Can vinegar help reduce blood sugar levels?

By Sierra Mision • Published: July 31st, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Physical activity and portion control are key to keeping blood-sugar levels manageable for people with diabetes … but a few teaspoons of vinegar could help, too.

Studies dating back two decades have shown that vinegar actually helps subdue blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes.

In 1995, researchers discovered that people who used four teaspoons of white vinegar as salad dressing had a 30 percent reduction in their glycemic response — the measured effect of food on blood sugar. Vinegar blocks digestive enzymes that turn carbohydrates into sugar, limiting the effect carbs have on blood sugar levels.

Piggybacking on those results, a 2004 study found that patients with Type 2 diabetes who consumed a vinegar solution before eating a carb-heavy meal had a lower percentage rise in their blood-sugar levels.

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body’s inability to produce or react to insulin, the hormone that moderates sugar intake. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States have the disease. There are two main types — Type 1 results from the body’s failure to produce insulin in the pancreas, whereas Type 2 stems from insulin resistance that develops over time, usually as a result of diet and obesity.

In a 2010 study, researchers found that vinegar helps patients with Type 1 diabetes, too. Patients with Type 1 diabetes take insulin injections to regulate blood sugar levels when they become too high. Because vinegar can mimic these effects, some patients have turned to it to help keep their blood-sugar levels stable.

Warning, if you have diabetes or suspect you do, talk to your doctor. There is no substitute for a doctor’s care. But it can’t hurt to add a little vinegar to your diet. Try two teaspoons, with a meal, for a tangy, blood-sugar benefitting kick.