Should I take apple cider vinegar gummies for health?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV for short) gummies are one of the latest ‘health’ trends taking the wellness community by storm. 

It is essentially the apple cider vinegar shot trend, repacked into a more fun (and more appetising) vessel – the gummy. 

With claims that you can heal your gut, detox your body and drop weight faster (just to name a few) all by simply taking a few gummies each day, it is no wonder why this trend has caught fire so quickly. 

But is there actually any validity to the plethora of proposed benefits? 

Luckily, we are here to unpack the fact and fiction when it comes to ACV gummies and your health. 



What is apple cider vinegar (ACV)? 

Before we get into unpacking the evidence (or lack of) behind ACV gummies, we should probably first address what ACV is. 

ACV is essentially a vinegar made from crushed apples which then undergoes a fermentation process by being mixed with bacteria and yeast (similar to making beer). 

In this process, the sugars in the apples are converted first into ethanol, then into a product called acetic acid. This acetic acid is what gives ACV its acidic taste and pungent smell. The acetic acid content of ACV is also where many of the proposed health benefits come from. 

This end product is a versatile vinegar that has a myriad of uses including:

  • Baking to enhance texture in cakes (especially in egg-free recipes)
  • Cooking – e.g. salad dressings, marinades, sauces and soups
  • Homemade skin and hair treatments
  • Household cleaning products


More recently, ACV has become popular to drink straight or with lemon juice and/or other spices in a ‘health tonic’. 

Note: ACV is not to be confused with apple cider. Apple cider does not undergo the same fermentation process and therefore does not have the same ‘superfood’ claims. 



apple cider vinegar and health



What are ACV gummies? 

If you have ever tried taking a shot of ACV, you would have likely discovered that it isn’t the most pleasant thing to drink. To make this wellness trend a bit more appetising, the ACV gummy was created. 

ACV gummies typically pack a concentrated form of ACV in with some sugar, thickeners/gelling agents, and sometimes some extra nutrients or ‘superfoods’ to create a product similar to a gummy vitamin. 



What are the proposed benefits of ACV gummies? 

The list of health claims attributed to taking ACV gummies is endless but some of the most common ones that pop up are weight loss, detoxifying and cleansing the body, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and improving blood sugar control. 

However, there is currently no research on the benefits of ACV gummies specifically. Instead, it is best to look at the research done on apple cider vinegar itself. 



Benefits of apple cider vinegar

Over the years, ACV has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, including, but not limited to: 

  • Providing a quick fix to your weight loss struggles
  • Improving digestion
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Promoting heart health


But, do any of these claims actually have any scientific backing? Read on to find out what the sience actually says about these claims! 


Weight Loss 

The claim that ACV is the cure to your weight loss struggles stems from just one main study by Japanese researchers in 2009 (1). The study split 155 participants into three groups who drank either one or two tablespoons of ACV, or a placebo each day for twelve weeks. 

At the end of the study, those in the ACV groups lost on average 2 to 4 pounds. To put this into context, that’s only a 1 to 2kg weight loss over about 3 months. It is also important to mention that when followed up 4 

weeks later, most participants had already started regaining the weight they lost. 

Although this is an area that has been researched for quite a number of years, there has yet to be any other substantial evidence to back up the claim that ACV helps you lose weight. 

So, as with most weight loss ‘quick fixes’, ACV in unlikely the answer to neither substantial nor sustainable weight loss. 

Ultimately, weight loss comes down to your entire diet and lifestyle behaviours and adding some extra apple cider vinegar each day is not going to outweigh this. 

Any weight loss associated with ACV is most likely going to come down to more of a psychological shift whereby if taking a daily ACV shot or gummy makes you feel like you are doing something beneficial for your health, it may make you more likely to continue making more nutritious choices throughout the rest of the day. 


Bloating, digestion and gut health 

Whilst it would be great if we could tell you the taking some ACV in the morning is the missing link to improve your digestion and reduce/eliminate uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating, wind or abdominal pain, sadly it is unlikely going to be of significant benefit. 

