Eating To Save The Planet Whilst Building a Better Relationship with Food

Eating To Save The Planet Whilst Building a Better Relationship with Food

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

How to eat to save the planet whilst building a better relationship with food

KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian

January 23rd 2019

We hear a lot about the small changes we can make to help save the planet.  

– Limiting use of single use plastic bags. 

– Using a keep cup when we buy coffee.

– Catching public transport to work.   

But what about when it comes to eating? Are there some simple things we can do to eat more sustainably?  

Yes, there are.   

A new report released by the EAT-Lancet Commission has recommended a number of ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint through our daily eating patterns 

In a nutshell (no pun intended), the report suggests that we eat: 

  • mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and unsaturated oils 
  • a low to moderate amount of poultry and seafood; and  
  • low amount (or none at all) of starchy vegetables, red meat, processed meats, added sugar, refined grains 

The report states that this way of eating would not only improve the health of the environment, but humans too. Food systems would change accordingly and result in being able to feed a healthy diet to the global population of nearly 10 billion by 2050. 

In theory, this sounds amazing!  

But this type of eating will not work for everyone. And that’s totally ok!  

 

While eating more wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and legumes is a great step forward to increase health, following a plant-based diet can sometimes be a cover for disordered eating. Becoming vegetarian or vegan can often be the diets that people who have weight concerns turn to in bid to lose weight.  

These recommendations could be triggering for people who are still working to heal their relationship with food. It’s important that any time we talk about rigidity in eating, that we be mindful of how that could lead some of us into the trap of restriction and deprivation in an attempt to lose weight.

As soon as we start cutting out certain things, whether it’s red meat or dairy products as in this casewe may find ourselves in the restriction-deprivation-binge eating cycle.  

So if you’re really keen to adjust what you eat based on this new report, I’d encourage you to double check the reasons why you’d like to do it.

If we start restricting ourselves, we’re going feel deprived. And if we’re deprived, we’re unlikely to feel satisfied when we eat.

This can then lead to a binge eating episode where we eat past the feeling of comfortable fullness. Which then turns to guilt and feelings of failure to “stick to the diet”. But just remember, restriction is not sustainable. If you’d a like a little reminder on why diets don’t work, feel free to have a read of this blog post

While this report is to be commended for its commitment to helping save the planet, it is still ok for us to eat and enjoy all foods, particularly if we’re still learning to find food peace.  

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD Hitting Diet Rock Bottom KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian January 23rd 2019 There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting). It could...

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Does eating organic food lower your risk of cancer?

Does eating organic food lower your risk of cancer?

NONSENSE STRIPPING

Does eating organic food lower your risk of cancer?

KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian

29th October 2018

Do any of the following sound familiar?

– You always buy organic food where possible. 

– You buy organic food when you can afford it because you’ve heard it’s healthier. 

– You’re not really sure whether you should be buying organic, especially when they can cost 10% to 100% more than food grown under conventional conditions.

Last week in the headlines, the Mail Online, The Sun, and The Times (to name a few) stated that eating organic food could reduce our risk of cancer. This headline came off the back of a recently published French study. The media took the findings at face value without acknowledging other factors that could have potentially influenced the results. 

In this article I am going to offer the truth about organic food and cancer, so you can make an informed decision. 

What does ‘organic’ actually mean?

Organic food is any food that is produced by an overall system of farm management and food production that complies with a set of standards set out by European LawThe EU standards are currently under review. The standards vary across the world, but in general they combine practices that promote ecological balance, conserve biodiversity and strive to cycle resources. The use of pesticides, fertilisers, irradiation and food additives is usually restricted.

Organic production plays two main societal roles. On the one hand, it provides for a specific market and responds to consumer demand. On the other hand, it delivers publicly available goods that contribute to the protection of the environment and animal welfare, as well as to rural development

“Foods may be labelled “organic” only if at least 95% of their ingredients meet the necessary standards.”

What was the research?

The large French study questioned 69,000 French adult volunteers on their consumption of organic food and followed them over 4.5 years to see how many developed cancer. Other studies have identified the potential benefits of eating an organic diet, such as lowered level of pesticides in urine samples. However, few studies have looked at the potential link with cancer. That’s what made this study so exciting to the media.

Data were collected online, via a website based platform. The study participants were asked to provide information on how often they ate 16 labelled organic products. They were also asked to complete three 24-hour food recalls (writing out what they had eaten in the last 24-hours).

