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Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss: Scam or Science?

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  Published on August 4th, 2020
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified February 4th, 2023
apple cider vinegar for weight loss

Have you heard that you can use apple cider vinegar for weight loss? What’s the deal with this age-old health tonic when it comes to weight loss? Can adding apple cider vinegar to your diet assist you on your weight loss journey?

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar derived from fermented apple juice. Apple cider vinegar is used in marinades, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, chutneys, and food preservatives. A great choice for a ketogenic diet, one tablespoon (15ml) of apple cider vinegar has about three calories and virtually no carbs.

Making apple cider vinegar involves a two-step fermentation process. Apples are crushed or cut and merged with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. For the second step, the manufacturer adds bacteria to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.

Apple cider vinegar production typically takes around one month. Some manufacturers dramatically accelerate the process, so it takes as little as one day. Many people believe higher quality apple cider vinegar is obtained with the longer fermentation process. 

Acetic acid (or ethanoic acid) is the primary component of apple cider vinegar. This organic compound has a strong odor and sour taste. The term acetic comes from the Latin word for vinegar: acetum [1] [2].

Acetic acid makes up around 5-6% of apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid refers to a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into hydrogen and acetate in your body. Apple cider vinegar also contains water and minor amounts of other acids, such as malic acid [3].


Is Apple Cider Vinegar Useful for Weight Loss?

Based on the current research, there is not enough evidence to suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar alone will not help you lose weight. Not to mention, much of the research to date is from animal studies (~80% of which does not correlate to humans).

The idea that apple cider vinegar may be useful for weight loss comes from a few studies show that acetic acid (within apple cider vinegar) might promote weight loss in the following ways, but much more research is needed.

1) Acetic Acid Reduces Insulin and Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin is the fat-storage hormone, and acetic acid has been shown to reduce the ratio of insulin to glucagon, which might encourage fat burning and weight loss. Acetic acid has also been shown to improve the ability of the muscles and liver to take up sugar from the blood [4].

 2) Improves Metabolism and Fat-Burning

One animal study revealed an increase in the enzyme AMPK, which decreases sugar and fat production in the liver and boosts fat burning. Another animal study highlighted a notable increase in the genes responsible for fat burning, leading to less accumulation of body fat [5] [6] [7] [8] [9].

3) Suppresses Appetite

The research also suggests acetate (an ester or salt of acetic acid) might suppress the brain centers that control appetite, which can lead to a reduction in food and caloric intake [10] [11]. For example, in one study, one hour after eating, those who took vinegar with a high-carb meal had a 55% lower blood sugar response [12].
Apple cider vinegar can slow the rate that food leaves your stomach. In one study, taking apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal slowed stomach emptying and led to increased satiety and lowered insulin and blood sugar levels. Due to the delayed stomach emptying, apple cider vinegar might not be suitable for everyone, such as those with gastroparesis [13] [14].

Best Ways to Include Apple Cider Vinegar into Your Keto Diet!

Most health professionals don’t recommend taking more than 1 tablespoon (15ml) at one time.  The pH of ACV is very acidic so it’s important to dilute it so it doesn’t burn the inside of your mouth or esophagus. 

An easy way to include apple cider vinegar into your keto diet is by mixing it with olive oil as a salad dressing. It’s especially tasty with cucumbers and leafy greens. 

You can also use apple cider vinegar for pickling vegetables or simply mix it into the water and drink it. The amount that’s typically used for weight loss is 1-2 tablespoons per day, mixed with water. You might want to split this into 2-3 doses throughout the day, and you might get the best results by drinking it before meals.

Try apple cider vinegar in one of these keto recipes:

Do You Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss?

Do you make or purchase apple cider vinegar? Do you use apple cider vinegar for other reasons? What are your favorite recipes with apple cider vinegar?

Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



Budak, N. H., Aykin, E., Seydim, A. C., Greene, A. K., & Guzel-Seydim, Z. B. (2014). Functional properties of vinegar. Journal of Food Science, 79(5), R757-R764. 


Self Nutrition Data. Vinegar, Cider, Nutrition Facts & Calories,


Johnston, C. S. (2006). Vinegar: Medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. Medscape General Medicine, 8(2), 61.


Sakakibara, S., Yamauchi, T., Oshima, Y., Tsukamoto, Y., & Kadowaki, T. (2006). Acetic acid activates hepatic AMPK and reduces hyperglycemia in diabetic KK-A(y) mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 344(2), 597-604. 


Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., & Kaga, T. (2009). Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 57(13), 5982-5986.


Yamashita, H. (2016). Biological function of acetic acid: Improvement in obesity and glucose tolerance by acetic acid in type 2 diabetic rats.Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56, 171-175.


Yamashita, H., Fujisawa, K., Ito, E., Idei, S., Kawaguchi, N., Kimoto, M., Hiemori, M., & Tsuji, H. (2007). Improvement of obesity and glucose tolerance by acetate in type 2 diabetic Otsuka long-evans tokushima fatty (OLETF) rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry,


Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., Ugajin, S., & Kaga, T. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837-1843.


 Frost, G., Sleeth, M. L., Sahuri-Arisoylu, M., Lizarbe, B., Cerdan, S., Brody, L., Anastasovska, J., Ghourab, S., Hankir, M., Zhang, S., Carling, D., Swann, J. R., Gibson, G., Viardot, A., Morrison, D., Thomas, E. L., & Bell, J. D. (2014). The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nature Communications, 


Darzi, J., Frost, G. S., Montaser, R., Yap, J., & Robertson, M. D. (2014). Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake.International Journal of Obesity, 38(5), 675-681. 


Johnston, C. S., & Buller, A. J. (2005). Vinegar and peanut products as complementary foods to reduce postprandial glycemia. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(12), 1939-1942. 


Liljeberg, H., & Bjorck, I. (1998). Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 52(5), 368-371.


Hlebowicz, J., Darwiche, G., Bjorgell, O., & Almer, L-O. (2007). Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A pilot study. BMC Gastroenterology,

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