There are claims out there that apple cider vinegar (ACV if you want to sound like an insider!) is the “cure all” and should be consumed everyday to help with certain health issues. But is it really a “cure all” and is it just that easy?
In this post we will discuss what ACV is, what it claims to do, and which claims are true.
What Is ACV?
When the glucose in apple juice is fermented by yeast and bacteria, the product is acetic acid, or vinegar. Some will claim that apple cider vinegar is a probiotic, since many fermented foods are probiotics. However, in studies, the probiotics effects of ACV have been minimal compared to other sources (yogurt, kefir, etc.).
What does ACV claim to do and is it true?
Here are the 5 main claims and what to know about them!
Controlling blood sugar:
ACV is claimed to control blood glucose levels after meals.
THIS IS TRUE!!!
The acetic acid in ACV helps to control blood glucose after a meal by blocking starches from being absorbed and moved into the blood. Here is a study about ACV and glucose, check it out for more info!
Note – we are not saying that having ACV will prevent a rise in blood sugar! It’s not clear exactly how, but having ACV (how much was not clear) can help to slow the digestion and/or absorption and therefore result in a slower/lower rise in blood sugar. Even though it can help regulate blood sugar it should not be used alone to manage blood sugars! Proper diet and glucose intake is a better option.
**Note: If you are diabetic you should not rely on ACV to control your blood sugar. You should seek counsel from your clinician about what method is the best for you (insulin, pump, carb counting).**
Increase low stomach acidity:
ACV is claimed to help increase stomach acid.
THIS IS TRUE!!
ACV is an acid and can increase the acidity in your stomach at the time you consume it. The acid in your stomach can help with digestion of foods and nutrients that you eat at the same time as you have ACV.
**Note about stomach acid: Too much acid can cause problems like reflux. So you should speak with your clinician if this is needed for you.**
ACV is claimed to help with weight loss.
THIS IS PARTLY TRUE!!!
First of all, it’s important to remember that weight loss doesn’t necessarily equate to good health. However, we do know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle does equate to better health.
In recent studies, ACV intake has been associated with weight loss. However, the impact was minimal compared to focusing on an overall healthy lifestyle.
So yes, it has been researched and shown to help with maintaining a healthy weight, but we do not suggest using ACV as your only strategy to a healthy lifestyle. ACV can be great for helping to create delicious and nutritious foods to enjoy!
Cure for Cancer:
Some claim that ACV cures cancer.
THIS IS NOT TRUE!!
This myth came from a study, where researchers poured acetic acid directly on cancer cells. While this strategy might work in a lab setting, the human body is not a lab, and it’s not possibly to use this strategy in real people.
Bottom line: ACV can’t cure cancer, although we wish it were that easy.
Stops bacteria or candida overgrowth:
Some claim that ACV stops bacteria or yeast overgrowth and help infections.
THIS IS NOT TRUE!!
First of all, candida overgrowth is a very rare condition, although alternative health practitioners would have you believe otherwise. Read more about this less than evidence based medical “diagnosis” here!
Secondly, a lot of good or benign bacteria lives in our gut and usually don’t cause any problems. Some over growth of bacteria such as yeast infections can occur, but ingesting ACV will not cure it like some claims suggest. Probiotics are what you want to help to get good bacterial balance in your body, not ACV.
Bottom Line with Apple Cider Vinegar:
- Some of the claims are true and some of them are false! Know this difference!
- For the claims that are true, are they worth it? The results regarding the true claims are not significant enough for ACV to be a daily need. Enjoy it when it makes sense with the meal you’re eating!
- Enjoy apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing, but don’t stress about taking a tablespoon a day!
Hope that’s helpful!