7 August 2018Will Vinegar Help Lower Blood Sugar?
Vinegar has long been utilized around the world for its therapeutic effect on health. One area of interest is the impact vinegar may have on lowering blood sugar. If you enjoy the tang of vinegar and have Type 2 diabetes read on to learn more about vinegar and blood sugar.
Consuming vinegar at the beginning of a meal either in a salad dressing or diluted with water has been shown to lower post meal blood sugars, if the meal was high in carbohydrate. There are several theories as to how this works. One theory being that the acetic acid in vinegar causes a decrease in the rate of stomach emptying which then allows a slower breakdown of carbohydrates in the stomach. Thus the body has more time to remove glucose from the blood which essentially prevents such a large spike in post meal blood sugars. Another theory is that vinegar increases glucose uptake by the cells resulting in reduced blood glucose levels. Finally, vinegar might improve the way insulin is used, thus improving insulin sensitivity.
Vinegar may also have an impact on fasting or morning blood sugar levels. A small study (see Resource section for link) showed that consuming vinegar at bedtime with 1 oz of cheese resulted in a 4% reduction in fasting blood sugar the following morning in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. The theory being that the acetic acid in vinegar had an effect on internal glucose production.
So what type of vinegar is best? Most of the research has been conducted on apple cider vinegar which is made from the juice of fermented apples. It contains 7 calories and 2g of carbohydrate per tablespoon.
How much vinegar? Try 1-2 tablespoons of diluted vinegar with water, 2 times a day with meals. Take the vinegar at the beginning of a meal (or incorporate it into the meal) to see how it may impact post meal blood sugars. Consume with 1 oz of cheese before bed to see how it may impact fasting blood sugar levels the following morning.
Pros to trying vinegar:
- May provide additional health benefits
- May cause hypoglycemia
- Over time, may wear down the enamel of the teeth
- Over time may cause erosion of the esophagus
Proceed with caution:
- Not recommended for individuals' with gastroparesis (slow gastric emptying)
- Individuals with Type 1 diabetes need to be especially careful when using vinegar to lower blood sugar as slowing of stomach emptying may make it harder to manage insulin dosages. If you have Type 1 diabetes, discuss in detail with your diabetes care team before adding it to your care plan.
The bottom line........Does it work?
We don't know for sure. The research studies conducted consisted of small sample sizes. Thus more research is needed to determine if vinegar is an effective adjunct therapy to the gold standard of diet, exercise and medication management of blood sugars in Type 2 diabetes.
Blood sugar regulation is extremely complicated and very individualized. If you are curious about adding vinegar to your prescribed diabetes plan, make sure to consult your doctor first.
Vinegar may interact with certain medications. For those folks taking meal time insulin, it is especially important to work with your doctor and or diabetes care team. Because vinegar is thought to delay gastric emptying, you may need to alter your mealtime insulin dose and timing of injections to prevent low blood sugars from occurring. Finally, as with any shift in lifestyle, diet or medication adjustment, make sure to check blood sugar more frequently when experimenting with vinegar or other changes to your plan.
White, AM and Johnston, CS. Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 30(11): 2814-2815. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc07-1062
Joanna Kriehn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with a passion for supporting individuals as they move towards a healthier lifestyle. You can learn more about Joanna by visiting her LinkedIn pageHave questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!
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