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Is Vinegar the Missing Link for Managing Blood Sugar?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 10% of adult Americans have diabetes and 35% have pre-diabetes, making blood sugar a concern that impacts 45% of all Americans. The rate of diabetes in America is projected to triple by 2060, according to a 2018 study in Population Health Metrics If the American diet and lifestyle don’t dramatically move away from processed and sugary foods, we are on an unhealthy trajectory.
There’s a simple solution that may help us solve this health crisis: vinegar.
Scientific studies have found that vinegar can help balance blood sugar.
Research published long ago in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the acetic acid in vinegar significantly reduced blood sugar spikes after meals, as well as insulin response. Researchers suggested that vinegar slows the emptying of the stomach, therefore leveling out a rapid post-meal glucose spike.
In a 2019 study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 70 type 2 diabetic patients were randomly assigned to a control group or a study group that consumed 20 ml of apple cider vinegar per day for eight weeks. The apple cider vinegar group saw a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose compared to the control group.
For the balsamic vinegar lovers out there, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Metabolism showed the anti-diabetic benefits of balsamic. A group of rodents were fed either a normal chow diet or a high-fat diet and were provided tap water or a dilute balsamic vinegar for 28 weeks. In both diet groups, the balsamic vinegar increased insulin production from the beta cells of the pancreas as well as lowered cholesterol.
In another study, published in 2005 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 12 healthy volunteers were given 50 grams of carbohydrates in the form of white bread for breakfast with or without white vinegar. The vinegar was given in three different dosages:0 .6 oz., 0.77 oz., or 0.9 oz. The study found that the more vinegar the study participants consumed, the lower their after-meal increase in glucose and insulin, although all dosages of vinegar significantly lowered the body’s metabolic response to bread.
The History and Process of Making Vinegar
By some accounts, vinegar have been around since the beginnings of civilization. There are stories of vinegar residue in Egyptian urns from around 3,000 B.C.E. and mentions in Babylonian scrolls from around 5,000 B.C.E.
Making vinegar is a two-step process that first requires the fermentation of a fruit, vegetable, or grain into an alcohol. In this process, the naturally occurring yeast of the ferment, generally from white grapes or apples, feeds on the sugar or starch of the food, converting it to alcohol. Then the fruit, veggie, or grain is removed and the alcohol is further fermented by exposing it to air. When the alcohol is exposed to oxygen, a naturally occurring bacteria called Acetobacter changes the alcohol to acetic acid or vinegar.
When vinegar is made from grain, it’s called white vinegar. When it’s made from red or white wine, it’s called wine vinegar. When it’s made from rice, it’s called rice or rice wine vinegar. When it’s made from apples, it’s called apple cider vinegar. When it’s made from beer, it’s called malt vinegar, and when it’s made from grapes, it’s called balsamic vinegar.
All of the above have been studied to support healthy blood sugar levels and blunt after-meal blood sugar spikes. Apple cider vinegar has more recently been studied to have superior health promoting properties.
Traditionally, vinegar was matched with olive oil, which has also been shown to support healthy levels of blood sugar and blood lipid levels.
Simple Salad Dressing Recipe
3 tsps olive
1 tsp vinegar of your choice
season with salt and black pepper