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Could vinegar be the key to weight loss?

Heinz Vinegar bottles sit on the shelf of a grocery store. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

WASHINGTON — A 2009 study from Japan making the rounds on the Internet suggests a little vinegar taken before meals is an effective diet aid.

Obese adults who drank it daily in a beverage containing one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar lost two to four pounds over a 12-week period. A control group that ate the same diet, but without vinegar, lost none.

Some nutritionists have theorized that the vinegar kept blood sugars in check, but Dr. Domenica Rubino — head of the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research in Arlington, Virginia — just isn’t buying it.

She says there is no scientific evidence to back up the blood sugar theory. And she points to another rationale for the weight loss: Research conducted after the Japanese study that hinted drinking vinegar just made the participants queasy, cutting their desire for food.

“If you are going to be nauseous before your meal, of course you are probably going to eat less. But is that a good long-term strategy? Not really,” Rubino says.

This fad also has the potential to be dangerous when people take the “vinegar diet” to extremes, forgetting that vinegar is extremely acidic.

Rubino cites the story of a 15-year-old girl who took to drinking vinegar before each meal and eroded the enamel on her teeth.

“These things actually are dangerous and I don’t think it is sensible to follow this,” she emphasizes.

Still, there is a place for vinegar in helping to keep weight in check. Green salad has been shown to be a great way for dieters to start a meal and help curb their appetite before the main course — and a little vinaigrette can’t hurt.

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