Apple Cider Vinegar: Another Fad Diet? Or something more?



Apple Cider Vinegar Japanese Samurai Warrior History
A Japanese Samurai Warrior

Apple cider vinegar is made from apples that have been crushed, distilled and then fermented. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years, dating back to 2500 BC, to treat a variety of ailments including mushroom poisoning, toothaches and battle wounds. It was even used to improve the strength of Japanese Samurai warriors, for “detoxification,” and as an antibiotic. In recent years, it has grown in popularity again, with many claiming that it has various properties that lead to blood sugar control, weight loss and healthy skin.

Is this just another diet trend? What does the research say?


People generally consume apple cider vinegar in small quantities in its liquid form, or take it in the form of a supplement such as a gummy or pill. It contains high levels of acetic acid, which is responsible for its sour taste and smell. (My roommate describes it as “smelling like urine”.) A combination of yeast and bacteria formed during the fermentation of apple cider vinegar is referred to as the “mother,”  which many people attribute its effects to. In addition to the “mother” which acts as a probiotic, apple cider vinegar is ripe with polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and b-vitamins which all contribute to the health benefits of consuming it.


Apple Cider Vinegar Health Weight loss Mother
Apple Cider Vinegar Bottle

Blood sugar control


Diabetes Diet Blood Pressure UK Apple Cider Vinegar

In the UK, where it is estimated that over 4.7 million people are living with diabetes, it is more important than ever before to find ways to combat this disease. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the bodies inability to produce insulin or insulin resistance, resulting in high blood glucose levels. A small study done by the American Diabetes Association, shows how Apple Cider Vinegar lowers blood glucose levels. Subjects in the experiment were given a meal high in sugar, after which they received 20g of apple cider vinegar or a placebo. After the experiment, researchers found that the group which consumed Apple Cider Vinegar had significantly lowered post-meal blood glucose levels compared to the placebo group. Although the results do show that Apple Cider Vinegar lowers blood sugar levels, more research on a larger scale is still needed to confirm that this is truly an effective way to combat diabetes. Hence, Apple cider vinegar will not take the place of medication for diabetes but could be a useful addition to a diet in this respect. 


Weight loss


Donut Weight Loss Krispy kreme Apple cider vinegar
A Chocolate Krispy Kreme Donut

Apple cider vinegar has also been touted more recently for facilitating weight loss. A clinical trial from the Journal of functional Analysis conducted a study to support this. Participants drank 15ml of Apple Cider Vinegar with lunch and dinner, in addition to consuming a diet 250 calories less than their daily estimated requirement (the same as the calories in 1 Krispy Kreme chocolate donut). People in the Apple Cider Vinegar group lost an average of 4kg over 3 months compared to the control group that only lost 2.3kg on average over the 3 months. There is also evidence that Apple Cider Vinegar could increase feelings of fullness, causing people to naturally consume fewer calories. Overall, Apple Cider Vinegar could promote satiety, lower blood sugar and reduce insulin levels, which could lead to weight loss. 


This can be helpful to those with obesity, as weight loss decreases one’s risk factors for obesity-related chronic diseases. It can also be beneficial to those who are looking to healthily lose weight, for benefits such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugars.


The Apple Cider Vinegar diet trend and its risks

Recently on sites such as Instagram and TikTok, it has been a growing trend among influencers to record themselves taking “shots” of apple cider vinegar and show their resulting dramatic weight loss. In today’s world where teens are easily influenced by the media and where weight loss trends are widespread to achieve a desirable body type, drinking apple cider vinegar can have dangerous effects on teens.



tiktok weight loss Apple Cider vinegar
Screenshot of Tiktok #applecidervinegar

In the “Apple Cider Vinegar diet” depicted in social media, the only thing involved is drinking the apple cider vinegar which will then result in drastic weight loss. This can be misunderstood by impressionable youths, and they can be misled into thinking that ACV is a quick fix to get their desired body type. Furthermore, often on social media, no clear instructions are given on how to safely consume apple cider vinegar. This is dangerous as there are risks involved with consuming large amounts of apple cider vinegar. For example, for safe consumption of ACV, a maximum of 1 tablespoon diluted in at least 1 cup of water can be consumed twice a day. Consuming large amounts of undiluted apple cider vinegar can lead to tooth decay, due to the high concentration of acetic acid in the vinegar which weakens dental enamel and leads to the loss of minerals in teeth. Moreover, it can result in throat burns. A case report found that an apple cider vinegar tablet caused burns after being caught in one woman’s and another review found that acetic acid from vinegar was the leading cause of throat burns in children. Hence, understanding the effects and risks of apple cider vinegar before consumption is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with teens who consume Apple Cider Vinegar. 



Weight Loss Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
Incorrect representation of Apple Cider Vinegar on Social Media

Although there do seem to be benefits to consuming apple cider vinegar, more studies are needed before a definitive conclusion of its benefits and risks can be drawn. Furthermore, we should not assume that consuming apple cider vinegar can be a “quick fix” to becoming healthy. Rather, it should instead be taken in moderation, with a combination of a healthy diet and exercise.


Written by Kathryn Chia, Edited and Published by Behind the Scalpel, find them at behindthescalpel.org

References

  1. Robert H. Shmerling, M., 2020. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: Does It Really Work? - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-diet-does-it-really-work-2018042513703>

  2. .Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar - UChicago Medicine. (2020). https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/debunking-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar#:~:text=The%20researchers%20found%20that%20ACV,that%20ACV%20decreased%20cholesterol%20levels.

  3. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar - UChicago Medicine. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/debunking-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar#:~:text=The%20researchers%20found%20that%20ACV,that%20ACV%20decreased%20cholesterol%20levels.

  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618300483

  5. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar - UChicago Medicine. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/debunking-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar#:~:text=The%20researchers%20found%20that%20ACV,that%20ACV%20decreased%20cholesterol%20levels.

  6. Apple Cider Vinegar – Natural Beauty throughout History. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from http://www.herbhedgerow.co.uk/apple-cider-vinegar-natural-beauty-throughout-history/

  7. UK, D., million, N., & possible, Y. (2020). Number of people with diabetes reaches 4.7 million. Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/new-stats-people-living-with-diabetes

  8. 7 Side Effects of Too Much Apple Cider Vinegar. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apple-cider-vinegar-side-effects#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

  9. Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage: How Much Should You Drink per Day?. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apple-cider-vinegar-dosage#wellness

  10. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html

Photo sources

  1. Japanese Samurai Warrior : https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/560768591103064007/

  2. Apple Cider Vinegar: google images

  3. Diabetes statistics: https://mrc.ukri.org/documents/pdf/diabetes-uk-facts-and-stats-june-2015/#:~:text=UK%20It%20is%20estimated%20that,one%20person%20every%20two%20minutes

  4. Krispy Kreme donut: Bakemag.com

  5. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet : https://trabeauli.com/apple-cider-vinegar-for-weight-loss/




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