Drinking pickle Juice for Weight Loss? That might sound like a bad joke, but it’s actually something people are trying. The trend of drinking pickle juice for weight loss has been all over the news. Between 2015-2017, you may have seen celebrities and athletes talk about their consumption of pickle juice. You’ve most likely stumbled across many social media memes about drinking pickle juice for weight loss. Many people claim that drinking pickle juice is a natural remedy to control weight gain and reduce bloating.
Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice
Next time you open a jar of crunchy pickles, save the juice! Maybe you’ve always loved that mouth-watering pucker. Or, maybe the thought of drinking straight pickle juice sounds unappetizing. Whether you love it or hate it, pickle juice may be good for your health.
“Pickle juice does have some benefits, but it really depends. The type of pickle juice matters. So does the health benefit you’re looking to gain,” says functional medicine dietitian Camille Skoda, RDN, LD, IFNCP. “A jar that’s full of dyes and preservatives won’t give you those benefits.”
Skoda gives six ways pickle juice is good for you and how to reap the benefits.
1. Pickle juice contains probiotics
Naturally fermented pickles — and their juice — contain helpful microorganisms called probiotics. Probiotics are live, microscopic bacteria and yeasts that you can also find in:
“Your gut contains many bacteria species that are beneficial for metabolism, overall health, digestion and fighting sicknesses. They’re also linked to less anxiety, depression and better mood,” explains Skoda.
Probiotics can help keep your good gut bacteria in balance. People eat probiotics for these benefits, especially to aid digestion.
Skoda says you can find probiotics in refrigerated pickles that are not vinegar-based. They should be fermented naturally in water using salt and spices.
“To get these benefits, try eating a pickle a day. But keep in mind that everybody tolerates probiotics differently. So if you’re drinking pickle juice for the probiotics, start with a small amount,” Skoda recommends. “And don’t drink so much that you overdo it on the sodium.”
2. Pickle juice can help you recover after exercise
Electrolytes help maintain the fluid balance in your body and keep all systems firing. But when you sweat, you risk losing too many. The antidote?
“Pickle juice contains electrolytes in the form of a lot of sodium and some potassium and magnesium. That’s why you can use it as a natural electrolyte,” says Skoda. “It can help to rehydrate after exercise.”
To get the most benefit, Skoda says to choose a vinegar-based pickle without yellow dye and preservatives. Using pickle juice as an electrolyte may work well for people who:
- Have a chronic condition that requires you to take in more sodium.
- Don’t get enough sodium in their diet.
But using pickle juice as your go-to recovery drink isn’t for everyone. “The recommendation is to have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. And 3 ounces of pickle juice gives you 900 mg right there, depending on the brand,” she says. “You can find electrolyte supplements that only have 150 mg of sodium and more potassium and magnesium instead.”
3. Pickle juice can help blood sugar regulation
Studies show that vinegar can help prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar. That’s a check in the win column for vinegar-based pickle juices. “You would also see the same benefits from vinegar-based salad dressings and apple cider vinegar,” adds Skoda.
4. Pickle juice may support weight loss
The research gets a little murkier when it comes to pickle juice’s effects on weight loss. But it’s also less about the pickles and more about vinegar.
“Pickle juice could help curb your appetite by stabilizing blood sugar. It’s easier to lose weight and control appetite when your blood sugar’s stable,” says Skoda. “And if you’re drinking pickle juice for the probiotic benefit, improving digestion and metabolism could definitely help you lose weight.”
5. Drinking pickle juice for a hangover may help you feel better
Drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate you. Electrolytes can help reduce some of those effects, says Skoda. “Drinking pickle juice as a hangover cure can help if it’s the electrolyte you choose.”
Reasons It’s All the Rage
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At first, drinking pickle juice might sound kind of gross. But there are several reasons to consider it.
Athletes have been sipping this briny beverage for years. Experts didn’t know all the reasons why pickle juice was good to drink after exercising. They just knew that it seemed to help relieve cramps.
They were right. It appears to help with muscle cramps, plus more. Here’s a look at 10 healthy benefits of drinking pickle juice.
1. It soothes muscle cramps
Dehydrated men experienced faster relief from muscle cramps after drinking pickle juice, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
About 1/3 cup of pickle juice is all it took to have this effect. Pickle juice relieved cramps more than drinking the same amount of water. It also helped more than drinking nothing at all.
This could be because the vinegar in pickle juice may help with rapid pain relief. Vinegar may help stop nerve signals that make tired muscles cramp.
2. It helps you stay hydrated
For most people, drinking water for hydration after a workout is fine. Water is probably all you need if you’re exercising moderately or for an hour or less.
But it’s a different story if you’re exercising hard, exercising for longer than an hour at a time, or exercising in hot climates.
Drinking something with sodium and potassium can help you get hydrated faster. Sodium is an electrolyte that you lose when you sweat. Potassium is another electrolyte lost in sweat.
Pickle juice contains a lot of sodium. It also has some potassium. After a sweaty or lengthy exercise session, sipping some pickle juice can help your body recover to its normal electrolyte levels more quickly.
Watching your sodium intake or on a low-sodium diet? Be sure to check with your doctor and dietitian about pickle juice before drinking it.
3. It’s a fat-free recovery aid
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably not too psyched about consuming high-calorie sports drinks.
It’s still a good plan to replace lost electrolytes after exercising hard, for a long time, or in hot weather. Plus, if your muscles are cramping, you’ll probably want relief as fast as possible.
Pickle juice to the rescue! Pickle juice contains no fat, but it can have some calories. It can have anywhere from zero to 100 calories per 1-cup serving. The amount of calories depends on what’s in the pickling solution.
4. It won’t bust your budget
If you already eat pickles regularly, you don’t have to spend money on sports drinks. Even if you don’t eat pickles, you can still choose pickle juice as a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive workout beverages.
