The keto diet may ban beer and OJ, but there’s one golden beverage that is compliant: apple cider vinegar.
In fact, in addition to expanding the flavor profile of your high-fat, low-carb eats, ACV may actually provide some keto-boosting benefits.
First, A Keto Overview
To back up for a second, “the ketogenic diet is an eating plan that decreases your carb intake and increases your fat intake,” explains dietitian Beth Warren, R.D.N., author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl.
Eating this way puts your body into a state of ketosis, in which it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose (which we get from carbohydrates).
Among other benefits (like decreased inflammation and more stable energy), this ketogenic state may support fat loss, says Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition, author of the upcoming Collagen Diet, and member of The Vitamin Shoppe Wellness Council.
And A Quick ACV Refresher
Though keto and ACV might seem to have nothing in common, some of the purported benefits of ACV actually fall in line with those of keto.
The Keto-ACV Connection
Though keto and ACV seem to have some complementary weight-loss benefits, does that mean you should pair the two together? Some trend enthusiasts suggest doing so compounds their effects, boosting fat-burn.
“Evidence from animal studies shows that consuming acetic acid—one of ACV’s main components—as part of a high-fat diet may reduce food intake,” explains Axe. This then contributes to reduced fat deposition and body weight, and improved insulin resistance.
However, just because animal research has identified a notable effect, doesn’t mean the same occurs in humans, Axe says.
“There’s been zero research done on humans that suggests that drinking apple cider vinegar while on keto leads to more weight loss,” says Warren. “If there is any benefit, it’s likely very small.”
“It’s certainly not going to lead to significantly more weight loss or fat-burn,” agrees Axe.
All that said, there are a few other good reasons to include ACV in your diet. Most notably: improved gut health. “Because ACV is a fermented product, it contains probiotics,” explains Warren. “So taking it will support a healthy gut microbiome.” (Just make sure to purchase an ACV that contains “the mother.”)
ACV also contains pectin, a prebiotic fiber thought to support probiotics in their gut-balancing efforts, she adds.
Related: Can You Take A Day Off Keto?
Since folks often experience digestion issues when they first start keto (typically the result of reduced fiber and increased fat intake), supplementing with ACV could be beneficial—especially at the outset of a high-fat diet, according to Axe.
Consuming ACV regularly may also help support healthy blood sugar. This, in turn, supports metabolic health and disease prevention—two big reasons people go keto, Axe adds.
How To Take ACV On Keto
Want to incorporate ACV into your keto diet? Axe recommends drinking it once a day or cooking with it.
To sip your ACV, combine it with lemon juice, hot water, some ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to make an invigorating elixir. “Start with a half a dose [one to two tablespoons] or less of apple cider vinegar to see how you react, and slowly increase the amount,” advises Axe.
In the kitchen, Axe recommends using ACV to sauté up keto-friendly veggies, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or onions. You can also combine it with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and dijon mustard to make a tangy salad dressing.
References & Further Reading
- Microorganisms: Microorganisms in Fermented Apple Beverages: Current Knowledge and Future Directions
- Journal of Medicinal Food: Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Reduces the Risk of Obesity in High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats.
- Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry: Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.