It's Kale, it's Acai! No, it's... Red Wine Vinegar!

by RICHA VAKHARIA

Here in Los Angeles, where the sun is always shining and the celebrities are always dining, we have a list of eating fads that seems to be ever-growing. From gluten-free diets to kale smoothies to açai bowls, there is always some amazing superfood just around the corner. Recently, there has been another going around. It goes by the name of red wine vinegar.

 

what is it?

Though red wine vinegar sounds pretty standard, it is important to know what it is that people are actually drinking. Vinegar is any substance that is 4% acetic acid in a solution of water and other chemicals. If anything else is added, like more water for less acidity, it must be stated on the packaging. If the acetic acid is fermented in red wine, it will then be titled “red wine vinegar.” [1]

 

research

Now some may wonder: is red wine vinegar beneficial at all, or is it just a new fad that will pass without any answers? The truth is that yes, red wine vinegar does have many advantages. In fact, the health benefits of red wine vinegar don’t differ from those of regular vinegar. Because vinegar in itself has many advantages, it may give more credence to the red wine vinegar trend. Here are some of the advantages:

body fat reduction

A 12-week Japanese study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 2009 indicated that those who drank more vinegar each day had significantly lower body weights, BMIs, internal fat levels, and waist circumferences. The researchers then controlled for initial body weight, diet during the study, and exercise regimen throughout the 12 weeks. After that, the participants that drank 30 mL of vinegar each day (as opposed to 15 mL or 0 mL) showed the most significant decreases in body fat. [3]

 

rumors

Of course, red wine vinegar doesn’t do everything. Here are some common myths debunked by a study published in 2006 in Medscape General Medicine:

stops infections

It’s been found that using any type of vinegar for ear infections and lice may bear side effects. Drinking vinegar has not been found to stop infections, but it has not been found to increase chances of infection either.

alleviates warts

It’s been said that you should apply vinegar (be it red wine or not) to your skin to get rid of things like warts. However, there are only scattered reports supporting this. The only time that this was found to work was in a controlled laboratory setting, and that was in addition to anesthesia and rapid removal of the wart itself.

reduces blood pressure

This has actually only been found to be true for animals. There is no support for vinegar being able to change blood pressure in humans. [4]

 

follow-up

There are several potential health benefits to vinegar that don’t yet fall into either the research or rumor category, as there hasn’t been extensive research done on them to assess their validity. These potential benefits include:

cardiovascular benefits

A 2001 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that vinegar is linked to some cardiovascular advantages in rats, including reduction in blood pressure, though none of these advantages have been proven significant. Because of the lack of results, there hasn’t been further research done in humans. [5]  

antitumor properties

Unfortunately, no thorough research has been been done yet to substantiate the ability of vinegar to prevent tumors from growing. Interestingly, vinegar is a dietary source of polyphenols, which are associated with a reduced risk of cancer. It’s a great segue into future work regarding the benefits of vinegar, and hopefully we will see where that leads! [4]

 

conclusion (and some recipes!)

So now that you know more about red wine vinegar (and vinegar in general), you can decide whether to be a part of this new trend. If you choose to, here are some fun recipes to try over the summer!

Vinegar marinade: combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, minced garlic, oregano, and red pepper

Vinegar veggies: grill veggies and use red wine vinegar combined with a little oil and herbs

Delicious dessert: slice up some fruit and add a dash of red wine vinegar on top [6]

References ▾

  1. “CPG Sec. 525.825 Vinegar, Definitions—Adulteration with Vinegar Eels.” fda.gov. (2015).
  2. “Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes.” J Funct Foods. (2013).
  3. “Vinegar Intake Reduced Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride in Obese Japanese Subjects.” Biosci Biotech Biochem. (2009).
  4. “Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect.” Medscape Gen Med. (2006).
  5. “Antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats.” Biosci Biotech Biochem. (2001).
  6. “Red Wine Vinegar, 3 Ways.” health.usnews.com. (2013).