Apple cider vinegar is known for its potential appetite-suppressing and fat-burning properties, while kefir, a fermented milk drink, is rich in probiotics that may support a healthy gut and weight management. Both have potential benefits for managing weight, though it’s important to understand that sustainable weight loss requires a holistic approach that includes a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
In this article, you will venture into the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar vs kefir for weight loss and see which one can be best suitable for you as well as how it may contribute to a healthy weight management plan.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been favored to be great for weight loss for many years. It is made by fermenting apple cider with bacteria and yeast, which turns the sugars in the cider into acetic acid. This acetic acid is believed to have many health benefits, including weight loss.
The acetic acid content has been shown to improve metabolism, leading to a higher calorie burn throughout the day1. ACV also contains enzymes that can help break down and digest fats, which may reduce the accumulation of fat in the body2,3.
Studies have also shown that ACV may help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity4,5. When blood sugar levels are stable, your body is better able to burn fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss.
Additionally, ACV may help to suppress appetite and reduce cravings6. This can lead to a reduction in calorie intake, which is essential for weight loss.
Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar offers a range of potential health benefits. These include:
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
ACV has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes7.
The acetic acid in ACV can help increase the production of stomach acid, which aids in digestion and can help prevent indigestion8,9.
ACV may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases10.
Aids Weight Loss
As explained earlier, ACV can aid in weight loss by reducing fat storage, increasing metabolism, and suppressing appetite.
ACV contains beneficial acids and antioxidants that can help boost the immune system and protect the body from harmful pathogens3.
ACV has been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease11,12.
Promotes Heart Health
By improving blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, and lowering cholesterol levels, ACV can promote overall heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease13,14.
Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar has many potential health benefits, it can also cause some side effects, especially if taken in large amounts. Here are some potential side effects of ACV:
The acetic acid in ACV can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental problems like sensitivity and cavities15,16.
ACV can cause digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea, and indigestion, especially when consumed in large amounts16.
Interaction With Medications
ACV can interact with certain medications, including insulin, diuretics, and some heart medications, potentially causing adverse effects17.
Low Potassium Levels
Consuming large amounts of ACV may lead to low levels of potassium in the body, which can cause weakness, fatigue, and muscle cramps18.
Direct application of ACV to the skin can cause irritation and burns, especially for people with sensitive skin16.
Kefir For Weight Loss
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that has been consumed for centuries. It is made by introducing water kefir grains, which is a combination of bacteria and yeast, into milk. The grains contain a symbiotic culture of beneficial microorganisms, including lactic acid bacteria and yeast, which initiate the fermentation process19.
As a result, kefir becomes a rich source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria supporting a healthy gut microbiome. The presence of a balanced gut microbiome has been linked to weight management, as it can enhance digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and influence metabolic processes. Therefore, incorporating kefir into your diet can potentially contribute to your weight loss efforts by promoting a healthy gut environment and optimizing your body’s utilization of nutrients.
Kefir is a beverage that is often likened to the taste and texture of drinkable yogurt. It is easily digested by individuals with lactose intolerance20 and is commonly used as an ingredient in smoothies. Kefir offers a multitude of advantages, such as decreasing inflammation markers21 and supporting bone health.
Health Benefits Of Kefir
Kefir offers several potential benefits due to its unique nutritional profile and probiotic content that is beneficial for the digestive system and gut health. While individual experiences may vary, here are some commonly reported benefits of consuming kefir:
Kefir is a potent source of probiotic strains from bacteria and yeasts, which are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome. These probiotic organisms can help maintain a balanced intestinal environment and promote digestive health22.
The probiotics in kefir may aid in digestion by enhancing the breakdown of lactose (milk sugar) and promoting the absorption of nutrients. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with lactose intolerance23.
Enhanced Immune Function
The probiotics found in kefir have been associated with strengthening the immune system. They may help stimulate the production of immune cells and support the body’s natural defense mechanisms24.
Some studies suggest that kefir consumption may help reduce inflammatory markers in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, so managing inflammation levels can be beneficial for overall well-being25.
Improved Bone Health
Kefir is a good source of calcium and vitamin K2, both of which are important for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Regular consumption of kefir may contribute to bone health and potentially reduce the risk of osteoporosis26.
Kefir is rich in vitamins (such as B vitamins) and minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), making it a nutrient-dense beverage that can support overall nutritional needs27. Kefir is also a good source of protein, which is known to increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite. Including protein-rich foods in your diet can help you control your calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.
Side Effects Of Kefir
Kefir is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects that can occur in certain individuals. Here are a few possible side effects of kefir:
If you have a milk allergy, it is advisable to refrain from consuming kefir as it can potentially trigger severe allergic reactions. Kefir can be prepared using non-dairy alternatives like rice milk, which are safe for individuals with milk allergies. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before making any dietary changes, especially if you have food intolerances28,29.
Risk Of Diabetes
While some studies suggest that kefir may have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, certain types of kefir, particularly those with added fruit flavors, can contain high amounts of added sugar. It is important for individuals with diabetes to read labels and assess the sugar content of kefir before consuming it29.
Risk Of Infection
If you are undergoing cancer treatment or any other treatment that suppresses the immune system, it is recommended to avoid consuming kefir. The presence of microorganisms in kefir can pose a risk of infection or sepsis in individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with cancer or suppressed immunity29.
