This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
You don’t have to look far for crazy sounding ideas for weight loss. One of these is drinking pickle juice. Is it good for weight loss?
At first drinking pickle juice to lose weight may sound like a ridiculous idea. There are however some potential benefits to pickle juice that can help weight loss in some situations.
There are however plenty of people that would get negatively affected by drinking pickle juice. Find out whether you should drink pickle juice for weight loss.
What is pickle juice made of?
Pickles are a kind of cucumbers pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for some time.
In theory you only need water, salt and cucumbers to make pickles. However, many manufacturers also add vinegar to the mix.
Pickle juice is the residue that the pickles are pickled in. So anytime you buy a jar of pickles you technically also buy pickle juice. There are even some brands that offer this drink on its own.
Pickle juice is basically mainly water, salt and vinegar. The ratio of these ingredients will vary from brand to brand.
Here is an example of the nutritionial values you can expect in 100 ml pickle juice (1):
- Sodium: 71% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Potassium: 3% of the DV
- Magnesium: 3% of the DV
- Calcium: 1% of the DV
3 reasons pickle juice can help you lose weight
Drinking pickle juice can actually help you lose weight because of a few reasons. As you will see the benefits of pickle juice for weight loss are not exclusive to this drink. You may even be able to get these benefits more from other foods and drinks.
1. Drinking water
The main ingredient of pickle juice is water. Drinking water has important benefits for weight loss.
First of all, drinking water actually increases your metabolism, the amount of calories you burn. Some studies estimate that this comes down to about 24 calories per 500 ml of water (2, 3, 4).
This amount will most likely not be enough to get you through your entire weight loss journey but it is a nice bonus.
Drinking water will also help you feel fuller. Hunger and cravings are common reasons why people fail to stick to their weight loss habits. Avoiding these can be very beneficial for your progress.
Because water is such a big part of pickle juice, you can expect similar calorie burning and satiety recuding effects from pickle juice.
2. Vinegar may benefit weight loss
Most pickle juices contain vinegar.
A study found that consuming a small amount of vinegar every day may benefit weight loss (5). Besides this one human study most of the other studies that show a connection between vinegar and weight loss use mice.
The weight loss effects of vinegar will most likely not be that big. That being said, small parts do add up.
It’s not entirely clear how much vinegar you can expect from pickle juice. Depending on the quantity this may or may not be that relevant to the pickle juice choose.
3. Can help with muscle cramps
Pickle contains a large amount of salt. Depending on your current diet and lifestyle habits that can be a benefit or a disadvantage.
Your muscles need salt, potassium and other electrolytes to function properly. Without adequate amounts, you get muscle cramps. Some athletes drink pickle juice for this reason.
If you lack sodium in your diet pickle juice can indirectly help weight loss by allowing you to exercise more and more intensely. It can also help you avoid waking up with muscle cramps. Good sleep is very important for weight loss.
The thing is that most people already consume enough salt. Too much salt, and thus pickle juice, in your diet can cause negative health effects like high blood pressure.
Does pickle juice help you lose weight?
The weight loss effect of pickle juice is not that great for most people. Even if the characteristics of pickle juice would help you lose weight, you can get these benefits from plenty of other foods and drinks.
Pickle juice is not some magical weight loss drink. Unless you really love the taste and have a lot of it laying around you shouldn’t pay too much attention to it.
There are many more lifestyle factors that are way more important when it comes to losing weight.
How much pickle juice is too much?
If you do decide to drink pickle juice, how much depends on your current situation.
If your diet already contains a lot of processed foods with salt you might want to stay away from pickle juice altogether. Any amount might be too much because it increases the amount of sodium you consume.
If your diet currently doesn’t provide you with a lot of salt you can consume pickle juice. How much pickle juice is too much is something very individual. 100 ml can already provide you with 71% of your Daily Value.
Not overdoing it with sodium intake is essential in maintaining heart health. Too much sodium causes water retention, making the heart have to pump harder to remove excess water.
High sodium intakes cause the heart muscle to overwork, leading to heart failure. Other potential consequences of consuming too much salt include damage to kidneys, vision, and memory.
If you exercise a lot in warm weather you will need more salt than someone else who doesn’t exercise and lives in a cold climate.
Does pickle juice burn belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since the weight loss effects of pickle juice are likely not that big you might want to focus on other foods and drinks if you want to burn belly fat.
2 other health benefits of pickle juice
In terms of weight loss pickle juice might not be that great but it also has the potential to improve your health to a certain extent. Again, pickle juice may offer some health benefits but the substances that cause them are not exclusive to pickle juice.
Other foods and drinks may offer you these health benefits in greater amounts.
Vinegar may help control blood sugar
One study found that drinking an amount of vinegar before a meal may help with controlling blood sugar (6).
Depending on the amount of vinegar in pickle juice you may get a similar effect, most likely to a smaller extent.
May improve gut health
Vinegar is also a fermented food. Fermented foods can improve your gut health by improving your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines.