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What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The apple cider vinegar diet can’t exactly be called a fad diet since it has been in existence since the 1950s. People first became interested in promoting such a diet after the publication of Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health penned by Dr. DeForest Clinton Jarvis (often know as D. C. Jarvis) in the late 1950s. Among the things advocated in Jarvis’ book was the suggestion of using apple cider vinegar mixed with honey.

Since then, claims that consuming apple cider vinegar is healthful have been varied. Many consider it an actual diet that will promote weight loss. Others view it as intended to help those with varying health conditions. In this latter use, there is some real scientific inquiry about potential benefits of vinegar, but as yet, there is little proof that points to this type of diet being more healthful than others.

As a weight loss aid, the basic instructions for the apple cider vinegar diet are that people consume 1 to 3 teaspoons (4.9 to 14.7 ml) of vinegar either once a day or three times a day. This may be diluted in other drinks. An additional approach is to use apple cider vinegar supplements, which don’t have the vinegary taste issues involved. There has been some suggestion that the diet works because it promotes satiety, but the diet doesn’t work for everyone and it may be completely ineffective for most people. It doesn’t necessarily replace poor eating habits with good ones, and this has proven far more effective than any trials with apple cider vinegar.

Other people aren’t so much interested in losing weight but have other health issues they plan to treat with the vinegar. Preliminary studies suggest there might be benefit in using vinegar to lower cholesterol, but more important are some research trials that suggest it could have a positive effect on diabetes. While these aren’t proven, and an apple cider vinegar should not be tried in lieu of standard treatment, science could ultimately prove that supplementation with apple cider vinegar is appropriate to people who are diabetics.

Positive effects on cholesterol and glucose levels are worthy of note, but prolonged use of apple cider vinegar has been associated with problems too. An apple cider vinegar diet might increase risk of osteoporosis, may cause teeth decay from acidity, and creates digestion problems for some people. Those contemplating this diet should weigh these matters too.

Ultimately, the diet has not been proven effective for weight loss, though there are many anecdotal accounts of losing weight. Overall, it’s not the best diet choice and not a substitute for healthy eating. In time such a diet might be considered for people with certain health conditions, but that time has not quite arrived.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon141553 — On Jan 10, 2011

I used the apple cider vinegar before the meal, just two tablespoons diluted with water and i am feeling a difference in my weight and in my health but i still am watching what i am eating and i am exercising so i don't depend on it 100 percent, but it helps.

By gregg1956 — On Nov 04, 2010

I think that this whole organic apple cider vinegar diet plan thing is taken way out of proportion. Sure, drinking a spoonful of apple cider vinegar can boost your metabolism, but so can taking a ten minute walk every day.

People just get so caught up in these "miracle cures" that they forget that there are tried and true methods of weight loss out there. Although it might not be as glamorously packaged as an apple cider vinegar diet plan, the "Eat less and exercise more" diet plan at least has been proven to work!

By FirstViolin — On Nov 04, 2010

Has anybody reading this actually tried the Braggs apple cider vinegar diet plan? I've heard really good things about it and would like to try it, but I want to get some real person feedback first.

What about it? Do you guys have any insight or advice to share?

By pharmchick78 — On Nov 04, 2010

I'm so glad that you wrote this article in the way that you did. So many people come through my clinic thinking that just because they've started drinking raw organic apple cider vinegar they should be dropping weight like crazy.

However, as you said, it's simply not a feasible diet option if you don't couple it with an appropriate food intake to begin with.

All these apple cider vinegar diet plans that tell you that you can eat anything you want as long as you take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar beforehand are just bunk. And I think that if many people actually thought about it, they would realize that, but they just get caught up in the hype.

So although I'm not saying that the whole organic apple cider vinegar diet is a total bust, I can tell you that it is absolutely not going to work if you don't already have a good, nutritionally solid diet plan in place.

If you're really serious about losing weight or interested in the apple cider vinegar diet, talk to a nutritionist -- they'll be able to set you up with an appropriate, effective plan to lose weight and maintain your health long-term.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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