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The 5 Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands for 2020

Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands

Apple cider vinegar is a common tool for weight loss and for health.

It isn’t the amazing tonic that some people claim and it won’t revitalize you overnight. But, there are genuine benefits to drinking apple cider vinegar regularly.

If you plan on doing so, you need the best apple cider vinegar brands. Low-quality products often do more harm than good and can contain ingredients that put you at risk.

This post highlights the top products on the market, along with why you should use apple cider vinegar and the best ways to do so.

In a Hurry? Skip Straight to the Brands!

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar and gala apples on a table

Apple cider vinegar is made by the fermentation of the sugars from apples. This creates acetic acid, which is the key component of vinegar. The site Healthline offers more details about how the vinegar is made.

This makes apple cider vinegar simply a type of vinegar. Some of the benefits may be seen with other types of vinegar too.

However, apple cider vinegar does contain good bacteria, protein and enzymes. These components are extremely relevant for your health.

Best Apple Cider Brand - Editor's Choice

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

The Health Benefits

Apple cider vinegar and apples

Research into apple cider vinegar is limited. Most of the evidence we have is anecdotal. Even so, benefits have been shown in research. Some of the outcomes apply to apple cider vinegar specifically – although most are for any type of vinegar.

  • Lowers Blood Sugar Levels. This outcome has been shown in many human studies  (1,2,3,4) and is very relevant for diabetics. Vinegar can also improve insulin sensitivity for people with diabetes (5,6)
  • Delays Gastric Emptying (7). This effect may help people to feel full and may play an indirect role in weight loss
  • Promotes a Sense of Fullness. One study found that this satiety effect contributed to lower calorie intake (8).
  • Weight Loss. Apple cider vinegar may promote weight loss through multiple mechanisms, including increased satiety and lower blood sugar (9). However, few studies have shown any direct impact of apple cider vinegar on weight loss. Those that have were typically short-term with a substandard design (10).
  • May Lower Heart Disease Risk. Apple cider vinegar could reduce heart disease risk in multiple ways. The vinegar can help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (11,12), may protect against LDL oxidation (13,14), and decrease blood pressure levels (15,16). These are all risk factors for heart disease. But, the evidence is from animal studies. We don’t know whether the effects occur in humans. One observation study supports the idea but it focused on oil-based salad dressings and not vinegar specifically (17).

None of these benefits are life-changing but they are still beneficial. It’s easy to see how apple cider vinegar could help – especially when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

You can also use apple cider vinegar externally, such as for treating nail fungus. That topic is beyond the scope of this post but Wellness Mama talks about some of these techniques.

Choosing Good Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar with the mother

So, how do you spot good apple cider vinegar?

1. Look for The Mother

Apple cider vinegar comes in two forms, filtered and unfiltered. The unfiltered version contains a mass of enzymes and other compounds, known as ‘the mother’.

When this is present, the vinegar tends to be cloudy and may look less appealing. But, the mother contributes to many of the benefits that you’re looking for.

This type of vinegar is also unpasteurized, as pasteurization kills most of the healthy bacteria.

There are no studies proving that the mother offers extra benefits – so you can choose filtered apple cider vinegar if you want to. But, the nature of the mother should make unfiltered apple cider vinegar a better choice.

2. Focus on Raw and Organic Products

On average, anything raw and organic has been through minimal processing and tends to be better for you. The approaches reduce your exposure to chemicals, ensuring you get the most possible benefits.

3. Pay Attention to Brands and Pricing

Prices don’t tell you everything, nor do brands. Even so, it’s important to focus on established brands that are consistent with their labeling and promotion.

Try to avoid any new companies – as they may just be cashing in on the apple cider vinegar craze.

Be careful of bottles that are dramatically underpriced as well. Low pricing doesn’t mean a product is bad, but it is still a key indication. The exception is if you are a buying in bulk, as this will naturally decrease the cost.

