Why Drink Apple Cider Vinegar?

Last Updated on August 18, 2019 | by

Apple Cider Vinegar is easily a household name. There are simply so many uses for it, right? Ranging from food preservation to belly fat reduction, it does it all… no? At least that’s what your grandmother told you and grandmothers can never lie.

While that may be true, grandmothers can be wrong, at least about somethings. No offence intended.

That being said, this common ingredient does have some science to back it up. After all, the father of medicine, Hippocrates himself used vinegar to treat common wounds, 2000 years ago!

While Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t the ultimate solution to your growing weight, it can be somewhat helpful, as fresh research indicates. However, as is usually the case, conclusions in food science often come with a handful of asterisks.

Before we dive into what these conclusions are, and how you can properly adapt them to benefit your diet, let’s first understand what we’re talking about.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Vinegar is a weak solution of 10%-20% acetic acid in water. Its taste can vary depending on the kind of sugars used and its variants are used as preservatives, salad dressings and chutneys.

The word Vinegar starts to make more sense when you realize that it means ‘sour wine’ in French.

Apple Cider Vinegar, sometimes called Cider Vinegar as well, is made from apple juice extract in a two-stage process.

Firstly, the crushed apples are exposed to yeast which ferments the sugars into alcohol. Following this, a particular strand of Bacteria is added to the alcohol solution to form Acetic Acid which is the primary ingredient responsible for Apple Cider Vinegar’s sour taste.

Apple Cider Vinegar lacks much nutritional value as it contains 3 calories per tablespoon, no vitamins or minerals and trace amounts of potassium, amino acids and antioxidants.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Despite this, several sources including WebMD and Harvard Health Publishing present evidence in favour of its limited benefits. Let’s have a look at these.

Fat Loss:

Evidence in favour of weight loss induced from a diet rich in vinegar comes from three primary studies.

The first of these incorporated rats and suggested that vinegar could prevent fat deposition and increase metabolism. Of course, similar results in humans are not a sure-thing.

The second one was the most prominent study done on the effects of vinegar consumption by humans. Conducted in 2009, the trial took a sample of 175 people who were divided into 3 groups each. The groups drank water containing 0, 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar each day.

After 3 months, people who consumed vinegar had a weight loss ranging from 2 to 4 pounds with lower triglyceride (fat) levels than those who drank 0 vinegar.

Another study concluded that vinegar did induce feeling fuller after eating in participants but it achieved this by causing nausea.

No particular studies on the use of apple cider vinegar in weight loss could be found.

These studies suggest that using vinegar as a proponent for fat loss isn’t likely to be very effective, especially considering the timescale which was needed to observe the differences. Not to mention, the inclusion of one food item or, the removal of one, for that matter, is unlikely to help you lose weight individually.

However, it can be a useful supplement.

That being said, relying on a simple diet plan which prioritizes required nutrition alongside frequent exercise is always recommended.

Stabilized Blood Sugar:

Compared to weight loss, Vinegar has had a much more noticeable effect on patients with diabetes. There’s been a consistent record in studies which show that vinegar can potentially prevent spikes in blood sugar prediabetes and type 2 diabetes patients by blocking the absorption of starch.

The effects of insulin on blood sugar levels recorded within these studies include:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity in the case of carb-rich meals by 19% to 34%
  • Lowered blood sugar levels by 34% after the consumption of white bread
  • Reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% in the morning on the consumption of 2 tablespoons before sleeping the previous night

All of these studies and the recorded effects of vinegar indicate that it can have some benefits for people afflicted with the relevant conditions. However, if you’re currently suffering from diabetes and taking insulin shots or other medication, we’d recommend consulting your doctor before adopting vinegar into your diet.

Cancer Prevention:

This is the most dubious item on this list backed up by the least amount of convincing research in its favour. The effects of Apple Cider vinegar, or vinegar in general, on cancer have been studied several times till date but the research has gone either way.

Some studies have concluded that vinegar can potentially kill cancer-afflicted cells or cells which go on to become cancerous. While others argue that vinegar has no such effect and is practically useless against the onset of the disease.

Given the precariousness of the topic, you are recommended to decide for yourself.

Side Effects

Even if not for its potential against cancer, you may opt for any of the reasons mentioned above to incorporate Apple Cider vinegar into your diet. However, you should keep these recorded side effects in mind before you do.

  • Diluting vinegar is key. Concentrated acid present in Vinegar can damage tooth enamel if drunk directly. Consuming it in vinaigrette salad is also an option.
  • It can cause or amplify low potassium levels. This is worse for people who already take potassium-lowering medication (such as diuretics for blood sugar).
  • It affects blood sugar levels. Caution should be exercised by people suffering from diabetes.
  • Some studies on patients with type 1 diabetes concluded that it slows down the digestion process by delaying when food leaves the stomach.
  • Its taste can be off-putting and nausea-inducing.

What’s the take?

Vinegar in general and not just Apple Cider vinegar has undergone substantial research already which indicates its ineffectiveness as the ‘miracle’ cure that it’s often touted online as. Its impact on weight loss is meagre and cancer, pretty unfounded.

However, it may very well be of use if you’re suffering from unstable blood sugar levels due to any medical condition. You should always refer to your doctor before making any changes to your diet though.

Brendon Oren

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