What's the Tea on Apple Cider Vinegar?

So summer is near and everybody is in the “summer time fine” mentality. At least that’s all I am seeing across all of my social media! I get a number of questions regarding quick fixes to weight loss daily. But let’s be honest there are none!

The question I have been hearing a lot of lately or just seeing people use is apple cider vinegar daily. Apple cider vinegar has never appealed to me, the more I see people talk about it and take up the habit y’all know I had to do some deep research on it. Taking a research class this semester has really helped me decipher between what’s evidenced based and what’s not.

So let’s get into this!!

IMG_4238.jpg

If you google the health benefits of apple cider vinegar you’ll come up with a long list of proposed benefits from weight loss to detoxing. Unfortunately, apple cider vinegar isn’t a miracle health food; getting healthier still means eating well and exercising.

What is ACV exactly?

Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples and using bacteria and yeast to ferment the resulting liquid. Some ACV (the more expensive types, I’ve noticed), has the “mother” in it – which renders the vinegar probiotic. Probiotics are good, right?

The acetic acid in ACV (and in all vinegar’s) is supposedly the ingredient that is the magic cure for everything that ails you – and for thousands of years, ACV and other vinegar’s have been used as homeopathic remedies for pretty much anything you can imagine. Luckily though, medicine has evolved. Because, you know, SCIENCE.

Here are a few of the claims about apple cider vinegar:

It reduces blood sugar.

Well, this one is actually TRUE! OMG!

In a review of studies, it was found that ACV can help improve insulin response and decrease post-prandial (after meal) blood glucose. The way it does that is by the acetic acid blocking some of the starch that’s in the meal. And by starch, I mean bread and pasta, not candy and ice cream. When you take it with a meal that contains no starch, the ACV has no effect on blood sugar.

Recommendations range, but one that’s frequently given is to consume 1-2 tablespoons of diluted ACV a few minutes before every meal (not too long before).

It’s also important to note that this benefit is not actually exclusive to apple cider vinegar. Improving blood sugar with a proper diet is always a better option. And please don’t use ACV to control your blood sugar. If you’re diabetic, you likely need more than just vinegar to do that.

It helps with weight loss.

Take this one as a maybe and I mean a strong maybe!

Drinking vinegar has only been shown to cause MILD weight loss. And by mild, I mean like 1/3 of a pound a week – maybe from slightly improved fat oxidation, and maybe from some of the aforementioned starch-blocking activity, which can cut calories. I imagine that if you drink cups of ACV and eat nothing but crackers all day, you’re gonna lose a lot of weight, but no one is actually doing that, right? In any case, the research on this is really sketchy.

That’s not all, either. Have you ever taken a shot of pure vinegar? Well I have just so I could see and I felt like throwing up and screaming at the same time!! It burned the whole way dawn. Its worse than taking castor oil as a liquid!

IMG_4239.jpg

If you’re unconvinced that taking apple cider vinegar for weight loss is relatively useless, then just be sure you dilute it before you swallow it. There have been cases of esophageal injury – as in, acid burning your esophagus, ouch – from pure ACV. Even ACV tablets can injure your tissues, so don’t think pills are safer.

So far, only one study in humans has looked at supplementing your diet with apple cider vinegar and weight loss. This study was done in Japan with 75 (very small study) obese , but otherwise healthy, individuals. For 12 weeks, they drank a beverage with either 15 mL (1 tablespoon) or 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of apple cider added daily. After 12  weeks, both groups drinking the vinegar lost about 2 lbs in 12 weeks but gained it back again when researchers followed up 4 weeks after the study had ended.

Conclusion: If you are looking to make significant progress towards long term weight loss, simply adding apple cider vinegar to your current diet will not get you results. PERIOD!!!

It decreases bloating and makes your skin clear.

Are you changing anything else about your diet while you’re taking the ACV? Because there’s absolutely zero reasons why vinegar would cause either of these things to happen (unless you’re eating less because you’re tearing up your stomach lining, so you’re less bloated because you’re less FULL).

helps with body detox

This doesn’t even make sense. Let me give it to you STRAIGHT:

  1. Your body doesn’t need a detox

  2. Your liver and kidneys detox your body perfectly well

  3. Go for eating a healthy diet and try not to rely on detoxes to cleanse you. Your body does not work that way.

  4. There is nothing in ACV that would detox you, even if your liver and kidneys didn’t work (actually, drinking ACV would ruin those organs even more because ya know it is straight ACID)

  5. At the end of the day if you want to detox your body ACV is not the way to go and it also will not help balance the pH levels in your body.

It cleans your teeth.

What you’re doing when you brush with an acid, is eroding your tooth enamel. You’re grinding acid into your enamel. Period. Bad idea. Drano will clean your teeth too, but you wouldn’t brush with it. Use toothpaste.

My final thoughts

Is apple cider vinegar (or any other vinegar) the key to health and longevity? Just like any fad diet, I wouldn’t say that you’ll achieve optimal health just by incorporating vinegar into your diet. If you really want to achieve better blood sugar management, weight loss, or detox I suggest meeting with a trained professional (Registered Dietitian) to discuss diet changes to improve your health! If you plan to try adding more vinegar to your diet, make sure to never drink vinegar without first diluting it in water. Vinegar is a powerful acid and can cause damage to tooth enamel or burn the lining of your stomach, intestines, and inner body tissues. Personally, I would suggest adding vinegar to your diet as part of recipes like salad dressings. You’ll be doing yourself a much bigger favor by eating a nutrient-packed salad with a vinegar based dressing rather than drinking a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the morning. 

I hope this was helpful for some. If you are on an apple cider vinegar kick tell me about it in the comments. I would love to chat!!