Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has long been touted as a home remedy and weight loss supplement. It is true that drinking ACV can be beneficial, but not all myths have been supported by modern research. We’ll examine the benefits and downsides of drinking ACV daily.
What’s in it?
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Apple cider vinegar is made by combining apple juice with yeast. The yeast reacts with the sugar in the juice to create alcohol, and bacteria react with the alcohol to create acetic acid. This is what gives vinegar its pungent, sour flavor.
What are the benefits?
Apple cider vinegar can be especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. It has been proven to help with improved blood sugar and insulin levels. Uncontrolled blood sugars in individuals with type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. One to two tablespoons of ACV diluted in water may regulate insulin levels, but it is most effective when used in coordination with a well-thought out diet and exercise plan. (Learn about the symptoms and causes of type 2 diabetes here.)
In some studies, ACV has increased feelings of fullness. This effect leads people to eat fewer calories and increases the probably of weight loss. Again, apple cider vinegar alone is not responsible for weight loss, but it can be a positive addition to a weight loss plan.
Other studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
ACV also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. These types of cell damage are the underlying causes of diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Though researchers have not been able to prove a link between ACV and a reduced risk of cancer, it could be a good addition to a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
What are the downsides to drinking ACV?
There are some negatives to consuming ACV, such as:
- It is highly acidic. After all, it is a vinegar. Acidic drinks and food are bad for your teeth and can be harsh on your insides—mouth, throat, and stomach.
- If you mix one to two tablespoons of ACV with water or tea, this diluted solution won’t be as harsh on your mouth or stomach.
- It can trigger abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, in rare cases.
- Low levels of potassium. Although it is very rare, drinking large amounts of ACV can cause low levels of potassium. This, in turn, can lead to osteoporosis. Try not to exceed the recommended amount of one to two tablespoons of ACV.
- It can interact with doctor-prescribed medications, such as insulin and digoxin (or lanoxin). ACV can amplify the potassium-draining effect of these medications, which is why it’s so dangerous.
- As stated earlier, ACV alone will not help you lose weight or control blood sugars. If your intended goal is weight loss, drinking apple cider vinegar is only a small part of a full diet and exercise regimen.
ACV is not a cure-all. Consider what your dietary needs are and determine what food, drink, or supplement will fill that need. If you realize that you need more fiber, adding fresh fruits or legumes to your diet may be a better choice!
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