Apple cider vinegar has a big following for many reasons

Popup adds online, infomercials, junk emails and many other sources bestow the wonders of apple cider vinegar. Obesity, diabetes, heart problems, skin and hair maladies are just a few of the issues apple cider vinegar use is claimed to combat.

A friend of my dad’s was a serious canoe racer. Years ago, he came up with this concoction that must have been mostly vinegar. At least that’s what it tasted like. It was supposed to suppress thirst, and it certainly did that. If that was all we had to drink, there was no way I’d admit I was thirsty.

On the other hand, my wife had an aunt that loved to drink vinegar. When they made pickles, her parents couldn’t send her to the store after it. One time they did and the bottle was half empty by the time she got home. I guess some folks don’t mind the taste.

Many people must not object to imbibing this acidic liquid too much. Apple cider vinegar is a major component of a diet that promotes weight loss and lowered blood sugar. Acetic acid can delay the digestion of starch, and this can lower blood sugar spikes.

Vinegar also can cause nausea. That would reduce appetite and might limit food moving through the digestive system. I don’t know if that’s a great way to reduce weight or blood sugar.

One thing is certain concerning high doses of apple cider vinegar. The pH of the digestive system will be lowered somewhat. This will contribute to lower potassium absorption. Calcium loss from teeth and bones is also possible.

Some folks use vinegar topically instead of consuming it. Bathwater containing apple cider vinegar is supposed to clear up skin problems and fight dandruff. I’ve also read claims of its ability to cure athlete’s foot. The primary reason is that along with acetic acid it also contains antimicrobial compounds.

Personally, I think there are far more effective antimicrobial materials out there. I also don’t particularly wish to smell like vinegar. That wouldn’t be fair to my wife.

I think one of the biggest reasons apple cider vinegar treatments have become popular is that the substance is cheap. A gallon jug of the generic stuff costs less than five dollars. Even if the material doesn’t work, you’re not out that much money.

My favorite use of apple cider vinegar is as a base in a good marinade. It’s a great meat tenderizer.

In hot weather, it’s often difficult to cool freshly killed venison. I always add vinegar to an ice slurry in a cooler to cool game when temperatures are high. It works great and doesn’t impart flavor to the meat when cooked.

I’m astonished at the many fad uses for apple cider vinegar. I guess I’m just skeptical and I’m no medical doctor. Many foods such as pickles contain significant quantities of acetic acid. It’s certainly not poisonous, at least in moderate quantities. However, I would suggest before embarking on a full-fledged apple cider vinegar program you should consult your medical professional.


Ted Manzer teaches agriculture at Northeastern High School.

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I recently retired from teaching high school agriculture after 25 years teaching with my wife. Until recently I wrote a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper ( I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that can be purchased on Amazon in Kindle format. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone (presently out of print), a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death (this one is not yet published). In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books. I also wrote a romance novel titled Virginia. It is available on Amazon and is a different type of romance from a man's perspective.
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