Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar On Weight Loss


Apple cider vinegar is a functional food that is made by fermenting crushed and pressed apples. It is taken as a shot on an empty stomach, popped as a pill and chewed as a gummy all in hopes of: promoting weight loss; ‘boosting’ metabolism; accelerating the ‘fat burning’ process, alleviating acid reflux; ‘detoxifying’ the body from toxins; rejuvenating skin; enhancing gut health; as well as reviving dull, dry hair (amongst other things). 

Unfortunately, very little, if any, scientific evidence is available to support these claims. Regardless of what celebrities or the media say, apple cider vinegar alone is unlikely to ‘’torch’’ belly fat and aid weight loss, especially when regular exercise and a healthy calorie restrictive diet, the two main components of a healthy lifestyle, are not considered or tailored. It is also worth bearing in mind that when taken in large doses and over long periods of time, apple cider vinegar can do more harm than good by not only inducing nausea and indigestion, but also weakening the tooth enamel, contributing to hypokalemia and/or hypoglycaemia, bone loss as well as chemical skin and throat burns. Apple cider vinegar can also interact with certain medications and therefore should be used with caution.


Cider vinegar or, as it is better known, apple cider vinegar, is a type of vinegar that is made by the fermentation of apple juice.1 The production of apple cider vinegar requires only two simple steps: ethanol or alcoholic fermentation and acetic acid fermentation.2 In the first step, yeasts are added to apple juice produced from crushed apples where they ferment the simple sugars in apples, thus converting them into alcohol. Following the fermentation process which takes approximately 7 days, the alcohol is further fermented by acetic acid bacteria in the presence of oxygen. Responsible for its pungent, sour taste and smell, acetic acid makes up 5-6% of apple cider vinegar and acts as its ‘’active’’ ingredient.3 In fact, it is acetic acid that is believed to carry the proposed health benefits of apple cider vinegar.4-6 

The aim of this article is to explore the benefits of apple cider vinegar on weight loss, if any, and to outline the nutritional facts and side effects of apple cider vinegar. Can apple 

cider vinegar help you bid farewell to those stubborn jiggly rolls once and for all, or are you better off saving your teeth and throat the misery? Dive right in (preferably with a straw!) and find out!

Benefits of apple cider vinegar on weight loss

Almost 10,000 years ago, dating back to as early as 5000 BC, vinegar was mainly used for healing and medicinal purposes.3  Interestingly, during the 8th century, vinegar was even consumed by Japanese Samurai warriors in hopes of increasing vitality.7 It is only recently that the role of apple cider vinegar in health and disease has been investigated. A few studies conducted on humans have shown that apple cider vinegar is able to lower blood glucose levels 4-5 whilst increasing insulin sensitivity by as much as 19-34% following ingestion of a carbohydrate-rich meal.8 This is especially promising for type 2 diabetics who suffer from insulin resistance which results in huge blood sugar spikes because cells cannot take in glucose readily or use it for energy. 

Additionally, it has been shown that apple cider vinegar consumption is associated with significantly lower cholesterol levels.6 One study even reported decreased blood pressure following apple cider vinegar consumption.9 Apple cider vinegar achieved this by decreasing the activity of the enzyme renin within the kidneys. Since the study was conducted solely on rats, it is unclear whether apple cider vinegar has similar effects on humans. 

The research surrounding the benefits of apple cider vinegar on weight loss and weight management is even less clear and remains inconsistent, controversial and scarce. Some research studies suggest that apple cider vinegar increases satiety and suppresses appetite,10-11 thus slowing down gastric emptying.11 As a result, the amount of glucose absorbed from a meal is decreased, causing individuals to consume fewer calories, in turn facilitating weight loss. It is worth mentioning that the participants in one of the studies reported feelings of nausea10 which can decrease appetite, leaving one questioning whether the patients lost weight as a result of the side effects from nausea and/or the true appetite suppressant effect of apple cider vinegar. 

