Vinegar Reduces Blood Sugar

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Screen shot 2012 09 29 at 11.22.45 PM Vinegar Reduces Blood Sugar

Refined grains and sugars are rapidly absorbed in the blood stream. Growing evidence suggests that the greater rise in blood sugar levels that result from foods with a high glycemic index (GI) may contribute to the loss of beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Switching to a diet with fewer processed foods and more fiber-rich foods reduces blood sugar levels. Indeed those who eat whole grains have been shown to have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while those who eat refined grains have an increased risk.

A new study by Arizona State researcher Carol Johnston, PhD, RD, showed that vinegar is quite effective at blunting the rise in blood sugar after consuming a high-carbohydrate meal. She fed people with normal and elevated blood sugar levels a high-carbohydrate meal. Before the test meal, the subjects consumed either a placebo drink or one to which 2 tablespoons of vinegar were added. In those who had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or prediabetes, she found the rise in blood sugar was cut by 34% by the vinegar compared to the placebo. The vinegar also reduced blood sugar by 20% in those with type 2 diabetes and in those with normal blood sugar.1 The acetic acid in the vinegar appears to inhibit the starch-digesting enzyme and slows the digestion of starch. When starch is broken down quickly, it is absorbed more rapidly and elevates blood sugar levels. Of course, the best way to reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels (both fasting and after meals) in those with diabetes or IGT is regular exercise and weight loss.

 

Bottom Line: Starting lunch and dinner with a big salad should aid weight loss by reducing the calorie density of the meal. In addition, the vinegar on the salad will slow the digestion of starch from high-GI foods such as potatoes. This should keep blood sugar levels lower in those with diabetes and may also remove some of the nutritional stress on the beta cells that causes them to wear out.

 

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

 

1. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:281-2

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