Data Max


Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: Does It Really Work?

Table of Contents

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, and the recent craze around the ACV diet has sparked interest among those looking for a natural way to lose weight.

The ACV diet claims to help with weight loss, blood sugar control, and digestive health. Proponents of the diet believe that the acetic acid in ACV can suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and reduce water retention. However, while ACV may have some beneficial properties, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

History suggests that ACV may have been used as early as 5000 BC for its medicinal properties. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates used ACV as a natural antibiotic, and Christopher Columbus is said to have brought it on his ships for its ability to prevent scurvy. The use of ACV in the modern-day diet gained popularity in the 1950s when Dr. D.C. Jarvis published a book detailing its many benefits.

Benefits of the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

Weight Loss

The ACV diet has gained widespread popularity among those focused on weight loss. While some studies have suggested that incorporating ACV into your diet may help with weight loss, there is no definitive evidence to support its effectiveness. Some proponents argue that the acetic acid in ACV can suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and reduce water retention.

Evidence for effectiveness:

  • A 2009 study published in the Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Journal found that subjects who consumed ACV for 12 weeks showed significant decreases in body weight, body mass index (BMI), visceral fat, and waist circumference.
  • Another study conducted in 2018 published in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that participants who consumed ACV with a high-carb meal had lower blood sugar levels and increased feelings of fullness compared to the control group.

How it works:

  • ACV may help promote weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing appetite, leading to fewer calorie intake.
  • The acetic acid in ACV may help boost metabolism, leading to more efficient fat-burning during exercise
  • ACV may also help reduce water retention, leading to a slimmer, more toned appearance

Blood sugar control

ACV has been shown to have potential blood sugar benefits, particularly for individuals with type 2 diabetes. When consumed before a meal, ACV may help lower the glycemic response to that meal, leading to lower blood sugar levels.

Evidence for effectiveness:

  • A 2010 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that ACV helped reduce post-meal blood sugar levels in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
  • Another study conducted in 2018 published in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that participants who consumed ACV with a high-carb meal had lower blood sugar levels compared to the control group.

How it works:

  • ACV may help slow down the digestion of starches, leading to a lower glycemic response to a meal.
  • The acetic acid in ACV may help improve insulin sensitivity, leading to more efficient use of glucose in the body.

Digestive health

ACV has been touted for its potential digestive health benefits. The pectin in ACV may help promote healthy digestion by increasing beneficial gut bacteria. ACV has also been suggested to help alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux.

Evidence for effectiveness:

  • A 2015 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that ACV was effective in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
  • A 2017 review published in the Annals of Gastroenterology found that ACV may help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux by increasing stomach acid production and improving digestion.

How it works:

  • The pectin in ACV may help promote healthy digestion by providing beneficial fiber that supports the growth of gut bacteria.
  • ACV may help improve stomach acid production, leading to more efficient digestion of food.
  • However, ACV should be consumed in moderation, as excessive consumption may lead to gastrointestinal issues and tooth decay.

Risks and Side Effects of the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

While the Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) diet has been associated with several potential health benefits, it is important to consider the possible risks and side effects associated with its consumption. Here are some potential side effects you need to be aware of before incorporating ACV into your diet:

Gastrointestinal Problems

One of the most common side effects of ACV consumption is gastrointestinal discomfort. The high acidity of ACV may cause stomach problems, such as acid reflux, bloating, and gas. It may also cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain, particularly when taken in large quantities or on an empty stomach.

Tooth Decay

Another potential risk associated with consuming ACV is tooth decay. The high acidity of ACV may erode tooth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity, discoloration, and cavities. To minimize this risk, it is recommended to dilute ACV with water or consume it through a straw to limit its contact with your teeth.

Interaction with Medication

If you are currently taking any medication, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating ACV into your diet. ACV may interact with certain medications, including diuretics, insulin, and laxatives, leading to potential adverse effects. It is especially important to speak with your healthcare provider if you have diabetes or if you take medication that affects blood sugar levels.

Other Potential Risks

In addition to the side effects listed above, there are also some additional potential risks associated with consuming ACV. These include:

  • Allergic reactions for those who are sensitive to acetic acid or vinegar
  • Potential drug interactions, particularly for those with kidney problems
  • Potential lowering of potassium levels in the body, leading to muscle weakness, cramping, and fatigue

How to Incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into Your Diet

If you are considering incorporating apple cider vinegar (ACV) into your daily diet, there are several ways to do so. Here, we will discuss different preparations of ACV and offer delicious apple cider vinegar recipes to help you incorporate it into your meals.

Different Preparations of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are several ways to prepare apple cider vinegar for consumption, including:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

An apple cider vinegar tonic is a concentrated version of ACV that involves drinking it in a small amount of water. Simply mix one tablespoon of ACV with 8 ounces of water and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Pills

If you find the taste of ACV unpleasant, you can also take ACV in pill form. There are many brands of apple cider vinegar pills available at health food stores and online, but be sure to check the ingredients and dosage before purchasing to ensure they contain the proper amount of ACV.

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes

ACV can also be incorporated into meals as an ingredient in recipes. Here are some delicious apple cider vinegar recipes you can try:

1. Salad Dressing

- Mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Drizzle the dressing over a bed of mixed greens, sliced cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes for a refreshing and healthy salad.

2. Drinks

- Mix 8 ounces of water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of honey together in a glass.
- Stir well and enjoy a refreshing and healthy apple cider vinegar drink.


In conclusion, the Apple Cider Vinegar diet is a trending topic when it comes to weight loss and other health benefits. Many people swear by ACV as a miracle cure-all, but it's important to remember that it is not a magic solution to weight loss or other health problems.

Recap of Benefits

While more research is needed to conclusively prove the effectiveness of the Apple Cider Vinegar diet, there is evidence to suggest that it may have several benefits, including:

- Weight loss
- Improved blood sugar control
- Better digestive health

These benefits can be attributed to the active component of ACV, acetic acid, which has been shown to have several potential metabolic benefits.

Risk Awareness

However, it's important to note that consuming large amounts of ACV can lead to some risks and side effects including:

- Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, and indigestion.
- Tooth decay, as the high acidity of ACV can erode tooth enamel.
- Interaction with medication, including insulin, diuretics, and laxatives.

It's important to use ACV in moderation and to talk to a healthcare professional before trying the ACV diet or taking ACV supplements.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet and Regular Exercise

While adding apple cider vinegar to your diet may have some potential benefits, it's important to remember that it should not be a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. Incorporating ACV into your routine may help you achieve your health goals, but it is not a miracle solution.

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, combined with regular physical activity, is the most effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and overall wellbeing.

Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new diet or exercise program, including the Apple Cider Vinegar diet.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top