Drinking apple cider vinegar, sometimes referred to as ACV, is touted as a healthy cure-all for everything from weight loss, to digestive issues, to preventing cancer, and even helping to clear up acne. It’s become something of a trend in recent years, with health and wellness experts and influencers recommending a daily shot of ACV.
The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar are so vast as to seem too good to be true. If it has such a multitude of health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, blood sugar, heart health, better breath, and more, how much should you be drinking and how often? Is a daily shot really the answer?
How apple cider vinegar might aid in weight loss
First, know that those trying to lose weight may benefit from drinking apple cider vinegar. The ACV makes you feel full faster, so you eat fewer calories overall. This is attributed to higher levels of acetic acid, which makes you feel full longer and use less total energy throughout the day (via Mind Body Green).
One study found that adults drinking 1 or 2 tablespoons had lower body weight, visceral fat, and triglyceride levels, as well as a smaller waist circumference compared to the placebo group. An additional study conducted on obese subjects found that, combined with diet and exercise, drinking ACV daily decreased body weight, visceral fat, and appetite, demonstrating a high likelihood that drinking the vinegar every day may help with weight loss.
Another way that ACV may contribute to weight loss is by reducing cravings for sweets (via The Healthy).
Apple cider vinegar improves digestion
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Vinegar improves your gut health by providing good microbes. The fermentation process that creates ACV encourages the growth of good bacteria. Fermented foods are high in probiotics, which improve the immune system, digestion, and even mental health. The probiotics in ACV are found in the “mother,” which is a creepy way to describe the cloudy yeast and bacteria that may appear as strands or sediment in the vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar may also prevent heartburn. Digestive acids sit in the stomach, except for those who suffer from acid reflux, where a weakened stomach muscle allows acid to leave your stomach and go up your esophagus, causing the pain referred to as heartburn. It may seem counterintuitive, as the acid in ACV is thought to prevent heartburn. When the acid is diluted with water, it creates an alkalizing effect. However, this could be dangerous if you have stomach ulcers or esophageal lesions, as vinegar will intensify the problem, so check with your doctor to see if you will benefit (via Longevity Live).
Blood sugar levels may benefit from apple cider vinegar
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Apple cider vinegar may help those with insulin resistance gain better control of their blood sugar levels (via Healthline). A study has shown that vinegar may reduce the production of glucose and insulin after a meal, meaning drinking ACV could contribute to lowering glycemic levels.
To gain these benefits, you only need to drink a small amount of apple cider vinegar. Drink 4 teaspoons before meals and your blood sugar levels should be significantly lower after eating. Because vinegar is highly acidic, mix it with some water before consuming it. Combining it with liquids other than water could potentially reduce the acid levels and decrease its effectiveness.
The benefits of ACV on so many ailments
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In addition to drinking ACV, it can also be consumed with oils in salad dressing where it is more palatable. A study has shown that women who eat salad, or other foods that contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, with vinegar-based dressing have a reduced risk of heart disease. This is due to the alpha-linolenic acid in apple cider vinegar.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition many women have that can affect menstruation. Many physical ailments are attributed as possible causes of PCOS, including insulin resistance. A study looked at the effects of ACV on PCOS sufferers to see if natural treatments could potentially replace pharmaceutical treatments. Subjects drank 15 grams of ACV for between 90 and 110 days. Six out of seven subjects were found to have decreased insulin resistance. Four of the subjects were observed during their next menstruation, which indicated that there is the possibility that ACV could restore ovulatory function in patients and allow for normal periods. This would help PCOS patients avoid prescriptions and have successful treatment faster.
Apple cider vinegar also has anti-inflammatory effects, which could help ailments like skin issues. It also boosts your immune and digestive systems. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which can help your gut, which has a major effect on your overall health (via Well+Good).
A smaller area where ACV can help is improving bad breath due to its antibacterial properties.
Risks of drinking apple cider vinegar daily
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As with many natural remedies, ACV can have negative side effects if too much is consumed, or it is used incorrectly. It is highly acidic, so it can potentially damage tooth enamel. One way to prevent this is to drink your dose with a straw.
Apple cider vinegar is also potentially dangerous in large amounts. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can cause low potassium. The recommended dose is 1 to 2 tablespoons.
The actual health benefits of drinking ACV every day may vary by person. Many different articles have been written about individual’s experiences with it, over varying time periods from a week to a month, at MSN and Popsugar. Some found it improved aspects of their health, while others didn’t.
