The Apple Cider Vinegar Myth That Won't Go Away

It seems like apple cider vinegar is being touted as a miracle of holistic medicine a lot these days. There are claims that the sour substance can help manage diabetes, improve weight loss, and lower cholesterol, per West Virginia University. That's a lot to ask of a drink that's basically spoiled apple juice (via Bragg). While some of these health claims may be true, there is at least one that has been well studied, and been proven inconclusive at best.

There is evidence that apple cider vinegar has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Even then, it was being used for its medicinal purposes. Father of medicinal ethics Hippocrates often prescribed a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar for coughs and colds (via West Virginia University). So, while apple cider vinegar's health benefits might have seen a resurgence in recent years, it is by no means a new idea. However, many people more frequently associated it with donuts, marinades, and baking hacks than medicine until recently.

Apple cider vinegar likely won't aid weight loss

Weight loss may be one of the most common benefits attributed to the consumption of apple cider vinegar, but there is very little scientific evidence that supports these claims, according to Health Feedback. They conducted a meta-analysis of studies testing the weight loss capabilities of the condiment after a series of Facebook posts went viral in May 2022 and noted that these videos claimed apple cider vinegar, along with other ingredients, is an effective tool for weight loss.

After compiling scientific studies relating to apple cider vinegar's ability to assist in rapid weight loss, both with and without other additives, they say that there are few scientific studies worth trusting. But those that did show a correlation were either conducted among too narrow of a sample group, or only demonstrated the effects on animals. Based on this evidence, they do not support using apple cider vinegar as an effective weight loss tool for most people. Instead, they say that regular physical activity and a healthy diet remain the best general option for those seeking to lose weight.

Analysis by West Virginia University came to a similar conclusion. They also noted that apple cider vinegar, especially when consumed in large quantities, can have adverse health effects. Its highly acidic nature can cause upset stomachs or throat irritation. It may also interact with some medicines, and it is best to consult your doctor before adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.