From the Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment to Doc Meriwether’s Miracle Elixir, the world has been anxiously awaiting the latest and greatest cure all for decades to come. Fortunately, scrutiny and skepticism in the 21st century has kept many folklore and scam-worthy remedies at bay. Apple Cider Vinegar has recently gained some ground as the new healthy elixir awaiting a standing ovation. Some claim that it can do everything from whitening teeth to removing all your body toxins for no more than $3.00 a bottle. Mainstream health icon, Dr. Oz has even given the “Okay” to try it. Should we though?
Licensed Baltimore-based Dietitian and host on the long-running podcast, “Nutrition Diva,” Monica Reinagel lightly touched upon the trendy new topic regarding the secret force of apple cider vinegar. Known to always take the “science-based” high road, she warns listeners to tread lightly when taking in all its hype for every grain of salt. Only limited research could speak to its potential health benefits, which include reducing bad cholesterol, cleansing the body, acting as a multi-vitamin, lowering blood sugar levels, and even preventing hiccups. It may be safe to jump on this juice’s bandwagon, but first, consider the facts and then act with caution.
One of its promising benefits includes regulating blood sugar levels. A pilot study examined whether the consumption of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar may reduce blood sugar concentration the following morning in individuals with type 2-diabetes. Only four men and seven women between the ages of 40 and 72 years old who were not taking insulin participated in this study. For three days, the participants provided a 24-hour dietary recall and their blood sugar levels were measured every morning. Researchers found that they had lower blood sugar levels after having two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a snack, consisting of one ounce of cheese, the night before.
Besides reducing sugar levels, another study looking at humans found that the juice might also promote weight loss. Researchers conducted a double-blind study on obese individuals to measure the effects of apple vinegar intake on the reduction of body fat mass over a 12-week treatment period. They were separate into three groups; each group ingested 500 ml, 15 ml, or 0 ml (placebo group) of apple vinegar daily. After the treatment period, they found a dose-dependent reduction in both body weight of 2-4 lbs. and a BMI of .4-.7 kg/m2. They presumed that the acetate in apple vinegar might put the breaks on fat production and open the gates to fat breakdown.
Despite the interesting findings, the research is limited. We should always consider the potential problems before welcoming the benefits. Remember that apple cider vinegar is acidic and may cause tooth enamel erosion or throat irritation. The fermented juice is also sold in pill form, with dosages ranging from 300 to 500 milligrams to be taken daily. Dosages this high may cause ulcers and even lower potassium levels. If you want to add this to your nutrition regimen, make sure you use one to two tablespoons in the liquid form diluted in at least eight ounces of water.
Contributed by Bryan Stengel, Dietetic Intern
Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., Ugajin, S., & Kaga, T. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837–1843.
What Apple Cider Vinegar Can (and Can’t) Do For You. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/trends-fads/what-apple-cider-vinegar-can-and-cant-do-for-you
White, A. M., & Johnston, C. S. (2007). Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 30(11), 2814–2815. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc07-1062