Can Vinegar Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels?
Last updated: March 2022
Let me start out by saying there is no magical pill, natural remedy, or a simple solution for eliminating diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that has no cure. However, type 2 diabetes is manageable through medication, a healthy diet, exercise, and positive lifestyle choices. That being said, there is a product you probably already have in your home that may have the potential to help lower your blood sugar. There have been several studies published on the effects of vinegar on blood sugar, and the results have been positive.
Studies on vinegar and blood sugar levels
One small study was conducted where participants took either 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or water (as the placebo) at bedtime with 1 oz cheese. The participants who consumed vinegar with a typical fasting glucose greater than 7.2 mmol/l, their fasting glucose was reduced 6% compared with a reduction of 0.7% in those participants with a typical fasting glucose less than 7.2 mmol/l.2
In another study, the participants with type 2 diabetes who consumed 10 grams of vinegar before eating, significantly reduced their blood sugar after meals by about 20%. In a study where insulin-resistant participants consumed a drink with 20 grams of vinegar, the ingestion of vinegar reduced post-meal glycemia by 64% and improved post-meal insulin sensitivity by 34%.1
How does vinegar help blood sugar levels?
The component in vinegar that is important is acetic acid, which was found to be antiglycemic.1 In most studies, the amount of vinegar used was quite small, amounting from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons. The time that vinegar is consumed also matters. Vinegar was shown to be most effective if taken before a meal that contained starches and carbs. If taken before bedtime, then the vinegar would "favorably impact waking glucose concentrations in type 2 diabetes."2 Therefore, this may be helpful for those who experience the dawn phenomenon, or dawn effect.
Incorporating vinegar in your diet
One way that I incorporate vinegar into my diet is in my morning drink. Every morning I have a glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a splash of lemon juice. Another easy way to incorporate vinegar is by adding it to salad dressing. If you don't like apple cider vinegar, luckily there are many different types of vinegar. White, balsamic, and red wine vinegar can all taste too harsh to drink, but you can actually buy vinegar infused with fruit or herbs. Citrus-infused vinegar is really tasty to add to a glass of water! Real vinegar should never have added sugar; try to avoid brands that add additional sugar because this can potentially spike your blood sugar.
Vinegar does not replace medications
Drinking vinegar can be helpful for managing your blood sugar, but in no way does it cure diabetes. Vinegar has the potential to moderately lower blood glucose levels, but should not be taken in place of regular medications. Vinegar is safe to incorporate in along with your regular medications; however, if you have a chronic kidney condition, the extra acidity may cause negative side effects. If you have concerns, we recommend that you consult with your doctor prior to incorporating vinegar into your diet.
Have you tried to decrease the amount of bread you eat since being diagnosed with diabetes?
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