If you have ever been in the produce section of a grocery store and started to feel an intense craving for vinegar, you are not alone.
Vinegar is one of those foods that many people seem to crave, but why?
The fact that your body craves something like this can be puzzling and make you feel out of sorts with yourself.
Once you find why you are doing it, then there will not be as much pressure on feeling bad about yourself all the time.
There are several explanations about why this might be, although please note this is a general post and should be read with a grain of salt. We will take a look at the two main reasons below, but please note that many reasons can explain a vinegar craving that are not listed here.
- The taste
- Candida, harmful stomach bacteria, and poor stomach health in general.
We’ll talk about the benefits of vinegar and address some common questions about craving salty foods like pickles too!
What Does It Mean When You Crave Vinegar?
Please keep in mind the top reasons you cave vinegar have more to do with things like genetics, cancer, and environmental influences. Notably, these things are out of control, so we’ll focus on the more simple, easier to understand reasons.
1 – Craving Taste
First off, why does your body crave vinegar at all? The taste is a primary reason.
The human body often craves a sour flavor to balance the flavors from something sweet or salty.
Think about fish and chips. It’s the added vinegar that gives a tart flavor to it.
Or think about ketchup on your fries or mayonnaise in your sandwich (If you live in the UK). Some people add vinegar to these, too.
When you are craving something like this, it is usually because of taste and not for any other reason.
So if you find yourself craving vinegar, make sure you are not going without other sources of tart flavors. Maybe there was no grapefruit juice available for breakfast!
You can also try orange juice if you’re craving something tart, or a fruit!
Or when you need some salt-free seasoning while cooking tofu scramble, think about adding something with vinegar, such as chopped pickles that were soaked in a vinegar brine, rather than more soy.
Many recipes also use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar, for example for salad dressings and marinades. These are made from wine, which is a natural acid.
Heck, many barbeque sauces use vinegar, too. And in ancient Rome they drank it mixed with honey to cure a sore throat!
Just think about your stereotypically ‘bad’ vinegar food, let’s say salt and vinegar chips. Don’t you usually crave the salt and vinegar chips because you’re tired of the regular chips?
Vinegar has been around for centuries in cooking and also as an ingredient in its own right. It really helps add a variety of flavors into food and you can easily be craving these flavors when you’re craving for vinegar.
And if you’re wondering about the health benefits, we’ll talk about those. But first let’s talk about the other less common reason you may crave vinegar.
2 – Candida and Stomach Bacteria
Candida is a type of fungus that can live in the human gut.
We now know that some people have too much Candida, and this will cause them to crave sugar which feeds it more!
This isn’t good because Candida eats away at your stomach lining and makes you feel bloated and sick.
It may also be why you’re feeling so tired all the time if it’s been destroying your nutrient absorption for some time.
The way to treat Candida overgrowth is with probiotics such as:
- Garlic cloves
- Apple cider vinegar
- Oregano oil
You could start by taking one teaspoon of each per day. Of course taking a tablespoon of pure vinegar won’t taste that good, but many people do swear by a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar after meals to help with digestion.
For me, I think apple cider vinegar is fine and can have definite health benefits.
But I am also very aware of the many claims that apple cider vinegar is a magic cure, and I just don’t think that’s true. While healthy, there is NO such thing as a ‘magic’ food that can magically solve all your digestive, blood sugar and weight loss problems!
Plus, apple cider vinegar won’t help you with the root causes of stomach bacteria!
The Causes of Bad Stomach Bacteria
If you’re having a persistent craving for vinegar it also could be due to bad stomach bacteria.
The root cause of bad stomach bacteria is stress and not having enough variety of foods in your diet, or a lack of probiotics.
We all have lots of stomach bacteria. But if you are too stressed, then your stomach can miss out on the good stomach bacteria while growing too much of the bad stomach bacteria.
Now everyone has some stress these days. But what really makes for a bad case of stomach bacteria is when you don’t eat an adequate amount of a variety of foods.
For example, you’ll want to have some meat and vegetables if you’re feeling stressed. Don’t just eat crackers, bagels and cereals all day long. Those are carbs and you aren’t getting any variety.
If you don’t eat enough variety, the bad stomach bacteria can take over your body! And stress will turn into a vicious cycle where it keeps hurting your stomach worse and worse.
The imbalance in the gut whether due to stress or bacteria is linked to many health problems including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and nausea.
If you’re stressed, also look out for other common signs like fatigue, gut inflammation, and stomach pains.
However, there are many other variables that impact low stomach acid and gut dysbiosis. In fact, as one person in the comment section notes
- Multiple kinds of cancer that can cause low stomach acid and gut dysbiosis.
