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Apple Cider Vinegar is NOT Likely to Increase Your Metabolic Rate

Posted on May 17th, 2012 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), as well as other types of vinegars do have some potential health promoting benefits when used regularly and in the proper quantity (Johnston et al; Ostman et al). But vinegar, whatever type, is NOT likely to increase your metabolic rate, i.e., make you burn more calories in a day.

It is likely you have heard of apple cider vinegar, as it is a very popular item in health food stores due to the many health and weight management benefits ascribed to it by many “health experts,” most noteably the Braggs. Recently, I came across another glowing recommendation for the use of ACV from the Tone It Up Fat Burning System by Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn. I recently highlighted some of their bullshit HERE and will highlight a bit more of it now, so put on your hip waders as we will be up to our waist in poo.

Here is their second most important “Tone It Up Fat Burning Secrets” (I guess its not a secret anymore)

from page 9;

#2 Tone It Up Metabolism

This is our daily Metabolism Boosting Drink… Meta-D for short :) Have

it after your morning walk with Meal 1 or Meal 2. It’s most effective early in the day!

Mix the following ingredients together in a shaker:

• 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

• 6 ounces of water

• 2 ounces of no sugar added, all natural apple juice

• 1 small shake of cayenne pepper

• 2 shakes of cinnamon

Your apple cider vinegar is important to keep your pH levels constant and balance your alkalinity state. If you drink coffee or wine, your Meta-D is extremely important. Cinnamon has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and it has anti-clotting effects on your blood. It also helps to maintain blood sugar levels, keeping your appetite under control. This mixture also contains antioxidants, which helps prevent oxidative damage, aids in digestion, increases your metabolism and improves functions in your urogenital area. It provides better circulation by dilating blood vessels which increases the blood flow to major organs throughout the body and aids in the absorption of valuable nutrients from food that your body needs to be strong, lean and healthy!

It also raises your body temperature by stimulating your circulatory system. This

means you will burn more calories per day thereby increasing your metabolic rate.

Where to begin? First, a couple of good things. There is nothing bad about this drink and the ingredients do have the potential to be health promoting. However, only the apple cider vinegar is used in a quantity that will likely cause beneficial outcomes, such as a lowered glucose and insulin response to a meal and increased satiety (Johnston et al; Ostman et al).  If someone used this drink, which only has 26 calories from the apple juice, instead of a full glass of juice or other sugary beverage then it would be a good thing for health and probably weight loss. However, that’s not what they are saying. That’s it for the good stuff.

They call the drink “Metabolism Boosting Drink” and in fact they say “This means you will burn more calories per day thereby increasing your metabolic rate”(p.9). Any chance they have any references for this statement or for any of the other benefits of this drink? Not a chance. No references for anything they say.

There are three “important” ingredients in their drink, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Let’s look at vinegar first. The review papers I found on the subject do not mention anything about an increase in metabolic rate from the use of vinegar; I guess it is a secret. There seems to be only 1 study done on humans that tested if the use of vinegar would help with weight loss (Kondo et al). The results did show that the use of vinegar, a low-dose (1 tbs/day) and high-dose (2 tbs/day), divided into two servings, one in the morning and one in the evening, resulted in a loss of about 2lbs and 4lbs, respectively, in 12 weeks. But hold on, let’s not get to excited yet. First, the 2 and 4lb loss would equate to about 1/6lb and 1/3lb, respectively, per week. Second, the authors say nothing about a “metabolic boosting”effect. Third, the dietary control for the study was poor. Fourth, based on Table 3 (p.1840), there was a small decrease in caloric intake during the study that would account for much of the reported weight loss. Overall, even though this study found a very small decrease in weight it is not likely due to any metabolic boosting effects. One final thing regarding their statement “It’s [Meta-D] most effective early in the day” (p.9). They have no evidence for this, shocker! I find it funny that the one study that showed a possible benefit from the use of vinegar for weight loss had one of their servings in the evening. So, why the “effectiveness” disclaimer? I would love to see the Tone It Up girls produce some evidence for that one. Overall, there is currently no good evidence that using vinegar, whatever type, will boost your metabolism.

