1 February 2008

Food of the Month

Vinegar: More than pucker power
Several research findings over the last decade have shown that having a realistic amount of vinegar or lemon juice in the form of a salad dressing with a mixed meal has significant blood glucose-lowering effects. In fact, as little as 4 teaspoons of vinegar in a vinaigrette dressing (4 teaspoons vinegar + 2 teaspoons oil) with an average meal lowered blood glucose by as much as 30%. We know from our own GI Group research shows that lemon juice is just as powerful. ‘The effect appears to be related to the acidity,’ says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller ‘because some other organic acids (like lactic acid and propionic acid) also have a blood glucose-lowering effect, but the degree of reduction varies with the type of acid.’ How does it do it? Essentially, the acidity puts the brake on stomach emptying, slowing the delivery of food to the small intestine. Digestion of the carbohydrate in the food is therefore slowed and the final result is that blood-glucose levels are significantly lower. Animal studies are also showing that acid may increase the storage of glycogen (the form that blood glucose is stored for future energy needs) in the skeletal muscles and liver, providing fuel for later use.

[VINEGAR]

According to a small preliminary study recently published in Diabetes Care (2007; 30 (11): 2814-2815) downing a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed may help to reduce high fasting blood glucose levels the following morning, in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers from Arizona State University, gave 11 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar as a late night snack with cheese and compared the results with a pre-bed cheese and water snack. They found a small average reduction of 0.26 mmol/L (a 4% decrease) in fasting blood glucose levels with the cheese and vinegar snack compared to a 0.15 mmol/L (2%) reduction for cheese and water. ‘Finding ways to help those with type 2 diabetes maintain acceptable blood glucose through foods and diet patterns is far more appealing for many to manage their condition,’ said Dr Carol Johnston, Department of Nutrition chair. ‘Vinegar is widely available, it is affordable, and it is appealing as a remedy, but much more work is required to determine whether vinegar is a useful adjunct therapy for individuals with diabetes,’ the researchers conclude.

Swedish researchers from Lund University have found another benefit of pucker power – vinegar may also help dieters eat less and reduce cravings brought on by sugar spikes after meals. The more vinegar consumed (up to 2–3 tablespoons before a meal), the more satisfied people felt.

'I have read that the only benefits to be derived from vinegar are if it is "mother vinegar" or raw and unprocessed. Do apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar have the same effects? '
Yes they do. So will balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, some salad dressings and even pickled vegetables.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Do you have to drink the vinegar, lemon juice, etc. straight up or can you mix it in water? Also, must it be consumed before the meal or can you drink it with? I'm thinking iced tea with lemon would be a great way to do this! Or hot tea in the morning.

GI Group said...

The best way is to do what tastes good to you and you can stick to. Vinaigrette (oil and vinegar or oil and lemon) on your salad at night, lemon in your tea or vinegar in water if you can handle it. Remember to clean your teeth after acidic drinks! Check back the postings with this story in a few days as we are sure other GI News readers will come up with some great ideas.

GI Group said...

We asked one of our colleagues how he takes his lemon juice. Here's the reply:

'We drink a little (2-3 U.S. tablespoons/30-45 ml) in 8 ounces (1 cup) of water. We generally use the Santa Cruz Organic brand of lemon juice (nothing but lemon juice and not from concentrate), but the stores have been out of it lately, so we use their lime juice.

Neither of us sweeten it with anything -- even a non-nutritive sweetener. That took a little getting used to, but neither of us use ANY sweetener any more.

Our favorite CDE generally uses filtered water. We generally use sparkling water. Both of us drink several glasses of it every day -- and both of us have noticed our blood glucose levels trending down.

eliskie said...

I have taken two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water every morning for several years. It started as a help with arthritis but I also found that it helps promote a general feeling of clear eyed well being. My wife has recently become a convert as well and this it helps her osteoporosis. I am interested in your idea of taking it last thing before bed and will certainly give it a try.. Peter and Gill

Margaret said...

I have used 1tablespoon apple cider vinegar and1 teaspoon honey in warm water (about 1/2 small glass) on & off for years. It does help control food cravings and I will also use it at night from now on. It was recommended to me by a Naturopath and she also recommended a small glass of water with some apple cider vinegar to have with meals to aid digestion.

Valerie said...

I love vinegar and lemon juice. In fact, I don't mix it with oil at all when making a salad dressing ... just vinegar or lemon juice. Should it be mixed with water or oil?

GI Group said...

There's no need to add oil if you like it the way it is. A sprinkle of white balsamic vinegar is good too.

Fanie said...

i have taken 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, half a glass of water, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a dash of lemon juice after my meal at night for a week now and is slowly getting used to the taste, but a significant drop in my fasting glucose levels. I also feel better in the mornings.

GI Group said...

Fanie, thanks for taking the time to post a comment and share your success.

kelliwebb said...

Hi,
I have been recently diagnosed with mild oesophagitis can I include vinegar into my diet?

GI Group said...

We can't give individual advice. It's best to chat to your doctor about these things. Normally spicy and acidic foods (which would include vinegar and citrus) and alcohol are off the menu while esophagitis is being treated.

Anonymous said...

Do you recommend people with Type 1 diabetes to take vinegar or lemon before going to bed to assist with blood sugar levels?

GI Group said...

Vinegar slows down digestion and thus lowers the glycemic impact of a meal or snack that contains carbohydrate, so it is relevant to people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Have a chat to your diabetes educator or dietitian to find out if it's appropriate for you.

Anonymous said...

If vinegar and other acidic foods lower blood glucose levels by "slowing down digestion" of carbs, then how can it influence AM blood glucose by taking it at bedtime, which for most people would be on an empty stomach? Looks to me as if there is something else at work here besides slowing digestion.

GI Group said...

The people in the Diabetes Care study (2007; 30 (11): 2814-2815) had a cheese snack with their vinegar. You may like to check out the article for the more detailed findings:
http://care.diabetesjournals.
org/cgi/content/full/30/11/2814.