Have you shot Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)? Or have you heard of people doing this but aren’t really sure why? I did some digging to find out what the experts say about this health trend that’s been around for the last few years. Mind you, vinegar has been used as an anti-inflammatory for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, so it’s not realllllly a new thing. I guess there’s just been more research into the use of vinegar in our diets. The idea behind downing vinegar is to loose weight (it certainly isn’t for the taste!). But will having shots of apple cider vinegar actually do this? What are the benefits vs risks? Apple cider vinegar is essentially fermented apples or apple cider that then becomes acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar, by adding bacteria. Having a shot of acid sent my alarm bells ringing, but I thought maybe there’s something I don’t know.
What does the science say about Apple Cider Vinegar?
Although nutritionally ACV contains probiotics and small amounts of amino acids, antioxidants and trace elements of potassium, In my research I wasn’t able to find many studies that showed ingesting ACV was good for weight loss. Majority of the studies were based on vinegar in general and didn’t specify ACV. The majority of the studies were also conducted on diabetics. That’s because what they’ve found is that vinegar can reduce post-meal glucose and insulin responses through blocking some starch digestion. The idea that flows on from this evidence is that since less starch is being digested, blood sugar levels are slower to rise, making you feel fuller for longer. Slower emptying of the stomach will make you feel less hungry, and hopefully help you avoid snacking on high calorie foods (like chocolate and chips etc). One Japanese study showed only modest weight loss over a 12 week period, I wonder if this is because many of us eat out of habit and aren’t too mindful of whether we feel full or not. Another benefit of decreased starch absorption is that you will likely feel less bloated. Happy days.
What about apple cider vinegar’s impact on our gut health?
ABC’s Catalyst ran an interesting story featuring two professors and a doctor discussing research around gut reactions to the foods we eat. They reported that when we eat processed foods, it generates a whole lot of bad bacteria in our body that promotes inflammation. But the good news is if you give up the junk food, the inflammation reaction is turned down. People who are lean and eat unprocessed food regularly will likely have all the good bacteria (probiotics) in their intestines, as their diet is higher in fibre and thus prebiotics, which is what feeds the probiotics. Good bacteria = healthy gut, healthy body & mind. Professors from the program also reported that adding vinegar to a balanced, high fibre diet will improve your health. This is because the acetate acid (the main component of vinegar) in the digestive tract binds to receptors found in immune cells that sending messages to the immune system and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. They note that there has been research on animals showing that supplementary vinegar in conjunction with a high fibre diet, improves inflammatory diseases such as asthma. The tests are yet to be done on humans though. This article and the tests referred to therein weren’t specifically in regards ACV, although as it is a vinegar, it too has acetate acid as it’s main ingredient.
What about claims that Apple Cider Vinegar helps prevent cardiovascular disease?
Similarly, research on animals has also confirmed that ACV plays a role in preventing cardiovascular disease, however research is yet to be conducted on humans to confirm this is the case for humans.
What’s the best way to ingest apple cider vinegar? Should you shot apple cider vinegar ?
So, even though research is still emerging, there are some studies and good ideas behind it. However, if you’re going to have it, you need to be doing three things;
- Don’t shot it. Dilute it. ACV is acidic and can damage your oesophagus and tooth enamel. Take two tablespoons mixed with 230ml water.
- Have it before you eat. The whole point of ACV as a healthy supplement is for it to work off your food absorption and digestion, so there’s no point in having it without food.
- Eat a balanced, healthy, high fibre diet. Because you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Have you tried an apple cider vinegar shot? Do you enjoy (or tolerate) it daily? Has it made a difference in your weight loss? Do you have more research to add to this discussion? Let me know in the comments below!
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