It’s time to separate the benefits of apple cider vinegar from what is backed by science and what is purely folklore.
Most holistic health experts will not hesitate a second to tell you about the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar, but it can be hard to tell what is the truth.
Apple cider vinegar has been proclaimed to heal everything from athlete’s foot to cancer to heart disease.
Unfortunately, a lot of the benefits of apple cider vinegar have been a bit blown out of proportion compared to what science has proven.
This article is going to be all about the science-backed benefits of apple cider vinegar compared to the myths out there.
One good thing about apple cider vinegar is it’s very low in calories and sugar, which nowadays makes it instantly better than most other foods out there.
But it’s going to take more than that for me to recommend taking apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.
Folklore isn’t enough as I prefer to make my recommendations based on science and experience.
Even though there isn’t a whole lot research out there on apple cider vinegar it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to this increasingly popular superfood.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Is Made
Apple cider vinegar is made from cutting up then crushing apples to squeeze out all the liquid.
They’ll then start the fermentation process as the sugars turn to alcohol.
Next, a secondary fermentation process happens as the alcohol is converted into acetic acid forming bacteria.
The sour taste you get when trying apple cider vinegar is due to the acetic and malic acid.
Grapes were first known to be turned into vinegar 5,000 years ago in Bablylonia. Legend says a courtier forgot about some grape juice, which then fermentated, leading him to discover wine.
Cleopatra was even said to dissolve her pearls in vinegar and gave them to Marc Anthony as a love potion.
Even Hippocrates who lived over 2,000 years ago and known to be the father of modern medicine used vinegar to treat wounds and common illnesses.
Vinegar was a natural bacteria killer that would clearly help treat wounds and illnesses compared to any other medicine at the time.
Was Hippocrates onto something or was he in need for a reality check?
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
It’s well known having unstable blood sugar levels leads to not only weight gain, but type 2 diabetes.
When you eat a food high in sugar, refined carbs or even higher on the Glycemic Index your blood sugar will spike.
This causes your body to release insulin to try and bring your blood sugar levels back down.
When your body has to do this too much it will be harder and harder for your body to release insulin.
This is what leads to type 2 diabetes, and why it’s so important to have keep your insulin sensitivity.
Other than staying away from sugars, refined carbs and high Glycemic Foods you can also try using some apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar has been proven in quite a few studies to improve insulin sensitivity.
As vinegar fights insulin resistance you’ll naturally see a reduction in weight from lack of blood sugar spikes.
A big study by the American Diabetes Association found vinegar to significantly improve blood glucose levels in people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
This is how the study was performed:
- They were separated into 3 groups
- Insulin sensitive, insulin resistant, & type 2 diabetes
- They were then given 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- Next they ate a white bagel and orange juice
- They found the apple cider vinegar significantly reduced blood sugar levels
This is very important considering the American Diabetes Association said we can expect type 2 diabetes levels to go up at least 50% in the next 25 years.
Acetic Acid The Special Ingredient
High concentrations of acetic acid is the special ingredient inside apple cider vinegar thought to give it the majority of its health benefits.
One of the big benefits of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is it can help you absorb more nutrients of the foods you eat.
When you eat some foods your body isn’t necessarily able to absorb all the nutrients inside them.
Acetic acid helps your body absorb these nutrients, hopefully from nutritionally bountiful foods, so they can get into your bloodstream.
The acetic acid is the big reason why apple cider vinegar tastes sour and has that “slap you in the face” taste.
Later I’ll tell you when I prefer to take my apple cider vinegar to maximally absorb these absolutely crucial and powerful nutrients into my body.
This 2009 study in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry found vinegar to lower body fat in obese Japanese people.
Not only did they lose weight, but they also lost stomach fat, reduced waist circumference and lowered triglycerides.
If you’re trying to lose more belly fat then it might be a good idea to start taking some apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss
One of the problems with “dieting” is the hunger pains that come with cutting calories and filling foods.
I’ve noticed this is one of the hardest, if not the hardest part for my clients when embarking on a weight loss diet.
You can do it only for so long before the hunger pains take over and you end up binging on high calorie junk food.
This leads to feelings of defeat, which is far from encouraging to wanting to continue your new diet.
Other than trying to slowly implement these dietary changes I recommend for my clients to eat foods that are healthy for them but also make them feel fuller.
This causes them to not get the hunger pains so they can stick to their diet and not binge eat.
This 2005 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an increase in feeling fuller after consuming apple cider vinegar.
It’s thought the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar to be responsible for its hunger control.
Hunger control combined with regulating blood sugar is how apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight.
Apple Cider Vinegar Kills Bacteria
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person on the planet by now doesn’t know harmful bacteria can lead to serious illness and disease.
The good thing is we also know what kills off a lot of this harmful bacteria before it can cause any serious damage to our bodies.
Vinegar is extremely useful as a disinfectant that kills off bacteria.
