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I tried the viral health hack where you take a shot of apple cider vinegar every day — here's the verdict

INSIDER logoINSIDER 6 days ago ksalaky@businessinsider.com (Kristin Salaky)

a woman smiling for the camera: IMG_2746.JPG © Provided by Business Insider Inc IMG_2746.JPG Apple cider vinegar is touted as a magical elixer that makes life better, but it didn't really do much for me.

I unapologetically love vinegar. My father raised me to believe that french fries should be smothers in malt vinegar, not ketchup. My best friend and I once ate so many salt and vinegar potato chips that it literally burned an indent in her cheek. I have about four different types of vinegar in my cabinet at home. It's an obsession. 

And, given the alleged benefits of apple cider vinegar, I thought it was an obsession that could make me healthier. 

Although I primarily use it to make salad dressings and in my face masks, ingesting apple cider vinegar is supposed to help with suppressing appetite, improving digestion, and issues associated with acid reflux, the last of which I have. 

a close up of a bottle: IMG_2653.JPG © Provided by Business Insider Inc IMG_2653.JPG So I decided to do a shot every day for breakfast for a week. I'd done this once or twice before, so I sort of knew what to expect. But ingesting it religiously, I had been assured, would altar my eating habits, clear my skin, make me invincible to bear attacks, and essentially change my life for the better. 

Video: How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Weight Loss? (courtesy Reader's Digest)

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On day one, I eagerly doled out my shot. 

According to the internet, you are supposed to drink two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in the morning for maximum results. I, not thinking very clearly at 6 a.m., decided to take each spoonful individually rather than measure both into a shot glass. 

This proved to be the wrong move, because I had to let the taste sit for a while before I could take the second spoonful and chase with a glass of cold water. This was absolutely the worst thing I could have done. 

a close up of a woman: IMG_2655.JPG © Provided by Business Insider Inc IMG_2655.JPG If you've never tried it, apple cider vinegar has an interesting taste. Although I can eat pickles and drown salads in red wine vinegar, drinking it solo is a whole other story. It tastes like eating 5,000 savoury Sweet Tarts at once, and the only way to get rid of the taste is to drown it out with something else. 

a close up of a woman wearing glasses: IMG_2674 (1).JPG © Provided by Business Insider Inc IMG_2674 (1).JPG After gagging a bit, I decided to dirty up a shot glass for the rest of the week for the sake of my taste buds. My boyfriend was pretty confused why my cat-themed shot glasses were piling up in the morning, but once he leaned in and smelled the vinegar on my breath, he got the picture. 

In terms of how it made me feel, not a whole lot changed. 

I expected this shot to make me feel gassy and awful because of my acid reflux — and it did, but only on the first day. Aside from that, it only made one major difference. 

I was starving all of the time. 

Now this isn't wholly unusual. I do Weight Watchers, so it's not like I stuff myself on the reg. For some reason, however, I had horrible food cravings during this experiment. I wanted french fries, pita bread, and, for some weird reason, red wine and hot chocolate mixed together. I usually crave healthy foods, but for some reason I just felt the need to pig out.  

a woman taking a selfie: IMG_2733 © Provided by Business Insider Inc IMG_2733 I didn't end up eating these things (well, except some sweet potato fries) but I did find myself reaching for snacks a little bit earlier in the day and more often. This is weird, because I had always heard that apple cider vinegar could be used to suppress your appetite. 

It turns out, that is only true to an extent. Experts told CNN, but probably only because vinegar can make people nauseous and not want to eat very much. Looks like I love vinegar so much that it just made me want to eat more. Whoops!

It didn't end up really helping or hurting my acid reflux. Truth be told, I didn't really notice much of a difference at all when taking these shots, other than a sour taste in the back of my throat for a few hours in the morning. 

This got me thinking about how we think about health. 

Sure, apple cider vinegar has many uses, and there is some tentative proof that it can be healthy for you, but is it really worth taking a shot of it in the morning? For me, no. Unfortunately, it took me a few days after my experiment to come to that conclusion. In fact, I was only going to do this experiment for a week, but I ended up extending to 10 days just to see if maybe I was doing something wrong. 

The thing is, it felt healthy. It felt like I was doing something slightly difficult that would ultimately make me really healthy in the long run. It seemed like a shortcut, like it should work. 

If you're a person who's wanted to get fit or watch what you're eating, you'll know that people love to trick you with small things that will get you "healthy" with as little work as possible. They'll swear that if you just eat all the avocados that you'll have glowing skin. Or that if you just invest in some ridiculous health product, you'll be as fit as a weight lifter

If we're literally just all trying to make ourselves nauseous rather than eating in moderation and moving our bodies as often as we can, is that really health

I am all for small steps that make people feel better, but this one seems like it's not for me. I will continue to love vinegar more than most human beings, but it will strictly be reserved for Italian subs and french fries. 

Gallery: 11 reasons apple cider vinegar weight loss works (courtesy Reader's Digest)


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