Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV to the cool kids, is a sour, tangy, golden vinegar produced by fermenting apples. A trusted pantry staple, it makes delicious salad dressings and packs a punch when used in cocktails, but it's also grown into the darling of the natural health community.
Its main component, acetic acid, is what gives ACV that bold flavour and smell, along with a host of health benefits. These include weight regulation and blood sugar regulation, as well as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. ACV also contains other acids, like malic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid, which support apple cider vinegar's antibacterial, exfoliating and pH regulating characteristics.
So how can you get all the goodness of ACV inside your insides? While you might already be using it on salad dressings (and if not, we highly recommend doing so!), it can be beneficial to add ACV into your diet in other ways as well.
What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?
First of all, the ACV diet is not really a 'diet' or 'nutrition plan' type of idea. Based on many studies on mice, and a few human studies as well, it's been found that ACV is excellent support in weight loss. "Support" is the keyword here: apple cider vinegar is not a miracle elixir that will melt the kilos away, you still have to put in the work. But alongside a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise, consistent ingestion of ACV can boost your weight loss results.
The recommended dosage is 1-2 tbsp of raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar, diluted in at least 200ml of water. We suggest spreading this into 2-3 doses throughout the day, ideally taken before or with meals.
How Does the ACV Diet Help?
There are several ways in which apple cider vinegar has been shown to enhance weight loss.
Regulating Blood Sugar
A 2005 study on rats found that acetic acid improved the ability of the liver to absorb sugar out of the bloodstream. It also reduces the ration of insulin to glucagon. These actions promote weight regulation and fat burning.
Boosting Your Metabolism
This 2006 study showed that rats who ingested acetic acid produced higher levels of an enzyme known as AMPK, which boosts fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production.
Some Things to Look Out For
While most natural health ideas are so harmless that the general attitude is 'why not,' apple cider vinegar can have some considerable side-effects. If you have gastroparesis, take insulin to regulate your diabetes or are taking potassium-lowering and/or diuretic drugs, it's advisable to avoid ACV altogether.
Delayed Gastric Emptying
ACV prevents blood sugar spikes by slowing down the rate at which food is absorbed from the stomach. However, this could worsen symptoms of gastroparesis, a common condition in patients with type 1 diabetes which makes it difficult to time insulin injections appropriately.
The considerable acidity of ACV can erode or damage your tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. To avoid this particular unpleasantness, always dilute your ACV in plenty of water and, if possible, drink it through a straw.
That same acidity has the potential to seriously damage the mucus linings of your throat and oesophagus, leading to burning sensations and difficulty swallowing.
ACV could potentially affect the action of diabetes medication and diuretic drugs, so make sure to check with your doctor before combining the two.