The main mechanism fuelling the gut health claims is due to a component in ACV called the “mother”. This is essentially a cloud of bacteria contained

in the vinegar (you often see it settle at the bottom of the bottle) which is created during the fermentation process we discussed earlier on. 

The “mother” is a probiotic meaning it is a source of ‘good’ bacteria which helps promote good gut health by adding to the beneficial bacteria in our gut. 

As with a lot of the research into the benefits of ACV, studies into ACV and gut health are few and far and there is yet to even be enough strong evidence to support ACV as a source of probiotics. 

Bottom line is, there is no one food or drink which is the magic solution to good gut health nor is there a one size fits all approach when it comes to managing uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas and abdominal pain. 

Plus, if you’re looking to increase the probiotics in your diet, there are so many other options such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and yoghurt which have much stronger evidence supporting their benefits as a probiotic. 

Our best advice to tackle digestion and gut issues – book in for a consult with an experienced gut health dietitian such as one at The PNW Clinic for individualised advice. 



online dietitian

Cholesterol and heart health 

There have been some animal studies which suggest that ACV promotes the breakdown of fats such as LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol and triglycerides which are the type of fats that can build up in our arteries and increase risk of heart disease (2). 

However, animal studies, no matter how well designed, do not necessarily translate to humans. This is because we simply aren’t the same and in the case of fat metabolism and ACV – animals have different metabolisms to us. 

In terms of human studies to back these claims, the pool is very limited. There are two studies of note which found participants experience significant reductions in their cholesterol levels after taking ACV daily. However, the studies were very small with less than fifty people each (3, 4). 

So, whilst there may be a small amount of benefit for regulating cholesterol levels, there definitely needs to be more research into this area before any strong claims can be made. 

Plus, adding in daily ACV is unlikely going to be the most beneficial thing you can focus on when it comes to heart health. 


Detoxing the body 

This is a pretty easy one to debunk. No food, drink or supplement is going to ‘detox’ the body. 

But, luckily for us, the body already has inbuilt detoxification systems doing the job for us! Our liver, kidneys and lungs already do a great job at removing any toxins and other harmful substances in the bodies. 


Blood sugar levels and diabetes control 

Regulating blood sugar levels is one area which apple cider vinegar seems to have some promising merit. 

The proposed mechanism is down to a component contained in ACV called acetic acid. 

Essentially, acetic acid delays gastric emptying after a meal. This refers to how fast your stomach releases food into your intestines during digestion. So, slower gastric emptying means a slower release of sugar from digested carbohydrate-rich foods into the blood steam. 

This results in less of a spike in blood sugar post meals and makes it easier for the body to maintain stable blood sugar levels. 

This may be especially beneficial with those with insulin resistance such as in Type 2 Diabetes and PCOS. 

Whilst research is still limited, there are a few studies that support this claim.

For example, one study which compared participants’ blood sugar response to a meal of a bagel and orange juice both with and without ACV, found that taking ACV with the meal led to a more favourable blood sugar response (5). 

However, taking a morning shot or gummy is unlikely to be the best way to reap the proposed blood sugar balancing benefits of ACV. This is because the ACV needs to be taken with or near the meal for these benefits to occur. 

Adding some ACV to your carbohydrate-rich meals is likely going to be a much better approach. For example, adding it into a sauce/marinade in a sandwich/wrap into a dressing for a pasta/potato salad or side salad alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal main meal. 



Are there any downsides of taking ACV gummies?

Now that we’ve covered the potential benefits, are there any risks associated with taking ACV gummies? 

In general, there are no huge risks but there are a few downsides which are worthwhile considering.



As with a lot of ‘wellness’ supplements, ACV gummies can come with a pretty expensive price tag. Especially as many require 

you to take multiple each day. 

Considering that the science backing up their effectiveness is pretty poor, it’s probably well worth your time to weigh up if adding in ACV gummies are going to be a waste of money for you. Especially considering there are a lot more evidence-backed strategies that can help with all the aforementioned health conditions. 



