Surprising Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Is apple cider vinegar (ACV) an effective treatment to control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol levels, and promote weight loss? Apple cider vinegar, used worldwide, has a long history as a folk remedy for numerous conditions including arthritis, heartburn, and nail fungus. Which health claims about apple cider vinegar hold up to scientific scrutiny?
Much evidence links vinegar to reduced blood sugar levels in patients with Type II diabetes as well as in healthy adults. One recent study has shown that insulin sensitivity in Type II diabetics is increased with intake of vinegar. Vinegar may increase glucose uptake resulting in improved insulin action in skeletal muscle. Other proposed mechanisms that account for vinegar’s influence on metabolism include delayed gastric emptying and suppressed disaccharidase activity.
Another study involving healthy adults found that ingesting small amounts of vinegar with a meal of complex carbohydrates (a bagel and juice) reduced blood sugar levels by 20% compared to placebo. However, if vinegar is ingested with something consisting of simple sugars, then it will not provide the glucose lowering benefit.
For weight loss, vinegar may help increase satiety. One study found that taking vinegar or peanuts with a high glycemic load meal resulted in a reduced overall of caloric intake of 200-275 calories for the remainder of the day. This calorie reduction would amount to a weight loss 1-1.5 lbs. per month. Not a significant amount, but using vinegar could be part of an overall healthy diet and exercise plan for weight management.
It is recommended that apple cider vinegar be taken in diluted form or used in small amounts in cooking. Best to avoid taking it straight from the bottle as it may burn the esophagus and cause erosion of tooth enamel. Adding it to salad dressings, marinades, soups or pickled veggies will give them a healthy boost.
News brief written by Laura Harlow, nutrition team