A Spoonful of Vinegar Helps the Sugar Go Down - PCOS Diva
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A Spoonful of Vinegar Helps the Sugar Go Down

By Amy Medling, Founder of PCOS Diva

Years ago, while looking online for a natural remedy for a nasty sore throat, I stumbled upon a fantastic website called earthclinic.com. It is a repository of anecdotal information regarding folk remedies and holistic cures. I was amazed to find Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) combined with a spoonful of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of cayenne pepper would ease my sore throat and sinuses (it worked!). I was even more intrigued by the number of postings from people who use ACV to control their blood sugar.

Before I embarked on a new regimen, I wanted to see if there was any scientific data to support all of the positive ACV testimonials. I did discover that in ancient Greece, around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ills, including coughs and colds. (1) With further investigation, I found that Professor Carol Johnston Ph.D. has been working on the subject of vinegar and diabetes with her research team from the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University. Her studies have recently shown that drinking apple cider vinegar slows the rise of blood sugar after the consumption of a high-carbohydrate meal. (2)

In Dr. Johnston’s initial study, 29 people had orange juice and a bagel for breakfast, which contained a total of 87 grams of carbohydrates. Two minutes before the meal, half of the subjects were given 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of apple cider vinegar mixed with 40 grams water and 1 teaspoon saccharine. The other half were given a placebo drink. A cross-over trial was conducted a week later, at which time the placebo group received the vinegar. The participants’ blood sugar levels were measured before and after breakfast. They were classified into 3 separate groups:

  • 10 people with type 2 diabetes
  • 11 people with insulin resistance
  • 8 healthy control people

Although all three groups in the study had better blood readings after meals began with vinegar cocktails, the people with insulin resistance experienced a 34% reduction in their blood sugar levels after the meal. Those with type 2 diabetes, experienced blood sugar levels reduced by 19%. The researchers reported in the January 2004 issue of Diabetes Care that the vinegar had an effect on the volunteers’ blood sugar comparable to what might be expected from diabetic drugs, such as Metformin.

Based on these results and two other recent studies (3, 4), Dr. Johnston thinks that the vinegar tonic interferes with the absorption of high-carbohydrate foods which reduces the blood sugar rise that normally occurs after a meal. She states in her findings, “The acetic acid in vinegar may inhibit enzymes that digest starch so that carbohydrate molecules aren’t available for absorption and are eliminated as fecal matter.” She suspects that acetic acid is the anti-diabetic ingredient in vinegar.

Every day, I splash 2 tsp of raw, unfiltered organic ACV such as Braggs in 16 oz. of water and drink this 3x per day. In the summer, it is refreshing iced (it just takes the place of a squeeze of lemon in your water). In the winter, I often drink it warm like tea. In addition to lowering blood sugar, ACV also detoxifies and balances PH levels.

Give ACV a try for a few weeks and let me know what you think. I can almost guarantee that it will not only keep sugar cravings at bay, but you may also lose a few pounds.

(1) http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com

(2) Johnston C, Kim C, Buller A: Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or diabetes. Diabetes Care 27:281-282, 2004 Web Link

(3) White A, Johnston C: Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes.
Diabetes Care 30:2814-2815, 2007 Web Link

(4) Johnston C: Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 24, No. 3, 158-165 (2005) Web Link

(5) Janet Raloff: Vinegar as a Sweet Solution. Science News, Vol. 166, No. 25/26, Dec. 18, 2004; Web Link

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  1. You said you drink it twice a day. Could you elaborate? Do you take it before any meals or before bed?
    I just recently started drinking a similar mixture and am interested in your “schedule”

    1. Thanks for your question Mela. I am actually enjoying the Body Ami product. You can read my review about it on my blog. What I currently do is put a “splash” of Body Ami probably about 2-3tsp in a liter bottle of water and sip it throughout the morning. Then I do the same thing around 4PM and sip it throughout the evening.

      When I am not using Body Ami I put the same amount of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and a splash of Pomegrante juice in the liter bottle of water.

  2. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and want to go the natural route. Please email me updates!!! Thanks:)

    1. Lena-
      The natural route has really worked for me. You can sign up for updates via feedburner by clicking on the RSS button on the top of the home page. I hope to keep my blog more up-to-date. Life has been busy juggling three kids these days. I have been more apt to post interesting tidbits of info on Twitter and Facebook lately. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thank you so much Amy for providing so much helpful information, I am so happy to have come across your site! I was diagnosed 11 years ago with pcos, and unfortunately the doctor did not mention that meant insulin resistance as well. I have been eating clean and working out 5-6 days a week since May 1 2010, lost 36lbs, however this seems pretty slow being that I have been working so hard, and still suffering from low blood sugars. I will be getting my thyroid and sugar levels checked this week. So now I have just been searching for natural tips on how to manage pcos.
    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. Are you eating enough protein? Make sure to have protein at each of your 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day. YOu may actually need to eat more to lose more. You may need to fire up your metabolism. Also try to eliminate gluten for a few weeks and see how you feel. Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi Amy,
    I was just wondering if V8 juice would be alright to have for one of my snacks throughout the day. The bottle says that there are about 15 grams of carbs and they come only from the vegetables, no other sugar added.
    Thanks for your thoughts

  5. Amy,

    Can you take the ACV with cinnamon pills as well or should it be one or the other? Thank you

  6. Hello! I read on another website that you shouldn’t take ACV while on medication such as Metformin. I love ACV! It’s always been a remedy of mine for other things but, just discovered it for PCOS. Have you heard anything about taking it while on Metformin?