Apple Cider Vinegar: Is it worth the hype (and taste)?
Even though people have been using apple cider vinegar (ACV) for centuries, in 2020, sales skyrocketed. Apple cider vinegar hit #5 on the list of top-selling herbal supplement ingredients in the mainstream market. Fans say it can cure nearly everything that ails you, from weight gain and digestive issues to skin woes and lowering blood sugar levels.
Some people consume their daily dose of ACV in capsules and gummies, while others drink it straight (despite its sour kick and strong smell). With further studies needed to support its uses as an alternative therapy, you may be wondering, what’s all the hype? And is ACV worth it?
This article looks at the potential benefits, side effects, and how to use apple cider vinegar.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made by fermenting sugar from apples. The fermentation process turns them into acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar.
ACV’s main health benefits may be due to the amount of antioxidant polyphenols (or plant chemicals) it contains due to the fermentation process. But, it’s also rich in probiotics, which may benefit the digestive system and gut microbiome.
Apple cider vinegar contains an insignificant amount of calories per serving, almost no fat, carbohydrates, or protein, and no fiber. So, potential health benefits aside, it’s a great way to add flavor to your foods without adding calories or extra salt.
The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar benefits range from being an antibacterial disinfectant to curing many bodily ailments. We’ve listed below the top 3 reasons people turn to ACV and the credibility of its claims.
Aiding weight loss
As mentioned above, ACV is very friendly to any diet as it has no carbs, fat, protein, or fiber (and very few calories).
One randomized, clinical trial showed that ACV might help with weight loss. The participants drank 1 tablespoon of ACV with lunch and dinner, and they also ate a diet that was 250 calories less than their daily estimated requirements.
The people in the ACV group lost an average of 8.8 lbs over 12 weeks. While the participants who did not receive ACV only lost 5 lbs over the 12 week study period. The researchers also found that ACV decreased cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol is nothing to play with as it can increase your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Some evidence suggests that taking apple cider vinegar could help lower both total cholesterol and triglycerides for some people.
In the 12-week study, researchers found that participants who took ACV not only lost more weight than those who took a placebo, but they had lower triglycerides and total cholesterol.
They also had significantly raised levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Doctors sometimes refer to HDL cholesterol as “good cholesterol” because it can help lower the risk of heart problems.
Lowering blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels can lead to a number of health problems. Some small studies suggest that consuming apple cider vinegar may help improve blood sugar control.
A review of several small clinical trials found that people who consumed apple cider vinegar for 8 to 12 weeks experienced small reductions in their blood sugar levels.
Please keep in mind that ACV won’t cure diabetes, and it shouldn’t take the place of any medications for diabetes.
The Bottom Line on Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been linked to certain health benefits, but we still need more research and evidence to support these claims.
Like any vitamin or supplement, ACV may have benefits, but it won’t replace a healthy lifestyle, so don’t give up your gym membership and remember healthy eating habits are key for your physical AND mental well-being!
Overall, ACV is generally safe when consumed in moderation – no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons daily. But, as with everything, there are potential downsides to taking ACV, including:
- Tooth enamel erosion
- Esophageal burns
- Gastrointestinal distress and acid reflux
- Worsened chronic kidney disease
The safest way to consume apple cider vinegar is to use it in small amounts in food and dressings.
You can also try mixing 1 teaspoon of vinegar with at least 8 ounces, or a glass, of water. Take it no more than twice a day. If you find the taste unpleasant, you may want to dilute it further.
Apple cider vinegar may interact with some medications, and we always recommend having a discussion with your doctor about anything you take, even if it’s something as natural as vinegar.
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