Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is an acetic acid solution that results from a fermentation process when yeast and bacteria are added. Yeast is first added and the microorganisms turn the sugar into alcohol. The next step in the process involves the addition of a bacterium called Acetobacter, which converts alcohol to acetic acid.
Apple cider vinegar is high in healthful substances. Researchers believe acetic acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars are 5–6% acetic acid! Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called mother, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, it offers a small amount of potassium. Good quality brands also contain some amino acids and antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar is often used to help treat type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin.
Research suggests that vinegar offers the following benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
- A small study suggests vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity by 19–34% during a high carb meal and significantly lower blood sugar and insulin response. (This is only relevant to people with type 2 diabetes.)
- In a small study in 5 healthy people, vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- A small study in people with diabetes reported that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning.
- Numerous other studies in humans show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
Another use of apple cider vinegar is around weight loss. Several human studies show that vinegar can increase satiety, lowering blood sugar and reducing insulin levels. Apple cider vinegar only contains about three calories per tablespoon. According to one study, taking vinegar along with a high carb meal led to increased feelings of fullness, causing participants to eat 200–275 fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.
Overall though, weight loss will only occur when total caloric intake is reduced not from adding in apple cider vinegar consumption. We recommend looking at your lifestyle overall and working with an industry professional to make long term changes.
Whilst apple cider vinegar does carry health benefits, especially for those that are diabetic, it should be used in conjunction with correct nutrition and training protocols.