If you are consistently drinking apple cider vinegar in the hopes of miraculously dropping two sizes, you might want to re-think your diet plan. If apple cider vinegar is replacing a calorie-bomb condiment like mayo, then it may help you lose some weight, said Leslie Bonci, R.D., the owner of Active Eating Advice. But that is with all kinds of vinegar, not just with apple cider vinegar, and unfortunately, there is not much evidence backing the claims of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits.
However, if you are still insistent on experiencing for yourself what apple cider vinegar is all about, adding a daily dose of it to your diet is not dangerous at all. Here are five things you can (and can’t) expect to happen to your body, said Bonci.
5. Your Immune System May Get Worse
Evidence has shown that probiotics and healthy gut bacteria help strengthen the immune system. Apple cider vinegar is a fermented liquid, and fermentation holds probiotic properties, so that means it could boost your immune system, right? Not exactly, said Bonci. Fermented foods can help increase good bacteria in your gut, she said, and some–like sauerkraut–do come in a vinegar base. Except the vinegar alone isn’t going to provide the necessary probiotics your body needs to make a difference to your immune system. Bonci adds that if you drink too much apple cider vinegar, you could flush out other nutrients from your body, which is bad for your immune system.
4. You May Feel Extremely Weak
If you are looking to consume more apple cider vinegar, Bonci suggests having vinegar as part of a meal that also incorporates vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, ideally as a replacement for heavier dressing or seasoning. This way, your body will still get the nutrients it needs, ensuring that you do not feel overly weak or fatigued, and you will save yourself a few calories.
3. You Could Lose Weight–But Only Temporarily
The weight you’ve lost is considered to be primarily water weight, said Bonci. “So when you replace that water, your weight will come back on.” If you do happen to slim down while on an apple cider vinegar diet, it would be in a way very similar to crash and fad diets, so that rapid weight loss may end up slowing your metabolism and making it harder to shed pounds in the future, said Bonci.
2. Your Appetite Might Increase
Although apple cider vinegar is thought to be an appetite suppressant, it can make you hungrier because vinegar is so low in calories and is diluted in water, said Bonci. “You feel full for the moment that you’re having it because you’ve just consumed a gallon of water, but when you pee that out, you’re going to be hungrier, sooner,” said Bonci.
1. You Could Have Serious Stomach Issues
“Because vinegar is acidic, some people don’t tolerate it all that well,” said Bonci. Although not everyone will experience these side effects, there are those who will. If you have ulcerative colitis, inflammation in the digestive tract, or are just prone to stomachaches; you might want to steer clear of apple cider vinegar.Related: 13 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Bottom line? Bonci says that vinegar of any type is a great way to add flavor to food without increasing its caloric value. But don’t view it as a magic potion or expect a major transformation.