BIG Nutrition: Does vinegar promote weight loss or blood sugar control?


BIG Nutrition: Does vinegar promote weight loss or blood sugar control?

Just yesterday, CNN published an article about consumption of apple cider vinegar and whether it impacts weight and/or improves blood sugar control. WebMD has covered the topic, and so has the Mayo Clinic. A BIG member asked me about this topic recently, so here is my take:

Weight loss

  • One study was conducted in ‘overweight’ (body mass index 25-30) Japanese men and women. The two groups that consumed apple cider vinegar daily for 3 months (Group 1: 1/2 Tbsp in 2 cups of water each day; Group 2: Tbsp in 2 cups of water each day) showed a very modest total weight loss of 2-4 lbs compared to the control group that received no vinegar. Waist circumference and BMI also showed modest decreases.
  • A few other studies have shown weight loss in mice and rats.

Blood sugar levels

  • A reduction in blood sugar spikes after starch consumption (e.g., bread, peas, corn, rice, oatmeal and others) but not after consumption of sugar has been found in research.
  • So far, the studies show the greatest impact for individuals with pre-diabetes.
  • The mechanism of how this works is not fully known.
  • The acetic acid in the vinegar may be responsible, but other compounds in vinegar have not been ruled out.


  • Vinegar does appear to delay stomach emptying. For individuals that already have delayed stomach emptying, vinegar may exacerbate this problem.


  • Products, such as vinegar tablets, should be avoided: a) esophageal injury has been reported, however, it is not clear if vinegar or another substance in the tablets was responsible because these are not regulated by FDA.
  • Consumption of straight vinegar is not recommended because of damage to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. To drink vinegar, dilute ½ -1 Tbsp. in 2 cups of water.

Homemade salad dressing is delicious, inexpensive, and quick to make. Further, if any of the vinegar health claims gather more scientific evidence, you might enjoy some health benefits! Here is a favorite recipe that keeps one week refrigerated: 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

We have a new nutrition challenge coming this fall! If you are interested email me at

[email protected]!