Will Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Have you heard about drinking apple cider vinegar in water? It is supposed to lower your blood sugar after a meal and even help weight loss.
A coach asked:
“She has seen on one of the Instagram stories that having a spoon on vinegar diluted in 1 glass of water before meals reduces glucose spike by 30%. Hence you can have high-carb food and it would not impact your body as much! Where can I verify this information scientifically? Or direct the client to a scientific peer-reviewed source of information? My 2 cents, reduced GI or not, it would still have an impact on the energy equation and hence will not help in weight loss.”
Here is my answer and I am sharing it with you because it was very popular among coaches in the community, and I will lead you through my thinking process, how I would assess this situation so you can learn and use this to answer your own questions or questions of your clients.
Why is it important?
Before giving advice, I wonder why it is important for the client.
“Why is the client interested in blood sugar regulation?”
“How important is it to her to reduce the spike in glucose after a meal?”
Is it for health reasons or some other reason?
In most cases, it is related to weight loss and health.
There have been a lot of posts on social media in recent months talking about how blood sugar needs to be regulated in connection with both health and weight loss. These have generated a lot of interest in the topic and with that came various tricks on how to regulate blood sugar.
One such trick is to drink water with vinegar, which is supposed to lower blood sugar after meals and thus lead to weight loss.
We need to be able to evaluate the quality of the information:
We should get information from verified sources. Not everyone has the time and energy and ability to do this, but trainers should continually educate themselves or ask experts as in this case.
If you want to learn how to read and evaluate a scientific paper, I recommend reading an article from on the Examine website.
For anyone else, it is good to know at least the basic red flags:
- The information presented is purely personal experience – it is not controlled, there are many factors that influence us and we are not aware of them
- they use language : them against us – companies trying to poison us etc. Doctors don’t want you to know this…
- Based on emotions – frustration, anger or enthusiasm
- They promise a simple solution to a complex problem – for example, a product that will cleanse your liver and therefore make you lose weight. Vitamin C will cure cancer. Eat this one food and you’ll prevent disease…
What do studies say?
In one controlled study where there were 39 obese and overweight participants, they had a deficit of 250 kcal + 30 ml/day of apple cider vinegar. This study was not controlled against a placebo. I didn’t get to the study itself, but from the information freely available in the vinegar water group, fat loss was slightly higher. Probably due to the fact that the vinegar helped reduce appetite. 
Another study showed that vinegar water (but also peanuts) given before a meal lowered blood glucose after a high glycemic index meal by up to 55%. They also led to a 200-275 kcal reduction in energy intake at subsequent meals. 
Another study  was 5 participants who completed 4 trials at weekly intervals, randomly receiving placebo (60 ml water) and vinegar water (20 ml apple cider vinegar + 40 ml water) twice and mashed potatoes 2 minutes later.
After-meal glucose and insulin elevations were comparable after the placebo drink and apple cider vinegar, with slightly higher after meal blood sugars in the apple cider vinegar group.
The most recent study from January 2024  compared 73 adults with type II diabetes over 8 weeks. They consumed 30mL of apple cider vinegar with water during or immediately after lunch.
Compared to the control group, the vinegar group experienced reductions (improvements) in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, fasting glucose, HbA1c, LDL-C, total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, and increases in fasting insulin, HOMA-IR and HDL-C. The problem is that in this study, the group that took apple cider vinegar had a higher weight at baseline (8.5kg), a larger waist circumference (5cm), and higher fasting blood sugar levels.
💡 Vinegar may help reduce appetite and thus aid weight loss independent of blood sugar regulation. The most important factor in changing physique is energy balance, then the distribution of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the diet. However, long-term consumption of ACV can have negative health consequences.
Is it a good investment of the client’s resources?
After I know why it is important to the client, and verifying it could be helpful, I will assess the readiness.
In other words, you can, but should you?
Three questions to ask yourself before implementing any change:
- What is the potential benefit?
- What is the trade-off?
- Are you willing, ready, and able to make the change?
In this case, giving yourself water and vinegar is simple, easy to use, and there is minimal risk and minimal benefit to weight loss. I would also suggest other possible solutions to the client and let her decide what she wants to do next.
Apple Cider Vinegar Jelly Beans – Weight Loss Supplement
I checked one popular brand of jelly beans containing apple cider vinegar that is supposed to help with weight loss.
Each jelly bean contains 500 mg of ACV, and the recommended dose is 1-2 jellies three times a day. That totals to 3g of ACV a day.
In the previously mentioned studies, the ACV dose was 20-30g with a meal.
- Khezri SS, Saidpour A, Hosseinzadeh N, Amiri Z. 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. J Funct Foods. 2018;43:95-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2018.02.003
- 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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2005.07.012
- Salbe, A. D., Johnston, C. S., Buyukbese, M. A., Tsitouras, P. D., & Harman, S. M. (2009). Vinegar lacks antiglycemic action on enteral carbohydrate absorption in human subjects. Nutrition Research, 29(12), 846-849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2009.10.021
- Jafarirad S, Elahi MR, Mansoori A, Khanzadeh A, Haghighizadeh MH. The improvement effect of apple cider vinegar as a functional food on anthropometric indices, blood glucose and lipid profile in diabetic patients: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Front Clin Diabetes Healthc. 2023;4:1288786. Published 2023 Nov 13. doi:10.3389/fcdhc.2023.1288786