It is also questionable whether the extra fluid intake contributed to the feelings of satiety. A recent randomised control trial followed a group of 39 overweight and obese individuals over 12 weeks, all of which were put on a diet with a daily 250 kcal deficit, in addition to or at the expense of 30 ml apple cider vinegar.12 Interestingly, a reduction in body weight was reported in both groups, however the participants who consumed apple cider vinegar experienced a more significant loss in weight. Unfortunately, the study sample size and duration were both small and short respectively, making it hard to draw any sound conclusions from the results.  More recently, claims surrounding the possible effect of apple cider vinegar on resting and exercise energy expenditure in humans have not been validated.13

Nutritional facts

1 tablespoon or 15 ml of organic apple cider vinegar from the company BRAGG contains 11 mg of potassium yet no calories, carbs, fats, protein or sodium (United States Department of Agriculture).14 Adults and children aged 4 years and older require up to 4,700 mg of potassium per day (National Institutes of Health).15 To reach this amount, one would need to consume over 428 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar which is strongly not advised. 

Side effects and other concerns

Like most things in life, apple cider vinegar is not without its disadvantages and its consumption and usage pose some serious risks, especially when taken in excess and/or used incorrectly. Unsurprisingly, due to being very acidic, apple cider vinegar can contribute to tooth decay and erosive tooth enamel,16 especially when consumed regularly in an undiluted form. Apple cider vinegar consumption has also been demonstrated to induce nausea,10 throat burns (esophageal injury)17 as well as chemical skin burns.18-19 One case study report even reported hypokalemia (abnormally low potassium levels) and more concerningly, osteoporosis or bone loss, in a 28-year old female patient who consumed 250 ml of diluted apple cider vinegar every day for 6 years.20 

Furthermore, apple cider vinegar, as mentioned above, delays gastric emptying, an effect which although proves beneficial for healthy people, can in fact be life-threatening to people with health conditions such as diabetes. This is because people with diabetes often suffer from gastroparesis which causes food to move very slowly from the stomach to the small intestine, thereby significantly reducing their ability to absorb nutrients from food.21 Add apple cider vinegar to the mix and the rate is further lowered or even completely stopped! 

Perhaps the even bigger concern of apple cider vinegar consumption is its ability to interact with certain medications such as those used for diabetes, thus putting people with diabetes at risk of developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) (Alberta Rheumatology).22 Apple cider vinegar can also contribute to hypokalemia when taken alongside medications such as insulin, digoxin and diuretics including furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide. 


Apple cider vinegar undergoes alcoholic fermentation followed by acetic acid fermentation before it is produced. At the end of this two-step process, apple cider vinegar contains between 5-6% acetic acid, the smelly ‘’active’’ ingredient that is thought to carry the proposed health benefits. Over the years, people have made ridiculous claims about apple cider vinegar, ranging from its ability to increase strength to transforming its consumers into effective hourglass-shaped ‘fat burning’ machines. As of today, there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove that apple cider vinegar provides any health or weight loss benefits for humans. Most of the available scientific studies that show positive weight loss effects from regular apple cider vinegar consumption are conducted solely on animals. It cannot be assumed that humans will share similar results as the anatomy and physiology of the species is completely different . Before any conclusions can be drawn, further studies with larger sample sizes and more diverse groups of participants need to be carried out. 

Apple cider vinegar contains small amounts of potassium and no calories, protein, carbs or fats. Therefore, people with low potassium levels should use apple cider vinegar with caution.  Apple cider vinegar poses other concerns especially when taken in large doses including nausea and indigestion, chemical skin burns, oesophageal injury, erosion of tooth enamel and bone loss. More concerningly, apple cider vinegar can interact with some medications for diabetes and induce hypoglycaemia. It can also induce hypokalemia when used alongside diuretics and insulin. 


