When to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Intermittent Fasting – How Much ACV Should I Drink

Jane McDonald

When to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that switches between periods of eating and fasting. It places a greater emphasis on meal timing that food food choices.

This time-restricted eating pattern has become popular with people who are trying to lose weight. It’s equally popular with those seeking improvements in metabolic health, greater longevity, and better quality of life.

Cycling through phases of fasting and feeding may result in a variety of benefits including better insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and even improvements in cognitive function.

Apple cider vinegar is believed to aid weight loss by helping to suppress appetite, thereby reducing calorie intake. It contains acetic acid, which might help boost metabolism, encouraging the body to burn fat more efficiently.

Additionally, it’s thought to slow stomach emptying, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness. Some studies suggest that when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, apple cider vinegar can be a helpful tool in achieving weight loss goals. However, it’s not a magic solution and should be consumed in moderation, as part of a balanced lifestyle.

Although it’s not necessary to do so, many people who are intermittently fasting find it advantageous to consume apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a complementary health tonic.

Made from fermented apple juice, when used as a dietary supplement ACV may offer a variety of benefits. People who consume it regularly often claim it helps them manage their weight along with their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Its tart taste may not appeal to all, but ACV is also often said to be good for aiding digestion and boosting immunity.

drinking apple cider vinegar

When used alongside intermittent fasting, apple cider vinegar may amplify the benefits. Due to its potential value as a strong appetite suppressant, it may also help control hunger pangs in those who are fasting.

In this article, we will take a look at the potential value of combining intermittent fasting with the use of this popular natural tonic and the best ways to do so. We will also address some of the common concerns about intermittent fasting, along with a few additional considerations relating to the consumption of apple cider vinegar.

Basics of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that focuses on cycling between periods of voluntary abstinence from food and drink and periods of normal eating. The food choices are not as important as the time windows in which you eat them.

There are several popular methods of intermittent fasting. Each one has its own set of rules:

  • The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, this form of intermittent eating involves fasting for 16 hours each day and then eating normally during a pre-set 8-hour window. For many, this may mean skipping breakfast and eating between the hours of noon and 8 PM.
  • The 5:2 diet: This method permits normal eating for five days of the week but requiring those who do it to consume no more than 500-600 calorie on two non-consecutive days.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: People using this intermittent fasting system do 24-hour fasts once or twice each week.
  • Alternate-day fasting: This option requires its practitioners to alternate between normal eating days and fasting days, where they consume very few or no calories.

The science behind intermittent fasting reveals it as more than just a weight loss tactic; it’s a lifestyle change that can bring significant improvements in health. Fasting periods trigger several physiological responses. For instance, insulin levels drop, supporting improvements in fat burning. Meanwhile, human growth hormone levels increase, potentially resulting in weight loss and muscle gain.

The goals and health outcomes associated with intermittent fasting extend beyond weight control.  Reports of improvements in mental clarity and concentration are quite common. As are claims of reductions in inflammation and a greater sense of well-being.

Although the evidence for some of these benefits is stronger than for others, there are many credible arguments in favor of practicing intermittent fasting.

Understanding Apple Cider Vinegar: Some Pros and Cons

Apple cider vinegar is a natural product created through the fermentation of apple juices. The sugars in the apple juice are first converted into alcohol by yeast, and then into acetic acid by bacteria. It’s the acetic acid that gives apple cider vinegar its characteristic taste and aroma.

In addition to acetic acid, ACV contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, organic acids (like citric, lactic, and malic acids), polyphenols, and a small amount of potassium. In its unfiltered state, it also contains a cloudy substance known as the “mother.” This consists of proteins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria.

Some people believe the mother is the most beneficial part of the vinegar. Purists would not entertain the idea of consuming it filtered.

However, the potential health benefits of ACV are more likely attributable to its acetic acid content, which has been studied for its effects on metabolism and disease.

Some research suggests that ACV can promote weight loss by increasing satiety and reducing the glycemic response to meals, thereby helping to support steady blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, its antimicrobial properties may help improve skin health and support a healthy gut microbiome.

Additionally, ACV is often claimed to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. More research is desirable in these areas.

However, despite its potential health benefits, there are precautions to consider. Consuming ACV in large quantities or undiluted can lead to tooth enamel erosion, throat irritation, and digestive issues.

It also has the potential to interact with certain medications, such as diuretics or insulin. When consumed in excess, it may also deplete potassium levels.

As with any supplement or tonic, it’s important to consume ACV in moderation and, ideally, consult with a healthcare provider before doing so.

Combining Apple Cider Vinegar with Intermittent Fasting

The rationale behind incorporating apple cider vinegar into an intermittent fasting regimen lies in its potential to complement the fasting process. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may help modulate insulin levels and blood sugar.  This can be particularly beneficial when the body is in a fasting state and stable blood glucose is desirable to sustain the fast and prevent urges for food.

ACV may further enhance the effects of intermittent fasting by promoting a feeling of fullness in the stomach. By doing so, it may help people consume less food during permitted eating hours. This can be especially beneficial for people who find it challenging to limit their food consumption during their eating windows.

ACV’s ability to improve metabolic function may also work in harmony with the metabolic shifts induced by the fasting process, such as improvements in lipolysis and faster metabolic rate, aiding the reduction of stored body fat.

When to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

Determining the best times to consume apple cider vinegar during intermittent fasting can help maximize the potential benefits while also ensuring its consumption complements the fasting process.

During the fasting window, apple cider vinegar can be used strategically to help control appetite and stabilize blood sugar levels. Because it’s so low in calories, drinking apple cider vinegar in small quantities will not break the fast. However, it’s important to get the timing right.

Many people find that taking ACV in the morning, or shortly before their fasting period ends, helps them keep their hunger under control while also supporting higher energy levels.

When to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

During the eating window, ACV can also be very helpful. Consuming it before meals may improve digestive efficiency and glycemic control. By taking ACV before your first meal, you might enhance the transition from the fasting state by moderating the insulin response to food and supporting metabolic health.

It is also believed that ACV can slow the emptying of the stomach, which leads to a gradual absorption of nutrients and can result in longer satiety after meals.

The role of ACV in appetite control is particularly noteworthy. Research shows that the acetic acid it provides can influence the centers in the brain that control appetite, helping to support lower food intake.

Additionally, ACV’s effects on blood sugar regulation may prevent the blood sugar spikes and crashes that can trigger sudden feelings of hunger.

Acting via a variety of channels, ACV may support a smoother fasting experience and better adherence to the dietary pattern.

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar to Drink

When you add apple cider vinegar into your diet, especially within the context of intermittent fasting, it’s important to adhere to recommended dosages. Doing so will allow you to reap the maximum health benefits while also reducing the risk of side effects.

A dose of one to two tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day is a common recommendation. This may be consumed in a single sitting or spread out over two to three doses before meals. Consuming larger doses is inadvisable due to the possibility of adverse effects.

Although plenty of people consume it neat, it’s generally best to dilute ACV before drinking it. Doing so helps to protect the teeth and digestive tract.

Undiluted vinegar is highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel, irritate the esophagus, and increase stomach acidity leading to gastric distress. Mixing one to two tablespoons of ACV with at least 8 ounces (about 240 ml) of water or an alternative zero-caloric beverage reduces the risks.

Sipping the concoction through a straw is a good idea.  It helps minimize contact with the teeth. Rinsing the mouth with water after drinking ACV can further protect tooth enamel from damage. This is good practice regardless of whether you are taking apple cider vinegar neat, diluted, or in the form of apple cider vinegar capsules or gummies.

In the case of apple cider vinegar gummies, brushing the teeth may be advisable because they tend to stick to the enamel surface.

It’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate excessive ACV consumption. Symptoms of overconsumption may include tooth erosion, throat irritation, stomach upset, and symptoms of low potassium levels.

If any of these signs become apparent, it’s advisable to reduce the intake of ACV or stop it altogether and consult a healthcare provider.

Preparing Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks

Creating palatable, diluted apple cider vinegar beverages can enhance the experience of consuming ACV during fasting periods.

  • Simple Apple Cider Vinegar Water: Dilute 1 tablespoon of ACV in 8 ounces of water. If consumed during the fasting window, avoid using sweeteners that add extra calories.
  • Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Water: Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 8 ounces of water and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Lemon adds a refreshing flavor and can help mask the taste of ACV without breaking the fast.
  • Herbal Apple Cider Vinegar Tea: Prepare a cup of herbal tea with flavors such as peppermint or chamomile. Allow the tea to cool to a warm temperature and then add 1 tablespoon of ACV. This makes a soothing beverage that can be enjoyed during the fasting window.

To flavor and sweeten ACV drinks without breaking your fast, consider using low to zero-calorie options such as stevia drops, erythritol, or monk fruit sweetener. None of these typically trigger an insulin response. Cinnamon can also be added for extra flavor, along with a pinch of ground ginger for a nice warming effect.

When preparing ACV beverages, always remember to dilute the vinegar adequately to protect your teeth and stomach lining, and opt for raw, unfiltered ACV with the “mother” for maximum benefits.

For those who dislike the taste but still want to enjoy the benefits without having to drink ACV, apple cider vinegar supplements and gummies provide a convenient option without the strong taste.

It’s also possible to use ACV in salad dressings or marinades that can be consumed during the eating window. These alternatives provide the flexibility to enjoy the benefits of ACV without having to drink it.

Top Tips for Incorporating Apple Cider Vinegar into Your Diet

Apple cider vinegar is easy to fit into various dietary patterns, from keto to vegan, due to its low-calorie and high-nutrient profile. It’s a versatile choice that can enhance many dishes without compromising dietary restrictions.

There are several good ways to Integrate apple cider vinegar into your diet during the intermittent fasting eating window:

  • Salad Dressings: A good alternative to balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar makes a tangy base for salad dressings. Whisk it together with olive oil, mustard, and herbs for a dressing that’s both healthy and tasty.
  • Marinades: Tenderize and infuse meat, poultry, or vegetables with flavor by using ACV in marinades. The acidic nature of ACV helps to break down proteins, allowing your choice of herbs and spices to penetrate more deeply.
  • Sauces and Soups: A splash of ACV can brighten up sauces and soups. Its acidity balances rich flavors and adds a subtle tartness.
  • Pickling: You can create quick pickles by submerging vegetables in a mixture of ACV, water, salt, and optional sweeteners or spices, allowing them to ferment for a tangy crunch.
  • Smoothies: For an added health kick, include a small amount of ACV in your fruit or green smoothies. Just remember to pair it with flavors that can mask its strong taste.

When incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet, it’s important to maintain an adequate nutrient intake—especially when practicing intermittent fasting.

A balanced diet ensures you receive all necessary nutrients within your eating window, helping to support good health and optimal energy levels. ACV should complement a balanced diet and never be seen as a substitute for a vital food group.

Potential Challenges and Considerations

Although apple cider vinegar is generally considered safe for most healthy adults to use in moderation, there are potential challenges and considerations to keep in mind, especially when combining it with intermittent fasting.

Common Concerns

  • Tooth Enamel Erosion: The acidity of liquid ACV can weaken tooth enamel. Always dilute it and take steps to minimize its contact with the teeth.
  • Digestive System Discomfort: Some users may experience digestive issues like heartburn or nausea. Start with a small amount to assess tolerance.
  • Blood Sugar Fluctuations: ACV may lower blood sugar levels. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia will need to monitor their levels closely and consult a healthcare provider before use.

When to Avoid Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Pre-existing Gastrointestinal Conditions: People who have ulcers or acid reflux might need to avoid ACV.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: There is a lack of research relating to using ACV during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Consult a healthcare provider before doing either one.
  • Medication Interference: ACV can interact with diabetes medications and certain other medicines including diuretics and laxatives. If you use medications, check with a healthcare provider before using ACV.

Monitoring Body’s Response

  • Start Slowly: Begin with a low ACV dose and gradually increase to the recommended amount while noting how your body reacts.
  • Track Symptoms: Keep a log of any new symptoms or changes in existing conditions that may arise.
  • Medical Advice: If adverse effects occur, reduce or discontinue use and seek medical advice.

Conclusion

Apple cider vinegar can be a valuable addition to an intermittent fasting lifestyle. Its use offers many potential benefits such as appetite control, improved blood sugar levels, and burning stored body fat more efficiently.

Due to its versatility, it’s easy to incorporate apple cider vinegar into a variety of drinks and food dishes during eating windows. It can work well alongside all forms of intermittent fasting and many other dietary patterns.

However, it’s important to take steps to overcome the potential challenges, such as protecting dental enamel and diluting the vinegar with water to prevent unpleasant digestive responses.

When used correctly, apple cider vinegar can be a useful tool that can enhance your fasting experience while providing additional health benefits.

References and Further Reading

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About the author

Jane Smith brings over two decades of dedicated service as an endocrinologist, with a deep-seated specialization in managing and studying diabetes, thyroid and parathyroid disorders, obesity, and lipid dysfunctions, as well as various hormonal imbalances. Jane's commitment to her field is evident in her active engagement with research aimed at uncovering novel medications and advancing technologies to improve the quality of life for individuals grappling with these chronic diseases. Her expertise and passion for endocrinology have made her a respected figure in the pursuit of innovative treatment approaches.