The next ingredient is cayenne pepper, the hot stuff. Cayenne pepper and particularly capsaicin, the major pungent component, has the potential to increase fat oxidation, overall metabolic rate, and decrease food intake (Lejeune et al; Smeets et al). Well that’s all good! However, there are two important caveats. First, the amount of change in the aforementioned aspects  are usually relatively small. Yet, over the long-term these could potentially be a useful adjunct for weight loss and weight maintenance. Second, the AMOUNTS used to elicit these positive changes are fairly substantial. If using cayenne powder, the dosages used in the research are typically 1 to 2 TABLESPOONS at a meal (Yoshioka et al). If using a capsaicin extract supplement, the dosages used range from 1.2 to 135 mg/day (Lejeune et al; Smeets et al; Diepvens et al). One recent paper concluded “Capsaicin has been shown to be effective, yet when it is used clinically, it requires a strong compliance to a certain dosage, which has net been shown to be feasible yet” (Diepvens et al, p.82). The point here is the amounts used to get any meaningful metabolic effect are far more than the “1 small shake of cayenne pepper” that the Tone It Up girls would have you believe.

The final ingredient is cinnamon. Yummy. There is no doubt that this is a very tasty spice and there is some good evidence that it can have a number of positive effects (Qin et al; Hlebowicz et al; Dugua et al). But, this is very important, the amounts used to elicit these types of benefits where substantially more than “2 shakes of cinnamon”. Additionally, much of the research used a cinnamon extract (Cinnulin PF), which is also very different from the “2 shakes”. In fact, the typical dosage of 500mg is equal to about 10 grams of cinnamon powder (Ziegenfuss et al). It is completely unjustified to associate the benefits from the extract to a couple of shakes of the cinnamon shaker. When it comes to “boosting” your metabolism, there is no evidence that the larger amounts, often 3 to 6 grams/day, or the cinnamon extract will have any affect on it (Dugoua et al; Qin et al). Therefore, “2 shakes” of cinnamon, although tasty, will NOT boost your metabolism nor will it cause the other beneficial responses attributed to the use of much higher doses of cinnamon.

The use of vinegar with meals, on the food or in a drink, is a tasty and inexpensive dietary habit that can have positive effects on blood sugar and appetite.  Also, the use of large amounts of cinnamon and cayenne or the extract forms of each (supplement) with meals can have some positive effects as well. Therefore, these substances, if used in the proper amounts, could be useful (although a relatively small effect) with weight management. However, I hope it is clear that drinking this drink (Meta-D) will NOT boost your metabolism and the Tone It Up girls have done an  excellent job in passing along more half-truths and just plain nonsense. Maybe before they say “It is all just science” (p.6) they will actually read and understand some “science”.



Dugoua, J.J. et al (2007). From type 2 diabetes to antioxidant activity: a systematic review of the safety and efficacy of common and cassia cinnamon bark. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 85

Diepvens, K. et al (2007). Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea. Am J Physiol Regul Comp Physiol; 292

Hlebowicz, J. et al (2007). Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. AmJ Clin Nutri; 85

Hlebowicz, J et al (2007). Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. BMC Gastroenterology; 7(26)

Johnston, C. & Gaas, C. (2006). Vinegar: Medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. Med Gen Med; 8(2): 61

Kondo, T. et al (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglycerides levels in obese Japanese subjects. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem; 73(8)

Hotness (2012). I am good looking so I don’t need any references. HaHa, just seeing if anyone even looks at these.

Lejeune, M. et al (2003). Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr; 90

Ostman, E. et al (2005). Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Euro J Clin Nutr; 59

Smeets, A. et al (2009). The acute effects of a lunch containing capsaicin on energy and substrate utilisation, hormones, and satiety. Eur J Clin Nutr; 48

Qin, B. et al (2010). Cinnamon: Potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Sci Technol; 4(3)

Yoshioka, M. et al (1999). Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr; 82.

