Vinegar and Diabetes: Is Vinegar Helpful in Diabetes Management?

Vinegar and Diabetes: Is Vinegar Helpful in Diabetes Management?
Diabetes-friendly:
Yes
Glycemic index:

40

Calories per 100 g:

4 kcal

People often link vinegar to numerous health benefits and recommend it as a remedy for weight loss and overall healthy living. But which of these assumptions is true? More so, is it beneficial in the management of diabetes?

There has been a lot of research into this mildly acidic solution to check for the validity of said clinical and health benefits to human health. However, specific evidence from different sources validates that consuming vinegar is healthy, while some say it's harmful. After all, this same vinegar is used in cleaning. So, what's the relationship between vinegar and the management of diabetes then?

In this article, we will discuss the relationship between consuming vinegar and the management of blood sugar levels. Should it be considered a remedy option, or whether people with diabetes should steer clear of this condiment? Read on to learn more about vinegar.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 0 g
  • Carbohydrate 0.9 g
  • Fat 0 g
  • Fiber 0 g
  • Sugar 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

Vinegar is a preparation that contains water and acetic acid primarily. However, it includes some other substances, especially flavorings in minute amounts. The tasty sour taste of vinegar is from acetic acid, an organic compound present in many household and food items. The acid accounts for at least 4 percent of the total volume of vinegar. 

In homes, vinegar serves as a condiment; it is added to food in cooking to impart its flavor. Although they are used as a cleaning agent and in sanitizing, the presence of the acid makes them useful for said purposes. 

Vinegar exists in different forms. Fruit vinegar - apple cider vinegar appears to be the most common; blueberry and grape vinegar are other forms of fruit vinegar. Plain white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, and wine vinegar - both red and white vinegar are different forms of vinegar. 

Vinegar contains lots of water and virtually everything else in minute amounts. According to the FDA, the following are the nutritional stats of vinegar, based on a teaspoonful, 15 grams. 

  • Water: 14 g

  • Calories: 3.2

  • Fats: 0

  • Carbohydrates: 0.14 g

  • Fibers: 0

  • Sugars: 0.1 g

  • Magnesium: 0.8 mg

  • Vitamins: 0

  • Sodium: 0.8 mg

  • Proteins: 0

  • Calcium: 1 mg

 

That said, a teaspoonful serving of vinegar contains 3.2 calories and just a little above 0.1 grams of carbs. You may say a teaspoonful is a small serving, but vinegar is often not consumed in large amounts. For example, a sachet of vinegar you buy from your food store may not even contain more than 10 grams of this condiment. 

Observing these nutritional stats, we can deduce that vinegar, when consumed, has no harm to diabetes patients or healthy subjects, except in cases of allergy. However, the question remains, what is the benefit of including vinegar in food, especially in people with diabetes. 

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Below are the benefits of adding vinegar to one’s diet concerning diabetes management.

 

Lower Blood Sugar Levels 

 

Studies show that vinegar ingestion has an anti glycemic impact. Therefore, it is potent in treating and managing diabetes, especially type 2. According to a report, taking a high carbohydrate meal with vinegar decreases postprandial hyperglycemia, which results in lower blood sugar levels.  

High blood glucose levels are linked to many other chronic health issues, so experts often advise reducing the intake of carbs, especially complex carbs and added sugar. However, regular intake of apple cider vinegar by non-diabetes patients, too, may also assist in keeping their sugar levels in check. 

Drinking apple cider vinegar and other slightly acidic drinks like orange juice, apple juice, or even olive oil with carbs as well as complex carbohydrates may slow down the conversion of starch to sugar, thereby reducing the glycemic index of such foods.

 

Increase Insulin Sensitivity

 

Different studies also suggest that regular intake of vinegar in both diabetes and non-diabetes patients stimulates the body's insulin levels, resulting in reduced blood sugar. 

Reports suggest that vinegar co-ingestion with a carbohydrate-rich meal may cause insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. 

Another study suggests that taking two spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar improves insulin sensitivity. In diabetes patients taking it before bed at night can lower the following morning's blood fasting sugar by up to 5 percent.


