A popular term these days is “Life Hack”, The internet is littered with Life-Hacks from chilling wine with frozen grapes to dozens of ways to use a toilet paper tube to organize your life, there’s a life hack for practically everything and we love them. What exactly is a life hack? Merriam-Webster defines life-hack as: a usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) was used in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, as well as the Roman Empire. Hippocrates used vinegar to fight infections, treat wounds, and help alleviate coughs. ACV was used for multiple known medical conditions from simple digestive problems, for endurance and stamina, and for external wound care. While forgotten for many years as more sophisticated remedies and cures were developed, Apple Cider Vinegar has made a comeback as a popular life hack for a variety of things, among them weight loss & fat burning
Is it ok to have apple cider vinegar while on a keto diet?
Weight loss and fat burning are terms that are near and dear to those on the ketogenic diet. that natural question becomes is it OK to have apple cider vinegar while on keto AND is there a complimentary benefit to combining the two?
First, from a nutritional standpoint, Apple Cider Vinegar is keto-friendly… wait, “apples are not generally consumed on keto because they are high in sugar”, true. Apple cider vinegar comes from apples that have been crushed, distilled, and then fermented, the sugar is consumed in the fermentation process. This process yields a product consisting of 94-95% water and 5-6% acetic acid. Other than trace amounts of potassium and other acids, ACV is not a major source of fiber or other nutrients. Rather, its health benefits are derived from acids and phytochemicals. At 3 calories per serving and 0.1g of carbohydrates, it certainly fits the profile for a keto or low carb diet.
Next, what are the weight loss benefits attributed to Apple Cider Vinegar?
- A small study published in the Journal of the American Association of Diabetes describes that ACV significantly reduced post-meal blood glucose 30 & 60 minutes after a high carbohydrate meal (Bagel with butter & orange juice) – Link to study
- Another small study indicates that ACV may aid in weight loss published in the Journal of Functional Food had 39 participants on a calorie-restricted diet that was 250 calories less than daily estimated requirements. Some participants were also given a tablespoon of ACV with lunch & dinner. The group that received the ACV lost an average of 8.8lbs over the 12-week test, the group that did not receive ACV lost an average of 5lbs over the same period – Link to study
- Another study from the Journal of Medicinal food indicates that ACV reduces the risk of obesity in rats fed a high-fat diet supplemented with apple cider vinegar – Link to Study
More studies need to be conducted to get a clearer picture of the effects of ACV on the keto diet, but the indications are that there are clearly good health reasons why you would want to add apple cider vinegar to your diet, most notably improved gut health, but the advantage of combining Apple Cider Vinegar with the keto diet might be minimal at best.
How do you drink apple cider vinegar on keto?
Just because combining Apple Cider Vinegar & Keto may not yield exponential benefits that doesn’t mean that each can be positive when considered individually… So how would you “drink” ACV on keto? I’ve tried a few of the recipes found online for ACV, most of them are awful, but that is more an indication of my pallette than any shortcomings of the recipes… I just not a fan of the taste of ACV, plus I sometimes get a queasy feeling and upset stomach which complies with the appetite suppression benefits some claim ACV provides.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Detox recipes: Here’s a link to a video featuring (2) different popular ACV detox drinks from Thomas DeLauer, renowned health author, nutrition expert & YouTube celebrity who happens to be a big believer in ACV and does an awesome job explaining why he recommends combining apple cider vinegar with the keto diet – Link to Video
- Cooking with Apple Cider Vinegar – This is certainly my preferred method of consuming ACV. Besides the obvious oil & vinegar salad dressing adding ACV to stir-fried vegetable to add a zest of flavor and tanginess to keto-friendly vegetables while adding virtually no calories
Does apple cider vinegar help with carbs?
As outlined earlier in the study published in the Journal of the American Association of Diabetes, apple cider vinegar can help prevent blood sugar spikes when paired with a meal that is high in carbohydrates. A keto diet is already going to be low in carbohydrates, so ACV’s effects in that respect could be mitigated on a ketogenic diet.
That being said, the ketogenic diet is a highly restrictive diet and difficult to maintain at times. Using Apple Cider Vinegar to decrease blood sugar spikes during a “cheat” meal could lessen the impact of the cheat meal and ultimately be a useful tool in maintaining a keto lifestyle long term
How much apple cider vinegar should you drink a day?
Although recommendations for “dosing” vary, typically 1 to 2 teaspoons (15-30 ml) mixed with water before or with meals. Among the multitude of experts that recommend this dosage is Dr. Robert H. Shmerling Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing.
In the post-Dr. Shmerling goes on to list some of the benefits of using ACV and cites some of the same studies that I’ve linked in this post, and does feel that apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy for a bunch of things with limited danger involved, he does go on to list some of the side effects of ACV.
For many natural remedies, there seems to be little risk, so a common approach is “why not try it?” However, for diets with high vinegar content, a few warnings are in order:
- Vinegar should be diluted. Its high acidity can damage tooth enamel when sipped “straight” — consuming it as a component of vinaigrette salad dressing is a better way.
- It has been reported to cause or worsen low potassium levels. That’s particularly important for people taking medications that can lower potassium (such as common diuretics taken to treat high blood pressure).
- Vinegar can alter insulin levels. People with diabetes should be particularly cautious about a high vinegar diet.
There is ample data to conclude that adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your diet regimen can result in many positive benefits and for the most part with little risk. The combination of ACV and the keto diet seems to have mild to minimal direct benefit depending on who you listen to, but it’s evident that more studies need to be performed to get a clearer picture. An excellent resource for studies done on supplements is Examine.com, following the link to the research studies done on ACV reveals only a handful of studies in each category.
When it comes to Apple Cider Vinegar and the keto diet, consider this analogy: getting enough rest/sleep and proper hygiene in relation to general health… there is ample data to conclude that both getting enough sleep and practicing proper hygiene is beneficial to your health, combined they may not have an exponential effect on your health, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing both.
There may not be enough data to conclude that ACV combined with the keto diet will yield significantly enhanced benefits, there are enough benefits in relation to weight loss and overall health with each to merit their implementation individually.