Want to know if having apple cider vinegar will break your fast?
Drinking apple cider vinegar has many proven health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, and reduced inflammation. When combined with intermittent fasting, apple cider vinegar can be a great way to boost weight loss and your overall health.
But, if you’re following an intermittent fasting routine, it’s important to know that apple cider vinegar could possibly break the fast. So the last thing you want to do is ruin your fast by unknowingly drinking the wrong thing.
Here you’ll uncover if apple cider vinegar can really ruin your fast. Plus, how to use apple cider vinegar to get the best results when combined with intermittent fasting.
Can You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Intermittent Fasting?
To put it simply, yes you can drink apple cider vinegar when fasting without it worrying about it breaking your fast.
Most apple cider vinegar labels will show that it contains zero calories and no sugars or carbs, so it shouldn’t break your fast. Technically, apple cider vinegar does contain a tiny amount of calories that it doesn’t have to display on the label.
Apple cider vinegar can help to curb the hunger that can come with fasting.1 Your blood sugars can become better regulated and thus have a lower insulin response after eating.2 It’s also a digestive aid and can relieve a lot of gastrointestinal issues like bloating and indigestion.3
What can you drink during intermittent fasting?
The rule of thumb is that zero-calorie fluids, such as water, lemon water, black coffee, unsweetened teas, and some apple cider vinegar, are best when fasting.
However, there is also a “50-calorie rule” that many who practice intermittent fasting follow. It allows a little leeway to drink some beverages without it breaking intermittent fasting. An example would be if you want to add a little cream to your coffee.
Fasting isn’t like an on/off switch, and there are some gray areas that can still give you results while making it easier to get through your fasting window. So, having a tiny calorie substance like apple cider vinegar allows you to keep fasting for longer then you’ll get better results in the end.
If weight loss is your main goal with fasting, then you’ll be more than fine having a shot of 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can even enhance weight loss with its positive impact on insulin by lowering blood glucose levels.4
It won’t ruin your fast if you have 5 or 15 calories as long as it’s not sugar. Instead, it’ll enhance the weight loss process by improving insulin while making it easier to get through your fast, and you’ll win in the long run.
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What Will Ruin Intermittent Fasting
While there is a “50 calorie rule” with dirty fasting, that doesn’t mean you can have anything without it breaking your fast. Stay away from anything that contains sugars since it’ll spike up your insulin, breaking your fast.
If you’re following a strict water fast, having anything other than water is not a great idea. Technically any xenobiotic (a foreign substance to the body) can cause a reaction in your body that could reduce the effectiveness of fasting.
Apple cider vinegar can help reduce acid reflux, which can become problematic with longer fasts.5 Fasting can begin to deplete your body of vital minerals, but apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help to increase your body’s absorption of minerals.6
Make sure you’re only using pure apple cider vinegar with nothing added. Some brands have honey or citrus-flavored apple cider vinegar to make it more palatable for consumers. But they’ll usually add sugars to it, which would for sure break your fast.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar While Fasting
Another benefit of taking apple cider vinegar when fasting is its ability to activate AMPK.7 AMPK is an enzyme in your body that flips the switch for your body to start burning fat.8
So if you’re looking to maximize fat loss with intermittent fasting, then taking apple cider vinegar can help. Apple cider vinegar is mainly acetic acid; when it goes into your cells, it’s converted into Acetyl-CoA. This conversion costs your body energy which sends your body into a deeper fasted state.9
The most challenging part of intermittent fasting is fighting the hunger pangs. Apple cider vinegar can help suppress your appetite making it easier to get through your fasting window.10 The longer you can keep fasting, the better weight loss results you’ll get.
Hunger is the biggest reason people give up on intermittent fasting. So if you can quickly curb hunger by taking some apple cider vinegar, you’ll be more likely to keep going with a fasting routine.
When Should You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Intermittent Fasting?
It’s best to take apple cider vinegar closer toward the end of your fasting window. You’ll curb those last bits of hunger while improving your blood glucose. When you break your fast, your blood sugar will increase, causing an insulin release.
Chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance lead to weight gain and other health problems.11 But apple cider vinegar can slow the absorption of food in your bloodstream, which blunts the blood sugar response.12
Drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach could cause acid reflux or irritate gastritis if you suffer from those problems. Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, so if you’re already having gut health problems, be careful when using it.
