Does vinegar increase metabolism?

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One fairly well-conducted study noted weight loss with vinegar, but the mechanism of this effect is unclear.

Vinegar (Acetic Acid) does not influence the metabolic rate. Nevertheless, one human study suggests that it may help with fat loss. Although it doesn't have the largest body of evidence, it remains a very cheap and safe 'home remedy' to aid in fat loss.

Weight Control

One study conducted had obese subjects consume either 0, 15, or 30mL vinegar (0, 750mg, 1,500mg Acetic Acid; respectively) in a double blind manner (placebo had added lactate to match taste). Weight loss was noted in a dose-dependent manner, and increased throughout the duration of the study.[1] No difference in food intake was noted, and average weight loss in 12 weeks appeared to be 1.2 kg for the 15-mL group and 1.9 kg for the 30-mL group, with both groups regaining some weight 4 weeks after cessation. It was theorized that this was due to increased fat oxidation enzymes from AMPK.[2][3]

This appears to be the only well controlled study done on vinegar and weight loss in humans, and it is currently not known whether taking vinegar in isolation or with a meal is more effective.

Other Health effects

Glucose control

Vinegar appears to be effective at suppressing the speed at which glucose enters the blood, and with that lowers the peak glucose and insulin secretion. If measured acutely, there is a large (31.4%-40%) decrease in blood glucose levels,[4][5] but after 120min the overall exposure is the same.[6] It is a slowing effect, not a reducing effect. That being said, this slowing may be beneficial in improving insulin sensitivity in diabetics.[7]

This slowing may be due to vinegar (as apple cider vinegar) being able to slow gastric (stomach) emptying rates.[8] This has been shown with regular vinegar as well.[9]

Vinegar does not seem to interfere with actual carbohydrate absorption in any way.[10]

Lipids and Cholesterol

In diabetic rats, apple cider vinegar (6% food intake) was able to beneficially alter blood lipids[11] independent of processing methods.[12]

Note on supplementation

There have been reports of esophageal injury associated with apple cider vinegar tablets, although it is not sure if this is due to high acid concentration or due to product tampering.[13]

It may be best to use regular table vinegar, as that will get the job done.

1.^Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga TVinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjectsBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2009 Aug)
3.^Sakakibara S, Yamauchi T, Oshima Y, Tsukamoto Y, Kadowaki TAcetic acid activates hepatic AMPK and reduces hyperglycemia in diabetic KK-A(y) miceBiochem Biophys Res Commun.(2006 Jun 2)
4.^Brighenti F, Castellani G, Benini L, Casiraghi MC, Leopardi E, Crovetti R, Testolin GEffect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjectsEur J Clin Nutr.(1995 Apr)
8.^Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LOEffect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot studyBMC Gastroenterol.(2007 Dec 20)
10.^Salbe AD, Johnston CS, Buyukbese MA, Tsitouras PD, Harman SMVinegar lacks antiglycemic action on enteral carbohydrate absorption in human subjectsNutr Res.(2009 Dec)
11.^Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Sarkaki AR, Jalali MT, Latifi SMApple cider vinegar attenuates lipid profile in normal and diabetic ratsPak J Biol Sci.(2008 Dec 1)
12.^Budak NH, Kumbul Doguc D, Savas CM, Seydim AC, Kok Tas T, Ciris MI, Guzel-Seydim ZBEffects of apple cider vinegars produced with different techniques on blood lipids in high-cholesterol-fed ratsJ Agric Food Chem.(2011 Jun 22)
13.^Hill LL, Woodruff LH, Foote JC, Barreto-Alcoba MEsophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of productsJ Am Diet Assoc.(2005 Jul)