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Mary Shomon

Vinegar and Pickles: Weight Loss Solutions?

By January 23, 2005

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A great article at Science News online reviewed some of the latest information on the possible role vinegar can play in helping control insulin levels. And pickles are part of the picture too. Find out more about this interesting weight loss tip now.

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Managing insulin levels is a key aspect of weight loss for many people with metabolic imbalances.

Nutritionist Carol S. Johnston of Arizona State University East in Mesa looked at the role of vinegar and has found that 2 tablespoons of vinegar before a meal can dramatically lower the increased insulin and blood sugar (glucose) levels that typically occur in people who have type 2 diabetes. In her study, she looked at a group made up of a third type 2 diabetics, a thid who were pre-diabetic, and a third with no signs of diabetes. Measuring blood levels after a high-carb breakfast, Johnston found that vinegar improved the readings for all 3 groups, but results were most dramatic among those who were prediabetic. In their case, vinegar cut their blood sugar increase in the first hour after eating by as much as half.

Johnston decided to study vinegar after coming across earlier reports, including a 2001 study, that found that pickles could lower the blood-sugar spikes that take place after eating. Johnston and her researchers speculate that a particular acid found in vinegar and pickles may prevent digestion of carbs in the stomach.

In another study, Johnston had half the volunteers take a 2-tablespoon dose of vinegar prior to each of two meals daily for 4 weeks, and the other group members were told to avoid vinegar. Interestingly, the vinegar users had an average 2 pound weight loss over 4 weeks (as much as 4 weeks in some participants), compared to constant average weight in the group not drinking vinegar.

Note that actual vinegar or pickled foods seem to do the trick but vinegar supplements don't work, because they don't contain acetic acid, which, based on studies, is the ingredient Johnstons suspects is helping control blood sugar.

Note: I can tell you that I'm now starting most meals with a salad with a real vinagrette (not a bottled version, but one I make myself with vinegar and olive oil). And whenever I have a sandwich, I'm adding a few pickles on the side, with not a bit of guilt! I can feel it helps me, and in general, if it can't hurt, why not!


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