Now here’s the thing about Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). For decades – and probably even centuries – it has been ascribed almost magical properties to cure virtually all ailments and prevent a great many more. Alright – that is something of an exaggeration – but it is one substance that has been recommended for a startlingly wide range of uses, from combating obesity to body odors.

Cynics – and many scientists – however, put ACV’s purported health benefits down to folklore and old wives’ tales. In fact, some claim that taking the liquid on a regular basis could be downright dangerous, eroding your teeth enamel, churning up your insides, and worse.

So, what’s the truth behind ACV? Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Is it no more than a whimsical, centuries-old myth?

The clearest answer we could find it that there is no clear answer at all.

Let’s look at one of the most commonly held beliefs about ACV – that it assists with weight loss. There are studies that have found that ACV (and vinegar, in general, may reduce the absorption of starches and slow digestion, which helps to make one feel full. There is also a study that shows that helps to keep blood sugar level in check to some extent overnight. Both these phenomena help to suppress appetite. But does that translate into weight loss?

What about claims that ACV helps with the management of diabetes because of its positive effects on blood glucose control?  As mentioned, there are studies that indicate that ACV does have an effect on blood glucose – in mice. But so far, these results have not been repeated in large, controlled human studies. Clearly, more research is required.

What about heart disease and cancer, two areas where ACV consumption is said to possibly have some positive benefits.

Animal studies, as well as lab-based studies on cells, have indicated that vinegar – and therefore probably ACV – have some anti-cancer effects. However the results in observational human studies have been contradictory, with one study indicating a decrease in cancer, and another an increase.

There was some excitement after the results of a human trial that showed that vinegar consumption results in a reduction in triglycerides (the stuff that leads to clogged up arteries) were published in 2009. However, in the almost decade since, no other studies have been able to replicate these results. To be fair, there have not any studies performed that examine the effects of regular vinegar consumption on cardiovascular events or mortality; but one study involving diabetics revealed no change in their blood fat content after eight weeks of daily ACV consumption.

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