Have you heard the buzz? It seems everyone is jumping on the vinegar bandwagon and touting this acidic liquid as the next weight loss miracle. But is the hype to be believed? For centuries, vinegar in various forms as been used for medicinal purposes such as fighting against infection and curing a stomachache. When news broke of a Japanese study in 2009 that found apple cider vinegar may boost weight loss, the product seemed to start flying off the shelves
Celebrities, fitness gurus, and possibly even your neighbor next door cannot get enough of this supposed cure-all. So what really is the deal with vinegar? Before you start sipping it daily to help you shed pounds and better manage blood glucose levels, lets take a look at the facts.
The apple cider vinegar weight loss claims point back to a small study of 155 overweight Japanese males between the ages of 25 to 60 years old.1 Although the results of the study, which found that the males consuming vinegar were able to lose between two to four pounds in a 12-week period, seem promising, this study focused only a very small number of individuals over a short duration of time.
Additional studies point to vinegar as having the ability to reduce both fasting blood sugar levels and the rise in blood sugar levels after a meal. In one such study from the University of Arizona, consuming vinegar twice daily with meals was shown to significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels in individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.2
A similar study published in Diabetes Care found consuming two tablespoons of vinegar at the start of each meal may help to reduce post meal blood sugar levels.3 A follow up study found similar results in both healthy individuals as well as those already diagnosed with diabetes.4 Nutrition experts believe that the acetic acid in vinegar may inhibit enzymes that help in the digestion of starch causing the reduction in blood sugar levels after a meal.
One other surprising benefit of vinegar may be its ability to improve satiety after a meal. A small Swedish study found when individuals consumed vinegar with a meal, they reported feeling a higher level of satiety after eating than those who did not consume vinegar.5 Although this study was conducted on only a small number of individuals, it may give additional insight into how the consumption of vinegar may help to promote a healthy body weight.
The research on vinegar certainly seems promising when it comes to diabetes management and weight loss, however more research is needed before we can tout vinegar as a natural diabetes and weight management aid.
If you do choose to include vinegar as part of your meal plan to help improve your blood sugar and body weight, make sure to proceed with caution. Vinegar is not a magic bullet and it should never be used as a replacement to a healthful, balanced meal plan or your diabetes medication.
Vinegar is a highly acidic liquid, so always dilute it. Add one tablespoon of vinegar to eight ounces of water to cut down on the risks of eroding tooth enamel, irritating vocal cords or the soft tissue of the mouth and throat. If you're game to try it for yourself, start slowly. Try including one to two tablespoons of vinegar, diluted in water, at the first bite of your meal twice a day.
Track your blood sugar levels frequently and rank your feelings of satiety or fullness after eating to see if vinegar is making a difference for you. Remember, it’s all about moderation. Included as part of a balanced meal plan along with your regular diabetes management routine and physical activity, vinegar may be a beneficial aid to improving blood sugar management.
Have you tried adding vinegar to your diet? What results did you see? We’d love to hear from you.