In recent years, apple cider vinegar has been touted for being the cure all for just about everything, from high cholesterol to blood sugar to weight loss. But how much of this is real?

While it does have its health benefits and adds some zing to salads and dishes, little research exists, and further studies are needed before it can be recommended as an alternative therapy.

The Benefits

The internet is awash with information, a lot of which is questionable and therefore it is important to remember that purported health claims don’t always equate into scientifically backed truth.

There has not been a significant amount of research done on the effects of apple cider vinegar and the studies that were done on weight loss and cholesterol were not conducted on humans. This basically means that their positive results may not translate into reality for you cos you are not a mouse or whatever poor animal was tortured for some pointless test.

One popular benefit of consuming apple cider vinegar on the internet is its ability to improve gut health. This benefit comes from the presence of acetic acid, which is formed when the sugar in apples ferments. Because of this fermentation process, apple cider is grouped into the probiotics category.

But if you are looking at improving your digestive health, you would be better off eating fermented foods that have a higher probiotic count, like sauerkraut, kimchi or yoghurt. It is also important to bear in mind that not all apple cider vinegar available in the market are created equal. If you want probiotic benefits, then look into purchasing raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar with the mother. Mother, consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.

Vinegar Detox

Bad news for you detoxing fans out there, but apple cider vinegar will not ‘detox’ your body. That job is done naturally by our liver, kidneys and intestines, which work together to eliminate toxins and waste from our body, while at the same time, helping our body absorb the beneficial nutrients from whatever we eat.

When Not To Consume Apple Cider Vinegar

Like most vinegars, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic having 5–6% acetic acid and this can wreak havoc on both your tooth enamel and stomach lining.

Some websites recommend taking shots of apple cider vinegar before meals. Unless you want to suffer from tummy issues you might want to give that a miss and instead dilute a tablespoon of vinegar with eight ounces of water, and consume it with food so that the acid doesn’t cause irritation on your empty stomach.

Apple cider vinegar is safe, healthy and full of benefits as long as you don’t take excessive amounts of it or follow unsubstantiated trends and advice. If you are in doubt, consult your physician or dietician.