prevent Irritation
Undiluted apple cider vinegar may hurt sensitive areas. It can cause significant throat and mouth irritation if you drink it too often or in excessive amounts. So stick to the research-backed one to two tablespoons per day. Dilute it in a glass of water if you experience irritation.
2. Avoid Tooth Decay
The acid in vinegar may wear away tooth enamel. A 2012 Dutch case study of one 15 year old found that her habit of drinking one cup of ACV every day to lose weight caused severe tooth decay. To keep this from happening to your teeth; take apple cider vinegar in moderation and dilute your daily dose in water or juice.
3. Potential Drug Interactions
Apple cider vinegar might interact with certain supplements or drugs like diuretics or insulin. If you regularly take medication, ask your doctor about it before adding ACV to your diet.
4. ACV Slows Food Leaving The Stomach
Apple cider vinegar can slow the rate food leaves the stomach. While this is a great way to prevent blood sugar spikes, it can cause problems in some people. If you have gastroparesis, the nerves in the stomach don't work properly, so food isn't emptied at a normal rate.
In one 2007 study published in the journal BioMed Central Gastroenterology, drinking water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar significantly increased the amount of time that food stayed in the stomach, compared to drinking plain water.
5. Check With Your Doctor
Apple cider vinegar may interact with some prescription drugs, like insulin or certain diuretics, which are known to decrease potassium levels in the body. Taking too much ACV or taking it when also taking these drugs could cause the body's potassium levels to become too low.
In general, it's always safest to speak with a health care provider before adding anything new into your diet or beginning any new program that's intended to cause weight loss.
Remember, there's no quick way to safely lose weight. Be skeptical of any claims you hear that it's possible to lose weight in a healthy manner without consuming fewer calories or getting more physical activity.
- Diabetes Care: Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes:Andrea M. White, PHD, Carol S. Johnston, PHD:(2007)
- Biosci Biotechnol: Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects:Biochem.Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga T:(2009)
- JGH: Acetic acid induces cell death: An in vitro study using normal rat gastric mucosal cell line and rat and human gastric cancer and mesothelioma cell lines: Susumu Okabe, et al:(2014)
- Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd: Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar: Gambon DL, et al: (2012)
- Mayo Clinic: Gout diet: What's allowed, what's not: Mayo Clinic Staff: (N.D.)
- Nutrition Journal: Effect of urine pH changed by dietary intervention on uric acid clearance mechanism of pH-dependent excretion of urinary uric acid: Aya Kanbara, et al:(2012)
- Mayo Clinic: Drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss seems far-fetched. Does it work?:Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.: (N.D.)
- Natural Health Zine: The Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar