Apple cider vinegar is all the rage in natural health circles right now, and any crunchy gal will tell you — she puts that s$%t on everything.Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is super acidic, making it great for balancing the pH of just about anything. Besides that, its naturally antimicrobial properties make it great for killing bad bacteria nasties and giving your immune system a leg up. What’s more, because of the way it’s made, ACV gives you a tiny dose of beneficial bacteria while simultaneously killing off the bad stuff.People use it to boost their immune system, to reduce the size of their pores, even to strip buildup from their hair. It’s natural, it’s biodegradable, and even the good stuff is pretty reasonably cheap.But there’s a new trend circulating in dietary health circles in particular that’ll make you pucker just to think about: shooting apple cider vinegar.Why People Are Doing Shots of VinegarWith a health craze this unpleasant, you’ve gotta figure there’s a good reason they’re doing it, and you’d be right. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar is POWERFUL stuff when it comes to regulating blood sugar.In a study done on men and women with pre-diabetes, the ones that took just under an ounce of ACV with a high-carb meal saw their blood glucose levels reduced by half. Those with type 2 diabetes saw their levels drop by 25% — this stuff works.Aside from sugar imbalances and carb cravings, regular doses of apple cider vinegar have been linked to improved success with weight loss, lower BMI, and improved heart health. Participants in these studies usually took less than an ounce of ACV a day.For reference, a shot glass can hold about 1.5 ounces of liquid. These study participants were consuming about half a shot glass of apple cider vinegar per day, typically diluted in eight ounces of water.The Problem with Shooting VinegarWe’re not sure where the craze for vinegar shots started, but as with many health and weight loss strategies, it’s a heavy-handed approach that can have serious consequences.Taking undiluted apple cider vinegar shots on a regular basis isn’t just, erm, unpleasant, but it can cause major corrosion of the enamel on your teeth, increasing your risk for tooth decay and cavities. What’s more, the natural acidity of ACV is so intense, it can cause the same effect on your esophagus.The side effects are similar to what someone with bulimia might experience — the constant, consistent exposure to harsh, undiluted acids is just too much for your teeth and esophagus.Using ACV for Diet and Weight LossWhether your goal is to lose weight, balance your blood sugar, or improve your gut health, apple cider vinegar’s benefits in this arena are well-documented and proven — but you don’t have to shoot it to get them.Instead, before a meal once a day, dilute less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water. Some people add a teaspoon of honey to make it more palatable, but others just suck it down fast with a straw to bypass the taste buds.If it’s burning the back of your throat, either reduce how much you’re using or dilute it with more water.The trick with ACV is to drink it right before you eat. If you wait too long, the dose on an empty stomach can make you nauseous, and if you eat first, you won’t get the full effect of the sugar blocking moxie in the concoction.When used correctly, people notice a slew of impressive results — their stomachs shrink because there’s no longer an overgrowth of candida bacteria, their blood sugar levels stabilize, they lose weight — they even have more regular bowel movements.Know the Good StuffIf you plan to start taking ACV as a supplement, spring for the good stuff — not the big three dollar gallon jugs.Great apple cider vinegar is still pretty affordable, but the good stuff will have the beneficial bacteria in it that your body needs to balance things out. Look for labels that indicate the formula has ‘the mother’ bacteria in it. Braggs is a tried and true favorite, and we love that it comes in a glass bottle.Don’t Let the Internet Tell You What to DoStill on the fence about it? Like every other health craze known to Google, this one’s probably best discussed with your doctor. Consuming anything on a regular basis is a major healthcare decision, so don’t take our word for it (or anyone else’s, for that matter) — talk to your doctor to determine if an apple cider vinegar regiment is a safe and sensible idea for your body chemistry.