Alcohol can naturally form during the fermentation process of kefir. Although the alcohol content in kefir is typically less than one percent, it is important for children and individuals who are sensitive to alcohol or in recovery to be aware of this. Some kefir brands explicitly state that their product is alcohol-free29.
Apple Cider Vinegar vs Kefir For Weight Loss
When comparing kefir and apple cider vinegar for weight loss, here’s how they fare in terms of specific factors:
1. Lower Calorie: Kefir tends to have a higher calorie content compared to ACV. ACV is very low in calories, while kefir, especially if it is made with milk, can contain more calories due to its protein and fat content. However, the calorie difference may not be significant enough to impact weight loss when consumed in moderation.
2. Nutrient Absorption: Kefir, being a fermented dairy product, contains probiotics that can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. These beneficial bacteria may support gut health and potentially improve digestion. ACV, on the other hand, is often associated with acetic acid content. As the main component of ACV, the acetic acid may have effects on digestion and blood sugar control. It’s important to note that the effects of kefir and ACV on nutrient absorption can differ from person to person.
3. Stomach Friendly: Kefir is often considered more stomach-friendly due to its probiotic content. The probiotics in kefir can support a healthy gut microbiome and improve digestion, which may help alleviate digestive issues. ACV, when consumed in excessive amounts or on an empty stomach, can potentially cause stomach irritation or acid reflux in some individuals.
4. Better For Teeth: ACV has acidic properties and prolonged or undiluted consumption may have a negative impact on tooth enamel. It is recommended to dilute ACV or rinse the mouth with water after consuming it to minimize potential dental issues. Kefir, on the other hand, does not have the same acidic properties and is not known to have a detrimental effect on teeth.
5. Less Allergic: Kefir may pose a higher risk of triggering allergies or intolerances compared to ACV. Kefir is typically made from milk, and individuals with milk allergies or lactose intolerance may experience adverse reactions. ACV, being derived from apples, is generally considered safe for individuals with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
Remember, weight loss is a complex process influenced by multiple factors, and the effects of kefir and ACV on weight loss can vary among individuals. It’s important to incorporate them as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, rather than relying solely on them for weight loss. Consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your specific needs and health considerations.
In conclusion, both apple cider vinegar and kefir have been associated with potential benefits for weight loss, but the evidence supporting their direct effects is limited. Apple cider vinegar may help increase feelings of fullness and improve blood sugar control, while kefir’s probiotic content and nutrient profile can support a healthy gut and overall nutrition.
However, it’s important to remember that sustainable weight loss requires a combination of factors, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and overall calorie control. Before eating fermented foods and drinks into your weight loss regimen, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your individual needs and goals.
1 Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Sarkaki AR, Jalali MT, Latifi SM. Apple cider vinegar attenuates lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats. Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Dec 1;11(23):2634-8. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.2634.2638. PMID: 19630216.
2 Johnston CS, Kim CM, Buller AJ. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):281-2. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.1.281. PMID: 14694010.
5 Cobb KM, Chavez DA, Kenyon JD, Hutelin Z, Webster MJ. Acetic Acid Supplementation: Effect on Resting and Exercise Energy Expenditure and Substrate Utilization. Int J Exerc Sci. 2021 Apr 1;14(2):222-229. PMID: 34055150; PMCID: PMC8136602.
6 Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., & Kaga, T. (2009, May 26). Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; American Chemical Society. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf900470c
10 Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602197. PMID: 16015276.
11 LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides | cdc.gov. (2022, October 24). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm#:~:text=LDL%20(low%2Ddensity%20 lipoprotein),for%20heart%20disease%20and%20stroke.
12 Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga T. Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. doi: 10.1271/bbb.90231. Epub 2009 Aug 7. PMID: 19661687.
13 Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Stroke. (2023, February 28). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
14 Fight Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Disease. (2022, November 1). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/fight-inflammation-to-help-prevent-heart-disease
15 Willershausen I, Weyer V, Schulte D, Lampe F, Buhre S, Willershausen B. In vitro study on dental erosion caused by different vinegar varieties using an electron microprobe. Clin Lab. 2014;60(5):783-90. doi: 10.7754/clin.lab.2013.130528. PMID: 24839821.
20 Hertzler, S. R., & Clancy, S. M. (2003). Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(5), 582–587. https://doi.org/10.1053/jada.2003.50111
21 Tu, M. Y., Chen, H. L., Tung, Y. T., Kao, C. C., Hu, F. C., & Chen, C. M. (2015). Short-Term Effects of Kefir-Fermented Milk Consumption on Bone Mineral Density and Bone Metabolism in a Randomized Clinical Trial of Osteoporotic Patients. PloS one, 10(12), e0144231. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144231
22 de Oliveira Leite, A. M., Miguel, M. A., Peixoto, R. S., Rosado, A. S., Silva, J. T., & Paschoalin, V. M. (2013). Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage. Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology], 44(2), 341–349. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822013000200001
26 Chen, H. L., Tung, Y. T., Chuang, C. H., Tu, M. Y., Tsai, T. C., Chang, S. Y., & Chen, C. M. (2015). Kefir improves bone mass and microarchitecture in an ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA, 26(2), 589–599. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-014-2908-x
27 Azizi, N. F., Kumar, M. R., Yeap, S. K., Abdullah, J. O., Khalid, M., Omar, A. R., Osman, M. A., Mortadza, S. A. S., & Alitheen, N. B. (2021). Kefir and Its Biological Activities. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 10(6), 1210. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061210