What did they find?

In total, 1,340 (2%) of the study participants developed cancer. The cancers developed, included breast cancer (34%), prostate cancer (13%), skin cancer (10%) and bowel cancer (7%). More specifically, significant (notable) links were found between postmenopausal breast cancer, lymphomas overall, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma specifically.

Consumption of organic food was more common among:

  • women
  • those with a higher education or occupational status
  • those who did more physical activity and who had healthier diets in general

The researchers found that people who ate the most organic food, had a 25% reduced risk of cancer, compared to those who ate less.

 

What does this mean?

Despite the encouraging media reports, this study does not prove that eating organic food will protect you against cancer.

Why?

Although this study used a large sample size there were a number of limitations deeming the results not as positive as the media make out.

1) There are a number of potential factors that could explain this link that could be interfering with the results. Other important factors such as high income or physical activity level are especially important when studying the health benefits of organic food, because eating organic is associated with lots of things that also help you live a longer, healthier life. 

In other words, people who regularly eat organic food tend to have other lifestyle factors and habits that could easily lower cancer risk as well. Even within just this one study, high organic food consumption was associated with higher income, having a better job, being more active, eating more fruits and veggies, and eating less meat and processed food.

Those are all things that make you more likely to stay healthy than those who can’t afford to take such good care of themselves.

2) The study results were based on volunteers who are already pretty health conscious individuals. This makes it difficult to transfer the findings to other groups of people aside from middle-aged well educated French women who already exhibit healthy behaviours.

3) There are limitations to self- reported food intake. The intake of foods was not actually measured, rather it was reported on an online survey. Also, organic food intake was recorded at a single point in time and self-reported. This may be inaccurate and not reflect lifetime habits.

4) Observational studies (which observe groups of people over time) such as this, are useful for exploring potential links. However, they can’t prove a true cause and effect, as other health and lifestyle factors could be having an influence.

5) Cancers still developed among people who ate the most organic food – it’s just there were fewer cases (269 vs 360 among those eating the least amount of organic food). So even if there is a direct link, eating organic food is not guaranteed protection against cancer.

In summary

The researchers conclude: “A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Although the study findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer.”

This study is a valuable investigation into potential links between eating organic food and cancer risk. However, the author’s conclusion may be a little premature. Other large and high-quality research has identified no association with overall cancer incidence. This study alone cannot prove that eating organic food will prevent you from getting cancer.

So, if you prefer organic food that’s fine, but there is no strong evidence that it makes a positive difference to our health. There is however, strong evidence that they make a dint in your monthly bank statement! 

References – in links throughout the text. 

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD Hitting Diet Rock Bottom KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian January 23rd 2019 There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting). It could...

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Nutrition content on social media – who’s posting reliable information?

Nutrition content on social media – who’s posting reliable information?

NONSENSE STRIPPING

Nutrition content on social media – who is posting reliable information?

KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian

29th October 2018

The internet and social media are some of the most powerful tools at our disposal when it comes to answering nutrition questions. However, one thing we often find challenging is how to separate who is posting reliable nutrition information and who is not. 

Instagram is a rapidly growing social platform. To give you some frightening statistics, 35% of the UK population are spending an average of 5 minutes per day using it (1). With a booming and unregulated ‘wellness industry’.

Instagram appears to be a particularly thriving breeding place for unqualified (and sometimes qualified) individuals who are irresponsibly communicating poor quality health information. Whilst Registered Dietitians and qualified healthcare professionals are governed by law to uphold standards, the wellness industry is actually unregulated. This means anyone can post about nutrition information.

Social media also given rise to a social media-based healthy eating community (2), who have been identified to have a higher prevalence of Orthorexia Nervosa (ON) (3) (an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy). Higher Instagram use has identified to be linked to increased ON symptoms.

For individuals using social media platforms, there is limited guidance on how to sift through and eliminate poor quality and irresponsible nutrition information. In this article, I am going to outline, with examples, how you as a consumer can ensure you are engaging in both responsible and reliable nutrition information on social media. 

“the wellness industry is actually unregulated. This means anyone can post about nutrition information.”

But how can qualified professionals be posting irresponsibly?

During undergraduate training of healthcare professionals, there is little formal training in how to communicate effectively and responsibly to wider audiences on social platforms such as Instagram. This is of no disrespect to the training. It’s because Instagram is a fairly new and rapidly growing platform that was only established in 2010.

