Why Vinegar Is Not Good For You

Would you eat rotten apples? Of course you couldn’t. It borders on insult to even imply that you would condescend to take such an unwholesome substance into your mouth. Do you drink hard cider? Do you use cider vinegar? If you take either of these substances you are taking rotten apples. You may properly be classed with a person who eats ripened (rotted) poultry or spoiled cabbage (sauerkraut).
— Hygienic Review, The Value of Good Digestion

For all those asking the question, "Is drinking vinegar bad for you?" consider this:

It is widely held that apple cider vinegar is the cure-all for everything that ails you, from acid reflux to basically your entire life.Yes siree, whatever it is that plagues you, "Apple Cider Vinegar (APV) is the cure! Help your diabetes, lose the weight, rejuvenate your gut health, end your acne and stop your headache today by drinking APV everyday!"

This is a misnomer of epic proportions.

The inconvenient truth is, vinegar is best used for cleaning the windows, your laundry and your floors. It is not the remedy to heal your gut, nor should you drink it.

Now, you may be shaking your head. You may be saying, "I read in this magazine, or that journal, that vinegar will help me with my diabetes." You may have even 'heard' that the master cleanse is going to help you lose weight and in the process heal your gut." Sadly, you have been misinformed.

Vinegar is A Processed Condiment

Definitively, processed foods are those that are taken out of their natural state. This makes them de-natured, which means they're dead foods. Not surprisingly, vinegar is one of these so-called foods or condiments. The process to take vinegar from a natural food to a processed foodstuff is known as fermentation. Fermentation occurs when yeast changes natural sugar to alcohol in a controlled setting. Further, fermentation occurs naturally and is known as souring, rotting or decomposing.

The fine line between fermentation and rotting is separated by the fact that one process produces something that tastes bad and the other produces something that tastes good. By all accounts, vinegar tastes really bad. This is the first natural signal warning you not to ingest it, but I digress.

While many of us never give much thought to how vinegar is created, it is derived from actual food. To illustrate, Balsamic and red wine vinegar are produced from spoiled grapes. Rice vinegar is made from fermented rice, and apple cider vinegar (ACV) is derived from decomposed apples. 

Vinegar Stops Digestion

While it has been said that ACV benefits gut flora, this is also only a myth. While ACV is the safest of all the vinegars, it is a known intestinal irritant capable of bringing digestion to a crawl or worse, a complete halt, and is best used externally. 

Inhibiting Digestion Is Never A Good Thing 

The one reason vinegar has a so-called "positive" effect on blood sugar, is because it slows the digestion of starch. Nobumasa Ogwa, Ph.D., of Tokyo University in Tokyo, discovered that acetic acid, such as that in vinegar, inhibits the activity of several carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, including amylase, sucrase, maltase and lactase. This means, if a diabetic eats fresh fries with vinegar, the vinegar will inactivate the digestive enzymes that break down the fries, leaving those fries to linger in the gut. 

While vinegar may be said to have a temporary and somewhat positive effect on blood sugar levels, there's nothing healthy about slowing down the digestion. For the body to function optimally, digestion needs to be swift and efficient. 

Alcohol And Vinegar Have The Same Effect On Digestion

Vinegar has the same effect on digestion as alcohol, and both should be avoided for optimal health. Acetic acid found in vinegar and incidentally alcohol, in high concentrations, can also cause severe damage to the digestive system. Esophageal irritation is the most likely side effect of too much apple cider vinegar, particularly from prolonged use. (Note the burning feeling in the esophagus when apple cider vinegar is ingested.) 

Vinegar is Dehydrating

When you think about it, eating a salad is incredibly hydrating, since the leafy greens, cucumber, radish, onion, celery, etc., you may put on your salad contain water. In fact, eating a salad is an amazing way to hydrate yourself. That being said, once you've put vinegar on your salad, you have transformed your hydrating salad into a dehydrated salad, according to your stomach.

One use for your body's water reserves is to aid in digesting your food. When your body works on digesting that salad, it will actually be more depleted than hydrated because of the vinegar. A better idea is to squeeze fresh lemon on your salad instead of vinegar to enjoy the hydrating benefits.

Vinegar Is Not A Prebiotic

Apple cider vinegar has been hailed as "gut friendly" because of its so-called "prebiotic" benefits, but this is due to pectin. Pectin can be found in the rinds of many fruits but one of the best sources of pectin is the green apple. It's important to know that pectin cannot be derived from rotten/fermented apples. Therefore, pectin cannot be derived from ACV, so there's no prebiotic benefit. The best and only way to get the prebiotic effects of pectin, if that's what you're seeking, is from eating organic green apples in-season and in their natural state. 

There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar has any medicinal properties. While the folksy anecdotes from those who claim to have benefited from apple cider vinegar tonics may be amusing to read, they are simply that — anecdotes.

Is Drinking Vinegar Bad For You?

So. is drinking vinegar bad for you? Well, it's not good for you. Keep gut bacteria friendly and stay hydrated by eating a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Home grown, organic and local fruits and vegetables are best if you can get them. These are the "live" foods that keep your gut flora healthy and happy. This is the safest natural treatment on earth. Any attempt at preventing indigestion, heartburn, hiccups, bloating and stomach pain should only be attained by correcting diet, properly combining your food and making consistent and mindful lifestyle choices.

Replace vinegar with lemon whenever possible or try this super easy avocado dressing for a nutrient-rich, vinegar-alternative on your next salad.

Super Easy Avocado-Lime Salad Dressing


  • 1 large avocado ripened (skin and pit removed)
  • 1/4 cup pure water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a high speed blender, food processor or mixer.  With the blade running, add the water.

Puree until smooth. Add a bit more lime juice or water to attain desired consistency, drizzle on your salad and enjoy.