Drink apple cider vinegar in every meal

With regards to consumable cures, apple juice vinegar (ACV) has a religion like after. Message sheets and flawed “master” articles flourish with cases that this kitchen staple produced using matured squeezed apple is stuffed with fiber and supplements and can cure pretty much anything, from sugar yearnings to indigestion to diabetes to tumor to obstruction.

Sounds great, right? The bad news: Many of these apple cider vinegar claims are totally unfounded. Turns out, good old ACV contains little to no fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s not been proven as a cure-all for most conditions.

But there are several claims for apple cider vinegar that studies do back up. First, it can help you absorb more nutrients from food, but that’s true whether you slug apple cider vinegar straight or add it to raw concoctions like salad dressings. Second, it can reduce blood sugar spikes after you eat, which, in turn, can help limit cravings and the likelihood you’ll develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, one study found that consuming apple cider vinegar before meals reduced the blood glucose levels of patients with prediabetes by nearly half.

Pretty cool, no doubt. But being a skeptic, I wanted to see for myself whether swigging a tablespoon of vinegar before meals would really banish my cravings and help me eat less. So I grabbed a bottle of Bragg’s and here’s what happened:

1. Downing apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach can make you queasy. Maybe I drank it too fast, but after each glass of ACV-infused water, I felt like I’d just eaten something bad. Nothing crazy happened, but I had this uneasy sensation in my stomach, I burped a lot, and I felt like anything else I put down the hatch might end up coming right back up. So, yes, vinegar curbed my desire to eat, but not in a pleasant way.

2. Taking ACV after a meal works much better. The whole pre-meal thing didn’t work for me. After all, what was the point of feeling semi-nauseous and not wanting to eat before a healthy meal that you’d planned on eating? A better option, I found, was drinking it when I’d already eaten a meal but was still feeling hungry for more. Because I already had a base of food in my stomach, I avoided that queasy feeling, but the apple cider vinegar definitely helped reduce my desire to polish off leftover Christmas cookies.

3. ACV can help get things moving. This was unexpected (and I’ll spare you details), but there was a definite correlation between apple cider vinegar consumption and, well, let’s call it decreased transit time. I could definitely see the appeal of using this as a gentle, natural laxative when things are backed up. Who knew?

4. You’ll burn your esophagus unless you learn to drink apple cider vinegar the right way. Don’t take this stuff straight—it burns like fire (worse than vodka and with no pleasant buzz). Your best bet: Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 8 oz of water, and then drink it with a straw to minimize contact with your taste buds. I found this method tolerable, although the taste was still slightly reminiscent of feet after a sweaty summer workout session.

Bottom line: While this experiment was enlightening and it did help curb cravings, I’m not making the apple cider vinegar-water blend part of my daily routine. Instead, I’ll be more likely to use it periodically to quell a Krispy Kreme craving or if I’m constipated. And I’m definitely all about using it in healthy homemade dressings to get more nutrients out of all my salad veggies.