Eating vinegar before a meal, perhaps as part of an oil-and-vinegar salad dressing, could be greatly beneficial to people with diabetes or those at high risk of developing the disease.
According to the results of a study, two tablespoons of vinegar taken prior to eating dramatically reduced insulin and glucose spikes in the blood that occur after meals. In people with type 2 diabetes, these spikes can cause major complications, including heart disease.
Vinegar's effects were comparable to those from antidiabetes drugs like metformin, researchers said.
In the study, which involved 29 people, one-third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one-third had signs that they could develop diabetes and one-third were healthy. Each individual was given either a vinegar dose or a placebo prior to eating a high-carbohydrate breakfast, and one week later were given the opposite drink and the same breakfast.
Results indicated that:
- All groups had better blood readings with the vinegar than with the placebo
- People with prediabetic symptoms benefited the most from the vinegar, with blood-glucose concentrations cut by almost half
- People with diabetes improved their blood-glucose levels by 25 percent with the vinegar
- People with prediabetic symptoms had lower blood-glucose levels than healthy participants after both drank vinegar
A follow-up study geared at testing vinegar's long-term effects also found that taking vinegar yielded a pleasant side effect: moderate weight loss. In the four-week study, half of participants took a two-tablespoon dose of vinegar prior to each of two meals daily, while the other half were told to avoid vinegar.
Participants taking the vinegar lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period, while weight remained constant in the non-vinegar group. And some participants taking vinegar lost up to four pounds.
The downside? Participants weren't fond of drinking vinegar, even flavored apple cider vinegar. In response, researchers are now developing an encapsulated form of vinegar and testing its effectiveness.
However, don't rush out to buy any of the vinegar dietary supplements currently on the market. According to the researchers, they don't contain acetic acid, which they suspect is the antidiabetic component in the vinegar.
Science News January 1, 2005;167(1)
This appears to be a simple and safe way for diabetics and pre-diabetics to help gain control of their blood sugar levels. Eating the vinegar as part of a salad dressing, perhaps with some high-quality olive oil would seem most palatable if you aren't fond of the taste. The most interesting part of this study was that people with a high risk of developing diabetes, or in other words people with pre-diabetes, were able to have lower blood-glucose levels than healthy people just by drinking two tablespoons of vinegar before their meals.
As some 41 million American people have pre-diabetes, and one in five of you reading this have it or diabetes already, it certainly seems prudent to add some vinegar-based dressings to your before-dinner salad.
But please don't rely on this as your only line of defense. Diabetes is a devastating and debilitating disease, and if you have it, or show any of these warning signs:
- Increased weight
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- A fasting blood sugar level over 100
... you will want to seriously consider taking proactive steps to treat the condition now. Here is a three-step plan that should help you gain control over your diabetes if you have it, and protect you from getting it if you don't.