Apple Cider Vinegar: Benefits & Myths

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October 11, 2019

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Apple cider vinegar isn’t just an ingredient for salad dressing. The fermented apple juice has a lot of contemporary claims made about its ability to keep your health on track

It might be making waves at the moment, but apple cider vinegar has actually been in common use for centuries. Before modern medicine, varieties of vinegar were used as folk remedies for different ailments, either applied topically or consumed as a drink.

But as there are lots of recent assertions being made about apple cider vinegar’s benefits, it’s time to sort fact from fiction.

What is apple cider vinegar?

This vinegar is made from the fermented juice of crushed apples. Like other kinds of vinegar, it is very sour and acidic. 

Apple cider vinegar is made by combining crushed apples with water and yeast. The mixture is then left to sit at room temperature for at least 30 days. 

During this time, fermentation occurs, which is when the yeast turns the sugars from the apples into alcohol. Bacteria then turn the alcohol into vinegar.

If apple cider vinegar is unfiltered, it usually contains a “mother”, which looks like a cloudy mass. It actually contains yeast and good bacteria. A bottle of filtered vinegar won’t have the “mother” and will look a lot more clear.

What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?

Several of the claims about apple cider vinegar have been the subject of scientific studies, creating a growing body of evidence that it can have a positive effect on health. 

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It can aid gut health

One modern claim about apple cider vinegar is that it may improve gut health.  

There is some scientific justification for this idea, as the “mother” is a probiotic comprised of gut-friendly bacteria, but more research is required to validate just how much apple cider vinegar can improve your intestinal health and digestion.

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It may help lower blood sugar levels

Apple cider vinegar has also been touted as a natural way to lower blood sugar levels. 

Some scientific research has shown that it is effective. A small 2016 study by Aston University in the US found that drinking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (diluted in water) reduced blood sugar levels in participants. 

One reason suggested for this reduction was that the acid in the vinegar stops starch breaking down, resulting in less sugar being absorbed into the bloodstream. 

While further research needs to be done to understand why apple cider vinegar has this effect on blood sugar, several other studies have produced similar results.

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It can prevent bad bacteria from growing

Apple cider vinegar definitely tastes great on salads. However, a 2005 study by Ege University in Turkey also found it can also prevent nasty bacteria growing on lettuce. 

Further research published in 2018 by Middlesex University in the UK found apple cider vinegar had antimicrobial properties and was effective in preventing the growth of several strains of harmful bacteria commonly found in food. All in all, apple cider vinegar is an excellent choice for salad dressing. 

Myths about apple cider vinegar

There have been a lot of claims made about apple cider vinegar and weight and fat loss. One 2018 study by Shahid Beheshti University in Iran indicated it may curb appetite and thus lower calorie intake and promote weight loss, and this could be due to its sour taste. 

The study indicated weight loss could also be due to other factors in the research, including calorie restriction.  

More research is needed to back up the claim that apple cider vinegar can assist with weight loss. 

It has also been suggested the vinegar has disease-fighting properties. The only studies that support this claim have been done on animals, so there’s no current evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar is effective in fighting disease in humans. 

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And fuel yourself forward

Like any other vinegar, a little apple cider vinegar goes a long way!

If you want to try it, there are so many great ways to use apple cider vinegar. Try making it into a salad dressing – it’s an easy way to introduce it into your diet and see if it’s to your taste.

It’s great to know that apple cider vinegar may offer potential health benefits too. 

As much as it has been a tonic in the past, there is some truth to the notion that apple cider vinegar may be a health-giving elixir today too.

Do you have a favourite way to use apple cider vinegar? Share it in the comments.

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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