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Is Drinking Vinegar for Weight Loss Effective?

Q&A: Before meals, many people do shots of vinegar for weight loss. Is it an effective strategy to shed pounds?

A: Unfortunately, vinegar is not a miracle liquid. You’re probably not surprised to hear that, either (even if you were still hoping, hoping, hoping that there just might be one super easy diet fix out there!). No matter what you drink before a meal, you still need to do all the “work” to lose weight.

Vinegar is a product of fermentation that has been linked to everything from treating illnesses to cleaning furniture to detoxing. Apple cider vinegar, in particular, is often touted as a health cure-all with numerous benefits, including weight loss.

Most of these claims are not backed up by research. However, adding a splash of vinegar to your meals won’t hurt you, either.

Here’s what you really need to know.

Research on Vinegar for Weight Loss

Most of the reliable research on apple cider vinegar has looked at how drinking it affects blood glucose levels in people affected by diabetes.

For instance, a 2007 study showed that individuals with type 2 diabetes who drank two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed woke up in the morning with blood sugar levels that were six percent lower. A 2009 study showed people who drank two teaspoons before or during a meal had lower blood glucose levels after the meal, but only when the meal consisted of complex carbohydrates (the starchy kind of carbs found in vegetables, whole grains, potatoes, and beans, as opposed to simple carbs, which are basically just sugar, like refined table sugar and corn syrup). And a 2013 study found a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before meals lowered blood glucose levels in adults at risk for type 2 diabetes.

What does all that science-speak mean for you? Researchers say the studies suggest vinegar plays a role in the breaking down of carbohydrates, particularly starches. Over time, that could contribute to an effective weight loss program in certain people, but it’s a far cry from “Drink this, drop pounds.”

So Should I Incorporate Vinegar into My Diet?

Where does that leave you? To throw back the “shots” or not?

I say incorporate vinegars like apple cider and red wine into your diet by tossing them with veggies. The fiber and water volume of the veggies will help keep you full and hydrated, which naturally aids in digestion and weight maintenance. Plus, vinegar contains close to zero calories (as opposed to, say, creamy bottled salad dressings).

Adding vinegar to your daily routine is certainly not going to hurt and if it gets you to eat more veggies, even better. Another bonus? You can use it instead of salt to add flavor, which will help keep the belly bloat at bay.