You can also buy commercially prepared pickle juices marketed as sports drinks. They cost more than drinking what’s left in your pickle jar when all the pickles are gone. The upside is that you’ll know from reading the nutrition label what you’re getting in each serving.
5. It contains antioxidants
Pickle juice has significant amounts of vitamins C and E, two key antioxidants. Antioxidants help shield your body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Everyone gets exposed to free radicals, so having plenty of antioxidants in your diet is a good idea.
Vitamins C and E also help boost your immune system function, among other roles they play in your body.
6. It may support your weight loss efforts
Pickle juice contains lots of vinegar. Consuming a little bit of vinegar every day may help you lose weight, as reported in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.
After 12 weeks, study participants who had consumed either about 1/2 ounce or 1 ounce of vinegar daily had lost more weight and fat than those who hadn’t consumed any vinegar.
7. It helps control blood sugar levels
A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research showed the effects of consuming a small serving of vinegar before a meal. The vinegar helped regulate blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and obese.
Well-regulated blood sugar levels help keep you healthy. Lots of people have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. Unregulated blood sugar can cause serious health problems such as blindness, heart damage, and kidney damage.
Major Side Effect of Drinking Pickle Juice,
There’s no plain way to put it: pickle juice is divisive. You either avoid it at all costs or chug it straight from the jar after the final spear is eaten. These days, though, the greenish liquid is more than just a leftover pro or con. No matter how you personally perceive pickle juice, the marketplace is catching on, and slowly but surely, pickle juice-based products are finding their way to shelves.
Yes, you can now get wellness shots, sports drinks, and of course, mixers that center around the juice. You might not have even realized you wanted these yet—we certainly didn’t—but you can buy them. Amidst all the pickle hullabaloo, we spoke with experts to find out: is drinking pickle juice even good for you in the first place?
According to our assembly of nutritionists and dietitians, not really. If you over-indulge in this emerging fad, the number one side effect you’ll likely notice is .
“Pickle juice is rich in sodium,” explained nutritionist Hiba Batool. “This causes water retention and bloating.”
“On a more serious note,” chimed in nutritionist Niyla Carson, “it is not advisable for people who are on the watch when it comes to their sodium intake, particularly those that are at risk for hypertension.”
Overall, our experts agreed that while pickle juice can be good for gut health, ultimately the drink presents more risk than it is worth. Especially for those already struggling with stomach sensitivities, or looking to lose a couple of pounds, pickle juice is not the move.
“Drinking pickle juice isn’t a good choice for people with high blood pressure, kidney, stomach, and heart problems,” specified Amber O’Brien, RD. “For these people, pickle juice can cause several side effects. One of these side effects is aggravating the condition of stomach ulcers. Drinking pickle juice can result in severe pain and discomfort for a person who has a stomach ulcer since pickles are an acidic food.”
Stomach pain aside, the weight-loss factor may be enough of a deterrent to make you think twice before gulping down the jar’s remains. Batool says that “hampered weight loss” is not just a side effect of pickle juice, but a common one at that.
“Excessive sodium can prevent weight loss in people already struggling to lose weight,” she concluded.
So, as the pickle juice trend continues to promise muscle cramp relief, better gut health, and magic hangover recovery, be wary—the liquid’s high sodium content could void all those health hacks.
Can Drinking Pickle Juice Help You Lose Weight?
Not really. Despite all the above-mentioned benefits of this drink, pickle juice will not help you lose weight. The theory of pickle juice and apple cider vinegar for weight loss, perhaps comes from the recent use of vinegar for weight loss by many on social media. While some studies show that ACV can help with weight loss – especially in regards to satiety – other studies disagree with these findings.
ACV aside, we must remember that pickle juice is usually rich in sodium – which while fine in small amounts, can be incredibly detrimental in large quantities. Too much salt in your diet has been linked to long term effects such as enlarged heart muscle, headaches, heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and stroke
Long term side effects aside, too much salt in pickle juice can also cause water retention and bloating. For people who suffer from stomach ulcers, attempting to use pickle juice for weight loss is also not recommended as the acidity of the liquid can aggravate your ulcers causing pain and discomfort.
What Is The Pickle Diet?
Like the ramen diet, military diet, kimchi diet, etc. the pickle diet is another popularized fad weight loss diet that promises to help you lose weight by only eating one type of food for a week – or even up to 30 days at most.
This diet is said to have first begun in the 1900s where a newspaper article encouraged women everywhere to only eat pickles to help them remain ‘stylish and elegant’. Not only were these claims absolutely not backed by science, but consuming nothing but pickles is not only not stylish or elegant, but will most likely land you in a hospital.
Remember that while pickles may be low in calories, eating one type of food for an extended period of time is not healthy for you for the following reasons
- We all need to consume a balanced diet to survive – even weight loss calls for a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Pickles do not have any protein or healthy fats and only have very little carbs
- Too low in calories – We all know that the quickest tip to weight loss is to eat at a calorie deficit. But, if you eat too few calories per day, your body goes into starvation mode where instead of losing fat, it holds on to it as it thinks that you might be dying. Which means that you’ll just starve yourself and not end up losing any weight.
- Too high in sodium – Salt is an essential part of the pickling/brining process. Not only can consuming too much salt on your daily diet lead to high blood pressure, but for people already dealing with this illness, a pickle diet could be life threatening.
- Variations of the pickle diet such as the egg and pickle or the spam and pickle diet are still not ideal weight loss meal plans. On one hand, while eggs are a great source of healthy fats and protein, too much egg consumption has been linked to a high risk of dietary cholesterol Spam is also not healthy for you. This is a form of processed meat that is very high in fat, calories and sodium and low in important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals