Apple Cider Vinegar - Worth the Hype?

If you're like me, you hear someone mention drinking apple cider vinegar for one ailment or another seemingly every day. And after seeing the huge Pinterest following for apple cider vinegar, you may be wondering if you should be adding this tangy astringent to your own diet.  

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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from the fermentation of apple cider (too obvious?). Despite it's specificity to apples, the known benefits of ACV are the same as they would be if you consumed any other kind of vinegar. Why is this the case? Because all vinegars have one main ingredient in common: acetic acid

In this post, I want to address the two known nutritional benefits of consuming acetic acid (in any vinegar) daily and give you my professional opinion on whether apple cider vinegar is worth the hype!

1. Consuming vinegar with a starchy food can help lower your blood sugar {if you have Type 2 Diabetes}.

Consuming vinegar has been shown to help lower the blood sugars of those who have type 2 diabetes. Acetic acid helps block the absorption of starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, and rice. So, in order for the vinegar to lower your blood sugar, you have to be eating a starch with it. Another important point is that the limited research has not shown the same blood sugar-lowering benefits for those who have prediabetes. Would it hurt for those individuals to consume a little vinegar now and then? Probably not. But this is just what the research has shown thus far.

The big idea to remember is that drinking apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar) will not prevent you from developing diabetes. Only diet and exercise can do that! :)

(Important to note: Please check with your doctor if you want to start drinking apple cider vinegar and you are on diabetes medications. Acetic acid can potentially interfere with the function of some diabetes medication, so be on the safe side and tell your doctor!)

2. Daily consumption of vinegar can help you lose weight. But not a significant amount. 

In a study that measured the effectiveness of consuming acetic acid for weight loss purposes, participants who consumed vinegar every day lost slightly more weight (2-4 lbs in 3 months) than those who did not.

Let me say that again with emphasis: 2-4 lbs lost in 3 months. That's roughly a third of a pound lost every week. Chances are, you are not going to be too satisfied with those results on their own. So if you are looking for a slight edge, consider working some vinegar of any kind into your diet. But do not expect vinegar to do the heavy lifting for you if weight loss alone is your goal!

You're convinced. Vinegar is in. How should you take it?

1. Limit the amount you consume at one time. Taking "shots" of vinegars is trendy but beware...These vinegars are incredibly acidic and taking more than a couple tablespoons at a time could cause you to accidentally inhale the vinegar and result in burning your lungs. Not ideal. (Also, to make a plea on behalf of your dentist: limit your undiluted vinegar exposure to spare your precious teeth enamel!

2. Take small shots if you must, otherwise use any kind of vinegar in small (1-2 tablespoons) amounts: in salad dressings, add splashes at the end of your cooking to brighten flavors, a spoonful with hot water and lemon...etc 

Bottom line : Apple cider has some studied benefits including reducing blood sugar levels in those who have type 2 diabetes and assisting with (very modest) weight loss. But it is important to remember that ANY vinegar would have the same effect. Whether it's rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic, or white vinegar, all are beneficial in small doses. 

What other trends leave you wondering if they're worth the hype? Leave a comment below!