Is Apple Cider Vinegar Really a Health Food?

Apple cider vinegar
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

You may have heard apple cider vinegar (ACV) being touted as the latest panacea. This acidic appley elixir is claimed to help support weight loss, control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and more. But is it really worth swapping your coffee for a shot of sour vinegar each morning? Let’s find out.

The Good Stuff

ACV is made by fermenting apples. ACV fans will tell you that many of the purported health benefits come from “the mother”—the strands of yeast and bacteria formed during fermentation. And it’s true that ACV is a good source of healthy probiotics and acetic acid, as well as the abundant B vitamins and antioxidants also found in fresh apple juice.

Small-scale studies suggest ACV may help support healthy weight loss, lower blood sugar, and cholesterol.

The Bad Stuff

  • Drinking straight ACV can contribute to tooth erosion, esophageal irritation, and acid reflux.
  • ACV can’t help you lose weight without other healthy lifestyle changes.
  • There is not much scientific evidence for the other health claims surrounding ACV.
  • There is little research into the benefits of popular ACV-based supplements such as gummies, and these are not regulated by the FDA.

The Verdict

There is nothing wrong with incorporating ACV into your diet but it is not going to cure all your ailments! Always dilute your ACV with plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water after drinking. It’s also a good idea to simply use ACV in salad dressings, marinades, and pickling brines!