Most supplements aren’t strongly regulated by our food safety governing bodies for safety or quality. This means there is potential they may contain some not-so-great things such as traces of heavy metals as well as inaccurate dosages of ACV and acetic acid.

Plus, their efficacy and ability to live up to the strong health claims on the bottle are also poorly regulated so there’s a good chance they likely aren’t going to live up to expectations. 


Sugar content

As with most gummies, to make them actual taste good, most will contain some sugar. One company in particular recommends taking 6 gummies per day, each with 1g of sugar. This ends up totalling an extra 6g of sugar each day. 

Although this isn’t overly significant in the context of the rest of your diet, if you’re using them primarily to help balance your blood sugars, it is a bit counter intuitive and could potentially negate any proposed benefits. 


Tooth enamel

This is more of an issue for those taking straight shots of ACV rather than the gummy form, but still worth mentioning. 

ACV is quite acidic which means that it has the potential to cause tooth decay, sensitivity and cavities (6). This especially important if you are taking it undiluted and daily. 



The bottom line 

So, the final verdict – should you take apple cider vinegar for health?



vegan nutrition



In short, no. 

Whilst there may be some small benefits, it definitely isn’t the answer to solving any of your health concerns or the magic key to kick-starting your weight loss goals. 

However, if you would like to give them a try, there definitely isn’t a whole lot of risk associated other than the financial cost. 

Our advice – if you want to trial ACV we recommend skipping the gummies and instead try incorporating one to two tablespoons of straight apple cider vinegar each day by adding it into marinades or dressings.

Or, if you prefer to take it straight, make sure to dilute it with water to protect your teeth and throat. 

What’s our best advice if you are struggling with uncomfortable gut symptoms or any of the other aforementioned health concerns? We recommend booking a free discovery call with one of our online dietitians at The PNW Clinic for individualised and evidence-backed advice! 


Article written by PNW dietitian Georgia D’Andrea

How To Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhoea

You may have heard of the infamous “Bali/Dehli belly” or “Nile runs” from friends after their overseas travels, or have even experienced some gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort yourself when travelling. 

These terms are nicknames for “traveller’s diarrhoea” (TD) – a condition you may experience whilst traveling which is characterised by where loose bowel movements (diarrhoea) and/or some of the other below symptoms (1, 2):

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps, bloating and/ or pain
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool (faeces/poo)
  • Urgent and frequent need to use the bathroom


Cases of traveller’s diarrhoea can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the symptoms that occur. 

Usually, the condition is mild and will last around 3 days. Only about 10% of people who experience TD will have symptoms for more than 1 week (1, 3). 

TD is uncomfortable and can ruin a much-anticipated holiday. Luckily, it is preventable with good preparation including advice from the online dietitians at PNW Clinic. 



What causes traveller’s diarrhoea?

Similarly to food poisoning, TD can be caused by eating or drinking something contaminated with bacteria. Escherichia coli (or E. coli) is a pretty common one you may have heard of. This is the most common way to contract TD (3,4).  

Other causes include parasites from food, animals, or viruses (2, 5, 6).

The condition occurs when travelling to places with bacteria that the traveller may not have come across before and risk is increased with poor hygiene/sanitation. If an unfamiliar bacteria is ingested, the traveller may be at higher risk of experiencing TD than someone whose body has been exposed to that particular bacteria before (1). 

This explains why many travellers from developed countries experience TD when visiting developing countries with poorer hygiene and sanitation practices than their home country. This is because more (and unfamiliar) bacteria is present and contamination of food and water is common (7). 

TD is most common for Western travellers when visiting Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America (8). 





High risk foods 

Eating some foods in particular can put a traveller at higher risk of experiencing TD. These foods include (9,10): 

  • Fresh, raw fruit and vegetables (especially peeled)
  • Raw or undercooked meat and seafood
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Raw/unpasteurised milk and milk products
  • Foods serves buffet-style or ‘charcuterie’ style
  • Room temperature foods, including sauces that sit on a table (like mayonnaise)
  • Foods from market stalls or street vendors that are sold out in the open – Fruit juice


These foods are all at higher risk of being contaminated with bacteria like E. coli1. An online dietitian from the PNW clinic can help a traveller prevent this condition by making suggestions on ‘safe’ foods that will be available wherever the traveller is going. 

