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The Truth About the Switchel Trend

Thinking about switching out your post-workout drink for trendy switchel? This drink, also known as "haymaker's punch" from farmers who drank it while harvesting crops, has been touted to provide health benefits and potassium. But these claims need a second look.

 

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Switchel is made from ginger, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice, and maple syrup mixed with water, sparkling water or—if you're feeling festive this weekend—your favorite liquor. Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as beneficial for blood sugar control if you have diabetes, soothing for a sore throat, and helpful for weight loss. Still, there are few studies that support these claims. Ginger has also been used to aid in digestion and relieve an upset stomach, but again, more studies are needed.

 

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Surprisingly, the drink does have more potassium than some popular rehydration drinks—even though the amount of potassium from the maple syrup and the vinegar hardly surpasses 1 to 2 percent of the daily recommended amount. Apart from potassium, apple cider vinegar and ginger have little to offer by way of vitamins or minerals.

While switchel may be a refreshing summer drink, I'd hardly say it's the new miracle health elixir. That said, it's a harmless, refreshing beverage you should feel free to drink in reasonable amounts.

 

Deborah Tagliareni MS RD

Deborah Tagliareni, a Registered Dietitian and Founder of Milestone Nutrition, received her bachelors degree from Northwestern University and Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.  More →

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