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World Diabetes Day 2021: Is Vinegar Good For People With Diabetes?

World Diabetes Day is celebrated every year on 14 November to raise awareness on this chronic global health issue for its early detection and prevention, as well as, support people with diabetes to manage the condition well and prevent its complications.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can be prevented or managed by diet, medications, physical activities and frequent screening. Vinegar, a food ingredient, can help manage the glucose levels in the body and can be safely included in a diabetes diet.

Vinegar contains a special ingredient acetic acid that is mainly known for its effect on diabetes. In this article, we will discuss the association between vinegar and diabetes. Take a look.

What Is Vinegar?

A study says that vinegar or vin aigre (in French) means "sour wine" and it is prepared by fermenting foods rich in carbohydrates such as dates, apples, pears, berries, honey, melons, potatoes, grains, malt and even wine. [1]

The fermentation process is done by acetic acid bacteria that turn the alcohol into acetic acid and give vinegar a sour taste, pungency and tart flavour. A vinegar must contain around 4-7 per cent acetic acid for beneficial effects.

Other nutrients in vinegar include amino acids, gallic acid, catechin, ferulic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid and caffeic acid.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 g of vinegar contains 93.8 g of water and 90 kL of energy. It contains nutrients like calcium (7 mg), iron (0.2 mg), phosphorus (8 mg), magnesium (5 mg), potassium (73 mg), zinc (0.04 mg), sodium (5 mg), copper (0.008 mg), selenium (0.1 mcg) and manganese (0.249 mg). [2]

Vinegar And Diabetes

1. Has anti-glycemic effects

Vinegar has anti glycemic effects; a study mentions how ingestion of 60 mL strawberry vinegar (containing 5% acetic acid) after intake of 50 g sucrose, had reduced blood glucose and insulin response by 20 per cent. [3] Another study talks about how white vinegar, with the same concentration of acetic acid, has shown the glucose-lowering effect by over 30 per cent when used as a salad dressing for white bread. [4] Other vinegar types with carbohydrate sources like rice can also be a good choice for people with diabetes.

2. May reduce postprandial glucose levels

Postprandial or post-meal glucose levels (PPG) are indications of how your glucose levels are behaving after meal consumption; elevated PPG for long intervals can contribute to diabetes or its complications. A study has shown how some complementary foods like vinegar can help lower post-meal glucose hike after intake of foods with a high glycemic load. This shows that vinegar, after a heavy meal, can help prevent the glucose spike in diabetics. The reduction in glucose levels was, however, noticed only when high glycemic foods were consumed. [5]

3. Improves functioning of pancreatic beta cells

Dysfunction of beta cells of the pancreas causes insufficient production of insulin which may lead to Type 1 diabetes. According to a study, white rice vinegar can help improve the functioning of pancreatic beta cells and thus, maintain glucose levels in the body. It can also reduce body weight and improve glycogen storage in the liver and contribute to glucose management. [6]

4. Positive effects on the glycemic index and oxidative stress

Apple cider vinegar, the most widely used form of vinegar, may show beneficial effects on oxidative stress and glycemic indices of people with diabetes and high cholesterol levels, says a study. Oxidative stress is known to damage the pancreatic cells due to free radicals, thus leading to diabetes and its complications. Vinegar's anti-oxidative properties can help prevent damage to vital organs like the pancreas and thus, prevent diabetes risk. [7]

5. Reduces glycemic index of foods

Studies say that when vinegar is added to high carbohydrate foods such as rice, its glycemic index can be reduced by 20-35 per cent. Also, when food items like cucumber are pickled with vinegar, the glycemic index may reduce by over 30 per cent. This shows that vinegar has great glycemic index-lowering properties and thus, can be consumed with carbs as part of a diabetes diet. [8]

To Conclude

It is always good to consult a medical expert before including any food in your diabetes diet for proper quantities depending on your condition.

Does vinegar lower blood sugar quickly?

Vinegar may not lower blood quickly, but when it is consumed with high carbohydrates foods, it may reduce post-meal glucose spikes by around 30 per cent.

Can diabetics drink vinegar?

Yes, diabetics can drink vinegar with water or consume pickles made with vinegar or can mix vinegar with salads and high carb foods like rice. This will help control glucose levels in the body and also improve the function of pancreatic beta cells.

How does vinegar lower your blood sugar?

Vinegar has anti-glycemic and antioxidative properties. It may help prevent damage to pancreatic beta cells due to free radicals and improve insulin production while the anti-glycemic property may help glucose spike in the body.