You can not only use it to kill bacteria on your body but you can also use it to disinfect food and countertops.
The high acidity in vinegar is what’s responsible for being able to kill off so much bacteria.
Like I was saying early even Hippocrates used vinegar for this very reason over 2,000 years ago. That was WAY before antibiotics!
This study even found vinegar to be useful in preventing the growth of food-borne pathogen bacteria including E. coli.
Apple Cider Vinegar For High Blood Pressure
Heart disease beats even cancer as the number one killer in the United States.
Keeping your blood pressure within the normal range is critically important to preventing heart disease.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar looks promising as a way to help reduce your blood pressure.
This study found dietary vinegar useful in helping to lower blood pressure.
And in this 2006 study published in British Journal of Nutrition found vinegar also helped to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
The unfortunate circumstances of these two studies though is they were both performed on rodents so the results don’t necessarily translate over to humans.
Even though apple cider vinegar was proven to lower blood pressure in rodents we can’t yet be for certain it’ll work long term for humans.
There still isn’t a whole lot of research out yet with for the benefits of apple cider vinegar and heart disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar Prevents Cancer
There is a lot of folklore out there about the cancer fighting benefits of apple cider vinegar we need to myth bust.
Before you go out and start drinking down apple cider vinegar to prevent cancer there are some things you should know first.
So yes, there is this study that found naturally fermenting vinegar to be effective in killing off cancer cells.
Keep in mind this study wasn’t on humans and they didn’t use apple cider vinegar specifically.
The researchers fully admit that even though they found the vinegar killed cancer cells they were not certain if it was the vinegar itself or another active ingredient inside it.
The truth is even though using vinegar as a cancer fighter shows some promise there is still a lot of research needed before one can fully endorse it.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
I personally like to take 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water almost daily before my vegetable smoothie.
Since I usually take my vegetable smoothie in the afternoon I’ve noticed that I’ll be tempted to binge eat around that time.
When your body is ready to binge eat the last thing it wants to do is drink down some vegetables.
So by first making myself drink the apple cider vinegar I’ve noticed my hunger pains go away for a little bit so I can then make the wiser and more rational decision to drink my vegetable smoothie.
Another one of the benefits of apple cider vinegar is it’s ability to help you absorb more nutrients of the foods you eat.
I couldn’t think of a better time to take it then right before my daily vegetable smoothie.
If you’re interested in my daily vegetable smoothie that is packed with micronutrients to keep my body running strong, staying young and energetic see it along with my other top weight loss drinks.
If you’re just getting started drinking apple cider vinegar then I’d just go with 1 tablespoon mixed in a glass of water. From there you can slowly work your way up to 2 tablespoons.
Just make sure you dilute it in a glass of water since it’ll be very acidic. I’ve also noticed it’s much easier to drink this way.
I always like to swish some water in my mouth after drinking it just to get it off my teeth. The acidity in the apple cider vinegar can wear down your tooth enamel.
The Best Apple Cider Vinegar to Drink
Make sure when you go to the grocery store to buy apple cider vinegar that is organic, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized and unprocessed.
You don’t want to find an apple cider vinegar that is “pretty looking.”
You want to find one that looks murky, brown and cloudy inside. This is the best!
You’ll also want to make sure you find an apple cider vinegar that still has the “mother” inside.
The mother is loaded with probiotics and acetic acid both of which are highly beneficial to you.
I like to use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar because it clearly meets al the above requirements.
If you’re not up for drinking it you can also use apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing.
Apple Cider Vinegar Bad For You?
Now that we’ve fully established that there are some science-backed benefits to apple cider vinegar it may not be for everybody.
It will help you lose weight, fight diabetes, kill off bacteria and maybe even lower your blood pressure and fight cancer.
There is still a lot more folklore out there on the benefits of apple cider vinegar you should really take with a grain of salt before fully believing.
Just use your common sense when it comes to apple cider vinegar and what it can really do for you.
Some claim apple cider vinegar has a ton of nutrients inside but that’s really not true.
After the fermentation process there really isn’t a whole lot of nutrients left inside.
But what there is left inside of apple cider vinegar can be quite beneficial to you. Most notably the acetic acid.
Just make sure you talk to your doctor first before taking apple cider vinegar if you have any health issues or foreseeable problems with taking it.
You now have real world knowledge about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for what it can do and can’t do for you.
Keep in mind even though apple cider vinegar has some incredible benefits you can’t fully depend on just taking it alone to help you lose weight.
You really need a proven nutrition system to help you lose weight and those last pounds of belly fat. For this I recommend my tried-and-true nutrition system The Flat Belly Formula.
When you combine The Flat Belly Formula with apple cider vinegar you’ll have a combination of belly fat fighting powerhouse.
In the end, apple cider vinegar is another tool for you weight loss journey and to live a healthier and stronger life.
And with all tools it really just depends on how you use it.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.