There has been some guidance published for professional (4, 5), however, Instagram has moved forward since then, and whilst these guidelines for professional are useful, they are not rigorous. This means that not only are non-qualified individuals posting irresponsibly, qualified professionals don’t always get it right either.

I have therefore, created this article to help direct you when reading nutrition information on social media.

Responsible communication refers to communication that is appropriate, honest, trustworthy and respects confidentiality (5). Below are examples and checkpoints that outline what to look out for when engaging in nutrition content on social media. 

1. Is the content backed up by good quality science?

Content sometimes states “research says” or reports on a single study to make claims. Every claim, argument or opinion should be supported and justified by credible evidence from research or other authoritative sources. This doesn’t mean formal reference techniques need to be used at all times (especially in places like Instagram), however, the content should state what we know, what we don’t know, and how this could be looked at in the wider context of health and nutrition.

A subtle example: “true Iron deficiency will usually show over time”. (This statement needs expanding and evidence to support the claims. How long? How do you know?)

Ask yourself:

  • Is it clear what sources of information were used to write that content?
  • Have they given a balanced view? E.g. have they highlighted areas of uncertainty.
  • Have they provided details of where to access additional information? e.g. links in the Instagram bio, text below the image or references beneath?

2. Does the content sound like they are diagnosing your problem?

Responsible and reliable nutrition information should enable you to choose what is in your best interest. Information that has the direct objective of providing you with advice, needs to be honest, informative, clear and realistic, and not use language which exaggerates or makes assumptions (examples below).

Subtle examples:

  • the most common symptoms of Iron deficiency include; fatigue, weakness, pale skin”. (These symptoms could be a result of so many other things too. It is therefore, unbalanced as it has not been highlighted that these symptoms could be from a whole host of other conditions. It could also be perceived as diagnosing your problem, when there could be a whole host of other things going on. It is, therefore incomplete and could be misleading. It has also not been referenced and does not direct you on where to find further information.)
  • If you are eating X on most days, you will be doing wonders for your health”. (This statement is misleading and unbalanced. Some people with certain conditions may not be able to eat that certain food, so this statement is too personal).

Ask yourself:

  • Is the information shared a personal opinion, being presented as fact? (how do they know? what evidence do they have to support this?). This should be clear.
  • Is the language they are using to communicate facts or recommendations balanced? Do they deliberately chose words that exaggerate or bring out emotion? (e.g. “doing wonders”)

3. Is it within their professional remit?

When sharing nutrition and information and dishing out claims, it is crucial that the author only provides statements that sit within their professional remit and not beyond the boundaries of their qualifications/expertise.

How to know if they are qualified?

You can look at their years of experience, and qualifications in the field. Is the nutritionist a member of a professional body like the British Association for Nutrition & Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) or the Association for Nutrition (AfN)? Is the Dietitian registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and a member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA)? Do they have any industry awards or have they contributed to scientific research? They should not be reluctant to share this information with you. This information is also accessible online.

A subtle example: Dietitian or nutritionist sharing their workout routine on Instagram, or in their stories, for others to replicate.

Ask yourself:

  • Have they made it clear that they are not qualified and therefore not providing guidance?
  • Are they open to sharing their qualifications and experience with you? They should not be hesitant about sharing this information.

4. Do they link their body or looks up with messages about health?

Platforms like Instagram are image-focused, which play to the ‘picture-superiority effect’, whereby images are more likely to be remembered than words (6). It’s also a platform where you can select what images you are exposed to. The limited exposure of such images can lead us to believe that one behaviour is more present or normal than is actually the case. This may lead to perceived social pressures to act similarly to such behaviours. Therefore, individuals posting images of only healthy looking food, unbalanced meals, and tying up photo’s of ‘healthy food’ to the ‘thin ideal’ body (e.g. holding a green smoothie posing in a bikini with a think cultural ‘ideal’ body), can be misleading and lead us to believe that we need to behave that way to become something like the image.

Ask yourself:

  • How does the post make you feel? If it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, unfollow.
  • Are there different types of foods in their feed that are reflective of a balanced diet?
  • Do they regularly cut out large food groups?
  • Do they promote balance but don’t eat carbs?
  • Do they push unrealistic body standards?
  • Do they talk about ‘real food’ or ‘clean eating’?

