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 its highly acidic, over time, ACV has the potential to do real damage to both the esophagus and tooth enamel. Instead, dilute ACV into 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 recently told the Washington Post that ACV lowers blood sugar levels in the body by blocking some starch digestion whenever you eat. Since less starch (and less calories, essentially) are being digested, there isn't as huge of a blood-sugar spike in the body. Adding to this benefit is that the good-for-you bacteria in your gut feeds off of this undigested starch, which can lead to less bloating and a happier digestive system overall.
Johnston recommends drinking an ACV drink once or twice a day and always before a meal. No food in the belly means there won't be anything for the ACV to work off of when you drink it, which probably defeats your whole point of drinking vinegar in the first place.