Just kidding, that’s not entirely true. Never one to shy away from a challenge or a fun food experiment, I wanted to give the infamous ‘choke down a tablespoon of ACV daily for (fill in the blank health benefits)’ a try. To do this, I began every morning with 1 tablespoon of ACV and a little dash of honey dissolved into a mug of warm water. Because you can create a list as long as a printed CVS receipt of the purported health benefits of taking apple cider vinegar daily, it needed to be narrowed down a bit. I focused on the main bullet points that get tossed around the internet below. *Disclaimer: these are merely my opinions and observations against the backdrop of seemingly well-known and generalized health benefits of apple cider vinegar (#notscientific).
To start, apple cider vinegar is a fermented food, like kimchi or sauerkraut. Fermentation occurs when bacteria or yeast converts carbohydrates into alcohol or acids. Fermented foods are filled with beneficial bacteria that help to reinforce the good bacteria already in existence in your gut. The promotion of good bacteria seems to be the backbone of what makes apple cider vinegar so good for you. So, what are some additional claims about this fermented friend?
Claim #1: Apple cider vinegar helps to detox your body…
The claim here is that ACV can help to detox your body by helping to remove toxins from your body and by assisting with overall digestion. It seems that there is not a lot of formal science around this claim but rather a lot of anecdotal information. My Experience: I’m not entirely sure what kind of detoxifying effects I “should” have experienced but I will say that I did feel my digestive system was eliminating itself more often than normal. As a result, I did feel lighter and less sluggish? (How many times can I use the word ‘feel’ in one sentence? Talk about pseudo science!)
Claim #2: Apple cider vinegar aids in weight loss…
The claim here is that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, acts as an appetite suppressant and thus ACV will help you lose weight. My experience: Perhaps it’s the placebo affect but I do actually think that taking the ACV in the mornings helped me to control my hunger cravings. I already eat quite healthfully and try to avoid processed foods and sugars as much as possible but I am still a snacker at heart. The only way I can think to explain it is that I felt very in control of when and how much I was eating. I felt very in charge of my snack schedule and did not feel like I was starving in between meals or like I simply couldn’t wait to break out my next snack option throughout the day.
Claim #3: Apple cider vinegar helps to manage blood sugar levels…
The claim here is that vinegar can both improve insulin function and help to lower blood sugar levels. Sugar is very inflammatory on the body and and this particular claim seems to be one with some of the most robust research and science behind it. My experience: I do not suffer from any kind of insulin related health problem (like diabetes) so it is very difficult for me to speak to this claim. With that being said, I did feel that while taking the ACV it was really easy to manage sugar cravings and I felt like I did not experience the same desire to dig into sweets even when they were nearby–I felt like I was able to easily and politely decline cakes and other sugary items floating around the office at work.
There are approximately 100,000 other touted benefits of apple cider vinegar and and that number to the power of 20 in terms of reviews on the subject. In addition to what’s listed above I also felt like my skin felt very soft and bright. So will I continue to take ACV daily? Maybe? I don’t think 1 week is a long enough stretch of time to make any final conclusions. I did absolutely HATE waiting to have my morning cup of coffee until after gulping this mixture down (which took less than 1 minute). Does that say more about my lack of patience or my love of coffee? I’m not sure. And I do love fermented foods (like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut) and vinegar based dressings so the more likely outcome for me is that I’ll continue to make a more conscious effort to include more fermented foods in my regular diet rather than ingesting ACV specifically. The fun and exciting thing about exploring your health and alternative or natural remedies (within reason) is that you begin to learn a lot about your own body, with the barrier to entry on this knowledge being very minimal.