In the years 80, when my brother and I were young, we loved to go to Long John Silver's [a chain of American fast food specializing in seafood]. But it wasn't about the fish. It was the vinegar. The malt. We used to uncover the bottle that was on the table and drink that delicious and pungent nectar of the gods. Do you feel repulsion? Probably. Were we anticipating to our time? Apparently.
Some online media and search engines want us to believe that drinking vinegar is the cure for everything. Our friends and colleagues tell us stories about the healing powers of vinegar for any problems we have mentioned in the conversation. "Do you have back pain for mowing the lawn? Vinegar. " Those last kilos you need to get rid of? The vinegar will get out of them. " "Syphilis again? You know that, vinegar. "
As a practicing family doctor and medical teacher, people ask me all the time about the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar. And the question would be equally valid for any type of vinegar because, explains Manuel Moñino, member of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, given the amount used for this product as a condiment, no matter if it is Apple, sherry, cider, Modena or Rice. I really enjoy those moments, because we can talk about the (long) history of vinegar and then distill the conversation towards the possible benefits.
A cure for colds, plague and obesity?
Historically, vinegar has been used for many ailments. The Greek doctor Hippocrates used to recommend vinegar treatments for cough and colds, and his Italian namesake Tommaso Del Garbo washed his hands, face and mouth with this food during the plague outbreak of 1348 in the hope of being able to prevent infection .
From the Times of Roman soldiers to modern athletes, a drink made from the mixture of vinegar and water has been used to quench the thirst. Around the world, ancient and modern cultures have found good uses for this "sour wine."
Despite having historical testimonies and anecdotes about the virtues of vinegar, what does medical research have to say about its relationship with health?
The most reliable evidence about the health benefits of vinegar comes from some studies done with people. One of them showed that, after a meal, vinegar can improve the blood glucose levels of those insulin-resistant people. In a group of 11 "prediabetic" participants, an intake of 20 milliliters — a little more than one tablespoon — of vinegar reduced blood sugar levels more than the placebo within 30 to 60 minutes after eating. A good data, but only tested in 11 people.
Another research carried out with obese adults showed a significant decrease in weight, body fat and triglycerides. Scientists selected 155 obese Japanese to Ingirieran well 15 milliliters — around one tablespoon — or 30 milliliters — a little more than two tablespoons — of vinegar daily or a placebo drink, and monitored their weight, body fat, and Triglycerides. In the group of 15 milliliters and in the 30 milliliters, the experts observed a reduction in the three markers. Although it is necessary to confirm these results with more extensive studies, the data are promising.
Work done with animals, especially rats, show how vinegar can potentially reduce the blood pressure and fat cells of the abdominals. This helps build the case for upcoming human studies, but basing benefits on animal outcomes alone is premature.
In general, the benefits of vinegar have to be confirmed by larger studies carried out in humans, something that will occur as researchers test in people already tested in animals.
Currently, "there is no health statement authorized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of which it has been requested (the name of the sender of the consultation is not known): It eliminates toxins, which is good for vascular health, The skin, helps in weight control, improves intestinal health, etcetera, "says Moñino.
Is there something wrong?
Is there any evidence that vinegar is bad for your health? not really. Unless you're drinking excessive amounts [Moñino clarifies that "vinegar is not intended to be drunk and less if you think that it is going to lose weight"], and "unless you have reflux or other problems of dyspepsia", point from the Spanish Academy of Nutric Ion and Dietetics. Or, of course, unless you take a vinegar with a high acetic acid content, like the one that is distilled and used for cleaning — the acetic acid content of the vinegar consumable is only 4% to 8% — you rub it in your eyes , or hot in a pot of lead like the Romans did. In such cases, it is not healthy. In general, do not heat any food in lead cookware. It's always bad.
So you can take your fish and chips [or the lentil plate] with vinegar. It's not going to hurt you. You may not be reporting all the benefits you would like, and it certainly does not serve as a cure for everything, but it is something that people from all over the world will be enjoying with you. So lift that glass of malt vinegar with me and wet our lips for our health.
* Author: Gabriel Neal, family physician, member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and professor at Texas A & M University. This article is an original publication of The conversation. Read the article in English here.