Apple Cider Vinegar: Worth The Hype?

There's nothing better than apple cider vinegar for salad dressing and BBQ sauce, but this ingredient has gained popularity as a cure-all tonic -- is it worth the hype?.
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Decanter with vinegar and red apple

Photo by: Roman Ivaschenko

Roman Ivaschenko

There's nothing better than apple cider vinegar for coleslaw, salad dressing and BBQ sauce, but in recent years this staple ingredient has gained popularity as a cure-all tonic.

The Hype

Nutrition-related tales claim that if you consume a daily dose of apple cider vinegar it can help with various medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes as well as aid with weight loss, digestive issues and bacterial infections. Many alternative-medicine practitioners recommend downing a few tablespoons a day straight-up or mixed with water.

The Truth

There's no disputing the nutrient content of apple cider vinegar. It naturally contains pectin, small amounts of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.

There have been a small handful of studies done to evaluate the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar supplementation in diabetics. To date, there's just not enough evidence to support its success. Some studies did observe a minor effect on blood sugar levels after a meal, while a 2008 animal study found evidence of long term blood sugar improvements and lower cholesterol levels.

However, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that it actually raised bad cholesterol. Other studies have established that too much apple cider vinegar may lead to dangerously low potassium levels in the blood – a life-threatening situation. Needless to say, more research is needed.

As for working as a digestive or weight-loss aid, the evidence is also just not there. Guzzling acidic vinegar may also flare up symptoms of gastric reflux and heartburn in those that are prone.

Bottom Line: Cider vinegar isn't a magical cure, stick to using it for its delicious culinary applications.

Tell Us: Are you gung ho for apple cider vinegar?
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