A dose of vinegar as a solution to being overweight or obese would be a dieter's dream come true. Losing weight takes work, though, not just a swallow. And while vinegar does offer some potential benefits for blood sugar control and appetite suppression, it's not a magic bullet when it comes to dropping pounds. A classic approach of decreasing your calorie intake and moving more is still the most effective weight-loss strategy.
Little substantive research on the direct effects of vinegar on weight loss exists. What does exist is favorable, but it's too scant for sweeping conclusions. In a small 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, Japanese researchers had obese participants consume 15 or 30 milliliters -- or 1 to 2 tablespoons -- of vinegar every day, or a placebo. In those who consumed the vinegar, body weight, visceral fat and waist circumference decreased. This confirmed earlier research that showed similar results in both rats and people.
Vinegar Makes You Feel Fuller
A tablespoon in a glass of water may help you eat less during the day because it makes you feel less hungry. The acetic acid in the vinegar slows how fast food empties from your stomach and thus makes you feel full for longer. A small 2005 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when vinegar was included with white bread as a meal, participants reported fewer feelings of hunger soon after eating. Higher levels of satiation correlated with larger doses of vinegar, and thus a greater concentration of the acetic acid. The astringent taste of vinegar may stimulate the brain to give it a feeling that it has been fed. A review from a 2014 issue of the Journal of Food Science explains that the acetic acid in vinegar may prevent you from digesting carbohydrates quickly, slowing gastric emptying so that you feel full longer.
Vinegar's Blood Sugar Benefits
Vinegar may help lower blood sugar in people with metabolic disturbances, including type-2 diabetes. A 2004 issue of Diabetes Care published a study showing that consuming about 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar as part of a drink alongside a high-carbohydrate meal improves blood sugar responses. The 2005 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study also confirmed this lower glucose and insulin response when participants ate white bread with vinegar.
A 2005 article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, noted that this ability to lower the glycemic response to food may be why vinegar increases feelings of satiety and reduces food consumption. Consuming the vinegar along with reducing calories and exercising could enhance weight loss, suggests the article's author, Carol Johnston of the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University.
Using Vinegar Daily for Weight Loss
While vinegar has promise as a dietary aid when you're trying to lose weight, it won't work alone as a method for weight loss. Combine it with a low-calorie meal plan that focuses on lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy. Cut out sugary sweets, soda and processed snacks and meals. Moving more is also critical when you're trying to lose weight. A tablespoon of vinegar consumed before meals doesn't excuse you from getting at least 250 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly to prompt noticeable weight loss.
Vinegar can have some unpleasant effects when used daily for weight loss. One reason vinegar acts as an appetite suppressant is because it may induce nausea, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity in 2013. In addition, too much vinegar could irritate your esophagus and stomach due to its acidic nature. The acid can also leach calcium from your bones and damage the enamel of your teeth. Just 3 tablespoons per day shouldn't cause these effects, though, and this amount only adds about 10 calories to your meal plan.
- Obesity: Effect of Diet and Exercise, Alone or Combined, on Weight and Body Composition in Overweight-to-Obese Post-Menopausal Women
- Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry: Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects
- Medscape General Medicine: Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect
- International Journal of Obesity: Influence of the Tolerability of Vinegar as an Oral Source of Short-Chain Fatty Acids on Appetite Control and Food Intake
- Diabetes Care: Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes
- Journal of Food Science: Functional Properties of Vinegar
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Vinegar Supplementation Lowers Glucose and Insulin Responses and Increases Satiety After a Bread Meal in Healthy Subjects
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss
- Oprah: Is Vinegar an Appetite Suppressant?