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By Victoria Alwin

Vinegar: miracle or myth?

Nutrition Corner


I think we have all heard of vinegar’s miraculous uses, including that one ounce at least once daily can decrease cravings and appetite. Some of the claims are true; some are not. First of all, vinegar’s technical name is acetic acid, which might give you a clue why it works in some situations.

According to a 2014 study in the American Society for Microbiology, a 6% vinegar solution was used to kill resistant strains of tuberculosis. The vinegar, or acetic acid, was more effective with some strains than was bleach. The vinegar took about 30 minutes to kill these bacteria. What makes this important is that when bleach is used to sanitize kitchen food surfaces, it can leave a non-edible residue. Vinegar can do the same job, but is safer on food surfaces. That 30 minute time period is important. I would not recommend pouring vinegar onto a surface to sanitize and cleaning it off again in the typical 5 minutes. Waiting a full half hour can seem like forever in a busy kitchen. Also 6% is more acidic than typical store-bought vinegar. Just saying…..

Another study in 2004, reported in the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care magazine, researched the effect of apple cider vinegar and insulin resistance in diabetics. They found that two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with four teaspoons water taken after eating a starch or carbohydrate laden meal could increase how well insulin could do its work in helping the body use the sugars. In short, with those who have insulin resistance, a condition common to both diabetics and non-diabetics, the apple cider vinegar could prevent the typical rise in blood sugars one hour after eating. This is a great way to possibly minimize damage done after a holiday meal. It should be noted that this trick won’t work for all diabetics, nor does it suggest that anyone should overindulge frequently and figure that apple cider vinegar will act as a cure all.

A single tablespoon of apple cider vinegar might help with digestion or constipation, especially if the stomach does not produce enough acid. Like all things, this remedy should be discussed with your doctor, especially if you are taking medication that is designed to decrease stomach acids.

Taking one teaspoon apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon cayenne pepper and one tablespoon honey in warm water can be used for a sore throat. Take care with this one because I can guarantee that the cayenne pepper might burn a sore throat.

Apple cider vinegar in bath water can help with sunburn or with foot odor if poured onto the offending feet. It can also be used as a tooth whitener. Balsamic vinegar might decrease your LDL cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

Going back to the first statement about curbing appetite, this has not been supported by science. Just remember that vinegar is an acid and your body is VERY PICKY about how much acid, even a weak one, that it can tolerate.


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