4. Look for Tested Brands

Some companies go through independent testing to establish quality. Consumer Lab offers this type of testing, as do some other programs. This is important – as apple cider vinegar is not tested regularly at the state or federal level.

Even though there are no official standards for apple cider vinegar, testing can look at acetic acid levels to provide an indication of quality.

That aside, reliable companies are often more willing to have their products tested. This makes testing an indication of their focus on quality and transparency.

Buying Apple Cider Vinegar

Thankfully, there are plenty of places where you can buy apple cider vinegar. A common choice would be local grocery stores. These will typically stock some of the most well-known brands, including Bragg. 

You can also shop online on sites like Amazon. This gives you access to a wider selection and provides more convenience. You also have the ability to easily compare brands and customer reviews, something that is more difficult in a physical store. 

Best Apple Cider Brands

The following brands are the best examples of apple cider vinegar currently on the market. Many have passed independent testing and all are high-quality. They are all diluted to 5% acidity, as is the case for most apple cider vinegar brands.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Cost: Roughly $0.15 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Independent testing found 5.6% acetic acid
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

By far, this is the most popular brand for apple cider vinegar and it is incredibly easy to find. Reviews are consistently positive, with customers finding that it has a light flavor.

The one limitation is the price. Bragg is one of the more expensive options for apple cider vinegar. You’re mostly paying for the quality but you are also paying for the brand, to some degree.

Viva Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Cost: Roughly $0.15 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Independent testing found 6.0% acetic acid
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

The product doesn’t share the same popularity as Bragg but Viva Naturals is a well-known and reliable brand.

There is a glass and a plastic version. Glass is always the best choice for vinegar, so it’s worth choosing that one.  

Dynamic Health

  • Cost: Roughly $0.08 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Not tested independently
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

There are smaller bottles for this brand as well. But, this version is perfect if you plan to stock up on apple cider vinegar.

The product isn’t as popular or well-known as Bragg or Viva, although it still receives positive reviews. It does contain the mother, is raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized, making it a powerful choice.

White House Foods

  • Cost: Unclear
  • Acetic Acid: Independent testing found 5.4% acetic acid
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

This is a less common brand and can be more difficult to purchase as well. The Amazon listing for the main product is often out of stock. However, there is an interesting travel-sized version that offers the same benefits and is easy to take with you.

Unfortunately, the smaller bottles are plastic, not glass. The style could still work well in some situations – and you mightn’t want glass bottles if you’re traveling.

There is also a filtered alternative from the same company, although that one isn’t organic.

Kevala

  • Cost: Roughly $0.11 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Not tested independently
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

This is another option with multiple sizes available. It’s a good choice if you want a large amount. However, the smaller bottles are more expensive per tablespoon.

While the bottles are plastic (except the 8 oz. one), they are all BPA free.

Dynamic Health

  • Cost: Roughly $0.09 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Not tested independently
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Yes

Dynamic Health offers a few different versions of apple cider vinegar, including some that contain honey, making it easy to consume the vinegar. 

The pictured product is one that only has the apple cider vinegar. It's a good choice if you plan to buy in bulk, as the bottle contains roughly 256 servings.

Eden

  • Cost: Roughly $0.75 per tablespoon (depending on where you buy)
  • Acetic Acid: Not tested independently
  • Contains the Mother? Yes
  • Organic? Probably

This brand uses the term organic, but it's not clear whether the finished product is USDA certified organic. Either way, this brand gets good reviews. 

A key selling point is that the vinegar comes in a tinted bottle. This should help to keep out the light and may ensure that the vinegar lasts longer. 

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar shots

Getting the benefits of apple cider vinegar depends on more than just the product. You also need to decide how you are going to use it.

1. Take it Straight

Some people drink apple cider vinegar straight, like a shot, often first thing in the morning. It’s an easy solution and one that requires no prep work. You can eat or drink something straight afterward to get rid of the flavor.

