How to use vinegar to manage blood sugar:
the ultimate 2022 guide
This is a complete guide to learning how to use vinegar to steady your glucose levels and feel amazing.
So if you’re looking to:
Manage your blood sugar.
Reduce cravings and hunger.
Then you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started.
DISCLAIMER: If you have any medical conditions or take any medication, speak to your doctor before using vinegar.
How does vinegar work?
THE SIENCE BEHIND GLUCOSE AND VINEGAR
Adding vinegar to our diet is an excellent way to flatten our glucose curves. But how does it works?
Vinegar slows down the breakdown of starches into glucose, and it tells our muscles to soak up glucose as it arrives in our bloodstream. This is how it reduces the glucose spike from something we just ate.
Now, let's get a bit more sciency...
In the last decades, different research teams studied the effects of vinegar on our bodies, and their studies showed that simply adding vinegar before meals leads to weight loss, steadier glucose levels, reduced visceral fat, and reduced triglyceride levels. A small study also showed that vinegar consumption could help reverse PCOS symptoms.
Scientists found that the acetic acid in vinegar temporarily inactivates alpha-amylase -a digestive enzyme in saliva that breaks down starch. As a result, sugar and starch are transformed into glucose more slowly, and that glucose hits our system more softly. Then, once acetic acid gets into the bloodstream, it penetrates our muscles and encourages them to make glycogen faster than they usually would, leading to more efficient glucose uptake.
These two factors – the glucose being released into the body slower and our muscles uptaking it quicker – mean less free-flowing glucose around, so less of a glucose spike.
The acetic acid in vinegar temporarily inactivates alpha-amylase.
The acetic acid penetrates our muscles and encourages them to make glycogen faster, leading to a more efficient uptake of glucose.
The acetic acid decreases the amount of insulin released, which helps us get back to fat-burning mode.
The acetic acid tells our DNA to reprogram a bit so that our mitochondria burn more fat.
Another fundamental aspect is that acetic acid decreases the amount of insulin released - by about 20% in one study- which helps us get back to fat-burning mode.
This is a very important point: the more insulin there is in our body, the more our liver, muscles, and fat cells work to remove any excess glucose from the bloodstream and quickly store it away. It's good that insulin brings glucose levels down, increasing inflammation and weight gain.
The acetic acid contained in vinegar reduces the amount of insulin around, and it also has a remarkable effect on our DNA. It tells our DNA to reprogram a bit so that our mitochondria burn more fat.
One tablespoon of vinegar diluted in water before meals is a real game-changer.
WHAT'S THE BEST TIME TO HAVE VINEGAR?
The best time to drink vinegar is less than 20 minutes before eating. If you forgot to drink it, you could also drink it right after finishing your meal -less than 20 minutes after.
Some people drink vinegar before every meal, and some just before they eat something sweet or high-carb. That's a personal choice.
HOW MUCH VINEGAR CAN I DRINK DAILY?
There's no specific limit. Most people do perfectly fine drinking a tablespoon of vinegar diluted in a tall glass of water before every meal.
Some time ago, a 29-year-old woman who consumed sixteen tablespoons of ACV every day for six years was admitted to a hospital because of deficient potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate levels. So, sixteen tablespoons - 1 cup or 240 ml per day - is too much.
But drinking one tablespoon of vinegar before meals is fine.
Add vinegar in your life
HOW TO USE VINEGAR TO FLATTEN YOUR GLUCOSE CURVE?
If you want to use vinegar to lower your blood sugar, mix a tablespoon of vinegar into a tall glass of water and drink it with a straw (to protect your teeth) before your meals. The acetic acid will do the rest.
PROTECT YOUR TEETH: DILUTE IN WATER AND USE A STRAW
Vinegar is acidic, so it can damage our teeth if not diluted correctly.
I always recommend diluting the vinegar in a tall glass of water and even using a straw to be extra cautious and protect your teeth.
USE THE VINEGAR AS SALAD DRESSING
Another excellent way to use vinegar to flatter our glucose curves is by adding it to our diet.
