Vinegar May Aid Weight Loss

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Years ago a popular fad diet promoted apple cider vinegar as part of a weight loss strategy. A new study1 suggests that vinegar might actually aid weight loss. This study found that acetic acid (found in vinegar), when consumed with bread, increased satiety compared to bread alone. If the addition of vinegar boosts the satiety of a meal or snack, it probably will aid weight loss. The results of this study suggest vinegar may be particularly beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, because it also improve insulin sensitivity and blunt the rise in blood sugar after a meal.

Dr. Elin Ostman at Lund University had subjects, after an overnight fast, consume white bread with a drink of water or water mixed with acetic acid equivalent to about 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar. They found both blood glucose and insulin levels were about 25% lower in those when they consumed vinegar compared to water only.

Flavored vinegars make an excellent low-calorie topping for salads; unlike most dressings it is not laden with oil, salt and/or sugar. A pound of salad vegetables contain only about 100 calories so a large salad with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and little or no oil would help people feel more satiated on fewer calories. A second study2 examined the impact of eating a salad before eating as much pasta as the subjects desired. It showed subjects consumed fewer calories for the meal if they ate a low-fat salad before the pasta. However if the salad had an oily dressing, cheese and croutons the subjects ended up consuming more calories than just eating pasta alone.

For those seeking weight loss, starting a meal with a large salad with plenty of vegetables, vinegar and little or no fatty ingredients will likely help those people to be satisfied on fewer calories. The key to successful long-term weight loss appears to be getting more satiety from fewer calories.

By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN.

1. Euro J Clin Nutr 2005;59:983-8.

2. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104:157-6.

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