10 commonly asked questions about apple cider vinegar

All you need to know about apple cider vinegar before you go buy yourself a bottle of it


With multitude of uses, apple cider vinegar is a staple in many homes today. Here’s a list of FAQs.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a product of fermented apple juice. It contains an acid called acetic acid that yields its characteristic sourness and smell. It has strong alkalising properties.

How does one use ACV?

ACV is an acid that needs to be diluted with water for safe consumption. Shaking up the bottle before use helps to mix its resting contents (‘mother’). You may also concoct it into beverages and fruit juices. It is easiest to use as a salad dressing. Just mix a tea spoon of ACV with some honey, salt and pepper. You may explore incorporating it in cooking, pickling and baking too. You can also add a spoon of it to the water used for steam during facials and clean-ups. ACV is also a wonderful hair tonic. After you’re done with shampooing and rinsing your hair, give your hair a final rinse with diluted ACV [1:1 with water].

How much ACV can be consumed?

Start with a tablespoon diluted in a glass of water and gradually move to a maximum of two tablespoons of ACV per day.

When is the best time to consume ACV?

ACV taken either on empty stomach or before food helps to cut appetite. Consuming ACV with meals helps to delay carbohydrate digestion and offers satiety [feeling of fullness].

Who can take ACV?

Anyone who is seeking weight loss, is diabetic or wants to control their cholesterol/ lipids can benefit from regular use of ACV.

For how long should I take ACV?

As with any practice, sustain the use of recommended amounts of ACV for a few months to reap its health benefits.

The benefits of ACV

The acid in ACV acts on the food eaten by delaying digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. So, the rice and bread or roti will take longer than usual to be completely digested, thereby slowing the release of sugars, which is especially beneficial for diabetics. This slow release also reduces hunger as it makes one feel full for longer by reducing appetite and thus aids weight loss.

ACV helps to minimise sugar cravings and insulin, thereby helping better blood sugar management.

What research says

There are several claims for using ACV but let’s see what research confirms.

Strong evidence

  • For blood sugar control when carbohydrates are coupled with ACV in diabetics
  • Improvement in insulin resistance

Promising trends

  • ACV has promising existing pre-clinical research to support appetite reduction leading to lesser food consumption which requires evidence from further clinical studies on weight loss
  • Management of dyslipidaemia—cholesterol and triglycerides

Poor evidence

  • Use of ACV pills for acne
  • For sinus problems

Precaution while using ACV

Never consume ACV directly. It is pungent and has an unappealing taste; it  may also corrode your tooth enamel. Practise the good old adage of less is more for in large quantities, ACV may cause nausea and interact with certain medications

Buying tips

Go for unpasteurised raw and unfiltered ACV for its beneficial suspended elements. Look for the type that contains the ‘mother’. The mother is a beneficial part in ACV. ACV may not cure all ailments but it sure is a cue to combine it in several dishes!

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Geetha G H
Geetha is a Bangalore based registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, one of the very few sports nutritionist from International Olympic Committee ( IOC ), with diverse experience of over 15 years in academia, nutritional counselling, lifestyle coaching, clinical nutrition, food safety, corporate workshops and seminars, clinical research, a nutrition columnist for well renowned health magazines and wellness websites, a university first ranker with several gold medals at both under-graduation and post-graduation, passionate about yoga, preventive and performance nutrition.


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