Ziegenfuss, T. et al (2006). Effect of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on body composition and features of the metabolic syndrome in pre-diabetic men and women. J Inter Society Sports Nutr. 3(2).

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19 Responses to “Apple Cider Vinegar is NOT Likely to Increase Your Metabolic Rate”

  1. Chris says:

    Interesting. thanks so much for continuing to bring critical thinking to the diet industry.

    I drink a concoction with ACV in it most days. But I have no notions that it increases my metabolism. I use 1T in a liter of water with a few drops of stevia, makes the water tastier, and I hope has some other positive benefits, but as I said, higher metabolism is not one I expect.

    I think the “increases metabolism” is so popular for weight loss gurus because it is hard to measure on yourself and it is so often what people who have been unsuccessful at dieting assume is wrong with them…ie. I just have a really slow metabolism.

    Thanks again, for evaluating the science.

    • Storm says:

      J’ai suivi le mode d’emploi, mais sans succès:Quand je demande l&;oeuorqxécutisn du fichier import.rb avec ruby la fenêtre s’ouvre une fraction de seconde et disparaît. Même comportement sous W7 et sous XP.Une idée?

  2. Chris says:

    p.s.after a thorough internet search, I could not find the complete article from “Hotness (2012)” I have to question its validity.

  3. [...] levels” thing in a couple of places. First, we have to thank our Tone It Up girls (see HERE and HERE for more about their other recommendations, I mean bullshit) for the following [...]

  4. Luann says:

    It is interesting that the cayenne and cinnamon perked my ears up more from an herbalist/medicinal perspective. Cayenne is a vasodilator and can actually help heal ulcers in the early stages—if you let them go too long search medical attention. Used topically, it increases blood flow to the skin which helps with pain relief and healing superficial wounds. I might add topically, either internal or external, not what the Tone Up girls claim. On an anecdotal note, if my husband goes too long without eating hot sauce, he ends up with heart burn. The funny part is that he is totally Irish, yep, crisps in the sun if he is out longer than 15 minutes, but can eat hot sauce that would melt the fillings out of a normal person’s mouth, including mine, so I think at least he meets to minimum requirement!

    Cinnamon is an anesthetic, counter-irritant and mildly anti-spasmodic besides being totally yummy! I have used both cinnamon and cayenne to boost gastrointestinal health for people who are having problems with digestion. I need to dig up the Ziegenfuss paper since how I use cinnamon is in a tincture, alcohol soluble not water, which make me wonder if there are different constituents in play here. With a cinnamon tincture you need to add at least 5% glycerin to keep it from precipitating which renders it less effective than if everything remains in solution.

    Now the crap that the Tone Up girls posted; I must start with the statement “it has been proven” without any documentation makes my skin crawl!!!!

    “Your apple cider vinegar is important to keep your pH levels constant and balance your alkalinity state.” Ummmm, the blood is alkaline and has to remain alkaline to maintain the correct negative charge so nutrients and wastes can be transported back and forth across the cell walls. It is why meth-heads lose their teeth and have skin ulcers because they don’t sleep which is when the liver and kidneys to their magic to cleanse the blood of excess metabolic acids. OK, I could go on and on but won’t at this point. What these women are preaching is not only wrong, but dangerous to a body’s overall health.

    Thanks again for making science and evidence the most important part of any “claim”!

  5. [...] did some research and stumbled upon this article. They claim that “Apple Cider Vinegar is NOT Likely to Increase Your Metabolic Rate” [...]

  6. lizzy says:

    As a Tone It Up fan, I am very thankful that I stumbled upon this article.
    Is what they’re publishing legal? False advertizing?

    –I will still follow their blog, but with an awareness!

  7. Kitty says:

    Well, I thought it did… but apparently not.

  8. […]  usually with NO quality evidence in support it (see Slow Burn, Skinny Bitches, and the Tone It Up girls for examples). We feel compelled to point this shit out because it is so blatantly wrong and […]

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