Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. More importantly, it's a way of life. It really has nothing to do with the foods you can eat, but when you eat them. The same rule goes for what you drink, and don't drink. So should you drink apple cider vinegar during intermittent fasting? We're here to tell you how to optimize your intermittent fasting pattern to achieve optimal results.
Intermittent Fasting Overview
Relatively simple and straightforward, the most popular way to intermittent fast is the 16/8 Method. This involves skipping breakfast and eating only within an 8-hour period of the day while fasting for the other 16. But the question we often get asked, is what are you allowed to drink during those other 16 hours, in order to not break your fast and lose weight more effectively? And does that include apple cider vinegar (ACV)?
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Because intermittent fasting does not have extensive research conduction, conclusive evidence is hard to come by. There are studies coming out recently that provide consumers with more scientific evidence that supports what you can and cannot drink, but at this time, the more simple you can keep what you drink, the better.
Save your flavored drinks for later in the day when you're consuming food and keep it simple in the morning. Remember the overall goal - to improve your body's system and give it a reboot itself naturally, every day. Intermittent Fasting is not a one-size-fits-all lifestyle by any means. But it's certainly worth a try!
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
For most, ACV is regarded to be 'Mother Nature’s Perfect Food'. When ACV is in its raw organic form, it’s made from fresh, crushed apples which are allowed to then mature naturally in wooden barrels. Wood is the chosen form of a barrel, versus metal or otherwise, because of its ability to actually boost the natural fermentation process. Similar to kombucha, natural and content-rich
Apple Cider Vinegar is a rich, brownish color, with a ‘cobweb-like’ substances floating around, called the ‘mother’
ACV doesn’t require refrigeration, and as time goes on, the more mature the ‘mother’ is the richer in nutrients and the lower it is found in a bottle. It’s no secret that ACV is pungent, to say the least – you’ll find yourself puckering pretty hard and your eyes might even water a bit. Crying because it’s so good? Maybe. But the benefits far outweigh the temporary remorse that strikes your senses when ingesting ACV.
RELATED ARTICLE Why You Should Add Kombucha To Your Diet
Does Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Break A Fast?
When you consume food products that have calories and substances that the body must process and metabolize, you can break your intermittent fast, because your body has begun to metabolize and process the food, just as it would when you eat.
Unlike food, when you consume apple cider vinegar or coffee, for example, the fast is not broken, and the benefits of fasting can actually be enhanced. Both coffee and apple cider vinegar promote AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) within the body. Many researchers studying the benefits of intermittent fasting in conjunction with consuming non-food products, like ACV, believe that AMPK activations are extended, furthering the benefit of intermittent fasting. [R, R]
Does Lemon Juice Break A Fast?
You've heard of people putting lemon juice and cayenne powder in their apple cider vinegar water, but maybe you're sitting there wondering, "Can I drink lemon juice while fasting".
To put this question to rest, once and for all, putting a slice or two of lemon, cucumber, or mint in your water doesn’t have enough of an effect on your blood sugar or insulin levels to break your fast. Sure, lemons and other citrus products do contain calories in the form of fructose, which does stimulate the liver to break a fasted state, but eating and drinking aren’t seen the same in the digestive process.
- When you eat a lemon by itself (you might be a little crazy if you do this, just saying) you will break a fast because you absorb and digest the fructose from the lemon. Some people will argue that 1-2 slices of lemon do or doesn’t break a fast, and there aren’t enough studies conducted on this (yet), to support either claim.
- When you drink water with lemon slices, the fructose is maintained within the cellular matrix of the lemon, therefore they’re not released into the liquid, and the fructose hangs out in the lemon and not in the water you’re drinking.
If you’re adding pure lemon juice to water and/or apple cider vinegar water, we recommend not putting more than a few drops into your drink, so that the lemon juice doesn’t break your fast. For comparison purposes, 1 cup of lemon juice has roughly 60 calories whereas a few drops or a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice has 5-20 calories, thus not having a great enough effect on the body to break a fast. Of course, if you believe otherwise, just opt for ACV water during your fast and skip the lemon. This isn’t a one size fits all, by any means.
RELATED ARTICLE What Can You Drink During Your Intermittent Fast
Is Apple Cider Vinegar the Same as White Vinegar?
The simplest way to answer this question is – no. While ACV has a much less eye-appealing way about it as compared to other types of clear vinegar, ACV boasts a nutrient density and health benefit that other kinds of vinegar do not. Vinegar becomes colorless and ‘motherless’ when it is distilled – turning it to steam, actually destroying the minerals from it (potassium, natural organic sodium, iron, sulfur, phosphorus, natural organic fluorine, trace minerals, copper, silicon, and many other nutrients).
Is apple cider vinegar acidic? A bit, yes. Distilling vinegar also destroys the natural malic and tartaric acids (these are important for fighting toxins within the body and reducing the growth of bad bacteria) in the body. While clear types of vinegar may be more eye appealing to a consumer, it’s a no-brainer from a health-conscious standpoint to choose ACV over others.
Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Your Fast
Why is apple cider vinegar good for you? Currently, ACV studies aren't terribly conclusive, but quite possibly that's because ACV hasn't been studied extensively for years prior to its recent rise in popularity. Fortunately, there has been some preliminary research supporting the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, not just limited to weight loss.
The Benefit of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Intermittent Fasting: Nutrition
There are a host of vitamins in ACV Apple cider vinegar including vitamin B1, B2, B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C. Additionally, ACV contains minerals, such calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Together, these minerals and vitamins provide support to the body to strengthen the nervous and immune systems, while supporting overall health and body optimization [R].
We do recommend purchasing a high-quality ACV, one that still includes the mother. Why should apple cider vinegar still have the mother? Because in this state, the ACV is unrefined, unpasteurized and unfiltered. Similar to a SCOBY (the funny looking stuff in Kombucha), the 'mother' in ACV helps create vinegar through a secondary fermentation process. More vinegar content means better quality.
The Benefit of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Intermittent Fasting: Energy
Something many active people and athletes are used to, is the build-up of lactic acid in the body, leading to soreness, fatigue, and stiffness throughout the body. Potassium from ACV can help alleviate these symptoms and quick delivery of vitamins can boost energy naturally. [R]
The Benefit of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Intermittent Fasting: Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar alone isn’t going to help weight loss, as shown in this study from Japan conducted in 2009. If you aren’t willing to change/improve your overall lifestyle, like the participants in this study, then you’re not going to see any changes. I mean, I’m sure we’d all love to not have to do anything, take a magic elixir, and have weight shed off our bodies, but that’s just not how it works.
Instead, when ACV is consumed during IF or throughout the day, in addition to a calorie-restricted or lower-calorie diet and exercise routine, weight loss effects and overall health improvement has been noted.
- In 2012, a Dutch study found that in one North African culture, women who consumed a daily cup of apple cider vinegar achieved greater weight loss than women who did not.
The Benefit of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar During Intermittent Fasting: Blood Sugar Regulation
A recent study conducted by the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University found that ACV reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes. The study findings state that the acetic acid in vinegar interferes with enzymes that break down starch, in turn stopping the absorption of starch altogether. The study recommends taking the vinegar before or when you eat starch like food products.
Some preliminary research has shown that intermittent fasting can actually improve the blood lipid profile by reducing total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and increasing HDL levels. However, randomized clinical trials with a larger sample size are needed to evaluate IF effects further, at this time. [R]
- A 2013 study revealed that vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations
- Another study demonstrated an improvement in insulin action in the skeletal muscle of human adults with diabetes.
- A 2015 study demonstrated that vinegar consumption in patients with Type 2 diabetes improved blood sugar control, insulin levels, and high triglyceride levels.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills Aren't The Same As Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid
ACV pills claim to have the same benefit as the liquid form of ACV. While taking a pill might be more convenient than taking a shot of ACV first thing in the morning every day, you're going to be seriously lacking in the benefits department from the superfood.
Pro: Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
The only benefit you're going to have with ACV pills, in our opinion, is going to be convenient. But is convenience more important than impact? We say no, and instead, opt for the liquid and a sour 10 seconds of your day.
Con: Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
While drinking ACV straight up might not be the most enjoyable 10 seconds of your morning, we do not recommend taking apple cider vinegar pills. While companies that sell this product boast that the capsules have the same exact content as their liquid counterpart, there is no way for the consumer to verify the contents of the ACV pills. The benefit of apple cider vinegar pills is unclear.
- A 2005 study of apple cider vinegar pills found that their labels and reported ingredients were both inconsistent and inaccurate. There isn't really any proven research on the benefit of apple cider vinegar pills, either.
Should you take apple cider vinegar pills for weight loss? We say no. The reason? The best apple cider vinegar pills aren't pills at all. Oh, and if you're getting your apple cider vinegar pills from Walmart? We suggest you stop that nonsense, too.
Long story short, drink the liquid and avoid the pills. Capeesh?
Should You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar During Your Fast? The Takeaway
So should you drink apple cider vinegar during intermittent fasting? In conclusion, ACV, in addition to other natural and preventative dietary measures, can be your passport to a long and healthy life, as well as a speedier weight loss journey and more efficient intermittent fasting routine. Keep in mind people do intermittent fasting for different reasons, ranging from overall health improvement, blood lipid panel improvement, better digestion and even weight loss. There is no one size fits all, and ACV consumption, while we believe it to be great for the body, should be a decision you make for yourself and your lifestyle.
Food and supplements can be the slowest form of poison or the most powerful form of medicine. It’s important to become an informed decision-maker and to choose products from brands that you can trust with your health. High-quality Apple Cider Vinegar may be a great option for you to add into your daily intermittent fasting schedule.
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