Is Apple Cider Vinegar a fraud?
This question came up during a personal conversation, and I felt the need to share my thoughts and the scientific background over some claims attributed to its daily consumption.
Vinegar has been used for centuries as a home remedy to treat wounds, sore throat, psoriasis, varicose veins and so on. However, there’s not much science to support these claims. Nowadays, Apple Cider Vinegar is again in trend as it has been mentioned to help with weight control and by improving body weight loss when used daily before meals, preferably diluted. According to nanna’s tales, it also cures indigestion and reflux, “balance your body’s pH”, detox your liver and destroy unwanted yeasts and bacteria.
At this point I need to quote a former professor from the IOC Diploma– Ron Maughan- to those considering adding supplements to their diet: “If it works, it’s probably banned; if it’s not banned, then it probably doesn’t work! In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
So, the first thing to consider: vinegar is a preservative, used in salads and on different cooking methods. Therefore, Apple Cider Vinegar is ACIDIC, so drinking vinegar straight isn’t recommended. It can cause serious problems specially if it’s not diluted: it can erode teeth enamel and scald your oesophagus, and definitely, won’t cure reflux at all.
What does the science actually say?
In a study performed by Wu and colleagues (2013) seven patients with polycystic ovary syndrome took 15 g of apple vinegar daily for 90 to 110 days. Findings from the study suggest the POSSIBILITY of vinegar to restore ovulatory function through improving insulin sensitivity in this type of patients.
But it’s important to first notice the number of patients assessed: is this significant? Would it show the same results if performed in a larger group of patients? This study was performed over 110 days; was diet and/or exercise controlled over that period? Many questions without answers…
Following the idea of a better insulin sensitivity after drinking apple cider vinegar, I want to share another study performed by Hlebowicz and colleagues (2007): they investigated the effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying rate on type I diabetes patients and diabetic gastroparesis (your digestion slows down and food stays in your body longer than it should).
Ten patients were assessed in a two-week period, and study showed that vinegar affects insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients with diabetic gastroparesis by reducing the gastric emptying rate an extra 10%. This might be a disadvantage regarding to their glycaemic control.
But, is there any evidence confirming that Apple cider vinegar is good for weight loss? Not quite. In rats however, metabolic disorders caused by high fat diet have been attenuated by its satiating effect, antihyperlipidemic and hypoglycaemic effects, and it seems to prevent the atherogenic risk. However, none of these claims are proven in humans.
Is it a fraud then?
- Vinegar can reduce your appetite, but experts say that’s probably because it slightly upsets your stomach.
- There’s still little evidence that drinking apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight.
- It may also cause your potassium levels to drop dramatically.
- It may also affect the action of medications that treat diabetes, heart disease, diuretics and laxatives.
In short, apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you, but evidence doesn’t show that it will do what people say. You can enjoy it in your daily life as condiment for salads, but it won’t make you FIT magically.
Have you tried this before? Are you planning on keep doing it by faith or do you prefer to keep it in the kitchen cabinet? Leave me your comments below…
- Bouderbala, H, Kaddouri, H, Kheroua, O, Saidi, D (2016) Anti-obesogenic effect of apple cider vinegar in rats subjected to a high fat diet, Annales de cardiologie et d’angeiologie, 65(3), pp: 208-213
- Hlebowicz, J, Darwiche, G, Björgell, O, Almér, L (2007) Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study, BMC Gastroenterology, vol. 7, pp: 46-51.
- Wu, D, Kimura, F, Takashima, A, Shimizu, Y, Takebayashi, A, Kita, N, Zhang, G, Murakami, T (2013) Intake of vinegar beverage is associated with restoration of ovulatory function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Tohoku J Exp Med., 230 (1), pp: 17-23.