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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Secret shopper: Will apple cider vinegar help me with weight loss?

Getty Images Secret shopper: Will apple cider vinegar help me with weight loss?
Apple cider vinegar's possible role in weight management is a hot topic right now. Get more information about what your employees need to know.

Though apple cider vinegar has been a natural products store staple for decades, it’s getting big buzz right now, especially for its prospective role in weight management. Knowing that more consumers are asking whether ACV is legit or just hype, we sent our secret shopper into a natural foods co-op in California to see what the retailer knew.

Natural Foods Merchandiser: Can apple cider vinegar help me lose weight?

Retailer: You know, some people swear by it while others say it doesn’t do anything for them. I think it can be helpful for weight loss, but never on its own. You still have to eat right and exercise.

NFM: Do you know how it potentially benefits weight management?

Retailer: I don’t know exactly. I think the research on it is pretty spotty.

NFM: How do apple cider vinegar gummies compare to the liquid? 

Retailer: Well, they sure taste better! But if they are more or less effective, I’m not sure. I’d bet they’re less effective, though, since they’re not as potent.

How did this retailer do?

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, registered dietitian and consultant in greater Dallas-Fort Worth, TexasOur expert educator: Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, registered dietitian and consultant in greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Kudos to this retailer! They really got it right by saying ACV “can be helpful for weight loss, but never on its own.” There is no magic bullet for weight loss; it’s typically diet plus exercise, and then sometimes certain supplements help. If a person started eating better, exercising and taking a supplement like ACV, and then they lost weight, which one caused the result? Many people credit the supplement, but as a registered dietitian, I’d argue it’s more the combination of diet and exercise. The supplement may not hurt, but it likely is not the main cause.

When it comes to ACV, it does have various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. There are several animal studies that suggest the acetic acid found in ACV may be beneficial for weight loss by lowering blood sugar, decreasing insulin, improving metabolism, reducing fat storage, burning fat and suppressing appetite. However, human studies are limited and generally small in sample size, and there is no solid research to support this weight loss can be sustained long-term. Although ACV may show some promise for temporary weight management, it is still advised to achieve primary weight loss through healthy diet and lifestyle.

And unfortunately, while ACV gummies are convenient and delicious, they don’t contain nearly as much apple cider vinegar as their liquid counterpart. So, if you want to get the potential benefits of ACV, hold your nose and take it like a shot!

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