  1. Banna AA, Kawar NS. Behavior of parathion in apple juice processed into cider and vinegar. J Environ Sci Health B. 1982;17(5):505-14. Available from: doi: 10.1080/03601238209372337.
  2. Budak NH, Aykin E, Seydim AC, Greene AK, Guzel-Seydim ZB. Functional properties of vinegar. J Food Sci. 2014 May;79(5):R757-64. Available from:  doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12434. 
  3. Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. MedGenMed. 2006 May 30;8(2):61. Available from:
  4. Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Shirani F. Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 May;127:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.01.021. 
  5. Santos HO, de Moraes WMAM, da Silva GAR, Prestes J, Schoenfeld BJ. Vinegar (acetic acid) intake on glucose metabolism: A narrative review. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Aug;32:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.05.008. 
  6. Hadi A, Pourmasoumi M, Najafgholizadeh A, Clark CCT, Esmaillzadeh A. The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Jun 29;21(1):179. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03351-w. 
  7. Ho CW, Lazim AM, Fazry S, Zaki UKHH, Lim SJ. Varieties, production, composition and health benefits of vinegars: A review. Food Chem. 2017 Apr 15;221:1621-1630. Available from: doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.128. 
  8. Johnston CS, Kim CM, Buller AJ. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):281-2. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.1.281. 
  9. Kondo S, Tayama K, Tsukamoto Y, Ikeda K, Yamori Y. Antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Dec;65(12):2690-4. doi: 10.1271/bbb.65.2690. 
  10. Darzi J, Frost GS, Montaser R, Yap J, Robertson MD. Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 May;38(5):675-81. Available from:  doi: 10.1038/ijo.2013.157. 
  11. Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. Available from: doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602197. 
  12. Khezri, S,S, 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. Journal of Functional Foods. 2018 April;43:95-102. Available from:
  13. Cobb KM, Chavez DA, Kenyon JD, Hutelin Z, Webster MJ. Acetic Acid Supplementation: Effect on Resting and Exercise Energy Expenditure and Substrate Utilization. Int J Exerc Sci. 2021 Apr 1;14(2):222-229. 
  14. United States Department of Agriculture.ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR WITH THE 'MOTHER’ [Internet]. [cited 2022 December 25]. Available from: 
  15. National Institutes of Health. Potassium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. [Internet] [cited 2022 December 27]. Available from:
  16. Gambon DL, Brand HS, Veerman EC. Ongezond afslanken. Erosie door appelazijn [Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar]. Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd. 2012 Dec;119(12):589-91. Dutch. doi: 10.5177/ntvt.2012.12.12192. 
  17. Hill LL, Woodruff LH, Foote JC, Barreto-Alcoba M. Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1141-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.04.003.
  18. Bunick CG, Lott JP, Warren CB, Galan A, Bolognia J, King BA. Chemical burn from topical apple cider vinegar. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Oct;67(4):e143-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.11.934.
  19. Feldstein S, Afshar M, Krakowski AC. Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Jun;8(6):50. Available from:
  20. Lhotta K, Höfle G, Gasser R, Finkenstedt G. Hypokalemia, hyperreninemia and osteoporosis in a patient ingesting large amounts of cider vinegar. Nephron. 1998 Oct;80(2):242-3. doi: 10.1159/000045180. 
  21. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 20;7:46. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-7-46. 
  22. Alberta Rheumatology. Apple Cider Vinegar [Internet]. [cited 2022 December 25]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Haajar Dafiri

Bachelor of Science with Honours – BSc (Hons), Biochemistry, University of
Wolverhampton, UK

Haajar Dafiri is a recent First Class BSc (Hons) Biochemistry graduate from the University of Wolverhampton with over 4 years of academic writing experience.
She has professional experience working in both labs and hospitals such as LabMedExpert and the NHS, respectively. Due to her ‘’outstanding undergraduate’’ academic achievements, she was awarded both the Biosciences Project Prize and the Biochemical Society Undergraduate Recognition Award.

From a young age, whenever words and science were involved, Haajar eagerly followed. Haajar particularly enjoys diving deep into intricate research articles and interpreting, analysing and communicating the scientificfindings to the general public in an easy, fun and organised manner – hence, why she joined Klarity. She hopes her unique, creative and quirky writing style will ignite the love of science in many whilst putting a smile on their faces.

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