What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Like all vinegars, apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes from a long fermentation process.
- Harvest apples are washed and chopped/mashed
- The prepared apples are covered in water and left to ferment in room temperature, producing alcohol
- The natural bacteria on apples uses the alcohol as food and produces acetic acid which gives vinegar its pronounced acidity
There are also some differences between apple cider vinegar and its white vinegar counterpart.
- Apple cider vinegar comes in either 5% or 6% acetic acid
- White vinegar comes in either 5% to as high as 10% acetic acid
- Only white vinegar comes as distilled which simply means it is lower in acetic acid
- White vinegar, because it comes at the highest acetic acid strength, is ideal as a cleaning agent
- White vinegar is fermented from a vodka-like grain alcohol, but is considered gluten-free unlike malt vinegar
Digging into ACV Claims
Fact: Apple cider vinegar has been researched to show it may reduce cholesterol levels.
In a peer-reviewed meta-analysis, it was found from 8 studies that persons with diabetes who consumed 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a full serving of water and doing a 2000-calorie diet were able to see a reduction their total cholesterol by an average of 21 milligrams in 8 weeks; however, persons studied who do not have diabetes did not see any improvements in total cholesterol using the same interventions.
Myth: Apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss.
There are little scientific studies at this time that supports the claim that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss.
One particular study in 2009 examined 175 people who either drank water with no vinegar, one tablespoon of vinegar with water, or two tablespoons of vinegar with water. Those who drank vinegar with water regardless of the dose lost on average 2 to 4 pounds in 12-weeks. The problem with this study though, is no where did the researchers specify if vinegar used was apple cider vinegar; thus, it is hard to determine whether this study supports the claim that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss.
Another study in 2018 examined 39 people in which half did a calorie deficit diet and the remainder did both a calorie deficit diet with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water for 12 weeks. The study found those who had both interventions lost on average 2 pounds within 12-weeks while a calorie deficit diet alone only lost on average 1 pound.
mMyth: Apple cider vinegar supports blood sugar control
There are limited studies at this time that supports the claim that apple cider vinegar may help support blood sugar control for those with diabetes.
A study in 2009 investigated 5 participants at for 4 weeks. The subjects were given 60 mL of water and a meal of mashed potatoes; blood drawn for insulin response and blood sugar levels. At another time, the participants again had 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 40 mL of water followed by a meal of mashed potatoes; blood drawn for insulin response and blood sugar levels. The study concluded that apple cider vinegar did not slow down insulin response and blood sugar levels continue to be high.
The problem with this study is that it did not specify if the participants had diabetes and, that it was only 5 people being investigated.
Why Take ACV?
For individuals with heart health concerns, especially when it comes to cholesterol level, it is safe to say that 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a full serving of water daily may help reduce total cholesterol levels without any adverse concerns.
In addition, apple cider vinegar has been found to positively have impacts outside of health including acting as a natural hair conditioner, cleaning, and as a skin moisturizer.