Should you be using apple cider vinegar?
By Sirui Mi
There is something special about fall in northern Colorado. Golden leaves, picking pumpkins, first snow… and a cup of hot apple cider pairs well with all of them! Just as apple cider is a popular fall staple, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is also trending in popular fall recipes and health blogs. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about ACV and some important things to know before you build it into your regimen.
How is apple cider vinegar different than apple cider?
Apple cider is made by pressing apples to extract the juice. Apple cider differs from juice because it is not filtered or pasteurized. ACV is made through fermenting apple cider with yeast which converts the sugars to alcohols. Then, bacteria fermentation converts the alcohol into acetic acid to make ACV.
What is ACV used for?
Traditionally, ACV has been used as a cleaning agent, natural preservative, culinary secret, and in various home remedies. In recent years, it has become a popular supplement with claims that it works wonders for weight loss and lowering blood sugar. But are these health claims true?
What does science say about ACV for lowering blood sugar?
The mechanism between ACV and blood sugar control is still in debate. Some limited research suggests ACV can help lower blood sugar after a high carbohydrate meal by delaying carbohydrate absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. This does not mean that ACV can reverse diabetes; read on to learn about the flaws in ACV research.
What does science say about ACV for weight loss?
Currently, the most promising evidence of ACV-induced weight loss is from mice trials. Some studies suggest that ACV can help to curb appetite due to its acidic taste, leading one to eat less.
Bottom line, should I use ACV for weight loss and/or blood sugar control?
The research regarding ACV’s health benefits on lowering blood sugar and weight loss are inconclusive at this time. The most robust studies to date use mice as subjects, and the ACV dosages tested is unrealistic for humans to consume daily. Much of the ACV research using human subjects shows mininal effects or the studies have limitations and therefore cannot be generalized to the broader public. Another limitation within the ACV research is that many of the studies are conducted internationally using specific vinegars that are not found on the U.S. market.
OK so it’s not a miracle cure, but are there risks to taking ACV as a supplement?
Currently there is no widely recommended dosage for ACV consumption. Consuming a small amount of ACV might be beneficial, but too much could be detrimental. Dental researchers have found that regular ACV consumption can cause tooth erosion. It may also aggravate acid reflux because of its high acidity. There are many forms of ACV supplements on the market, including ACV tablets. ACV tablets are not FDA-regulated, and their acidity level could be considered a corrosive agent. There are documented cases of esophageal burn caused by ingesting ACV tablets. If you choose to consume ACV, it is recommended that you dilute it or consume it as part of a meal to reduce acidity.
In summary, ACV might play a role in promoting weight loss and blood sugar control, however, the currently available research is not conclusive enough to support the bold “miracle cure” health claims made about ACV. In addition, it could pose some risk. Simply put, ACV could have a promising role in health, but we need more research!
Is ACV OK to use in recipes?
Although science does not support ACV’s “curing power”, it is still a versatile player in the culinary world. ACV has a tangy, fruity flavor that compliments many foods.
- Mix ACV with olive oil (1:3 ratio), herbs, salt and pepper for a simple and refreshing vinaigrette
- ACV can be used in marinades, glazes, sauces, chutneys and condiments
- Use ACV to pickle vegetables (for more information, go to https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/09304.pdf
- Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to 1 cup of milk to make a buttermilk substitute
- A splash of ACV can brighten up baked beans, cabbage, slaws, dips, and salsas
- Add to meat-based dishes like roasted pork shoulder and chicken adobo
- ACV can be used in baked goods to promote a fluffy texture
Get to know our author
Sirui Mi graduated with a B.S. and M.A. in Sociology. She is currently a second-year graduate student working on a degree in Community Nutrition at CSU. Upon completion of her Master’s, she plans to work to alleviate food insecurity and empower low-income communities.
For additional resources to healthy eating, check out these programs from our registered dietitian nutritionists. More health tips are also available at the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board. Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for the KRNC monthly newsletter!