This is the vinegar that everyone’s been talking about! It’s been dubbed as a tonic for weight loss; type 2 diabetes, cholesterol as well as an elixir for hair skin and nails. It’s no wonder there’s so much hype around this ‘superfood’!
But what actually is apple cider vinegar and what does the real research say?
Apple cider vinegar is not new to the market; it has in fact been used for centuries to treat infections and wounds. It’s made from just apples, sugar and yeast and is made by first crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast then start a fermentation process, which then results in a vinegar being made.
1. Weight Loss
Can apple cider vinegar really help with weight loss? This has to be one of the top health claims associated with this vinegar. A commonly cited randomised, placebo-controlled trial showed that of 155 adults, those who consumed 1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar per day lost more weight than those who did not consume despite no differences in caloric intake.  However it’s important to note that there was only a very small difference in weight loss between the groups, and not all studies are in line with these results.
Whilst apple cider vinegar appears to have a small effect on weight loss, it should not be considered a magic bullet and attention to diet still need to be the main focus.
2. Blood Sugar Control
The effect of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar control has the most research behind it. 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar with a meal, has been shown to modestly lower post-meal blood glucose and insulin levels in both healthy participants and in those with diabetes. 
Whilst the mechanism is unclear, it may be due to delayed or reduce carbohydrate absorption from increased glucose uptake from the blood and insulin sensitivity.
This is a positive thing when it comes to diabetes prevention and management, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that apple cider vinegar can reverse diabetes or that it can be relied upon as a treatment.
3. Lowers cholesterol
There a lack of evidence as to whether apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol levels, and most of the positive research has been conducted on rats.  It’s important to remember that results from animal studies are interesting but cannot directly be extrapolated to humans. This means that much more research is needed before we can say that apple cider vinegar can be used to improve cholesterol levels, and for now it’s best to focus on more proven dietary changes.
4. Skin Glow
You may have heard about apple cider vinegar in relation to acne treatment, anti-ageing properties and even wound healing. However, to date, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that this is the case. Unfortunately, most of the claims around apple cider vinegar come from anecdotal claims rather than concrete facts.
Apple cider vinegar has often been touted as an inflammation fighter. There has been one small study involving around 30 people measuring a fall in C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), however, the results were so small they simply weren’t significant. As it stands there simply isn’t enough concreted evidence to say that apple cider vinegar can be used as a component to suppress inflammation.
Overall, there hasn’t been a huge amount of research conducted around apple cider vinegar and health. The most positive research has been in relation to blood sugar control and whilst there has been interesting research around weight loss, the effects are extremely small. When it comes to other touted health benefits, current studies should be taken with a grain of salt, as unfortunately, the quality of the studies is poor and more research is needed.
On the plus side, Apple Cider Vinegar is safe to consume for most and is a source of vitamins and minerals within the diet. But it’s important to only consume vinegar diluted in other foods such as salad dressings, marinades or even within water to avoid causing damage to tooth enamel.
Lily is a London Nutritionist who graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Human Nutrition (AfN accredited) where she was awarded with the Sage Faculty for Excellence Scholarship on an annual basis. She then went on to complete a 2-year post graduate Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and is currently working towards her MSc in Nutritional Medicine (AfN accredited) at the University of Surrey. Lily’s extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan.
Her frequent TV appearances include ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, and ITV’s primetime series Save Money: Lose Weight with Dr Ranj Singh. Lily’s passion is to simplify the science around nutrition, to provide health hacks and smarter eating strategies to empower people to enjoy a healthy and successful lifestyle. Her specialities lie in workplace wellness, implementing nutrition focused wellbeing programmes within corporate organisations across the UK.
Lily also sees individual clients from her clinic in Chelsea and a private medical practice based in Notting Hill.