The Powers of Apple Cider Vinegar Have Been Vastly Overestimated

Detox drink made of water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a cure-all and weight-loss miracle food. (Image: NoirChocolate/iStock/Getty Images)

Rumor has it that apple cider vinegar is a cure-all. You’ve probably heard that it aids in weight loss, helps purify your blood and leads to a healthy microbiome. But which of these claims are scientifically proven to be true and which are pure speculation?

“Apple cider vinegar does have a few things going for it,” says licensed nutritionist and podcast host Monica Reinagel, “but, as you might have suspected, its powers have been vastly overestimated in the popular imagination.”

Back in 2009, Reinagel informed her podcast listeners that the acetic acid in vinegar has been shown to speed up metabolism. People desperate for a weight-loss miracle food proceeded to blow that information way out of proportion, touting vinegar as a verified weight-loss aid. In a recent post for Scientific American, Reinagel clarifies: “The effect of vinegar on your metabolism is so modest that it is unlikely to result in noticeable weight loss unless it is combined with other strategies, such as eating less.”

Sorry, folks, you can’t shoot apple cider vinegar every morning, eat two slices of cake for breakfast and watch the pounds melt away.

#AppleCiderVinegarDiet #WeightLoss #ThisBetterWork

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Another thing apple cider vinegar won’t do, according to the licensed nutritionist, is flush impurities or toxins from your body. And it won’t provide your body with huge amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. “It’s just fermented fruit juice,” notes Reinagel. And if you’re shooting the vinegar straight, there’s a possibility it will “erode tooth enamel and even damage the esophagus,” she says. So always dilute it in water before consuming.

Now don’t go tossing your $7 bottle of Bragg unfiltered apple cider vinegar in the trash; that would be wasteful. Here’s what apple cider vinegar can do for you: help relieve heartburn, prevent the blood sugar spike typically caused by eating carbohydrates and provide your body with beneficial bacteria.

For more in-depth insight into the scientifically proven health benefits of apple cider vinegar, listen to The Nutrition Diva’s full podcast episode “What Apple Cider Vinegar Can and Can’t Do For You.”

—Erin Mosbaugh

Erin has made telling stories about food her profession. You can find those stories in Food & Wine, LA Weekly, Serious Eats, KCET, Robb Report and First We Feast.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you drink apple cider vinegar every day? What has it done for you? Let us know in the comments.

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