Most of you already know that I’m not a fan of shortcuts, quick fixes, magic bullets, supplements or diet gimmicks. I believe that natural, whole, and gradual solutions are the best choices for long term health. But it’s also fun to see what the latest rage is in the world of diet and nutrition. At present it seems like its vinegar.
The Braggs have been telling us to take apple cider vinegar for decades now and many people follow this advice religiously. Then there are the Natural Hygienists who claim that vinegar is a “protoplasmic poison” and should be avoided at all costs.
What most people don’t realize is that acetic acid (the main component of vinegar) is a very short chain fatty acid and can be readily used as a fuel source by the cells of our body. The flora living in our colon produce acetic acid as a byproduct of breaking down the cellulose (fiber) in our diets. The acetic acid produced from this breakdown is quickly used as an energy source for the cells lining the walls of the colon. Which may be one of the reasons that people on a whole plant based diet with lots of fiber have healthier colons.
Most people will tell you that glucose is the main fuel of the cells of the body. In the case of the brain and the red blood cells, this is true. But the rest of the body relies primarily on fatty acids as fuel throughout the day. These larger systems (muscles, heart, liver, etc.) will only switch over to carbohydrate metabolism (glycolysis) when the intensity of activity becomes very high. As an endurance athlete, success in a longer event depends on the body’s ability to burn more fat than sugar while racing. While our sugar stores (glycogen) are quite limited, our fat stores can provide enough energy to power us for days.
By providing a readily absorbable form of fatty acids in the diet, we spare our sugar stores (glycogen) and train the body to burn more fat as fuel.
I’m not saying that you should eat massive amounts of fats or chug a liter of apple cider vinegar. Too much vinegar can actually be harmful and any consumption of vinegar should always be diluted with water. Follow the old maxim “Everything in moderation” and don’t be afraid to add a little free fatty acid into your diet.
Here is an article on vinegar and weight loss – “Vinegar Clinically Proven To Destroy Fat Without Diet Change”
This was a study conducted in Japan on weight loss and vinegar consumption – “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body mass and serum tryglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects“