lifestyle 

How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help with Intermittent Fasting

August 04, 2020 5 min read

A cup of apple cider vinegar on a white backdrop

At a glance

Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle approach that some people use to lose weight. Rather than a typical diet that restricts what foods or the number of calories you can eat, intermittent fasting describes a pattern of eating and fasting that limits the time you're allowed to eat. But as anyone who's dieted before knows, successful weight loss can be a challenge, so a supplement that could speed up and support your efforts may be beneficial.

There is some evidence that apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss, so if that's your goal, you may want to incorporate it into your fasting regimen.

What is intermittent fasting?

When people hear the term intermittent fasting, they often think of a diet. But intermittent fasting isn't a diet. Instead, the term describes a pattern of fasting and eating. 

It doesn't prescribe the kind of foods you should eat, but maintaining a healthy, balanced diet when you're not fasting will get you the best results if you're looking to shed pounds. Studies have shown that restricting the hours you can eat while maintaining a reasonably healthful diet can be as effective for losing weight as limiting your daily calories. 

Some people prefer intermittent fasting to approaches like counting calories and measuring food, which can be tedious and time-consuming. There are various approaches to intermittent fasting. A few of the more popular are:

  • Time-restricted fasting. This form of fasting limits eating to certain time windows—usually within 8 or 10 hours—fasting the rest of the time. For example, you'll have nothing to eat before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This fasting type is similar to typical eating patterns and an excellent method to try if you're new to fasting.
  • The 5:2 method. This version of intermittent fasting means you significantly restrict your calories to about 25% of your daily needs two days a week—roughly 500 calories for women and 600 for men. On the other five days, you eat a normal, healthy diet.
  • Alternate-day fasting. You can achieve this fasting method by alternating a healthy diet one day with either a complete fast or a modified fast every other day, restricting your calories to about 25% of your daily caloric needs on fasting days.

Whether you choose one of these methods or a variation, this pattern of eating means you'll go for long stretches of time without consuming calories. The result of this restriction is that your body burns through any stored energy from the food you've eaten, called glycogen.

Once the glycogen stores are gone, your body switches over to using your body fat for fuel. That's where the magic happens. Except it's not magic. This shift in energy sources means you've entered a state called ketosis, where your body is burning fat-derived ketones for energy. 

Ketones are the primary source of energy used by your brain, and many people report feeling a heightened state of mental clarity when they're fasting. This is also what makes fasting effective for weight loss and why it's gained much interest from people who want to lose weight.

Fruits and vegetables in a circle

Strategies for success during fasting

Although much of the time you are fasting is when you're sleeping, the transition can be challenging until your body is used to it. Just as with any diet, you might experience hunger pangs, low energy, and moodiness. It's good to have a strategy to deal with these potential stumbling blocks if they come up.

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a known cause of hunger, so when hunger pangs strike, a first-line strategy should be to reach for a glass of water. Although other fluids are also filling, many, such as juices and sports drinks, contain unwanted calories.
  • Eat foods with lots of fiber. When you're not fasting, make sure the foods you eat have plenty of fiber from things like whole fruits and vegetables, beans, whole-grain bread, and pasta. These foods will keep you full longer and provide essential nutrients that are even more important when eating a restricted diet.
  • Get plenty of rest. A lack of sleep can quickly sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It's well-known that people who are sleep-deprived make poor choices around food.
  • Modify your exercise routineIf you have a regular exercise practice, you may aim for shorter or less strenuous training on fasting days because you're likely to have less energy. That's normal and may improve over time.
  • Consider a natural, high-quality supplement to maximize your weight-loss efforts and help minimize the potential side effects of fasting. Supplements with fat-burning ingredients like apple cider vinegarcapsaicin, and ginger root can support weight loss by improving your body's fat-burning ability, manage hunger by helping regulate blood sugar levels, and serve as a powerful detoxifier.*

Can apple cider vinegar help with intermittent fasting?

Apple cider vinegar has been a folk remedy for centuries, but it has recently enjoyed renewed attention as a weight loss aid. Many articles and websites are extolling the virtues of fermented apple juice. 

Some insist that the best is the kind that contains the "mother"—the cloudy sediment you see in some types of unfiltered apple cider vinegar. And while the effects of apple cider vinegar have been widely studied in animals, human research has been less robust, primarily just small-scale studies. Although more research is needed, some results show promise that apple cider vinegar can aid in modest weight loss.

Other studies show that apple cider vinegar can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. One study found that consuming two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a meal containing complex carbohydrates reduced the circulating blood sugar in study subjects immediately following the meal. 

Another small study by the American Diabetes Association showed that apple cider vinegar improved insulin sensitivity and may be beneficial for those with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.*

There are many kinds of vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is arguably one of the most common. The effective ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. While it has benefits, drinking apple cider vinegar can irritate the esophagus, and some people complain of an upset stomach. 

If you frequently suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, apple cider vinegar can aggravate those conditions. Because vinegar is so acidic, drinking it can also erode your tooth enamel, and if you have kidney disease, the extra acid may worsen your condition.

Apple cider vinegar on a table surrounded by apples

A better alternative

The good news is you can get all of the benefits of apple cider vinegar in a high-quality supplement while eliminating the drawbacks of consuming liquid apple cider vinegar. Plus, taking a supplement won't break your fast. 

When taken just before eating, Physician's Choice apple cider vinegar capsules can help maintain your blood sugar after the meal and have the added benefits of capsaicin, shown to have thermogenic (or fat-burning) properties. Capsaicin is the component in red peppers that makes them hot. The addition of ginger root provides further thermogenic effects, in addition to anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.

In summary

Weight loss isn't easy. If it were, there wouldn't be an obesity epidemic in the United States. Intermittent fasting is an approach to weight loss that can be as effective as calorie restriction (dieting) for weight loss, as long as you're eating a balanced diet when you're not fasting. Some people prefer this approach for its relative simplicity because there's no counting and measuring associated with so many other diets.

If weight loss is your goal and intermittent fasting sounds like an approach that may work for you, be sure to talk to your doctor or dietitian before you start to make sure you're a good candidate and to set yourself up for success. For pregnant or nursing mothers, people with eating problems, or those who have an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or kidney stones, it's best to avoid fasting. 

If you do decide to try fasting, don't be afraid to allow for some trial and error. Everybody responds differently to intermittent fasting, and a bit of trial and error may be required before you find the timing and pattern that works best for you.

Laura High - Contributing Writer, Physician's Choice


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