8 Questions About Apple Cider Vinegar Answered

Apple cider vinegar has some health benefits. But can it do all the things that it has received credit for — everything from warding off colds to promoting weight loss? We got in touch with our experts to find out which of the claims about apple cider vinegar are true and which ones may not be.

Can vinegar fight colds and sinus infections?

“Apple cider vinegar is acidic and the concept is that drinking it will neutralize the atmosphere in the body preventing bacteria and viruses from surviving, thus preventing the development of the infection,” said registered dietitian Connie Diekman.

Sounds great, but there is a flaw.

“The problem is that the scientific evidence behind that theory has not been shown in humans yet. Studies have been done but the body of evidence is not there so while this may not be harmful, it may not be helpful,” said Diekman, who is a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and Director of University Nutrition at Washington University.

Does drinking vinegar “detox” the body?

There is no scientific evidence for this, Diekman said. “In fact your kidneys and liver are the key to removing toxins in the body and other than taking care of them, they don’t need any help.”

Can vinegar lower blood sugar?

Dr. Carol Johnston, RD, Professor and Director of the Nutrition Program at Arizona State University, previously shared about vinegar’s effectiveness at lowering blood glucose. We checked back with her for an update.

“Several trials published in 2015 continue to demonstrate the antiglycemic effect of vinegar ingestion in adults with insulin resistance and adults with type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Johnston said. “These trials revealed that glucose uptake by muscle was enhanced by the vinegar ingestions. Hence, the acetic acid in the vinegar may be acting by multiple mechanisms to reduce blood levels of glucose. These trials also demonstrated a reduction in blood triglycerides, an exciting finding.”

On a related topic: Can vinegar help with weight loss?

Dr. Johnston said studies have been conducted that show increased fat oxidation (or breakdown of fat) associated with ingesting acetic acid. “However, since the density of fat is low, this oxidation did not translate to much weight loss. This is an area that needs further research to understand the health relevance.”

Health benefits of vinger are still more folk remedy than scientifically proven remedies.

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Can vinegar improve indigestion or acid reflux?

Dr. Johnston: “To my knowledge, there are no published reports examining the impact of vinegar on acid reflux.”

Diekman offers a word of caution to never consumer vinegar straight. “It should always be diluted to prevent such strong acid from hitting your teeth, gums and esophagus. When consumed with other foods this acidity is mixed with the other foods, changing the negative impact,” she said.

Is apple cider vinegar the best type?

Diekman: “Types of vinegar vary in how they are made and how they taste, but in fact, you can substitute them for each other. Apple cider vinegar tends to be a bit sweeter than white so if you want that more tart, pungent taste you might prefer white. Bottom-line — taste is the key.”

What is the “mother” and does it add nutrients to vinegar?

Diekman: “The ‘mother’ in apple cider vinegar occurs as a result of the fermentation process that makes the vinegar. The cloudy look of many apple cider vinegars is due to the fact the food manufacturers did not filter the fermented vinegar and left the remnants of that process. Some feel this makes the vinegar better in taste but it really is about preference.”

Does vinegar have any other health benefits?

Diekman: “Apple cider vinegar provides great flavor to many dishes but the health benefits are still more folk remedy than they are scientifically proven remedies.”

Use vinegar in your cooking and enjoy its flavor while understanding just what it can and can’t do for your health.