Summary

Whilst reliable information can sometimes be hard to comeby, it is out there I promise. You just have to have your witts about you, and surround yourself with the right people on social media. This guidance was aimed to give you a more in depth perspective on how to detect bulls**t and sift out reliable nutrition information, finishing up with some suggestions on who to follow on social media. You can follow me on instagram @nudenutritionrd or check out some of my latest blogs below for some more nonsense stripping!

Comments, feedback and suggestions welcome!

Additional suggestions/recommendations

  • If you are not sure or confused by the content you see, then ask. If they cannot come back to you with more information or the evidence, then unfollow! You can’t control the media, but you do have a say in what you consume.
  • If you are really not sure about a claim you see, there is an amazing charity called Sense About Science who have set up a campaign called ‘Ask for Evidence’. Ask them for the evidence.
  • Have you read a headline you are not sure about? The British Nutrition Foundation responds to consultations of major public health importance on a range of food and nutrition-related topics.
  • NHS choices simplify health topics with a balanced approach, breaking down the research studies with links to more information.
  • Nude Nutrition – send in your requests and have your questions answered and nutrition nonsense stripped, in particular on Instagram @nudenutritionrd
  • I have recently been recognised by The WellSpoken Mark to be making a positive impact on the ‘wellness’ industry. They are an independent authority committed to leading high standards in the currently unregulated wellness industry. Anyone else you see holding this mark can be deemed as reliable and trustworthy.
  • The Rooted Project – funded by two Registered Dietitians, this is an event series set up where they choose speakers who are leaders in their field to translate the science into interesting and practical content.
  • British Dietetics Association – Tons of food fact sheets written by Registered Dietitians to help you learn the best ways to eat well and stay healthy.

 

References:

  1. Ofcom (2018). Communications Market Report. Ofcom. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/117256/CMR-2018-narrative-report.pdf
  2. Freeman H (2015) Green is the new black: the unstoppable rise of the healthy-eating guru. Guardian
  3. G. Turner & C. E. Lefevre (2017). Instagram use is linked to increased symptoms of orthorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders. 22:277-284.
  4. Murphy et al. (2014). Engaging responsibly with social media: the BJUI guidelines. BJU International. 114: 9–15.
  5. HCPC (2017). Guidance on Social Media. Health and Care Professions Council.
  6. Childers TL, Houston MJ (1984) Conditions for a picture-superiority effect on consumer memory. Journal of Consumer Research. 11(2):643–654.

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD Hitting Diet Rock Bottom KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian January 23rd 2019 There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting). It could...

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Dairy & Acne – All you need to know

Dairy & Acne – All you need to know

NONSENSE STRIPPING

Dairy & Acne – All you need to know

KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian

3rd July 2018

Dairy and it’s link to Acne is a topic that many people seem to be confused about. Some people are convinced dairy makes their skin worse, while some are just not sure.

We all have our individual needs and differences, however, we can’t just say ‘probably true’ and make wild guesses. So let’s look at what the scientific evidence says…

(click away on the grey text throughout this document for links to more info & the actual research studies if you’re a research geek like me!)

 

What is Acne?

It’s a skin condition, that affects between 50-95% of teenagers aged 12-18 years, and adults too. The main method of acne development is through the overproduction of skin oil (sebum) by skin oil (sebaceous) glands. The sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin which secrete lubricating oily matter (sebum) into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair. 

Acne can be really damaging socially and emotionally for that individual. Several factors are involved in the development of acne including, genetic, sex-hormonal, disease fighting systems, mental factors, and the environment. Some say that western dietary habits, and in particular – cows milk and dairy products – add to acne development.

What research has been done?

Interestingly, a huge new study came out last month, which is the first large and high-quality study in this area. It was a “meta-analysis of observational studies” which is one of the highest quality study designs out there in food studies like this.

They basically searched huge scientific computer files of information for all of the studies published in this area (a very long process which I am very familiar with) and pulled the studies together to create one overall result.

The observational studies that they pulled together, are a study design where they watch large groups of people over time and look at their dietary intake through food recalls and food diaries. They then see who has/hasn’t developed acne. Observational study designs have their limits, but they are the easiest studies to try when looking at population diets and medicine based results like acne.

They found that dairy, total milk, whole fat milk, low fat milk, and skimmed milk consumption was connected with the presence of acne.

So what did they find?