Recommendations of foods considered safe may include cooked food, bottled water, sealed or packaged foods such as canned goods and fruit that requires peeling (1, 8). 



What about water?

Drinking contaminated water is another common cause of TD. 

The PNW dietitians recommend the following to avoid contaminated water (2):

  • Avoid tap water if not sure of its safety
  • Boil tap water for at least 5 minutes before use, if using (this includes using tap water to wash fruit and vegetables, or rinse a toothbrush)
  • Buy bottled water
  • Drink carbonated bottled water if possible
  • Avoid ice or drinks containing ice



Can you prevent traveller’s diarrhoea?

As well as avoiding high-risk contaminated foods and drinks, there are some immunisations, antibiotic and non-antibiotic treatments that can help prevent TD (1, 11). 

While the online dietitians at PNW Clinic can help you plan ahead to avoid eating or drinking something that is contaminated, it is best to ask your GP about the other preventative methods mentioned.

Hygiene and sanitation are also especially important in preventing TD. Washing hands with soap often, or using alcohol-based sanitiser, can prevent bacteria contaminating foods and drinks (8). 




Treatment of TD can be similar to other types of diarrhoea, with a goal of reducing symptoms and preventing dehydration. 

Recommended treatment includes (2,11):

  • Staying hydrated with safe water (bottled, or boiled if bottled is unavailable)
  • Electrolyte or rehydration supplements e.g. Hydralyte
  • Salty foods
  • Anti-nausea medication and/or antibiotics (remember to consult with a health care professional if starting antibiotics)
  • Eating small, plain meals more regularly rather than three big meals – Avoiding dairy products, ‘unsafe’ foods, alcohol and spicy foods



bloating and nutrition for ibd on a plant-based diet




Traveller’s diarrhoea is a common condition for travellers when visiting places with poor sanitation and hygiene. 

It is a preventable condition, primarily through good personal hygiene and avoidance of high risk foods and beverages. 

If TD is experienced, it usually does not last more than 3-4 days and there are many treatments available to reduce symptoms and prevent dehydration.

Antibiotics may be required for more severe cases of TD, but it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before accessing any prescription medication. 

If you want more advice on how to your minimise risk of developing TD, you can book an appointment with one of our online dietitians at the PNW clinic! 



Article written by student dietitian Lilee Lunney

Reviewed by PNW dietitian Jade Wrigley

A Beginners Guide To Healthy Eating | The PNW Clinic

Healthy eating is important for optimising overall health and well-being, and reducing the risk of developing chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Learning to eat healthy can be overwhelming. With conflicting information being presented across the media, online, between health professionals and wellness influences, it can be difficult to know what to trust. 

The good news is that healthy eating does not need to be complicated. In this article, we will break down the important principles of healthy eating. 


Eat regularly

Before looking at specifics around food, it’s important to first build healthy eating patterns. 

Regular eating describes eating 3 main meals a day, with 2-3 snacks in between. Ideally, it is best to leave no longer than 3 hours between meals and snacks.

A regular eating pattern is important for a variety of reasons, including (1):

  • Stabilising appetite and minimising over-eating during mealtime 
  • Optimising energy levels
  • Supporting digestive health
  • Stabilising blood sugar levels
  • Increasing hunger and fullness signals


online dietitian to healthy eating


Balanced plate model

Once you have built the foundation of regular eating, you can begin to focus on what foods to include at each meal. 

The balanced plate model is designed to include the important nutrients your body needs to function. It is broken down into 4 main sections:



Protein is an important nutrient for building and repairing cells, muscle tissue, hormones and enzymes. 

It is best to include lean sources of protein. This means that the protein source is lower in saturated fat. 

