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You probably have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry right now. It’s a tasty addition to homemade pickles, marinades, and salad dressing, but is it also good for you?

As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from the flu to warts. Many of its supposed benefits are unproven, but some experts think that adding a little of this sour liquid to your life may have some health benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss

Have you heard that apple cider vinegar will help you lose weight?

The only study to test the idea in people was done in Japan. In the study, 175 obese but healthy people took either vinegar or water daily for 12 weeks. Their diets were similar. They kept food journals. At the end of the study, those who used vinegar had lost slightly more weight. On average, the vinegar group lost 1-2 pounds over the 3-month period. They gained it all back after the study was over.

The researchers suggest that vinegar may turn on certain genes involved in breaking down fats.

The effect is probably very subtle, says Chicago dietitian Debbie Davis, RD. “It may have some benefits in terms of weight loss and weight management, but it is definitely not a quick fix."

If you want to lose weight, you’ll still need to exercise and practice portion control.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Sugar

While apple cider vinegar probably won’t make you skinny, it does appear to help with diabetes and blood sugar control.

Carol Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program. She has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications.

“Apple cider vinegar’s anti-glycemic effect is very well documented,” Johnston says.

She explains that the vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch. “It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it definitely prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar,” Johnston says.

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