- Simple endocrine disruptors can cause it.
- Infectious disease can cause it.
- Being elderly and having tissue and organs that are not functioning well any longer because of wear and tear can cause it.
- Being bottle-fed instead of breastfed as a baby can cause it.
- Natural disorders that we haven’t even discovered yet that are inborn or genetic can cause it.
Is It Good to Eat Vinegar?
You might also wonder if it’s good for you to eat vinegar, or drink too!
The answer is a resounding yes!
Remember, the most likely reason you’re craving vinegar is for the taste. Vinegar goes well with lots of dishes and it has many health benefits too!
- Use apple cider vinegar in salad dressings
- Drink a teaspoon of raw unpasteurized vinegar each day
- Add vinegars to dips for more flavor and health benefits
- Pop some apple cider vinegar gummies (if you aren’t a fan of the sharp vinegar taste)
- Rinse your mouth with an ounce of grain or white wine vinegar mixed with warm water when feeling inflammation, allergies, morning sickness or respiratory problems
- Vinegar can partially explain pickles cravings!
Here are some of the health benefits of vinegar:
- Helps keep blood sugar levels stable
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels, lowers high triglycerides
- Fights bad bacteria and Candida in the stomach (which is a common cause of acid reflux)
- Helps promote stomach acid and gut health
- Cures food poisoning from salmonella or E. coli by killing these off with its acidic properties
If you’re wondering how you can incorporate more vinegar into your diet here are some tips:
- On salads
- As an ingredient in marinades for meat dishes
- Sour cream sauce made with milk, yogurt, garlic and onion juice!
- And of course don’t forget about pickles! You can make your own cheap and tasty variety at home using cucumbers you buy locally
- You can also drink the pickle juice in containers too. I do this and enjoy it! Seriously!
We’ll talk about pickles down below but let’s also talk about if drinking vinegar is bad for you, which is another common question that comes up.
Is Drinking Vinegar Bad for You?
No! Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are present in vinegar which means that drinking it won’t harm your health.
Don’t think craving vinegar is a weird thing. We all get food cravings for pickles and other foods that contain vinegar in them.
Here are some safe ways you can drink vinegar:
- Add a dash to your water bottle
- Mix in with smoothies or salad dressings
- Drink apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water before and after eating
- Use it as an ingredient for many different recipes
If you’re worried about the taste, start off by adding a little bit at a time until you find your perfect balance.
Or just try a gummy 🙂
You can also add fruit juice or honey if the flavor isn’t palatable enough on its own.
Of course, there is definitely such a thing as drinking too much. If you’re constantly craving vinegar there is most likely some other issue going on here.
If you add vinegar into your diet and you still get powerful food cravings, then talk with your doctor. There could be something off with your blood sugar. Your doctor can run some blood glucose tests to give you more info.
For most people their craving for vinegar is because they are missing out on the complementary flavor that vinegar provides.
Get this flavor whether through wine vinegar, barbeque sauce or a dash of vinegar and this should help 🙂
Why do I crave vinegary foods?
There are many foods that are great with vinegar sprinkled on top
- Kabobs with roasted veggies with a dash of vinegar
- a perfect hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of vinegar and pepper
- homemade potato chips dipped in vinegar
- kale salad with a vinegar-based dressing
These are just some examples of delicious foods that are enhanced by the addition of vinegar.
But why do I sometimes find myself craving these vinegary foods?
The answer is most likely flavor!
Finally, let’s talk about pickles because pickles and vinegar often go hand in hand!
Why Do I Crave Vinegar Pickle Juice?
Pickles get made by adding cucumbers to vinegar – it’s a perfect combination!
I will sometimes take a swig of pickle juice even while there are still pickles in the jar! I usually find my craving for pickle juice gets satisfied after this 🙂
The acid in the pickle juice also has health benefits which include:
- boosting your immune system
- killing harmful bacteria and fungus that can cause infections or illness.
- containing electrolytes, potassium, calcium and magnesium too!
It’s possible you’re dehydrated too. Pickle juice contains many electrolytes so if you’re dehydrated it makes sense to crave pickles.
Vinegar Craving Meaning – Conclusion
When you crave vinegar, it may be a sign that your stomach is not in balance. It could also mean that there’s an underlying issue lurking somewhere else. For example,
When you’re stressed (or not eating enough variety) your stomach may grow bad bacteria and that can be why you crave vinegar.
Vinegar can help to restore the gut and improve digestion for those who are Candida-positive or have bacteria overgrowth issues.
