Past studies have shown that consuming vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity in people with insulin resistance and possibly improve blood glucose control in people with Type 2 diabetes. Now, research has indicated that vinegar consumption is also effective at controlling after-meal blood glucose levels in those with Type 1 diabetes.
To determine the effects of vinegar in people with this condition, researchers recruited 10 men with Type 1 diabetes who ranged in age from 29 to 35 years old and who had been diagnosed roughly 15 years earlier. To ensure that they were observed under similar metabolic conditions, the participants were instructed to fast overnight and had insulin infused through a hand vein until an hour prior to the start of the experiment. The men were randomly assigned to groups consuming either vinegar (30 milliliters of vinegar and 20 milliliters of water) or placebo (50 milliliters of water) five minutes before eating a meal composed of bread, cheese, turkey ham, orange juice, butter, and a cereal bar. Blood samples were collected prior to eating and at 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes after the meal to measure insulin levels, and blood glucose levels were measured with a continuous glucose monitor. (A week later, the groups were switched and the experiment was conducted again.)
The data showed that blood glucose levels were similar in both groups prior to eating and until 30 minutes after the meal. At the 30-minute mark, blood glucose levels in the placebo group continued to rise, peaking at roughly 209 mg/dl at 94 minutes, while in the vinegar group, blood glucose levels rose to 155 mg/dl and remained steady, without spiking, until the end of the experiment.
While the mechanisms by which vinegar helps control after-meal blood glucose levels aren’t entirely clear, it is known from previous studies that vinegar delays stomach emptying and that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, enhances glucose storage in the liver and muscle tissue.
According to the researchers, “two tablespoons of vinegar could easily be used as a complementary food (e.g., in a salad dressing) to reduce hyperglycemia.”
To learn more, see “Vinegar Decreases Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes” in Diabetes Care.