As the saying goes, there's nothing new under the sun — and that applies to vinegar. Used as early as 5,000 years ago by Babylonians, vinegar has long been a staple ingredient in food, as well as utilized in other applications such as cleaning and medicinal uses.
Apple cider vinegar, specifically, has gained prominence for its purported health benefits, including an effect on weight loss. There's one snag, though: No significant scientific evidence back up those weight-loss claims. What's more, overconsumption of apple cider vinegar might be harmful, particularly when consumed on its own.
About Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, like other apple cider vinegar, is made from apples that have been crushed and its juice fermented by bacteria and yeast to form acetic and malic acids. Braggs' particular vinegar is made from organically grown apples and is unfiltered, unpasteurized and unheated. It contains 5 percent acidity, is certified kosher and is free from GMOs.
Read more: 10 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Can Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Although a couple of studies have given limited evidence that apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss, the evidence isn't overwhelming. In 2009, a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry followed groups that consumed either a beverage that contained apple cider vinegar or one that contained a placebo.
In the end, the group that drank apple cider vinegar daily had a lower body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference and serum triglyceride levels. However, a limited sample group that hailed from a region — Asia — that eats differently than Western society means you should take the result with a grain of salt.
A second study, published in 2018 in the Journal of Functional Foods, also reviewed the impact of apple cider vinegar on weight and BMI, but this research combined the vinegar with a 250-calorie reduction in their daily diet. Again, participants lost weight — but the question is whether that had to do with the vinegar consumption or from the caloric deficit.
"There's no credible science backing claims that [apple cider vinegar] can help shed excess weight," says Kimberly Gomer, RD, the director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center. "It's yet another version of the American-style penchant to pursue a 'magic pill' — a quick-fix that will erase the need to improve our lives with good overall food choices and everyday fitness."
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Beyond weight loss, there's a good chance Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar consumption could have other benefits on your health, specifically because the brand sells raw, unfiltered vinegar. Products that aren't raw or unfiltered may not have the same benefits, which include:
- Improved blood sugar control
- Decreased amount of bad bacteria in your body
- An increase of good bacteria, probiotics, in your digestive system
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar specifically contains "The Mother," a combination of yeast and bacteria that forms a probiotic, which improves gut health. "The 'mother' strands of protein in organic ACV consists of cellulose and acetic acid," says Rebecca Park, RN, founder of Remedies for Me.
"These protein strands contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that give the organic unfiltered vinegar its cloudy and cobweb-like appearance. When looking for the best type of vinegar, make sure it is organic, raw and contains 'mother.'"
According to Harvard Medical School, research shows that regular consumption of probiotics treats or prevents a wide array of health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, Crohn's disease, vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, eczema in children and more.
Read more: 13 Surprising and Beneficial Probiotic Foods
Drawbacks of Drinking Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
"Before a patient starts using apple cider vinegar for their health, I tell them it is important to understand the pros and cons of incorporating it into their daily health care routines," says Constantine George, M.D., founder and Chief Medical Officer of EPITOMEDICAL.
Like any supplement or prescription, your body will need time for you to see or feel its effects. Consider discussing it with your primary care physician, particularly if you take any prescription medications, as interactions could be harmful. Additional risks include:
- Increased acid reflux: After all, vinegar is an acid and, therefore, can make acid reflux worse for those who already suffer.
- Tooth damage: "Acidic products, such as acetic acid found in ACV, may cause breakdown of the protective tooth enamel and therefore, lead to tooth decay and loss of the minerals found within your teeth," says Dr. George.
- Decreased potassium levels: If you take diuretics, such as those in medication for high blood pressure, you can reach a dangerously low potassium level if you consume apple cider regularly.
- Altered insulin levels: For most, lower blood sugar is a good thing; for diabetics, it can cause a problem with insulin and hypoglycemia.
- Gastrointestinal side effects. "ACV users may experience feelings of nausea and possibly indigestion issues," Dr. George says. "Acetic acid has also been shown to delay emptying of the stomach, if the patient has an underlying medical diagnosis of gastroparesis, it may worsen the symptoms. Other symptoms include, nausea, gas, bloating and feeling of fullness."
How to Drink Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar aside, it's not a liquid that you should be throwing back like water every day. Even though it's perfectly safe in small doses, drinking too much on a regular basis — more than 1 to 2 tablespoons a day — can wreak havoc on your body.
If you want to try out apple cider vinegar to reap potential health benefits, add 1 to 2 tablespoons to a beverage, so it's diluted. "The taste of vinegar is very off-putting for most people," says Park.
"If you keep consistently drinking a small amount every day, you will get used to it ... I initially diluted a large glass of water with 1 small teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. As I got used to this amount, I increased the amount of vinegar to 2 teaspoons. After a few months, I was up to 2 tablespoons." You can add it to water, tea, coffee, juice or a smoothie.
Of course, you can also use apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing. "If looking to lose weight, use it not poured into a glass, but as a topping for a nice big veggie salad," Gomer says.
"What will help you lose weight is not the apple cider vinegar, per se, but the fact that you're filling up on very-low-calorie-dense vegetables. Plus, with all those veggies, you're getting a vast array of health-promoting substances like vitamins, phytonutrients, fiber and more — something you wouldn't get with an apple cider vinegar diet, no matter how much you drink."
- Keck Medicine of USC: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Have Any Actual Health Benefits?
- Mayo Clinic: Drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss seems far-fetched. Does it work?
- Piedmont Healthcare: Will apple cider vinegar help you lose weight?
- Colorado State University Extension: Nutrition News – Beware apple cider vinegar claims