Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a pungent, acidic, and slightly fruity vinegar made from apple juice.

It’s widely used in cooking but has also earned a reputation as a home remedy for a variety of ailments. Many people also use ACV for weight loss, as some research suggests that vinegar may help reduce your appetite and regulate your blood sugar levels (1).

If you’re following the low carb, high fat keto diet, you may be particularly interested in ACV as a supplement or ingredient in your cooking.

Still, you may want to know whether it’s suitable for keto.

This article reviews ACV’s carb content to determine whether it’s keto-friendly.

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Photography by Aya Brackett

Just 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of apple cider vinegar provides (2):

  • Calories: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 1 gram

Apple cider vinegar may also contain trace amounts of fiber from the apple juice that it’s made from, though not enough to have any effect on your body — especially since ACV should only be consumed in small amounts.

As such, ACV has just 1 gram of total and net carbs.

Keep in mind that net carbs are calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total carbs.

What about major brands?

Most major brands of ACV, including Bragg’s and Heinz, list 0 grams of total and net carbs on their food labels (3, 4, 5).

Therefore, it’s important to look at the nutrient label of any product you intend to buy, as some brands may have fewer carbs than others.

Summary

ACV provides 1 gram of net and total carbs in a 1-tablespoon (15-mL) serving. It has no fat, calories, or protein.

At just 1 gram of carbs per 1-tablespoon (15-mL) serving, ACV is definitely doable on keto as a light garnish or occasional dressing.

However, many people on keto limit their daily carb intake to 50 grams of total carbs or 25 grams of net carbs. Thus, ACV not be the best way to spend your carb allotment since it provides negligible calories (6).

What’s more, some other vinegars — including white vinegar and rice vinegar — are completely carb-free and may be a better fit. They won’t add extra carbs to marinades, salad dressings, or any other recipes that call for vinegar (7, 8).

Remember to check the nutrient label on your ACV to confirm its carb count.

ACV for weight loss

If you are using ACV to boost weight loss on keto due to its potential to suppress appetite, you may also want to consider supplementing with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Studies suggest that it may help you stay full and eat less (9).

MCT oil is carb-free but packs 120 calories per tablespoon (15 mL) since it’s 100% fat (10).

What about ACV supplements?

Additionally, it’s safe to take ACV as a supplement on the keto diet. You’ll just need to mind how these supplements fit into your carb allotment.

Summary

ACV contains minimal carbs, making it keto-friendly. Nonetheless, white vinegar and rice vinegar are carb-free alternatives that may be even better.

ACV and other vinegars are extremely acidic. Supplemental doses have caused severe cases of tooth erosion and esophagus damage (11, 12).

As such, it’s important to limit your ACV intake and dilute it well.

ACV doses greater than 2 tablespoons (30 mL) daily haven’t been widely studied, so it’s best to stick to this amount or less per day.

When you take it as a supplement, make sure that each tablespoon (15 mL) is diluted in at least 1 cup (240 ml) of water so that it’s not as powerfully acidic (1).

Additionally, you may want to drink your diluted ACV with a straw to keep it from coming into direct contact with your teeth.

Note that ACV mixed into salad dressings or used in cooking doesn’t harm your teeth.

Summary

ACV is very acidic and may corrode your teeth if not properly diluted. Be sure to limit your intake to 2 tablespoons (30 mL) or less per day, and dilute it in water.

ACV is a flavorful vinegar for salad dressings and marinades. At just 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon (15 mL), it’s perfectly keto-friendly.

Still, white vinegar and rice vinegar work just as well in the kitchen and are carb-free. Thus, you may want to consider other vinegars instead.

Nonetheless, ACV’s carb count may vary by brand, so be sure to read the nutrient label.

If you take ACV as a supplement, be sure to limit your intake and dilute it to prevent damage to your teeth and digestive tract.