Can the latest trend for drinking apple cider vinegar really live up to the hype that surrounds it?
What is it?
It’s vinegar made from apples and yeast. The yeast ferments the apple sugars into a cider. Bacteria are added to make acetic acid — the health-giving compound that gives vinegar its sour taste. Unpasteurised premium varieties often have a cloudy look.
How is it used?
Apple cider vinegar is great in a salad dressing and also for marinating meat, pickling vegies or making your own chutney and relish. Drinking it undiluted (as some advocate) is very acidic on your teeth and can irritate your oesophagus — so it’s not recommended.
From naturally lowering your blood sugar levels to promoting weight loss, apple cider is often spruiked as a medical wonder, although studies are small. A US study found that adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a meal can reduce the glycaemic index of the meal, helping to slow the rise in blood glucose levels.
What’s the verdict?
Probably the best studied claim is in relation to lowering the spike in blood glucose levels after eating. Researchers conclude that the best way to reap the health benefits of vinegar is to consume it as a food, not medicinal aid – so use it to make a delicious vinaigrette dressing for salads, a tasty marinade for pork, or chomp into pickled vegies.