Apple cider vinegar has gained a lot of recognition over the last few years as a “nutrition powerhouse” in the wellness industry. It has been linked to weight loss, as well improved lipid profiles and blood sugar control. However, when considering the potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar, it’s important to note which health claims are actually supported by scientific evidence before completely “buying in”.
Regarding weight loss, advocates of apple cider vinegar claim that it helps promote satiety, which makes consumers feel fuller quicker and therefore consume less calories. But skeptics argue that the glass of water advocates recommend you dilute it in is the actual cause of feeling full. Furthermore, in a 2009 study of overweight, otherwise healthy Japanese subjects, participants who consumed the maximum daily amount of apple cider vinegar (30 mL) lost only 1/3 of a pound more per week more compared to the placebo ground.
Lastly, in a recent nutrition review about the effect of vinegar on glucose metabolism and lipid profile, it was determined that there is evidence that supports favorable effects of vinegar on:
However, of all 77 studies that were reviewed, all had major limitations. Most studies were conducted with animals and only some with humans with a low number of participants in each study. And when it comes to the anti-glycemic response that helps aid blood sugar control, critics argue that any sort of vinegar can be used, not just apple cider vinegar. The final conclusion from the Nutrition Reviews: Vinegar is a safe product, it’s affordable and available, but before specific health claims can be made, further long-term studies need to be conducted with more participants that address the limitations that are in current evidence.
Take Home Note: While vinegar is a cheap and easy way to add flavor to foods, the best way to consume it is in small amounts, such as in a salad dressing. In large, full strength volumes, there can be some serious downsides. For one, it can burn your esophagus, so if you’re predisposed to reflux, ulcers or stomach problems, large volumes of vinegar could exacerbate these. Additionally, it can wear out teeth enamel, the protective coating of teeth, which can cause cavities. So rather than down an apple cider vinegar shot, try using vinegar in a 4:1 ratio with olive oil. It is low in calories and does have some benefits. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be recommended as a weight loss food until further studies have been conducted to support such claims.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Real or Just a Fad?