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Apple cider vinegar and baking soda are a much-talked weight weight loss diet solution, but can drinking apple cider vinegar really help you lose weight — and what are the potential side effects?

Are you an experienced netizen who also happens to be interested in weight loss — preferably weight loss achieved by healthy and natural means? You will definitely have heard the claims that apple cider vinegar and baking soda help with weight loss.

Some websites make apple cider vinegar and baking soda sound like the magical weight loss solution, but does this "diet" really work, or is it just another scam?

Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda And Weight Loss: The Claims

Proponents of the apple cider vinegar diet claim that it helps you lower your glucose levels, thereby encouraging weight loss. To do this successfully,  apple cider vinegar weight loss advocates will tell you, you need to:

  • Place 1/4 cup of baking soda into a shot glass — this is added to reduce the acidity of the concoction you will be drinking. 
  • Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, mix thoroughly until the mixture is fully dissolved, and drink it like you would hard liquor, right before having a meal. You may drink this baking soda and apple cider vinegar mixture up to three times a day. 
  • Chew on some orange slices or have some citrus juice to rid your mouth of the bad taste you may perceive. 

Some people will specifically recommend organic apple cider vinegar, or apple cider vinegar with the "mother". That "mother" is made up of web-like proteins, enzymes, and bacteria formed during the vinegar-making process — the products that create vinegar are first fermented into alcohol and then turned sour to make acetic acid [1]. The "mother" is filtered out in some apple cider vinegar brands, and not others. 

What Nutrients Does Apple Cider Vinegar Contain?

One thing is clear — apple cider vinegar will not cause weight gain. A 100-gram serving of apple cider vinegar contains a mere three calories, which certainly makes it an ideal salad dressing for anyone who thinks a weight loss diet shouldn't deprive them of seasoning. Apple cider vinegar doesn't contain protein or fat either, and only trace amounts of carbohydrates. Nutrient wise, apple cider vinegar has some potassium. That's it. [2]

So — Can An Apple Cider Vinegar Diet Lead To Weight Loss?

Research indicates that vinegar intake, in general, can reduce the glycemic effect a meal has on the body. In layperson's terms, this means that vinegar reduces the negative impact a meal has on your blood glucose levels. How does vinegar do this? It appears that drinking a shot glass of vinegar before your meal causes you to feel full sooner, in turn reducing your overall caloric intake. [3]

For all the talk of the weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar, direct research pertaining to this topic is in surprisingly short supply. One study did show that a group of people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes lowered their blood glucose levels after drinking apple cider vinegar prior to meals for a few weeks. [4]

This effect may have been achieved because apple cider vinegar interferes with the digestion of starch, thus essentially "lopping calories off your meal". The study did not specifically focus on weight loss, however, and we also have to note that though its main funding came from the Nutrition Research Fund of the Arizona State University Foundation, Bragg Live Food Products — the producer of the popular Bragg's apple cider vinegar — donated supplies of apple cider vinegar for the purposes of the research study. [4]

The bottom line? Apple cider vinegar may promote weight loss, but the available body of scientific research is rather lacking on this issue. The weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar can't be said to have been proven conclusively, as one study notes [5]. 

We can, however, be quite satisfied that apple cider vinegar acts as an agent to increase insulin sensitivity [6, 7]. This means that apple cider vinegar is most useful to people who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it. 

Does Apple Cider Weight Loss For Weight Loss Have Any Side Effects?

One study — the authors of which also, interestingly, noted that apple cider vinegar has been used as a weight loss aid for generations in North Africa and that bodybuilders also often turn to this remedy — found that the daily consumption of shot glasses of apple cider vinegar can lead to tooth erosion [8]. 

Note that proponents of apple cider vinegar weight loss hold that the addition of baking soda prevents this tooth erosion, as it counteracts the acidity.

Other research observes that drinking apple cider vinegar neat can lead to esophageal injury, while adding that the misleading labeling of marketed products and the Differing dosage recommendations make it easy to question the quality of apple cider vinegar diet products [9

The Bottom Line: Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss Is Not A Scam, But...

Apple cider vinegar may indeed cause you to feel full (or satiated) sooner, a phenomenon that would lead to a decreased overall caloric intake [10]. Drinking a shot glass of apple cider vinegar can also, as we have seen, reduce the glycemic effect of meals.

Though we cannot be sure what the best apple cider vinegar is, whether you need apple cider vinegar with the "mother", or whether you the benefits of apple cider vinegar increase if you choose an organic brand, it isn't a stretch to conclude that apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight

Since that has not conclusively been proven, however, it's also not possible to refer to it as a fail-safe weight loss method. Successful weight loss is going to require your full attention, and that includes a focus on regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet in which you do not exceed the recommended amount of calories.