When you have been in the nutrition/fitness industry as long as I have, you know that fads come and go and what is “healthy” constantly changes. There are countless examples, but today I want to talk about a relatively recent addition: apple cider vinegar.
Like most people, you probably think that apple cider vinegar is for making vinaigrette dressings, and that’s about it. I’ll admit that I wasn’t aware of its history and its many benefits until I started hearing more and more mentions of it and decided to do some digging.
It turns out that apple cider vinegar has actually been a folk remedy for decades. In 1958, Dr. D.C. Jarvis published a book on folk medicine. In it, he mentions apple cider vinegar as a “cure-all” for several health remedies.
Now, nothing cures everything, but there seem to be some consistent benefits to apple cider vinegar. After researching and talking to proponents of apple cider vinegar, I have come to a conclusion. Here is why I’m a fan of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples which produces a significant amount of acetic acid. This little wonder is thought to be the key player in the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Lower blood sugar
There’s a lot of science here, but I’m going to break it down into simple language. Basically, acetic acid slows down how quickly your stomach empties food into your small intestine. This process sets off a chain reaction.
Because it takes longer to empty the stomach, there is more time to break down carbohydrates, allowing more time to remove glucose from your blood. Less glucose means a reduction in blood sugar spikes that usually occur after eating.
Studies show consumption of vinegar may reduce fasting blood sugar in diabetic patients and protect against blood sugar spikes in healthy people.
This benefit is the most well-known and the main reason apple cider vinegar has gained popularity.
If you know anything about nutrition, you know that lower blood sugar and lesser glucose spikes contribute to weight loss. Additionally, acetic acid slowing down the digestion process also results in fewer carbs being stored as fat.
But apple cider vinegar has been known also to increase satiety, meaning that you feel full sooner – which translates into eating less. In turn, this means a reduction in belly fat.
I do want to throw in a caution here. There is no cure-all for consistent weight loss. The only way to achieve long-lasting results is through nutritional eating and exercise. However, there is enough science behind the weight loss theory that apple cider vinegar can be credited for some weight loss – a few pounds along the way.
But, as always, it is no replacement for a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Next is another lesser-known, newly emerging possible benefit.
Vinegar has a long-lasting reputation as a disinfectant and preservative, and apple cider vinegar is no exception. Again, we have the acetic acid to thank, as it can kill (or at least prevent) harmful bacteria.
For this reason, it is thought that apple cider vinegar would make a good astringent, reducing acne and the effects of eczema. BUT (and yes, this is a big but) there are essentially no studies on this, and I would strongly caution against using apple cider vinegar topically.
Think about it for a minute – you wouldn’t use regular vinegar on your face, would you? Some people think that apple cider vinegar is milder because of the apples. That’s a fallacy – vinegar is vinegar. But if you really want to try it, please talk to your doctor or dermatologist first!
As the popularity of apple cider vinegar has increased, manufacturers have gotten more thoughtful about how people consume it. I’ll admit taking a slug of apple cider vinegar can be difficult between the smell and the acidity as it goes down. That’s a significant reason you now see apple cider vinegar available in everything from diluted liquids to capsules and even gummies.
I want to add another word of caution about how to consume apple cider vinegar. If you decide to try apple cider vinegar, do your research, and look at the other ingredients in the prepared methods. Gummies especially often have additives or chemicals (including sugar!) to make the apple cider vinegar more palatable.
And doesn’t that just negate the benefit of the apple cider vinegar?
Again, while I don’t think that it is the cure-all that Dr. Jarvis said it was, these are just a few reasons that I am a fan of apple cider vinegar.
If you want to see how I can help you reach your fitness goals, contact me!