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Will vinegar help you lose weight?

Vinegar is an excellent preservative and a good household cleaner, but it is not a medicine or a weight-loss drug. Several popular books claim that vinegar prevents cancer and heart disease, lowers high blood pressure and helps you to lose weight, but here is no good evidence to support any of these claims. One of the books explains that vinegar helps you to lose weight because oil and vinegar don't mix, so vinegar and your fat won't either. Another claim is that it interferes with starch absorption, but this effect is so miniscule that it is highly unlikely to have any effect on your weight.

Vinegar is nothing more than a mixture of 95 percent water and around 5 percent acetic acid, made from grapes, apples, rice, potatoes or other fermented plants. It is very low in calories, but the only way vinegar could possibly help you to lose weight is by causing you to eat lots of salads while you cut back on other sources of calories.

You can put vinegar in a foot bath to help soften hard calluses. Because it is acidic, it prevents the growth of bacteria in a container and so is used as a preservative to pickle a wide variety of foods. However, it has not been shown to prevent infection in humans when taken as a "medicine". Vinegar is an excellent and cheap cleaning agent. You can mix equal parts vinegar and water and use it to clean a coffee pot, remove stains from clothing or dissolve rust spots. It won't hurt you to drink a little vinegar or use it in your foods, but if you want to lose weight, find a better strategy. I recommend intermittent fasting.

Checked 11/9/18

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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