Please keep in mind though, the main reason people crave vinegar has more to do with taste!
In fact, you might not be having enough variety in your diet so that’s why you’re craving a vinegar taste, to get more foods in your body!
Thanks for this. I eat a meat-based diet, which has been incredible for my health, but about a month ago I started craving vinegar with the meat. I put a spoonful on my plate before setting the meat on it to rest and it mixes with the meat juices, giving it a slightly tangy flavor that I love. I´m grateful to know it´s likely just a craving for the taste of it.
Ooo. This sounds like a delicious idea! Thanks for sharing your situation and what seems to resonate with you. I am craving this now too lol
I have had an unhealthy relationship with vinegar since I was a kid. I grew up making pickled onions with my dad and craved vinegar so much I would put it on everything. I would make cos lettuce only salads just because I could drench them in vinegar or diced radishes drowned in vinegar salt and pepper. I even got so bad that I would chop up raw potatoes and cover the diced potato slices in vinegar as its all I could find in the fridge (this was my snacks growing up and still as an adult). 40 years on and I still cannot stop the craving. I have to compose my impulses for salt and vinegar chips as they are soo addictive. I could eat a family size bag in one sitting. I used to get them every day for years but I would end up with mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers and bad stomach bloating and pain. Turns out that my cravings could actually due to my rare condition that I have only just found out about called lymphatic colitis. I think this may be where my cravings come from as its something that your essentially born with. I'm trying hard not to have vinegar and salt but well im pretty sure in my body and mind it is an addiction that I find so hard to control. I cannot find any information to help me with this and I try to not have anything with vinegar or excess salt but I just cant help it and end up binging on it to end up the next day bloated and massive fluid retention of up to 2kg of water retention and bloating for the next few days (just after salt and vinegar chips
It's not the salt it's not the vinegar causing the water retention. It's all those funny named ingredients that you don't even understand what they are at the very end of the list of the salt and vinegar chips. Trust me. Make your own salt and vinegar potato chips and only add salt vinegar potatoes and the cooking oil that you cook them in and you will see you can eat bucket loads of them and not get any kind of reaction at all except for overweight. Also if you are getting mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers that is not from vinegar and it's not from salt. That's from dysbiosis and that's probably been caused by some kind of genetic problem that you already have or by other health issues like have you ever had salmonella? Have you ever had any other type of foodborne illness? Have you ever had the stomach flu? I mean seriously there are many many many variables here. I'm glad you found out that you have this rare type of lymphatic colitis. I hope they come up with better treatment for it that actually works soon. Good luck. but remember unless you have high blood pressure salt is not a problem you could eat spoons full of plain table salt all day long and the only thing that it would do is maybe make you very thirsty. As long as your kidneys work well your body will just flush all that salt right out. And vinegar, vinegar is not even bad for you not even straight vinegar I mean obviously you don't want to drink a quarter straight vinegar it will make you have diarrhea or vomit one or the other because it is an emetic & laxative…. But it would be like a challenge like they do on Twitter or whatever it is for a person to down that much vinegar nobody who craves it drinks that much vinegar. So yeah there's nothing wrong with craving that ask your primary care Dr or whatever you call it in your country your general practitioner MD.
There are hundreds if not thousands of reasons for gut dysbiosis. The fact that you claim that it is caused or that low stomach acid even is caused by a lack of variety of foods and stress and you give those as the only reasons you have to be out of your mind? What kind of irresponsible health information is this? There are multiple kinds of cancer that can cause low stomach acid and gut dysbiosis. Simple endocrine disruptors can cause it. Infectious disease can cause it. Simply being elderly and having tissue and organs that are not functioning well any longer because of wear and tear can cause it. Being bottle-fed instead of breastfed as a baby can cause it. Natural disorders that we haven't even discovered yet that are inborn or genetic can cause it. To blame it simply on the type of food being eaten and the level of stress is to blame the patient. As a matter of fact those reasons are probably very low on the list of reasons for dysbiotic alimentary canal issues. The top reasons on the list have to do with things that are totally out of our control like genetic factors, cancer, and environmental endocrine disruptors. How dare you suggest you know you really upset me with this you really did it's because of this kind of thing that doctors think that patients have no business looking up anything that has to do with their health. And it's because of stuff that is written like this that's inaccurate and full of garbage lacking scientific data, etc it's because of stuff like this that people who are trying to find out what is wrong with them have massive amounts of their time like I did wasted. Shame on you
Thanks for your informative comment Andrea, I hear you. Your information is valid and quality, and I’ll be updating the article to incorporate some of your feedback