Your Expert Guide To Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar has developed a big reputation for potential health and wellness benefits. Is it all it's cracked up to be? Here's what the science says.

It's not too often you hear about salad dressing turning into the latest health-and-wellness craze. It's even less common that a natural household cleaning product becomes the next big thing in nutrition. But both are part of the story of apple cider vinegar.

This tart kitchen staple has developed an immense reputation as a superfood that can do everything from helping control blood sugar levels to aiding in weight loss.

So is vinegar a "one shot cure-all"? The existing science seems to say it isn't. Still, there are some benefits you can get from incorporating this fermented liquid into your daily diet. Here's a closer look.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a long history of use in cooking and cleaning, but more recently there has been a growing interest in its purported health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar starts out as apple juice, but once yeast is added the fruit sugar is converted to alcohol, essentially fermenting the liquid. Bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid, giving vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell.

What Does Apple Cider Vinegar Do?

Traditionally, vinegar has been a staple in many food dishes, salad dressings, and condiments as a way to add extra flavor, extend shelf life, or assist with pickling. Currently it's being marketed more for its potential health benefits, largely thanks to acetic acid.

What Is Acetic Acid?

The active component of vinegar is acetic acid, which is a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) that your body also produces as a byproduct whenever fat is turned into fuel (beta-oxidation). SCFAs have been shown to directly improve glycemic control, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Acetic acid has also been shown to lower fasting plasma glucose, as well as increase insulin sensitivity. ACV contains between 4-8 percent acetic acid.

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