Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must, and has a pale to medium amber color. It has been used for about 5000 years - in the year 400 B.C. Hippocrates used prescribed a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar to treat various diseases. In recent years, researchers have published about the health benefits of ACV for several health conditions. However, these were studies performed on rodents. There is a lack of information in human studies. In this bulletin I will discuss just the ACV health claims that have been supported by human studies.
ACV and Glucose Control
Acetic acid is the main ingredient of apple cider vinegar. It is consumable in concentrations between 3-9%. According to researchers, vinegar can significantly improve postprandial insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects. Consuming vinegar prior to a meal with carbohydrates has been shown to delay the blood glucose response by approximately 20-30%. However, it should be noted that ACV doesn’t prevent full absorption of the glucose, it just delays it. The main mechanism proposed for delaying glucose response is by delaying the gastric emptying, or by reducing the activity of digestive enzymes. This may be why consuming ACV with simple carbohydrates doesn’t decrease glucose response.
ACV and Weight Control
ACV may result in delayed gastric emptying and potential reduction in satiety. However, only a few studies have shown a reduction in overall food intake due to ACV intake. It should be noted that these studies have been done with liquid ACV, not with ACV capsules.
Other Health Claims
ACV has several health claims, including that it has antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-proliferative, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Some claims state that ACV may improve oral health, lower blood pressure, reduce allergies and inflammation, improve fertility, improve dyslipidemia and promote body detoxification. Contradictory results in human studies and limitations in the studies’ methodology have made difficult to prove these ACV health claims. At the present time, we are waiting for more well-designed studies in humans to confirm or refute these health claims.
Although apple cider vinegar health properties are controversial, the vinegar is very versatile. The recipe of the week is an easy fix for those busy weekends doing outdoor activities.
Recipe of the Week: Baby Kale, Butternut Squash, and Chicken Salad
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups baby kale
1/2 cup diced peeled butternut squash, roasted
2 tablespoons red bell pepper strips
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
Combine oil, vinegar, molasses, and mustard in a small bowl. Arrange kale on a plate or in a container; top with remaining ingredients. Top with molasses mixture.
Enjoy your weekend!
Karen Alexander, BSND,MSCN