Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Apple cider vinegar has become one of those health food items that appears to be a cure-all. There's also a ton of buzz around apple cider vinegar specifically with Intermittent Fasting. So what's the deal with apple cider vinegar? Should you use it with Intermittent Fasting? And if you do choose to use it, does apple cider vinegar break your fast?
I'm going to be breaking down everything you need to know before you take your first sip of apple cider vinegar while Intermittent Fasting.
But First, What IS Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made how many other vinegars are made - by fermenting a juice. In this case, the juice is apple. Fermentation breaks down the carbohydrates/sugars within the juice and first forms alcohol - such as with grape juice to wine. Further fermentation past this point converts the alcohol to vinegar.
What Makes Apple Cider Vinegar So Special?
A multitude of small studies have been performed to assess apple cider vinegar on blood glucose levels. Although there's a vast amount of first hand experience stories of apple cider vinegar aiding in reducing fasted blood glucose and HbA1C (a marker of blood glucose levels measured over time), the clinical research isn't as strong. However, one meta-analysis found that there is evidence of roughly 20mL of apple cider vinegar per day aiding in lowered fasted blood glucose, decreased HbA1C and a healthier blood lipid profile.(1) Another study found that consumption of vinegar is showing significant improvement in post-prandial (aka after eating) insulin sensitivity.(2) In fact, the effects were so strong that the researchers amounted it to similar activity as the Type 2 Diabetes medication, metformin.(2)
It's important to note that some of these studies were performed on vinegar itself, while others were performed on apple cider vinegar specifically. The results are inconclusive on if the type of vinegar matters. However, I typically recommend apple cider vinegar because it's one of the easier options to find a high quality brand. Bragg's is the brand that I personally use, however there are many other great options.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Break a Fast?
If you are using fasting for religious or specific therapeutic purposes then any food or drink that is not water will break your fast. If you are looking to stabilize blood glucose levels, tap into fat burning mechanisms and improve insulin sensitivity, then no, apple cider vinegar will not break your fast.
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar contains less than 1g of carbohydrate which is likely not enough to stimulate an insulin response within your body. Remember, the majority of the sugars in apple cider vinegar are broken down and converted into vinegar during the fermentation process.
However, there is a BEST time to consume apple cider vinegar in order to get the most out of your ACV experience. This is why the AENpeeps following the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle guidelines utilize the ACV (apple cider vinegar) Sipper before they break their fast. This helps to optimize the post-prandial blood glucose level and improve insulin sensitivity for your first meal.(1,2)
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Intermittent Fasting?
If you're new to Intermittent Fasting, you may be wondering how all of this talk on blood glucose levels and insulin will actually aid in your goals with Intermittent Fasting. One of the main benefits of Intermittent Fasting stems from it's ability to improve insulin sensitivity.(3) When one is inulin resistant (the opposite of insulin sensitive), this can lead to difficulties losing weight and possibly Type 2 Diabetes in the long run. With the compounding effects of Intermittent Fasting and apple cider vinegar, this theoretically can further improve insulin sensitivity and improve your ability to lose weight.*
Higher intakes of apple cider vinegar can occasionally cause an upset stomach and directly drinking apple cider vinegar has been speculated by dentists to erode enamel. That's why it's important to dilute the apple cider vinegar with water. Certain medications can interact with vinegars, so it's important to check with your doctor to see if any medications you're taking will be affected.
*HUGE side note: There's a common misconception that this means you don't have to worry about what you eat during your eating window. This is false. The types of food you eat during your window will also have an impact on your insulin sensitivity (for better or for worse) and can either promote the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and apple cider vinegar or reverse them. Check out the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle for the step-by-step deets.
New to Intermittent Fasting? Get the step-by-step deets on Intermittent Fasting and 100+ DELISH recipes with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle!
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Autumn Elle Nutrition