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Apple cider vinegar: Is it good or just a myth?

Bowl of red cabbage coleslaw with apples - Apple Cider Vinegar and Red Cabbage Coleslaw with Apples
If you’d like to give apple cider vinegar a try, use it in your food, such as a tossed salad or this coleslaw recipe.

Is drinking apple cider vinegar good for you? Or is it a myth that its many benefits aren’t true, even if you can get past the flavor and smell?

Apple cider vinegar has been a folk remedy for many years, said Marshfield Clinic Medical Dietitian Chrisanne Urban. It’s also been a preservative and natural home cleanser. More recently it’s become a trend as a natural option to improve health by consuming one to two tablespoons daily in drinks or dishes.

Some swear by it. Others, Urban said, may look for credible research to back that up but aren’t finding much to support the claims.

Fermentation makes it tart

Apple cider vinegar is made through two fermenting processes. First, yeast and bacteria are added to apple juice. Bacteria feed on the juice’s sugars and convert it to alcohol. In the second process, bacteria turn alcohol into acidic acid, giving it its strong taste and smell.

This vinegar is used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives and chutneys. As a beverage, it’s typically one to two tablespoons added to water or with other ingredients as drinks or smoothies.

Pros and cons

Perceived benefits include weight loss, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, improving A1c levels for diabetes and more, but there is little to no evidence that this is true. Also, Urban said, “it may brighten teeth but it also wears tooth enamel away. It could hurt your throat, damage your stomach or burn delicate skin because vinegar is an acid.” It might also cause problems with potassium levels dropping too low.

“If you use vinegar it works best in your food,” she recommends, “like in a tossed salad or slaw since it could clean up lingering bacteria on a salad’s greens, for example.”

With anything, Urban added, “talk with your primary care provider and ask if it’s safe for you. One to two tablespoons added to water or tea is safe for most people but you should still ask this question.

“And there’s no bright, shiny thing out there that’s a cure-all,” she said. “It will add flavor, but it’s not a miracle and we’re always looking for the silver bullet.”

Apple and Red Cabbage Slaw

Prep: 25 minutes

Servings: 6 (1 cup per serving)


  • 3 cups coarsely grated red cabbage
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into matchsticks (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


Toss together cabbage, bell pepper, apple and cilantro in a large bowl.

Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.


Each serving, 1 cup, contains 63 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 2 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, 0.5 g saturated fat, 52 mg sodium and 9 g sugar.

Source: vegetariantimes.com

Print slaw recipe

13 responses to “Apple cider vinegar: Is it good or just a myth?”

  1. Linda

    I want to thank you for the info. Apple cider vinegar was suggested to me. Your info came at the same time I noticed sore throat. Thank you.

  2. Steve

    Small typo: it’s actually the yeast that initially converts sugars to ethanol. The acetobacter then produce acetic acid from the ethanol.

  3. Joyce

    You can get the same results by drinking a little tonic water for leg cramps

  4. Sue

    Can drinking too much Apple cider vinegar cause extreme dehydration?

    1. Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor

      Hi, Sue. Thank you for the question. Chrisanne says, like most things, too much of anything can be bad for your nutrition, and that apple cider vinegar can cause dehydration especially if taken with certain medications. As mentioned in the story, “one to two tablespoons added to water or tea is safe for most people,” but you should talk to your primary care provider.

      Thank you for reading Shine365. -Kirstie

    2. Alvin Davis

      TOO much of anything can create problems. Use moderately.

  5. Julie

    What about for physical appearance? I am trying to go as natural as possible and have read many articles on using it for a hair cleanse mixing 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 cup water and pouring it over your head and letting it sit for 3 minutes. Some say to rinse it out while others say you can leave it on your hair as a conditioner. Can this damage your skin or hair? I would love to hear if anyone has any experience with this! I also have consumed about 4 tablespoons a day in my past and I had a bad reaction. I think I drank too much but it seemed to make my skin very itchy and oily and when I stopped, the symptoms went away. I was told it was because the ACV was flushing out toxins through my pores and the oiliness was the toxins. Thanks!

    1. Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor

      Hi, Julie.

      As mentioned in the story, it is best to talk with your primary care provider and ask if apple cider vinegar (ACV) is safe for you. One to two tablespoons added to water or tea is safe for most people.

      I asked one of our dermatologists about using it for your skin and hair. He does not believe there is enough evidence or research to say ACV is beneficial or harmful for your skin and hair.

      WebMD shares detailed information on ACV if you're interested in learning more: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-816/apple-cider-vinegar

      Thank you for reading Shine365. -Kirstie

  6. Judi Brodeen

    ACV cured my cat of repeated urinary problems. Got tired of vet bills, searched online for help and found a suggestion for ACV. I bought ACV capsules, open the caps, and give him 1/3 of a cap every day in his wet food. He tolerates it well, it fixed the problem, and now we are both happy!

  7. Laura Roach

    I went to the "no poo" (no shampoo) method for my hair 3 years ago. I use baking soda and water as my shampoo and I rinse with apple cider vinegar. The vinegar takes away the static. My hair is in the best shape ever. My other main use of apple cider vinegar is for fruit-flies in the summer. Small bowl of vinegar and add some dish soap. The apple cider attracts them and the soap traps them.

  8. Larry Fricke

    The Amish sell a cider vinegar mixture for stopping leg cramps in 2 – 3 minutes. I've used it for years and will swear that it does what it claims

    1. Jo Ann

      Can you tell me what this is I need this

  9. Melanie Clark

    I don't know whether apple cider vinegar is a "cure-all." I DO know that since I began taking it two weeks ago, I no longer have cramps in my feet and legs during the night. I use this recipe: 8 ounces warm water, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ACV, 40 drops cinnamon extract (not cinnamon flavoring), and 1 tablespoon honey. It must be taken with a little food and sipped slowly.

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