Cleansing diets and juicing have popularized certain foods as "silver bullets" for weight loss. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) mixed with water has been touted as an appetite suppressant that helps dieters snack less, and eat moderately sized portions of food. But, is this just another fad diet, or can drinking ACV lead to weight loss?

ACV And Weight Loss

The "magic elixir" has been used for centuries as a versatile ingredient with a wide-range of uses for the body, including an anti-microbial and antifungal agent that increases immunity and weight loss, among other uses. Previous research has found sipping on ACV has been associated with lower body weight, body mass index (BMI), weight circumference, and serum triglycerides (fat found in blood). Obese adults who consumed a beverage containing one or two tablespoons of vinegar every day lost two to four pounds after 12 weeks.

ACV Ingredients

Apple cider vinegar is "rich in vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes," Monica Amsterdam, Director of Nutrition at the Medical and Wellness Center in N.J., told Medical Daily.

Beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium are nutrients that remain after apples are fermented into vinegar, giving it its antioxidant power. Antioxidants in vinegar, such as catechin, gallic acid, caffeic, and chlorogenic acids help keep the body healthy and running smoothly. The acetic acid in ACV increases the body's absorption of important minerals from the food you eat. Moreover, the acetic acid helps to suppress your appetite, increasing metabolism and reducing water retention, helping you shed the pounds.

The “Mother” In ACV

Rebecca Lee, a registered nurse in New York and founder of the natural health resource, RemediesForMe.com, notes the weight loss benefits of ACV come from the "mother."

"[T]he “mother” strands of protein in organic ACV consists of cellulose and acetic acid. These protein strands contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that give the organic unfiltered vinegar its cloudy and cobweb-like appearance," Lee told Medical Daily.

Therefore, when looking for the best type of vinegar, she advises to make sure it is "organic, raw, and contains "mother."

Drinking ACV

ACV should always be diluted with a large glass of water; 8 to 10 ounces. To get herself started, Lee dilutes a large glass of water with 1 small teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Then, she increases the amount of vinegar to two teaspoons after she gets used to it.

"After a few months, I was up to 2 tablespoons. Make sure you dilute the vinegar in a lot of water” she said.

You can drink vinegar everyday, but Lee advises dieters to not exceed more than 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.

Fasting With Vinegar And Water

Vinegar and water as the main source of nutrients in your diet could be detrimental to your health. In a 2012 study in the journal Cell Metabolism, two groups of mice were fed high-fat diets: the first group was allowed to eat throughout the day, while the second group was restricted to eating only during eight hours per day, which meant they fasted the other 16 hours. After 100 days, the free-feeding mice had gained weight, while the restricted-feeding mice weighed 28 percent less.

Though successful, this type of dieting goes against guidelines for good nutrition; ACV should not be done as intermittent fasting. Consuming only vinegar and water and not getting enough calories are associated with several risks. Symptoms include: fatigue, loss of taste, intolerance to cold, muscle wasting, discoloration of the skin, rashes, mouth sores, hair loss, vision problems, numbness and depression.

Drinking two tablespoons a day of ACV is sufficient to help you absorb beneficial nutrients, boost your metabolism, and help you shed the pounds and inches along with a healthy, well-balanced diet.