The Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar’s Benefits and Risks

Last Updated: February 17, 2024

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used for many years as a home remedy for a variety of ailments, and has recently gained popularity as a supposed fountain of wellness with a range of health benefits.

While there are some nutritional benefits to consuming ACV, the majority of the health claims are overblown and not supported by enough evidence.

In this post, we will explore the truth about apple cider vinegar, separating fact from fiction and providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to incorporate it into your diet.

Nutrition Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is made by fermenting apples, and it contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and acetic acid. Acetic acid is the active ingredient in ACV, responsible for its characteristic sour taste and some of its potential health benefits.

It also contains various amounts of special compounds called polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and protect the body from disease. But the amounts and types vary depending on the type of apples used and how its produced, according to this study.

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Claims

Aids in Weight Loss

One of the most widely touted benefits of ACV is its supposed ability to aid in weight loss. There is little evidence to support the idea that ACV can significantly impact weight loss in adults. A small study found that individuals with obesity who consumed 1-2 tablespoons of ACV per day for 12 weeks lost an average of 2-4 pounds. Again, this was a small study (175 participants), and a pretty small amount of weight loss.

Another study with 39 overweight/obese participants found that those who followed a low-calorie diet with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily for 12 weeks lost an average of 1.7 kg more than the group who followed the low-calorie diet alone. However, a significant portion of that weight loss was lean body mass rather than body fat, and the difference in calorie reduction was not statistically significant.

The apple cider vinegar group also reported decreased appetite, but the difference in neuropeptide Y (a peptide in the brain that influences appetite) levels was not statistically significant.

One study did assess the effect of ACV on appetite, and they found that appetite was indeed suppressed but it was mostly due to the poor taste of ACV and nausea as a result of consuming it. I guess breakfast with a side of ACV wasn’t super appetizing and I can’t blame them for that.

Helps control blood sugar

One of the most supported claims for apple cider vinegar is its potential to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can have a small positive effect on both fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels. This may be due to acetic acid, a component of vinegar, which can slow down the breakdown and absorption of starch in the body, leading to a more gradual increase in blood sugar and insulin levels after eating.

According to most research, the best approach for achieving optimal glycemic control s to drink diluted ACV shortly before a meal. However, it’s important to note that the ideal dosage for various health benefits has not been firmly established.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start drinking apple cider vinegar before every meal. There are many other proven ways to regulate blood sugar levels, such as eating a high fiber diet, exercising after meals, doing resistance training, and consuming more whole grains. These alternatives are more pleasant than drinking vinegar and have stronger scientific backing.

Improves digestion

ACV is often touted as a digestion aid that can help with issues like bloating and indigestion. While there isn’t a lot of evidence to back up this claim, some studies have shown that drinking vinegar can slow down how quickly food leaves your stomach. This can make you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing your appetite. So, while ACV may not be a magic cure-all for digestion issues, it might help you feel more satisfied after meals.

Alkalizes the body

Another popular claim about ACV is that it can help to balance the body’s pH levels and make the body more alkaline. Proponents of this idea suggest that an alkaline body is healthier and can help to prevent disease.

However, this claim is not supported by scientific evidence. The body has its own mechanisms for regulating pH levels, and consuming ACV is unlikely to have a significant impact on the body’s overall pH balance.

The only time the pH of your body falls out of this range is during certain disease states or health emergencies.

Harms of Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the potential downsides of consuming ACV on its own is its potential to damage teeth. ACV is highly acidic, and consuming it regularly can erode tooth enamel over time. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, cavities, and other dental issues.

To minimize the risk of tooth damage when consuming ACV, it is important to dilute it with water or consume it as part of a meal (like as part of a salad dressing).

Outside of damage to teeth, apple cider vinegar is pretty harmless.

Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

ACV gummies have become a popular supplement marketed to provide the same benefits as plain apple cider vinegar. These gummies typically contain a small amount of ACV, along with other ingredients such as sugar and gelatin.

These gummies lack the nutritional benefits of consuming unprocessed apple cider vinegar. Also, the sugar in these gummies likely negate any potential blood sugar benefit. So they are an absolute waste of money.

Should You Take Apple Cider Vinegar?

Ultimately, the decision to incorporate ACV into your diet is yours. If you do choose to try it, it is best to consume it in moderation, (1-2 tablespoons per day) diluted with water or as part of a salad dressing.

My opinion: If you don’t have diabetes, it may not be necessary to micromanage your blood sugar levels. And if you do have diabetes, it won’t hurt to try, but there are other more impactful actions you can take before trying ACV.

While there is some evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar for certain health benefits, such as improving blood sugar control and promoting satiety, more research is needed to fully understand its potential effects. Remember, ACV should never replace prescribed medication or lifestyle changes recommend by your healthcare provider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *