Tag Archives: vinegar

Vinegar and Weight Loss: Didn’t Work For Me

Mt. Fuji in Japan

Last November I started another self-experiment to see if vinegar consumption would lead to any weight loss in me.  I quit after nine weeks instead of sticking it out for the entire 12-week trial.  I just got tired of it and hadn’t seen any weight loss.  And I ran out of apple cider vinegar. 

Results?  No change in weight.

A Japanese study had shown loss of 2.2-4.4 lb in Japanese overweight study subjects.  Maybe it didn’t work for me because I wasn’t overweight.  Or because I’m not Japanese.  Or because I chose to do the experiment over the Christmas-New Years’ holiday, a notorious over-eating time of year. 

Oh, well.

Nevertheless, the vinegar option would be reasonable for an overweight person to try. 

Steve Parker, M.D. 

PS: I blogged recently about how vinegar diminishes blood sugar elevations after meals that contain complex carbohydrates.  So an overweight type 2 diabetic would be a perfect study subject.

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Filed under Drugs for Diabetes, Overweight and Obesity

Vinegar to Treat Diabetes?

Vinegar reduces blood sugar elevations after meals containing complex carbohydrates, according to the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University.

Meals containing carbohydrates (and to a lesser extent, proteins) raise blood sugar after meals in people with or without diabetes.  [I’ve written previously about the normal ranges of blood sugars.]  Previous studies established that a single vinegar dose around mealtime lowers postprandial (after meal) blood sugar levels by up to 50%.  Arizona investigators wanted to know the best dose and timing for reducing postprandial blood sugar elevations.

They ran multiple tests on about 40 adults who reported they were generally healthy except nine had type 2 diabetes (not taking insulin). 


Mealtime vinegar ingestion reduced postprandial (two hours after meal)  blood sugars by about 20% compared to placebo.  The test meal was white bagel (variable amounts), 20 g of butter, and 200 g of juice. 

The most effective dose of vinegar was 10 g (about two teaspoons or 10 ml) of 5% acetic acid vinegar (either Heinz apple cider vinegar or Star Fine Foods raspberry vinegar).  This equates to two tablespoons of vinaigrette dressing (two parts oil/1 part vinegar) as might be used on a salad.  The authors also say that “…two teaspoons of vinegar could be consumed palatably in hot tea with lemon at mealtime.”


The study authors suggest that the blood-sugar-lowering effect of vinegar may be related to inhibition of digestive enzymes or to a slower rate of empyting by the stomach.  Remember that most of digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs in the small intestine; the stomach first has to empty food into the small intestine.  Vinegar seems to inhibit digestion of starch but not of simple (monosaccharide) sugars.

They also note another study that found vinegar slowed the rate of stomach emptying by almost 40% in type 1 diabetics with gastoparesis, potentially raising the risk of low blood sugar.

Take-Home Points

The development of cardiovascular disease, like heart attacks and strokes, seems to be tied especially to elevations of blood sugar after meals as compared to before-meal or fasting sugar levels.  This may be related to formation of free radicals  and inflammatory mediators.  So reduction of postprandial blood sugar elevations by vinegar may be particularly helpful in preventing heart disease.  It will be many years before we can prove this by a clinical study, if ever. 

Diabetics, especially type 2’s without gastroparesis, may better tolerate grains, fruits, and legumes—in terms of lower blood sugar spikes—if they eat them in a meal that includes two teaspoons of vinegar. 

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Johnston, Carol, et al.  Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults.  Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 56 (2010): 74-79.


Filed under Drugs for Diabetes, Fruits, Grains, legumes

Drink Vinegar and Lose 2-4 Pounds Effortlessly

CB052540Japanese researchers recently documented that daily vinegar reduces body weight, fat mass, and triglycerides in overweight Japanese adults. 

Beverages containing vinegar are commonly consumed in Japan.  The main component—4 to 8%— of vinegar is acetic acid.  Vinegar can lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and limit increases in blood sugar after meals. 

Japanese researchers studied the effects of vinegar on 175 overweight—body mass index between 25 and 30—subjects aged 25 to 60.  Men totaled 111; women 64.  Average weight 74.4 kg (164 pounds).  They were divided into three groups that received either a placebo drink, 15 ml apple vinegar (750 mg of acetic acid), or 30 ml apple vinegar (1,500 mg acetic acid).  Placebo and vinegar were mixed into 500 ml of a beverage, half of which was drunk twice daily after breakfast and supper for 12 weeks.  Changes in body fat were measured with CT technology.  Subjects were told to eat  and exercise as usual.   


By the end of the 12 weeks, weight had decreased by 1-2 kg (2.2 to 4.4 pounds) in the vinegar drinkers, with 30 ml of vinegar a bit more effective.  CT scanning showed that the lost weight was fat mass rather than muscle or water.  Triglyceride levels in the vinegar groups fell by about 20%.  The placebo drinkers saw no changes. 

Four weeks after the intervention ended, subjects were retested: values had returned to their baseline, pre-study levels. 

The scientists report that the acetic acid in vinegar inhibits production of fat and may stimulate burning of fat as fuel.  Although vinegar contains many other ingredients, they think the acetic acid is responsible for the observed changes.

My Comments

It’s possible that apple vinegar components other than acetic acid led to the weight loss and lowered triglyceride levels.  Further study could clarify this.

These results may or may not be applicable to non-Japanese races.

This study supports the use of vinaigrette as a salad or vegetable dressing in people trying to lose weight with diets such as the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.  Vinaigrettes are combinations of olive oil and vinegar, often with various spices added.  If you eat a salad twice a day, it would be easy to add 15 ml (1 tbsp) of vinegar to your diet daily. 

With a little imagination, you could come up with other ways to add 15–30 ml (1–2 tbsp) of vinegar to your diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Kondo, Toomoo, et al.  Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73 (2009): 1,837-1,843.

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Filed under Weight Loss