But, this technique is risky. The vinegar is very acidic. It can easily damage your esophagus and tooth enamel. Those effects occur over time – so you mightn’t notice them until it is too late.

2. Mix it With Another Liquid

Instead of a shot, consider adding the apple cider vinegar to another liquid – like water. One or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water gives you the same benefits and is much safer as well.

The main problem is the flavor. Apple cider vinegar has an intense taste. An 8-ounce drink with that intense flavor may seem simply impossible to drink.

3. Create a Healthy Drink

You can also make more complex beverages with apple cider vinegar. These can contain multiple ingredients that offer health benefits, such as cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice, raw honey and cayenne pepper.

Many of these impact health in similar ways. For example, cinnamon may help lower blood sugar and is sometimes associated with weight loss. 

You can figure out the best ingredients simply by trial and error, focusing on the flavors you enjoy. Or, you can turn to a recipe, such as the ones below.

The site Paleo Hacks also has an interesting list of recipes, including some very creative ones.

4. Use in Recipes

Of course, you don’t have to drink apple cider vinegar at all. Many recipes use it as well. The most common way is a salad dressing and the links below are all good examples.

The site Yuri Elkaim also offers a list of 21 Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes. Some of these are just salad dressings and drinks. But, there are some more unusual ones present as well.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Dangerous?

Apple cider vinegar on a table

Apple cider vinegar is generally safe. Many people use it daily and it has been featured in research studies as well. But, it is still vinegar – and you need to be careful.

The main considerations are how you take the vinegar and your dose.

  • Avoid drinking undiluted apple cider vinegar. It can damage your teeth and esophagus.
  • Rinse your mouth out after taking apple cider vinegar – even if it was diluted.
  • Use a straw for any drink containing apple cider vinegar. This reduces the risk of damaging your teeth.
  • There is no single recommended dose. But, you absolutely should not take more than two tablespoons three times per day. Ideally, your dose should be less than that.
  • Pay attention to any side effects.
  • Stop taking the apple cider vinegar if you experience prolonged side effects, including digestive problems, nausea or heartburn.

The site Cure Joy provides more details about effective doses of apple cider vinegar for different situations.

What About Apple Cider Vinegar Pills?

There are also many supplements that contain apple cider vinegar – but we avoided these entirely in this list. In theory, these supplements should be an easier way to get benefits, without the same intense taste.

But, the research into them has been extremely limited. We don’t know whether the supplements offer the same health benefits. There is also more risk.

  • The content of the pills varies widely. For example, WebMD reports that acetic acids levels can range from 1% to 10.57%, while citric acid levels range from 0% to 18.5%.
  • Some brands have different acetic acid levels than the label states (18).
  • A report from Consumer Lab found that acetic acid levels were so high in some products that they could be considered poison.
  • Companies can (and do) add in fillers and undesirable ingredients.
  • The supplements are more processed than the liquid form.
  • There is no legal definition of what apple cider vinegar is or what ingredients it must contain. As such, some pills may contain no apple cider vinegar at all.
  • It’s easy to consume too much, with supplements ranging from 300 mg to 500 mg three times daily (19). If the label is incorrect, you may not even know how much you’re consuming.

All of these areas suggest that liquid apple cider vinegar is better for you (and safer!). Even if you can find a brand that has passed testing – the pills probably won’t offer the same benefits.

Final Thoughts

Apple cider vinegar won’t fix all of your health problems overnight. It isn’t a miracle tonic and it won’t cause you to effortlessly drop pounds.

But, the liquid does offer many potential benefits – including advantages for weight loss.

Relying on these high-quality brands and following the tips for consuming the vinegar are key ways to get the most out of it.

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Want to Improve Your Health?

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Better health starts in the kitchen, with the food that you eat and the meals you prepare. Getting the best outcomes involves making good choices about the food and the ingredients that you use. 

Check out my recommended products to see where you can get started. 

The 5 Best Apple Cider Brands for 2018

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