There’s a lot to love about apple cider vinegar. Several studies support the claims that ACV helps the body lose weight and debloat. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s been shown to up energy levels either. And did we mention you can use it to wash your hair?! Before you start guzzling the bottle of ACV in your pantry, keep in mind that there’s a right and a wrong way to drink the elixir.
First things first: while straight shots are a popular way to drink ACV — don’t. Because it’s highly acidic, over time ACV has the potential to do real damage to both the esophagus and tooth enamel. Instead, dilute ACV with water. In general, one to two tablespoons mixed into eight ounces of water is the sweet spot (like you’ll find in this delicious ACV honey drink).
Now that you have the formula down, you need to know exactly when to drink it if you’re looking to reap any weight-loss benefits. Carol S. Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program and has been studying ACV for more than 10 years. Johnston recommends drinking an ACV drink once or twice a day and always right before you eat; you want the ACV to be in your stomach before any food makes its way there.
Johnston told The Washington Post that ACV helps to block some starch digestion whenever you eat. Since less starch (and fewer calories, essentially) is being digested by the body, the spike in blood sugar is lessened. Adding to this benefit is that the good-for-you bacteria in your gut happily feeds on this undigested starch, which can lead to less bloating and a healthier digestive system. If you drink ACV without food, there won’t be anything for it to work off of, which probably defeats the whole purpose of drinking vinegar in the first place.