Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar

Various types of vinegars

By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM    Volume 30

So many people ask – “can vinegar help with blood sugar”? A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study found that body weight and belly fat were significantly reduced by adding just a single tablespoon of vinegar to one’s daily diet. But is there any benefit to vinegar consumption if you’re not overweight?

Well, their triglycerides normalized, and on the two tablespoons a day dose, there was a dip in blood pressure. But those effects may have just been because of the weight loss.

Is There any Benefit to Sprinkling Vinegar on Salads?

Other than taste, is there any benefit to normal-weight individuals sprinkling vinegar on their salads? What about vinegar for blood sugar control?

If you feed people a half a cup of table sugar, as their blood sugars spike, their artery function can become impaired. And the higher the blood sugars spike, the more their arteries become impaired. There’s a drug, though, that can block sugar absorption, and by blunting the blood sugar spike with the drug, you can prevent arterial dysfunction, demonstrating that it’s probably good for your heart if you don’t have big blood sugar spikes after meals.

And indeed, how high your blood sugars spike after a meal is a predictor for cardiovascular mortality. So, do people who eat lots of high-glycemic foods, like sugary foods and refined grains, tend to have more heart attacks and strokes? Yes. And, they appear more likely to get diabetes. But, maybe people who eat lots of Frosted Flakes and Wonder Bread have other bad dietary habits as well.

Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar

Randomized Controlled Trials

The diets that have been put to the test in randomized controlled trials and proven to prevent diabetes are the ones focusing on cutting down on saturated fat. And ramping up the consumption of fiber-rich whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, without specific regard to lower or higher glycemic loads.

The drug has been put to the test, though. Blunting one’s mealtime blood sugar spikes does seem to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, as well as reduce the risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure. So, is there any way to prevent these blood sugar spikes without taking drugs? Well, one way would be to not sit down to a half cup of sugar!

Yes, the drug can slow the progression of your atherosclerosis. Instead of the arteries going to your brain narrowing this fast, on the drug, they only narrow this fast. Wouldn’t it be better to eat a diet that actually reverses heart disease? Reverses diabetes? The healthiest diet to prevent the meal-related blood sugar and fat spikes, the oxidation and inflammation, is a diet centered around whole plant foods.

But what if you really want a bagel? Instead of spreading drugs on it, spreading on some almond butter may help blunt the blood sugar spike from refined carbs. Another option is to dip your baguette in some balsamic vinegar.

Vinegar vs. Drugs

The consumption of vinegar with meals was evidently used as a home remedy for diabetes before drugs came along, but it wasn’t put to the test until 1988. After all, how much money can be made from vinegar?

According to The Vinegar Institute, millions of dollars, but a single diabetes drug, like Rezulin, can pull in billions—that is, before it was pulled from the market for killing too many people by shutting down their livers.

The drug company still made out like a bandit, having to pay out less than a billion to the grieving families for covering up the danger.

No liver failure from a peanut butter-schmeared bagel, though, cutting the blood sugar response in half, and the same with vinegar. If you chug down four teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in water, you get that same blunting of the spike.

And, you get the additional advantage over the nuts of lowering insulin levels in the blood, something peanut butter apparently can’t do. But, presumably better than a bagel with lox, as fish causes triple the insulin response. Or red wine, which also increases insulin levels—but not as much as fish—and also shoots up triglycerides, though de-alcoholized red wine, non-alcoholic wine, doesn’t have the same problem. What about vinegar?

Not only may a tablespoon a day tend to improve cholesterol and triglycerides over time, vinegar can also drop triglycerides within an hour of a meal, along with decreasing blood sugars and the insulin spike, potentially offering the best of all worlds.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, click on the link and watch the video.

Michele Wallace

Entrepreneur and author of A Plant-Based Michele has also earned her Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell University. The book is an easy and complete guide for those wanting to get healthy and offers step-by-step instructions, including over 85 delicious and healthy recipes.
A Plant-Based Revolution is dedicated to whole food plant-based nutrition.

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