ACV supporters claim it can help you lose weight, improve digestion, reduce heartburn, remove skin tags, clear up your skin, and more. And if you’re on the low carb, high fat keto diet to lose weight, you may be particularly interested in using ACV to help boost fat loss.
But can ACV really help on keto, or are these claims just ABC (A Bunch of Crap)? Let’s do some vinegar verification.
Is apple cider vinegar keto?
Apple cider vinegar is keto-friendly. A 1-tablespoon serving contains only 3 calories and trace amounts of carbs (about one-tenth of a gram) — no need to track it!
ACV might be helpful if you’re on keto to lose weight. A handful of studies have suggested that vinegar may help promote fullness and increase fat loss, but nothing’s definitive. And these effects aren’t specific to people on keto, either.
The key ingredient in ACV is acetic acid, which gives ACV its acidity, taste, smell, and all-around vinegar-ness. Researchers suspect most of the noted benefits of vinegar in studies are linked to acetic acid.
Three key ways apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss
- Increased fullness. One small 2005 study noted that vinegar eaten with white bread (yum) increased self-reported satiety (fullness) levels. This suggests vinegar may help you feel full quicker.
- Better blood sugar control. A handful of studies have found that ACV may help promote better blood sugar management. Keeping blood sugar levels stable may help lower your calorie intake by reducing instances of hanger (and subsequent eating-whatever-you-can-grab) from low blood sugar.
- More fat loss. One high-quality 2009 study found that vinegar intake of 1 to 2 tablespoons a day for 12 weeks was associated with a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. 👀
Overall, though, there’s really not enough research for us to be overwhelmingly convinced of ACV’s benefits for weight loss. These studies were all pretty small, and there haven’t been many studies to begin with. ACV may help, but it may not. YMMV.
Don’t consume more than 4 tablespoons per day (larger doses haven’t really been studied), and make sure it’s either used in cooking or diluted in at least 8 ounces of water per tablespoon of vinegar to reduce its corrosive effects.
To be extra kind to your teeth, you can also sip your ACV concoction through a straw.
Wanna get some ACV in your diet and actually enjoy it? Try cooking with it! Its flavor and acidity make it a great addition to marinades and salad dressings.
Generally, you can use ACV in any recipe that calls for vinegar — just remember that it’s got a pretty unique flavor.
Allergic or just not wild about the idea of taking vinegar every day? Here are some keto-friendly alternatives that may also help you lose weight a little more effectively.
Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is made from fatty acids that consist of, well, medium chains of carbon, rather than short or long chains.
A 2018 study found that supplementing with MCT oil helped people get into ketosis (the state of burning fat for fuel instead of carbs) faster and with fewer side effects than people who supplemented with sunflower oil, with is made up mostly of long-chain fatty acids.
Other studies — including some from the early 2000s and a more recent one from 2017 — suggest MCT oil may help you fill up more quickly and burn more fat, both of which are super helpful if you’re trying to shed some pounds.
Ketones are the fuel your body produces from fat (either dietary fat or stored body fat) in the absence of carbs. Burning ketones from stored body fat is kinda the main goal if you’re doing keto for weight loss.
But you can also supplement by taking exogenous ketones (ones from outside your body).
One small 2018 study suggests that supplementing with exogenous ketones may reduce appetite, hunger levels, and desire to eat by directly affecting ghrelin (the hunger hormone).
Just remember that supplements (ACV included) aren’t magic weight loss potions. The most important thing you can do to be successful on keto is stay consistent with the diet and avoid unnecessarily over-restricting your calorie intake, which can set you up for failure. These supplements are just sugar-free sprinkles on your keto-friendly cupcake.
ACV is totally keto-friendly, and it MIGHT help with weight loss by promoting fullness, blood sugar control, and fat loss. But more research is definitely needed.
To avoid damaging your pearly whites, stick to small amounts that are diluted in water or used in cooking. And if vinegar’s not your cup of tea, you might be interested in MCT oil or exogenous ketones.