Lean protein foods include:

  • Lean meat such as beef, pork and lamb
  • Poultry such as chicken and turkey without the skin
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Fish
  • Seafood


Low-GI Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates supply our body and brain with energy. 

The glycaemic index (GI) describes how a certain amount of food will affect blood sugar levels. Low-GI carbohydates promote a slower release of sugar into the blood. Low-GI carbohydrates help maintain healthy blood sugar levels (2)

Low-GI carbohydrates include:

  • Wholegrain bread, pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Corn


Low starch vegetables and fruit

Vegetables and fruit provide fibre and many important vitamins and minerals. Include a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables to make sure you are getting a diverse amount of nutrients. 


Healthy fats

Healthy fats supply our bodies with energy and support healthy cells.

Healthy fats include:

  • Fatty fish
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado


Understanding portions using the healthy plate model

A healthy, nutritionally balanced meal contains protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and/or fruit, and healthy fats. 

The next component to building a healthy meal is understanding what portions to consider for each of these food groups. This will help make sure you are meeting your nutrient requirements, optimise your energy levels and promote digestive health. 

When building a balanced meal, you want to aim for:

  • ¼ plate lean protein
  • ½ plate low-GI carbohydrates
  • ½ non-starchy vegetables and/or fruit


online dietitian guide to healthy portions using the plate model


Eat more fruits and vegetables

Approximately 95% of Australians do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (3). It is recommended to eat at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day.

If you struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables, here are some tips to add more into your diet:

  • Grate vegetables into sauces
  • Snack on veggie sticks and cherry tomatoes
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Experiment with side salads
  • Double the amount of veges in stirfrys 


Choose whole grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are important for good health as they promote digestive health, help control cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of developing chronic disease (4).

Here are some tips to include more whole grains in your diet:

  • Swap white bread and pasta for whole grain varieties
  • Swap white rice for brown rice
  • Snack on popcorn
  • Mix it up and new recipes that use grains you may not typically use, such as barley or quinoa



Plan your meals

Now you know what foods to include in your meals, it’s time to plan!

Planning your meals can help minimise the time you spend in the kitchen, reduce food waste, and relieve the stress of cooking last minute. 

If you have never meal planned before, here are some quick tips to get you started:

  1. Pick out a meal planning template. For most people, a simple 7-day meal planner works well.
  2. Plan out your week. Consider your working schedule, social events or other weekly activities you may have on. This will help you plan more realistically.
  3. Gather some recipes and meal ideas. Time to pull out some of your favourite recipe books!
  4. Add some healthy snacks. 
  5. Fill in your meal planning template with meals, then you’re all set!


Choose foods that will align with your preferences, culture and budget

The best healthy diet is one that you can sustain for life. This means that it needs to align with your preferences, culture and budget. 

Healthy eating may look very different for different people. By using the healthy plate model and above tips, you can include foods that you enjoy and are realistic for you.


Enjoy fun foods in moderation

Fun foods are foods that are not necessary for health from a nutritional perspective. Instead, these foods are important for bringing enjoyment and variety into the diet.

Examples of fun foods include baked goods, sugar-sweetened drinks, alcohol, and take-away foods. 

The amount of fun foods to include in your diet can vary from person to person. For example, if you are a highly active person, you may choose to include more of these foods to help you meet your energy requirements. 

For most people, up to 2 servings a day of fun people works well. One serve is equal to approximately 600kJ (5)


Healthy eating is important for general health and well-being, as well as reducing risk of developing chronic disease.

While getting started may feel overwhelming, it does not need to be complicated!

Healthy eating will look different for everyone. However, building a regular eating routine, eating a variety of foods across food groups and understanding portions are some skills to get started with healthy eating. 

If you want to learn more about how to get started with healthy eating, working 1:1 with a dietitian or nutritionist in Australia can give you the support and guidance you need. To find out more or see if we are a good fit for you, you can book a free 15-minute discovery call. 


Article written by: PNW Clinic Dietitian Jade Wrigley