They pulled together 14 observational studies looking at milk, cheese, yoghurt and total dairy intake. The study people ranged from 9-30years old from the USA, Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, France, Egypt, and Kazakhstan. They found that dairy, total milk, whole fat milk, low fat milk, and skimmed milk consumption was connected with the presence of acne. The presence of acne appeared to increase with increasing intake of dairy. The low fat products tended to have more of an effect on acne development than the whole milk. Potentially related to the glycaemic index (higher concentration of milk sugars) in the low fat products. But these are speculations. There was no relationship between yoghurt or cheese intake and the presence of acne. 

 

I know what you are thinking… now you want to cut out dairy. But hold fire!!

There were some limits to this study.

Firstly, when looking at individual dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt etc.) the number of studies available was very low. For example, only 4 studies looked at low-fat milk, and five at full-fat milk. 

Secondly, there were other factors that could have been related to acne development, that were not recorded in the study. For example, genetics, sex-hormones, disease fighting systems, mental factors, and the environment. The association between acne and dairy could therefore, have happened together by accident. 

Some of the studies identified acne based on self-reports, rather than official diagnosis by a doctor. A few pimples could therefore, have been mistaken for acne.

Finally, there was lack of data on the preparation of the milk which differs from factory to factory and country to country. In fact, we know that boiling and ultra-heat treatment (UHT) techniques have a protective effect against acne. No studies were done in UK population groups!  

 

How does milk actually affect the skin?

It has been identified that milk and dairy can increase our growth chemicals (hormones) in our body (IGF-1).  IGF-1 is a growth chemical that stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. Milk and dairy products contain IGF-1 that is not broken down by gut enzymes and leads to IGF-1 elevation. Also, a protein called casein in milk and dairy products stimulates our liver to release IGF-1. Subsequently, this leads to an increase in the production of skin oil by our skin glands. Also, milk contains some sex hormone derivatives and iodine which have been identified to affect acne development.

So should you avoid dairy if you have acne?

I’m going to start by saying… not right now. Firstly, while this study was the largest and highest quality to date in this area, it still had its limits that I have given above. Further studies, especially randomised controlled trials are needed. This is where they randomly assign groups to eat dairy compared to not eating dairy in controlled conditions.  These will help to confirm the effect of milk and dairy products on acne development.

Secondly, milk is a very nutritious source of protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and B12 and is recommended as a part of healthy diet. Previous high-quality studies have showed that milk and dairy products can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stomach cancer, stroke and colorectal cancer.

Summary…

Although the large review does suggest a promising link between dairy and acne development, the studies included in the review had their limits. We therefore, cannot say there is an exact causal relationship without further studies.

Everyone’s reactions to what we eat are very personal and therefore, if you are someone who wants to trial changing your diet, it’s important to follow the guidance of a qualified professional. There is unfortunately no one size fits all. I offer FREE 20-minute discussion to advise on things like this!

Also, if you are thinking of going more plant-based and reducing your dairy intake, it’s really important to choose milks that are fortified with calcium.

Finally, we must remember that diet is not going to fix acne alone. Seeking advice from a doctor or consultant dermatologist is a good place to start! 

Link to more info:

(Links highlighted throughout the text)

NHS Choices Acne

The large meta-analysis I have referred to throughout this post

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD Hitting Diet Rock Bottom KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian January 23rd 2019 There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting). It could...

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Apple Cider Vinegar – All you need to know

Apple Cider Vinegar – All you need to know

NONSENSE STRIPPING 

Apple Cider Vinegar – All you need to know 

KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian

29th June 2018

I have been asked multiple times recently about apple cider vinegar. Will it help me lose weight? Will it settle my stomach/heartburn? Will it help with blood sugar control? Will it lower my cholesterol? Will it help with inflammation? So I thought I would clarify some things for you. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

It’s made by fermenting the sugars from apples which turns them into acetic acid – this is the active ingredient in vinegar that is researched. You may see both cloudy or clear vinegars in the shops, labeled as filtered or unfiltered.

The unfiltered products contain something known as ‘mother’, which apparently has more proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria in it, giving the vinegar its cloudy appearance. There is not enough research at the moment to demonstrate whether the ‘mother’ variety is any better than the clear. 

What’s good about this stuff?

1) If you fancy your dentist, drinking this stuff will give you a great excuse to keep going back! 

2) If you need something sharp to wake you up in the morning, this may do the trick. 

Joking aside…

3) It’s a good way to spice up your meals without adding salt

4) It contains very small amounts of potassium, copper and magnesium – minerals help turn the food we eat into energy and support controlling the movement of fluids into and out of cells.

