In just about every pantry shelf, probably somewhere near the back, is a bottle of apple cider vinegar. This tart vinegary solution has been around for a very long time, and depending on who you ask, seems to be able to cure almost any ailment. In the media, it is hailed as able to lower blood sugar, prevent heart disease, whiten your teeth, and even slow the aging process.
In this video, Dustin Moore discusses the facts and fiction of apple cider vinegar.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is specially flavored vinegar that comes from fermenting apple juice with special bacteria and yeast. The apple juice is mixed with a yeast that turns most of the sugars into alcohol. Then, a special bacteria is added which converts all of the alcohol into vinegar, resulting in a distinctly sweet yet tart solution that has a faint apple taste.
Nutritionally, this vinegar has less than 5 calories per tablespoon. It does contain calcium and potassium, but only a few milligrams per serving. This is not enough to contribute much to your daily intake.
Apple cider vinegar facts
Looking at the evidence of what apple cider vinegar can do, there is some truth to how it can affect blood sugar levels.
A few studies conducted in patients with type II diabetes demonstrated that apple cider vinegar reduced the rise in blood sugar, following a starchy meal that included items like pasta, potatoes, and bread. This function was attributed to the acetic acid, a chemical in the vinegar, which can block starch digestion.
But these results should not be interpreted to mean it can reduce your risk of getting type II diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar fictions
When studying the claim that apple cider vinegar prevents heart disease, or promotes weight loss, there is little to no evidence supporting these claims. One study conducted in mice showed lowered cholesterol levels and organ protection, but this is not practical for people. The study was done under tightly controlled lab conditions with strictly controlled diets, and follow-up studies were never conducted in humans.
What about those who ate nothing and drank only apple cider vinegar solutions for a few days, then touted how much weight they’d lost? Again, there are hardly any calories in apple cider vinegar. In fact, you would see the same effect and amount of weight loss if all you drank was water.
The tooth whitener claim is just plain silly. Apple cider vinegar is an acid. Swirling and holding it in your mouth is only going to erode the enamel on your teeth.
The benefits of apple cider vinegar
Now for the positives. Apple cider vinegar is a great option for adding flavor to food. Mixing it with olive oil, salt, pepper, makes for a tasty and healthy dressing you can enjoy over salads. When added to sauces and spreads, apple cider vinegar provides a tart and fruity flavor. Another option is mixing it with slow-baked beans for an added kick of flavor.
Aside from seasoning your food, try using it to pickle your vegetables. Give this a try. Take pre-washed glass jar that holds close to two cups of liquid, and then fill it with sliced vegetables like cucumbers, or carrots, or radishes. In a saucepan, make a pickling solution by combining and bringing to a boil 1 cup water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, and ¼ cup of sugar. Pour the still-hot solution over your vegetables, screw on the lid, leave in the fridge for 24 hours, and then enjoy.
In the end, the health claims behind apple cider vinegar are not all the media have them cracked up to be. With this in mind, the household staple has some nutritional value and is great for adding flavor to certain foods.
For more information on apple cider vinegar and recipe ideas, contact a registered dietitian.