But if you don’t have any serious gut health issues, you should be fine taking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach. Just be sure to mix the 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water to dilute it.
This way, it’ll be easier on your stomach. Also, drink it with a straw to keep the acid off your teeth, which could wear down the enamel.
I wouldn’t take it too close to bedtime, or it could trigger acid reflux or indigestion after lying in bed. Mid-morning is when I prefer to take apple cider vinegar after I’m already 12+ hours into my fasting window.
It’s best to take apple cider vinegar before eating your first meal that breaks your fast. You can use it to help blunt the blood sugar spike after eating. Maintaining low and stable insulin levels is key to the weight loss process.
You should be fine taking apple cider vinegar daily as long as you don’t have any other gut health issues. Just make sure you dilute it in water and drink it with a straw.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Stop Autophagy?
Autophagy is a natural process in the body, allowing it to effectively clean up or “recycle” damaged cells that drive aging and chronic diseases. Autophagy is essential for maintaining healthy cells and ensuring their proper functioning within the body. If your goal is to slow down aging and improve your health, autophagy plays a vital role.13
Intermittent fasting can boost autophagy up to 2-3 fold, which is one reason it’s so effective for slowing aging and improving health. But pure water fasting is believed to be the most effective for maximizing autophagy.
Since apple cider vinegar contains near zero calories, you could still have a high autophagy effect when intermittent fasting. It won’t be as high as if you were following a pure water fast, but if it allows you to fast for longer, you’ll see a better autophagy effect in the long run.
Longer fasting periods of 18+ hours will be more effective than a 12-hour fast.14 Most have a difficult time fasting for this long without having to battle hunger pangs. Apple cider vinegar can help to curb hunger making it easier for you to fast for longer.
While maintaining a pure fast by having nothing other than water is key to maximizing autophagy, that doesn’t mean having zero-calorie fasting fluids like apple cider vinegar will completely shut off autophagy.
If zero-calorie beverages like coffee, unsweetened teas, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar help you keep fasting longer, you could get better returns in the long run.
Fasting Drink Recipe With Apple Cider Vinegar
When fasting, many foods and beverages can negate the benefits of prolonged intermittent fasting. But then there are some things you can have that can enhance results and make it easier to get through your fasting window by suppressing hunger.
Maintaining a proper mineral balance is critical when intermittent fasting. Many people tend to deplete the body’s electrolytes, especially sodium when fasting for prolonged periods.
You can also have a better insulin response when you break your fast. And have better blood sugar control allowing you to get the most benefits out of your fast.
I recommend making a fasting drink with apple cider vinegar and other ingredients to replenish your mineral stores and keep hunger pangs away.
- 10-12 oz. of filtered water
- 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar (high in potassium)
- 1/2 tsp of pink Himalayan salt
- Juice of one whole lime or lemon
Mix all the ingredients in a glass and stir until everything is well combined. Use a straw for drinking to prevent the acetic acid from the apple cider vinegar from getting on your teeth and wearing down tooth enamel.
I’d avoid using apple cider vinegar capsules since they contain added ingredients like sugars that can break your fast. It’s best to consume apple cider vinegar from a purer source that contains the mother. Apple juice should be avoided since it contains sugars and will break your fast.
So does apple cider vinegar break a fast?
Add apple cider vinegar to your fast. It can be a valuable tool for promoting weight loss and other health benefits. It can help to curb hunger as well as improve insulin control and gut health too when fasting. Apple cider vinegar contains only a tiny amount of calories that shouldn’t break your fast.
Drinking apple cider vinegar before your first meal can help blunt the blood sugar spike after eating. It’s best to dilute apple cider vinegar in water and drink with a straw since the acid could wear down tooth enamel. So it’s best to start with a small amount before working up to 1-2 tbsp per day.
While pure water fasting is most effective for maximizing autophagy, drinking zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee, unsweetened teas, or apple cider vinegar during intermittent fasting may still provide some benefits if they allow you to extend your fasts longer than usual.
Finally, it’s a good idea to add electrolytes during your fast with apple cider vinegar mixed with water, pink Himalayan salt, and cream of tartar into a fasting drink. You can drink apple cider vinegar daily. It will help replenish mineral stores while suppressing hunger pangs throughout the day so you can get better results.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.