One of my favorite hacks is to add a green starter to your meals so that you can take two birds with one stone and use vinegar as dressing for a green starter.
Choose your vinegar
HOW TO CHOOSE VINEGAR?
The good news is that you can choose the vinegar you like the most.
Even though it often seems that apple cider vinegar is the best vinegar, all kinds of vinegar have acetic acid, so all of them help flatten glucose curves. Wine vinegar, Rice vinegar, ACV, Coconut vinegar, just choose the one you prefer. The only catch is to avoid vinegar (like balsamic) or vinaigrettes with added sugars.
Sometimes some flavored vinegar, some dressing, and some vinegar-based sauces have sugar in them. So be sure always to check the labels.
IS ACV BETTER THAN OTHER KINDS OF VINEGAR?
Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most popular vinegars for all the qualities it has. But, from a glucose standpoint, it works exactly the same as any other vinegar.
The thing is that if unpasteurized and raw, ACV also has other benefits, and that's why it is so popular. Some of the ACV benefits:
It contains helpful nutrients like magnesium, iron, antioxidants, amino acids, etc.
Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar reduces LDL -bad cholesterol- and increases HDL -good cholesterol- due to its natural antioxidants.
It improves digestion and reduces bloating.
It contains natural probiotics, which may help your immune system and gut health.
Contains nutrients like magnesium, iron, antioxidants, and more
Reduces LDL -bad cholesterol- and increases HDL -good cholesterol-
Contains nutrients like magnesium, iron, antioxidants, and more
Contains natural probiotics, which may help your immune system and gut health
WHAT ABOUT BALSAMIC VINEGAR?
Balsamic vinegar is slightly higher in sugars than other vinegar, so it's not the best option if you're trying to drink vinegar to flatten your glucose curve. But it's still fine to include in your diet, of course.
Important: do not mistake balsamic glaze for balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar is a liquid dark vinegar; balsamic glaze instead is more like dark syrup, and it's very high in sugars. I do not recommend it.
Liquid dark vinegar
No added sugar; only natural sugars
Approx 3 gr sugar per tablespoon
It has added sugar
Approx 8 gr sugar per tablespoon
The truth about ACV gummies & pills
DO ACV GUMMIES WORK TO LOWER BLOOD SUGAR?
Unfortunately, all the studies so far show that vinegar gummies don’t work for low blood sugar.
When people “package” ACV, they change its structure. This makes sense because you’re not swallowing a liquid anymore—it’s solid now. In this new form, ACV loses all glucose-lowering effects.
The other issue with gummies is that they also contain 1 gram of sugar each. So not only do they not flatten your glucose curves, they lead to glucose spikes.
DO ACV PILLS WORK TO LOWER BLOOD SUGAR?
Recently, it has been shown that taking three vinegar pills (not gummies) before a meal can have a similar effect on lowering glucose spikes as vinegar itself. Even though drinking one tablespoon of vinegar diluted in water is more effective.
Lemon & kombucha
DOES LEMON FLAT GLUCOSE AS VINEGAR?
Recent studies showed that lowering the pH of a meal can slow down starch digestion by inhibiting salivary alpha-amylase.
And it seems that lemon can have a similar effect on curbing glucose curves like vinegar.
Even though lemon can have a similar effect as vinegar, it doesn't have acetic acid, so it uses a different mechanism which is good but not as effective as acetic acid. Anyway, if you do not like the taste of vinegar, lemon juice can be a good option for you.
EVERYTHING ABOUT KOMBUCHA
Kombucha is a fermented drink, usually made from tea. It has some acetic acid, but it's less than 1%. So, kombucha doesn't curb glucose curves as vinegar does.
Like other fermented foods, kombucha has some health benefits, and it's good for gut health.
One big issue with kombucha is that almost all store-bought kombucha brands have added sugar or fruit juice. So it's essential to check labels because even if they are labeled as "no added sugar" they can have fruit juice.
Delicious vinegar drink recipes
ADD FLAVORS, NOT SUGAR
Let's say it: water with vinegar sounds awful, but you know what? It's not.