Body Weight Loss 

 

It shouldn't be surprising that vinegar aids the loss of body weight since we already said it reduces high blood sugar levels. Vinegar promotes the burning of fats in the body, which may be critical to losing excess weight. 

It also increases the feeling of fullness after eating - this may limit a person's intake of calories. Studies also show that when vinegar is taken along with carbs, one feels full throughout the day, leading to less intake of more foods. 

 

Lower Cholesterol Levels 

 

High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, especially the low-density lipoproteins in the blood, increase the risks of several cardiovascular disorders, including angina and hypertension. 

Heart disorders are common complications of diabetes, especially if uncontrolled. Certain vinegar contains some antioxidants that may limit the body's cholesterol production. 

 

Lowers Blood Pressure

 

Reports suggest that regular apple cider vinegar consumption may aid in reducing and regulating blood pressure.

High blood pressure and hypertension are risk factors for several heart disorders and even the proper functioning of the kidneys. Hence, it is essential to maintain a healthy heart pressure. Perhaps more research must be put in place to confirm this in humans. 

 

Improved Gut Health

 

Scientists suggest that diabetes is related to gut health. There are some connections between the health of the digestive tract and diabetes. A study of mice shows that gut microbes directly affect blood sugar levels.

The healthy bacteria and the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar may help improve the overall health of the digestive tract. Bloating, indigestion and other conditions affecting the alimentary canal may be due to increased pH of the stomach or imbalance of the beneficial bacteria.

 

Promote Wound Healing

 

Diabetes patients often suffer from slowed healing. In fact, in some cases, wounds may refuse to heal. The acetic acid in vinegar is potent against several variants of bacteria. Hence, vinegar is often used to prevent bacterial infections in open sounds. They sometimes serve as rub-on antibiotics on wounds and may even speed up the healing periods of wounds. 

Even though many reports link apple cider vinegar to the management of diabetes, we may not be able to categorically say that it is potent against the condition, as results aren't all that definitive. 

A report reviewing the short-term and long-term effects of consuming vinegar in treating diabetes shows positive results in managing a condition, though not by a broad margin. 


The reports indicate that apple cider vinegar reduces the levels of HbA1C after actively taking it for two to three months. An HbA1C test shows the average amount of glucose attached to an individual's hemoglobin over an extended period - up to three months. It is the confirmatory test for diabetes; it supersedes the fasting sugar and other blood tests. 

When trying to check how vinegar may be responsible for reducing blood glucose levels, a report suggests that it may increase the body's glucose absorption and decrease insulin resistance. This is potent, especially against type 2 diabetes. 

Most of the studies on vinegar have yielded results towards type 2. There have not been successes when testing it with type 1 diabetes patients. As a result, it may be difficult to recommend vinegar as a remedy to one suffering from type 1. 

The acid in vinegar is credited with possessing some of its clinical and health benefits. 

 

Acetic Acid and Blood Glucose Levels

 

Even after a series of tests, apple cider vinegar's effects aren't definitive. There is still the need to run some tests to determine the mechanism of action on blood glucose levels. However, studies suggest that the acetic acid in vinegar may slow down the rate at which the body breaks down carbs. This may reduce the rate at which sugar enters the blood, thereby, fewer spikes in blood sugar levels.

A study showed that when you incorporate vinegar into your diet. It may cause delayed gastric emptying rate, significantly reducing blood glucose concentrations coupled with improved insulin responses after taking a starchy meal. 


Another report suggests that vinegar ingestion might increase the cell's affinity for glucose - increased absorption of glucose into body cells would mean that there would be less in the blood.

 

Acetic Acid and Obesity

 

Acetic acid is an essential ingredient present in vinegar. Several studies link this organic compound to having an effect in reducing obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, so preventing it may reduce the propensity to develop this metabolic condition. 

One study on vinegar-treated mice discovered decreased body weight, inflammation, and fat distribution. Again, we can only deduce the mechanism of action from this study, as there is no specific indication that the same will occur in humans. 