5) It provides a small amount of amino acids (building blocks for protein) and antioxidants, which help slow the process of cell damage.

So what does the research say?

 

1) Will it help with weight loss?

The evidence to support weight loss is mixed and in general, there is very little research conducted on humans. There has been some evidence that vinegar may help to increase the feeling of fullness when consumed with a high-carb meal, which could help with weight loss by preventing overeating later in the day.

A 12-week study conducted on 155 Japanese individuals also found a reduction in body weight, BMI and visceral fat in obese individuals who drank between 15-30 mls per day.

Final verdict: More research is needed before we can confidently make the claim that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss. If you are having battles with your weight and looking for the answer to feeling better about yourself and your body you can find more about how I support with this here

2) Will it help lower your cholesterol? 

There appears to be no research that has been conducted in humans to demonstrate whether it can support lowering cholesterol. One study has been conducted on rats which demonstrated

To date, only research in animal studies has demonstrated that apple cider vinegar, and its antioxidant chlorogenic acid, can help manage cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which is not robust enough for us to say that this would also be the case in humans.

Final verdict: No studies have been conducted in humans so we don’t know.

3) Will it help your blood sugar levels?

There have been a number of small studies that have demonstrated how vinegar could help improve insulin sensitivity in both healthy subjects, and those with insulin resistance.

Insulin is a hormone which helps control our blood sugar, therefore, if we are more sensitive to it, then that’s a good thing. One study included a small number of participants (29), identified that drinking 20ml of apple cider vinegar with a high carbohydrate meal (white bagel with orange juice), reduced the spike in blood sugar after the meal versus the group who did not consume the vinegar with the meal.

Before we can say that apple cider vinegar helps with blood sugar control, further and larger studies in different groups of people are required.

One small pilot study (12 participants) published by the American Diabetes Association identified better blood sugar control in those taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed. They didn’t look into the damaging effects this could have on your teeth though. 

Finally, Michael Mosley and Aston University carried out a small study and showed that drinking dilute apple cider vinegar appeared to bring blood sugar levels down. 

Final verdict: There is some evidence of benefit, but these studies are small, and large amounts of vinegar would need to be consumed on a daily basis to show benefit, which may have a detrimental effect on other things… like your teeth!

There is no evidence that apple cider vinegar can reverse diabetes, and there is a whole body of research to support of other healthy things you can do to improve blood sugar control aside from sipping vinegar!

3) What about heartburn?

Some people report that apple cider vinegar helps with their heartburn, which, if they have low stomach acid, may be of benefit. However, if you are someone who suffers from high acidity in your stomach, this may make your symptoms worse.

Foods that affect heartburn is often a matter of trial an error and is very individual. One small study with 7 participants in America did find that cloudy apple cider vinegar helped with preventing heartburn in those who did not respond well to antacids, but more research is required in this area.

The verdict: It could make it worse, could make it better… we don’t know. 

4) Will it help with arthritis and inflammation?

There appear to be just anecdotal reports of people claiming to feel better and having less pain from arthritis when drinking apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, there are not currently any scientific reports supporting this claim.

One very small study (30 participants) did measure C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) before and after apple cider vinegar consumption and did not find remarkable results.

The verdict: I have a hard time giving recommendations based on purely anecdotal evidence. If you think it works for you, I think that’s just great.

Are there any risks?

Yes…

  • If you suffer from gastroparesis, (slow emptying of the stomach), this may make your symptoms worse. 
  • If you are diabetic, especially on medications that lower your blood sugar, there is a risk of potential low blood sugars. Speak with your healthcare professional for more information on this.
  • Apple cider vinegar can affect potassium levels in the body, and also interact with drugs such as diuretics, or other water pills. Check with your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
  • As apple cider vinegar is an acid, it can damage the enamel in your teeth. Avoid taking it neat, or sipping it throughout the day.
  • We don’t know much about the long-term effects of taking apple cider vinegar.

In summary…

Although some studies do suggest promising effects, there are generally few, they are small and often conducted in rats. If we could prove all of the amazing benefits that unqualified individuals splash around the internet, doctors would be handing this out to nearly every patient who walked through their door!

If you do wish to include apple cider vinegar in your diet, I would recommend either including it in salad dressings with olive oil, marinades, sauces or baked goods and not drinking it by the glass!

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD Hitting Diet Rock Bottom KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian January 23rd 2019 There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting). It could...

read more