People with diabetes should approach drinking ACV with care, and consult a medical professional, as it can have adverse effects including low blood sugar and difficulty controlling blood sugar (via Everyday Health). Finally, if you try drinking it and can’t take the taste, there are still additional health benefits from ACV, including many topical uses for it, from using it as skin toner, to repelling fleas from pets.
The untold truth of vinegar
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By Chris Heasman/Aug. 23, 2019 12:23 pm EDT/Updated: Jan. 2, 2020 2:01 pm EDT
Like so many other items you’ll find rattling around in your kitchen cupboards, vinegar is one of those things most people are aware of — without paying much attention to what it actually is. And frankly, why would you? Sure, it’s a pretty useful tool, but it’s not much else… right?
Wrong. Despite being so innocuous that you’d honestly struggle to even define it, vinegar is a fascinating mainstay in the home, both inside and outside the kitchen. Its history stretches back thousands of years, it comes in a near countless number of varieties, it’s hugely useful for cooking, mostly useful for household cleaning (it even does something pretty cool when you put it in your toilet), and it’s good for a party trick or two. Sure, it’s hardly glamorous, but who needs glamour when you’ve got a solution of water and acetic acid to hand? Nobody, that’s who. Buckle up, folks — it’s time to dive into the world of vinegar.
There are many different vinegars
Although it’s easy to use the word “vinegar” as some kind of all-encompassing term, the truth is that there are all kinds of different vinegars, each with their own tastes and uses. Let’s run through some of the most popular.
First, you’ve got distilled white vinegar; the kind you probably have sitting in your kitchen right now. This stuff is made from pure ethanol and is as useful in cooking as it is as a cleaning agent. Red wine vinegar has a variety of uses, including vinaigrette, dressings, marinades and strong, rich sauces. White wine vinegar, meanwhile, is far more fruity and lends itself to light sauces, vinaigrettes and pickling. (If you’re feeling particularly bourgeois, you could always opt for Champagne vinegar, which is basically white wine vinegar but far stronger in flavor.)
You probably have a bottle of balsamic vinegar sitting around somewhere, too. This is made directly from fermented grapes, rather than wine, and goes great with olive oil, bread and salads. Less common is rice vinegar, made from rice wine, which is sweeter than most vinegars and goes great with fish marinades and sushi rice. Apple cider vinegar is said to be chock-full of health benefits, while sherry vinegar goes great with rich meats thanks to its strong flavor.
Then, of course, you’ve got malt vinegar — the kind you’ll probably find with fish and chips. Unless you’re in the UK, that is, in which case what you’re using is more likely to be “non-brewed condiment.” Yum.
Tips and tricks for cooking with vinegar
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Okay, let’s get to cooking. And while most applications of vinegar (as a dressing, for example) tend to be simple enough, there are still a few tips and tricks you ought to know before you go including it in your recipes. Just ask Rich Landau, co-owner and chef at the Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, who gave Cooking Light his essential dos and don’ts of cooking with vinegar.
According to Landau, the first mistake cooks make is buying cheap vinegar. “If you’re buying anything over 16 ounces that costs under $5,” he said, “use it to clean your windows, not on food.” Generally, mid-range vinegars will do the trick, so there’s no need to go too expensive, either. It’s also important to use it sparingly, to avoid making your dish too acidic and having to balance that out with fat or sugar. Landau suggests using it as sparingly as salt.
Of course, you’ll want to match your type of vinegar to the dish you’re cooking; for example, white vinegar should be used for pickling, rice vinegar on Asian foods, and balsamic should be used to finish dishes. That said, it’s always worth pushing the boat out and using vinegar in more interesting areas of your recipe, such as dousing it onto grilled vegetables while still warm, in order to permeate the veggies with flavor.
Finally, make sure to replace vinegars often — they tend to peter out flavor-wise after around six months. Don’t go using the ancient stuff.
Is vinegar good for you?
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One thing that might need clearing up when it comes to vinegar: is it actually good for you? Well, yes and no. Research has shown that cooking with vinegar does have some health benefits — for example, it works as a great sodium-free substitute for salt, and most types (except balsamic) have zero calories. Apple cider vinegar in particular has been known to soothe sore throats, clear stuffed-up noses, and even cure hiccups. Unfortunately, many of the recent trends behind vinegars (especially apple cider vinegar) have been a little exaggerated.
While some studies have shown vinegar to help with weight loss, these have been anything but conclusive, and the volunteers involved quickly gained that weight back. Neither does vinegar detox your body, like some might suggest. There’s no real evidence that it can help with acid reflux or heartburn, either, and using vinegar to lower your blood sugar is anything but a sure thing. On top of all that, vinegar is acidic, meaning it can erode tooth enamel, cause stomach inflammation and actually trigger acid reflux.
So vinegar isn’t going to be causing you any real problems anytime soon, especially if you use it in moderation. But if someone on a health food bender comes up to you and offers you a shot of the stuff… run the other way.
Vinegar is sometimes used in drinks
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The vinegar health craze doesn’t end with apple cider vinegar, though. In fact, it’s now possible to buy a whole range of vinegar-based drinks for you to swig at your heart’s content. Last year, a journalist from Bon Appetit actually went and tried as many vinegar drinks as she possibly could, and recorded the results for posterity.
The first lesson was that vinegar shots (which many of these drinks are sold as) tend to make the esophagus burn up — which is never a fun thing. Some of the drinks weren’t much better. The Temple Turmeric Vinegar Drink “tasted like spiced water,” she wrote, while KeVita’s Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic “invades your nose with forgotten gym socks, rotten applesauce in your lunchbox, and wooden porch.” Others, however, fared far better: Vermont’s Village Drinking Vinegar played strongly, partially because it was diluted by apple juice, while BluePrint’s Organic Daily Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic (and breathe) proved “a great entry-level tonic for people who hate the taste of vinegar.”
At no point during the taste test did Bon Appetit’s writer noticed any change to her health, of course, since — as we know — vinegar has very little impact on your body. That means that, if you’re getting one of these drinks, you’re going to be drinking it almost solely for the taste. So maybe you’d be better off with an orange juice or something, yeah?
How vinegar is made
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First things first: let’s talk about what vinegar actually is. MadeHow.com puts it as succinctly as you possibly can: vinegar is “an alcoholic liquid that has been allowed to sour.” It’s made from a range of different alcoholic products, and which you use in your vinegar’s production directly impacts what kind of vinegar you end up with (more on that later). Vinegar is made using acetobacters, a microscopic bacteria that feeds on oxygen, marking a direct contrast with fermented alcohol such as wine, which relies on the absence of oxygen to be made.
But what’s the actual process? Well, that depends. One technique, known as the Orleans method, involves drilling bungholes into barrels and then filling the barrels with alcohol, right up to just below the holes. The barrels then sit for several months, until the alcohol has turned into vinegar. Wine vinegars, meanwhile, are made by filling large steel tanks called acetators. A series of pumps send oxygen into the tanks via air bubbles, while nutrients are added which encourage the growth of acetobacters. This sped-up process can create vinegar in only a few hours.
Finally, distilled and industrial vinegars are made by filling vats with beechwood shavings, charcoal or grape pulp. Alcohol is poured in, and oxygen is sent into the vat via bungholes and perforations on the vat’s base. It can take weeks for the alcohol to drain through the fillings to the bottom of the vat, by which time it has fully converted to vinegar.
Mother of vinegar is a real thing
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No, “mother of vinegar” isn’t some archaic exclamation British people use when they’re surprised. It’s actually a crucial part of the science used to create vinegar. See, mother of vinegar is a product of the bacteria which convert alcohol into vinegar in the first place — It’s what’s known as a biofilm, which is a sheet of material (in this case cellulose) created by the bacteria to enable it to grow as a community. Mother of vinegar, then, is a kind of home in which the bacteria can coalesce and breathe. As the alcohol becomes vinegar, the mother grows larger and larger, and is often removed from the end product before being sold in stores.
Of course, mother of vinegar is completely harmless, and it’s only filtered out for aesthetic reasons. In fact, some health food advocates actually suggest that mother of vinegar could be the most nutritious part of the vinegar itself. They have pointed out that this biofilm is rich in iron, high in prebiotics (which help the good bacteria in your gut grow and prevent harmful bacteria from growing), and are rich in B vitamins. You might have some trouble finding vinegar that actually contains mother of vinegar, and the actual experience of consuming something so aesthetically unappealing will probably be — let’s say “interesting”, but it’s never a bad thing to try if you can.