However, it is crucial that patients continue to monitor their blood glucose levels while taking apple cider vinegar for diabetes or making any changes to their diet because you never know what reactions it may cause in different people. After all, there is no specific dietary plan that works for everyone. 

In the US, vinegar must have acetic acid concentrations of at least 4 percent, which gives this solution an acidic pH of 2 to 3. For those who want to take apple cider consistently, do not consume it pure - undiluted. You should dilute it with water before drinking. 

Add one to two spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to a glass of drinking water. It is best to take this before meals or as the last thing at night, before retiring for the night - it produces the best results in reducing glucose levels. 

 

Another way of consuming vinegar is to use it as a condiment when cooking. You see, vinegar is a versatile cooking ingredient. You can add it to your sauce or soups, even salad dressings, or spice up any vegetable. However, remember to stick to non-starchy ones for diabetes management. It also goes well with fish and meat. Just try to avoid taking it in its raw form, as the acidic nature may irritate the stomach. 

The American Dental Association also talks about the frequent intake of apple cider vinegar and other acidic beverages. The association recommends taking them with caution, as they may damage tooth enamel, which may be detrimental to one's teeth. The enamel is the protective covering of a tooth. 

There has not been concrete evidence on which form of apple cider vinegar works best for reducing glucose levels. However, taking unfiltered apple cider may be more beneficial. The filtering of apple cider vinegar involves the removal of the vinegar's “mother.” So, here you have an amber-colored vinegar instead of the cloudy, dark-colored unfiltered variant.

The mother portion is the thick and cloudy portion of the vinegar. It is said to contain beneficial bacteria and yeast. Some even say this vinegar mother has some antioxidant properties, which are also beneficial for health.  

Whatever vinegar group you choose to incorporate as part of a diabetes remedy, it is crucial to discuss it with your healthcare provider. We have reiterated several times in this article that apple cider vinegar's impact is not definitive in managing diabetes. Also, ensure to continue monitoring your blood sugar levels whenever you decide to adjust your diet. 

Apple cider vinegar has been the subject of the majority of studies looking at how vinegar affects diabetes management. However, scientists believed other forms would show similar interactions with the body in diminishing blood sugar levels. 

Acetic acid is the critical component of all forms of vinegar and various research suggests that it is responsible for weight loss, lowering lipid levels, and ultimately blood sugar regulation. Some studies also indicate the use of vinegar preparations and not necessarily apple cider. 

The organic acid in apple cider vinegar consumption gives it some corrosive properties; this is why it sometimes serves as a cleaning agent. However, diluting it with water before drinking reduces stomach irritation and any sort of dental deformation often reported. 

However, if you have ulcers or any form of kidney disorder, you should steer clear of apple cider or any form of vinegar at all. A large intake of vinegar, too, may diminish potassium levels which are said to be a risk factor in type 2 diabetes. Low potassium levels are linked to reduced insulin production. 

In the treatment and management of any illness or disease condition, it is in your best interest to inform your healthcare provider of any underlying condition. This will prevent them from recommending drugs or remedies that may cause more harm to the underlying problem. For example, an ulcer patient taking apple cider vinegar for diabetes will aggravate the ulcerous symptoms. 

Overall, taking apple cider vinegar may be beneficial to people with diabetes, especially those with type 2. With the evidence on display, it is safe to say it may help prevent blood spikes, reduce insulin resistance and overall blood glucose levels. However, there's still the need for more research. 

Ultimately, whenever you decide to add this condiment to your dietary plan or make any adjustments, especially when managing a metabolic condition like diabetes, make sure to regularly eat a healthy diet and work closely with your dietitian to know what is best. Increase intake of dietary fibers, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats and decrease intake of carbs, sugars, and fruit juices - they tend to contain added sugar. 

Another good way to monitor diet is to use a diabetes monitoring app. These apps are quite useful, especially for those who do not have the opportunity to collaborate with a dietitian or other healthcare professional. These apps also assist you in monitoring your blood glucose levels and keeping track of exercises and physical activities, which are crucial aspects of diabetes management. Klinio is an excellent app for this purpose. However, don't hesitate to contact your doctor when you notice unusual spikes in blood sugar levels. 

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