Vinegar for Good Health?

by karen on August 22, 2019

I’m asked on a fairly regular basis whether consuming apple cider vinegar can actually help with digestion, promote weight loss or improve glucose. Growing tired of saying “I don’t know”, and skeptical myself, I decided to take a look at the research. I was surprised to find these answers: it seems apple cider vinegar does have health benefits. Beneficial largely due to the presence of acetic acid, 1-2 tablespoons a day may be a sufficient “dose” to get desired results. If you can’t take it straight, dilute it in a tall glass of still or sparkling water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help with Blood Sugar Control

Several studies show lower glucose levels after meals when the meal includes 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and lower glucose levels in the morning when 2 tablespoons are consumed at bedtime. Whether you drink it or put in on your salad, if you have diabetes, your glucose levels should be lower after meals with vinegar’s inclusion. Whether or not diabetes is present, vinegar appears to increase insulin sensitivity, which can benefit everyone with more stable energy levels and an easier time managing weight.

Apple Cider Vinegar Boosts Weight Loss

1 tablespoon of vinegar with meals can promote more weight loss than calorie restriction alone. One well-done study showed a 43% greater weight loss over the 12 week study period, which amounted to an average of 8.8 lbs vs 5 lbs, for the group who added vinegar to a diet 250 calories lower compared to those who only reduced their calories. There are additional studies that support these results as well. The benefits of added weight loss may come from the vinegar decreasing one’s appetite.

Apple Cider Vinegar Decreases Cholesterol Levels

It appears there is only one study so far in humans that shows a reduced risk of heart disease in women who ate salad dressings including vinegar. Animal studies show apple cider vinegar can directly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels that are involved with plaquing in the arteries that leads to heart attack and stroke; it decreases the liver’s ability to create these compounds, and increases the amount of cholesterol and fat excreted from the body in our stool.

Beware of Apple Cider Vinegar Downsides

If you have chronic kidney disease or suffer from acid reflux, you should not add vinegar to your diet. The same goes if you suffer delayed stomach emptying, called gastroparesis. And vinegar can erode tooth enamel, so it would be helpful to drink water after consuming the vinegar. Keep your dose to no more than 2 tablespoons with meals to avoid potential bone loss found in one case where 1 cup was consumed daily for many years.


Like any supplement, apple cider vinegar won’t replace a healthy lifestyle. While it appears to benefit weight, glucose and cholesterol, continue balanced eating and exercise to maintain wellness.


Karen Fisher, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website

To find a nutrition expert in your area, go to the academy website – Find an Expert

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