What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?
Apple cider vinegar is a staple of the health food scene and is often suggested as a supplement to healthy eating, but the apple cider vinegar diet takes things a step further. Don’t worry though, because unlike the name suggests, it’s less of a diet and more of a suggestion to regularly add apple cider vinegar into your daily diet. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, including reportedly promoting in or assisting with weight loss.
But what is the apple cider vinegar diet, exactly?
Like we said, the apple cider vinegar diet doesn’t mean literally having apple cider vinegar as a meal. It’s more of a guiding principal and general recommendation to consume apple cider vinegar daily so you can reap the benefits of it as a staple in your diet.
Apple cider vinegar is made from apples that have been fermented. Having it regularly increases the benefits of just using it occasionally in dressings or marinades, for example.
How much is needed and exactly how do you do the apple cider vinegar diet? The recommendations depend on sources and experts (it’s not an exact science), but in general it’s suggested to drink somewhere between 1–3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily.
The type matters too, so don’t just reach for the cheapest brand of any apple cider vinegar from the grocery store. A lot of them have been heavily processed and filtered, removing the beneficial bacterial that lives in the ‘mother’ (the murky strains that usually settle at the bottom of a bottle). Choose one that still has this for maximum benefits.
How Does it Work?
You can take your 1–3 tablespoons up to several times a day or start small. If you find the harsh, acidic taste of apple cider vinegar to be too much to handle, start small and work up slowly as your taste buds adjust.
To help with the taste, it’s helpful and recommended to combine the apple cider vinegar with other liquid like water or juice. You can dilute it down in a ratio of 10 parts water or fruit juice to 1-part apple cider vinegar. This will also help protect your teeth from potential enamel stripping and help protect your stomach lining from the acidity of the vinegar.
If you’re especially concerned with keeping apple cider vinegar off of your teeth, you can drink it with a straw and then rinse your mouth out after. Adding some honey or agave syrup to it can also help improve the taste.
Some choose to consume their apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, but you can also have it before each meal throughout the day. Be sure to allow around 15–20 minutes before you eat for maximum benefits.
As far as duration, if you experience benefits and health boosts after adding in apple cider vinegar, you can continue this practice indefinitely, versus a ‘one and done’ approach that’s used too often with healthy diet choices.
A daily practice of apple cider vinegar should be part of a healthy, long-term lifestyle.
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Understanding the Pros and Cons
As with any new dietary practice or routine, choosing to add apple cider vinegar to your daily diet should be an individual decision. You should take into consideration any individual health factors and goals, and talk to a medical professional as needed. In general, it’s one of the safest and most natural types of diet to embark on, and other than a potentially unpleasant taste, it doesn’t have any drawbacks.
There are also many reported benefits you may enjoy. Here are a few:
There is some research that shows that apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar levels and keep them normal. This is critical for anyone who is living with type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that taking apple cider vinegar before meals can improve insulin levels and sensitivity.
Unsurprisingly, the apple cider vinegar diet gets the most attention for its potential weight loss benefits. Studies have shown that by increasing the feeling of fullness and satiety, adding apple cider vinegar into your diet can mean you consume less calories over the course of the day, therefore leading to weight loss.
Remember, apple cider vinegar is only a supplement to a healthy diet. You still need to consume the right number of calories for your body to ensure healthy weight loss.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects millions of women worldwide. By helping to regulate hormone levels that are at the root of PCOS, an addition of a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day has been shown to improve symptoms in many women. In contrast to most advice to take apple cider vinegar in the morning, these benefits were shown when women consumed one tablespoon plus seven ounces of water after dinner.
Some studies in animals have shown that adding in regular apple cider vinegar can help to lower blood pressure. This is crucial, since blood pressure is directly linked to heart disease, the number one killer in the United States.
When To Talk to Your Doctor
In general, keep moderation at the forefront when taking up any new health habits. For example, don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is more; adding excessive amounts of apple cider vinegar per day (such as eight ounces or more) can have negative health consequences.
While it’s relatively safe to add in sensible amounts of apple cider vinegar daily, talk to your doctor to make sure it won’t interfere with or contradict any other medications or treatment plans you’re on.
If you experience any side effects such as nausea, heart burn, or acid reflux, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re safe to continue consuming apple cider vinegar. If symptoms persist, listen to your body and stop entirely if needed.