Diluted vinegar tastes better than you may think; but if you do not like it, do not worry, there are a few things you can do to make it more palatable:
Add flavors you like to your water with vinegar, for example, lemon, lime, mint leaves, cucumber slices, etc
If you want to make it sweet, choose a sweetener that doesn't impact your blood sugar, like stevia, erythritol, allulose, or monk fruit.
Mix your vinegar with other beverages like sparkling water, tea, some homemade kombucha, cinnamon tea, or others. Just be sure to avoid sugary drinks like fruit juices, carrot or beet juice, or soda - even diet soda which increases cravings, causes microbiome problems and usually contains aspartame, a sweetener known to increase insulin levels potentially.
9 VINEGAR DRINK IDEAS
If you aren't a big fan of vinegar taste, I have some recipe ideas to help you. These vinegar drinks work to lower blood sugar just as well as plain vinegar in water and are delicious.
Extra lemon: lots of ice, sparkling water, lemon slices, a splash of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like.
Hot cinnamon: a cup of hot cinnamon tea and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like. You can add a cinnamon stick.
Mint & raspberry: a glass of water, ice cubes, four fresh raspberries, lots of mint leaves, and one tablespoon of coconut vinegar or other vinegar you like.
Kombucha lover: a glass of homemade kombucha and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like. You can add a lemon slice.
Citrus max: A couple of slices of lemon, lime, grapefruit, sparkling water, and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like. You can add a rosemary branch to make it fancier.
Mocjito: lots of ice, two or three limes, lots of mint leaves, sparkling water, a few drops of stevia, and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like.
Spice up: a teapot of hot water, in which you place a wedge of lemon, some fresh ginger root, a pinch of monk fruit, and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like. You can also add a cinnamon stick and some star anise.
Salty: A glass of water, a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of liquid aminos, and one tablespoon of ACV or other vinegar you like. You can add a rosemary branch to make it fancier.
Vinegatini: A glass of iced water, two green olives, and one tablespoon of vermouth vinegar or other vinegar you like.
All your questions answered
CAN I DRINK A VINEGAR SHOT INSTEAD OF DILUTING IT IN WATER?
Never drink a shot of vinegar nor swig it straight from the bottle.
Vinegar is acidic, and it can cause damage to your teeth's enamel if it's not correctly diluted. That's also why I often suggest drinking it with a straw, to be extra cautious.
CAN I ADD SOME SWEETENER TO MY VINEGAR DRINK?
You can add some sweetener to your vinegar drink; choose a sweetener that doesn't impact your blood sugar, like stevia, erythritol, allulose, or monk fruit. Also, avoid sweet drinks like fruit juices.
IS DRINKING VINEGAR IN THE MORNING HELPFUL?
There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that taking apple cider vinegar in the morning is more beneficial than drinking it at any other time of the day. Also, one benefit of drinking vinegar is that it tells our muscles to soak up glucose - from the foods we eat- so the best time to drink it is before meals.
IS DRINKING VINEGAR OK FOR PEOPLE WITH ACID REFLUX?
The science doesn't say that diluted vinegar in water makes acid reflux worse. But it's up to your personal experience – listen to your body.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM TRAVELLING OR EATING OUT?
If you are traveling or eating out, my best advice is to order a salad first and use olive oil and vinegar as dressing; in this way, you do not need to drink the vinegar, and you are also adding fiber to your meal. It will help to flatten your blood sugar as well.
IS SAFE TO HAVE VINEGAR DURING PREGNANCY?
Pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized foods, and ACV is often unpasteurized. But if you're pregnant, you can use a pasteurized ACV or another type of vinegar. Usually, other kinds of vinegar are pasteurized -like white vinegar, rice vinegar, etc.- and all of them work the same because all of them have acetic acid.
In conclusion, drinking a tablespoon of vinegar diluted in water before your meals is an easy way to lower your blood sugar.
This is a really cool, science-backed hack. I was really impressed to see all the scientific studies on the topic!
Use this as a tool, when it's easy, and remember there are many more just as powerful hacks that I share.
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