Vinegar has ancient roots
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One thing you need to know about vinegar is that it’s old. Like, seriously old. No, really, this stuff goes back to Biblical times. In fact, it goes back even further — some residues of vinegar have been found in Egyptian vases which date back 10 thousand years. Back then, it was often used as a drink (mixed with water, obviously) enjoyed by farmers and travelers. A similar drink was made by the Ancient Greeks, who mixed together water, vinegar and honey; thus creating what they called “oxycrat.”
The Romans called their water/vinegar drink “posca” and often sold it in the streets. According to the vinegar producer Ponti, the Romans believed that posca fortem, vinum ebreium facit; essentially, that posca makes you strong while wine makes you drunk. The Romans also produced several vinegar-based sauces, used it as a dressing for vegetables and salads, marinated fried fish in the stuff, and used it to treat several medical conditions. They also used vinegar/water solutions to clean the body and treat wounds — in fact, a sponge soaked in posca was said to have been offered to Jesus on the cross.
Four Thieves Vinegar
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How’s this for a home remedy? Vinegar can cure the plague!
At least, that’s the purported origin of Four Thieves Vinegar, a combination of raw vinegar, and various herbs that goes great with summer greens. One version of the story — which is more a folklore myth than an actual event with any historical precedent — begins in Marseilles during the 17th century, when plague was ravishing the city. At the time, a gang of thieves broke into the houses of plague victims to rob them. Most people didn’t seem to care, assuming that the plague would take care of the thieves for them. But that never happened, and eventually the thieves were caught and sentenced to death. Fascinated by their apparent immunity to the plague, however, the judges offered them a deal: reveal the secret to their survival, and they’d be shown leniency. The thieves agreed, and gave up the recipe for their secret elixir.
Another version of the recipe’s origins suggests a man named Richard Forthave created and sold it, and “Forthave’s Vinegar” gradually became “Four Thieves Vinegar” over time. Some insist the story took place during other outbreaks, such as those in the 15th and 18th centuries. The stories can’t even agree on the actual recipe: clove, cinnamon, lemon, and other ingredients are all suggested to have been part of the secret elixir. The truth is, nobody knows the real source of Four Thieves Vinegar — all we do know is that it’s good with a salad.
The vinegar and baking soda trick
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Everyone knows the trick: you take some vinegar, you take some baking soda, you throw it all together and — as long as you’ve used enough — kablam! You’ve got yourself a frothy explosion, worthy of a grade school Oppenheimer. But why does this actually happen?
The science is pretty simple. Two reactions take place when baking soda and vinegar are mixed. The first is an acid-base reaction, which sees the vinegar’s hydrogen ions react with sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda. This reaction creates carbonic acid and sodium acetate. Another reaction then takes place: that carbonic acid begins to decompose (trippy, right?) into water and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide rises to the top of the mixture, creating all kinds of bubbles and foam.
Add enough baking soda to enough vinegar and place them in a tight or narrow container, and that carbon dioxide will force its way upwards — to explosive effect. Honestly, though… shouldn’t you be cooking?
Vinegar has many household applications
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Of course, vinegar has a great number of non-culinary uses even for people whose households are largely free of bubonic plague. In fact, the list is almost endless.
Take toilets, for example. You can clean off visible dirt and disinfect your toilet at the same time simply by creating a solution of heated 9 percent vinegar and baking soda. Pour the mixture into the tank of your toilet and let it sit for a few hours. Repeat as needed and bask in the glorious cleanliness of your toilet.
But that’s not all. Vinegar can also clean windows, remove oily build-up in coffee machines, kill unwanted weeds and grass, keep flowers fresh (make sure it’s just a little vinegar with some sugar in a water solution), clean microwaves, keep your hair free of shampoo residue, make your dishwasher work more effectively, remove tarnish, prevent scum build-up in showers, dissolve minerals clogged up in showerheads, treat pet urine in carpets, remove bumper stickers, remove wine stains, keep colors from running in the wash, cleanse fruit-stained hands, and even soften paint brushes.
Most of these require a little preparation, mostly in the form of creating a solution of vinegar and water — after all, you don’t want to be adding full-strength vinegar to your hair anytime soon. Get the science right, however, and you’ll quickly find that vinegar is just as useful elsewhere in the home as it is in the kitchen… if not more so.
Read More: https://www.mashed.com/223065/heres-what-happens-when-you-drink-apple-cider-vinegar-every-day/?utm_campaign=clip