Apple Cider Vinegar Good for You?
Over the past several decades, apple cider vinegar has maintained its image as a cure-all. Ellie Krieger takes a deeper look at the actual health benefits of apple cider vinegar in her March 22, 2016 Washington Post article titled “Is Apple Cider Vinegar Really Good for You?” When vinegar is consumed, it helps to inhibit the enzymes that breakdown starch which helps to control blood sugar levels. This undigested starch also has a prebiotic effect on the bacteria in the digestive tract for an additional benefit. Undigested starch can lead to fewer calories consumed and very mild weight loss. The key ingredient is acetic acid which can be found in all vinegars, not just apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as the best because when unfiltered and unpasteurized it retains bacteria called “mother” which is said to have health benefits, but there is no research to support these claims. Apple cider vinegar also has a negligible amount of vitamins and minerals. Small amounts of vinegar must be diluted in a glass of water and consumed before eating to get any benefits. Vinegar should never be taken straight since it is a strong acid that can damage soft tissues and lead to tooth erosion. Before taking vinegar, individuals should consult a doctor, since it could have drug interactions with medications already prescribed. Krieger concludes that there are some minor benefits to consuming vinegar in appropriate amounts, but that some of the claims out there are grossly exaggerated.
The author of the article, Ellie Krieger, is a registered dietician and nutritionist who regularly writes on topics of wellness and health for The Washington Post. As a dietician, she is someone who is qualified to talk about topics pertaining to nutrition. Krieger does not work for any company that is promoting or selling apple cider vinegar, therefore it would seem she has no incentive to come to any specific conclusions in her writings. These factors contribute to her status as a relatively objective person to discuss any possible health benefits from consuming apple cider vinegar.
When making points in her article, Krieger states that she does her own research in order to draw her own conclusions and even sites specific studies that were published in reputable journals. This allows the reader to go back later and verify anything she says as well as read further in depth on the topic of interest. This article is based heavily on one article “Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects with Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes” published in Diabetes Care. Krieger does not address in her article if people with and without diabetes will see the same blood glucose benefits from vinegar consumption. When discussing weight loss benefits, she cites the study “Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects.” Krieger does not discuss the impact of a Japanese diet versus a typical American diet as well as if people of average or slightly overweight people will have similar benefits as obese individuals.
The article is written using language that can be easily understood by the general public. She does not go into a lot of detail or use very technical terminology. Krieger is very conservative in her support of the claims of health benefits and urges caution and consulting professionals. Overall, the article is well written for its intended audience and presents the information in a simple, straightforward fashion, but generalizes the studies’ findings to the entire population.
Johnston, C. S., Kim, C. M., & Buller, A. J. (2003). Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 27(1), 281-282. doi:10.2337/diacare.27.1.281
Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., Ugajin, S., & Kaga, T. (2009). Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837-1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231