Optimal Vinegar Dose

Optimal Vinegar Dose
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How much vinegar should you consume with a meal to improve satiety and reduce the spike in blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides?

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Consuming vinegar with a meal reduces the spike in blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides. And it appears to work particularly well in those who are insulin resistant, on their way to type 2 diabetes; no wonder the consumption of vinegar with meals was used as a folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes before diabetes drugs were invented.

Many cultures have taken advantage of this fact, mixing vinegar with high glycemic foods like white rice—in Japan, for example, to make sushi; dipping bread into balsamic in the Mediterranean; a variety of sourdough breads throughout Europe, which cause lower blood sugar and insulin spikes. And you can do the same with boiled white potatoes by adding vinegar, and cooling them to make potato salad.

Adding vinegar to white bread doesn’t just lower blood sugar and insulin responses, but increases satiety—the feeling of being full after a meal. If you eat three slices of white bread, it may fill you up a little, but in less than two hours, not only are you as hungry as you started, but actually hungrier—less satiated than when you began. But if you eat that same amount of bread with some vinegar, you feel twice as full. And even two hours later, you’re still feeling nearly just as full as if you just ate the three pieces of bread plain. But this remarkable increase and prolongation of satiety took nearly two tablespoons of vinegar. That’s a lot of vinegar.

It turns out even just small amounts of vinegar—two teaspoons with a meal—can significantly cut down on the blood sugar spike of a refined carb meal—a bagel and juice in this case. So, you could have a little side salad or even just add it to some tea with lemon—it’s only two teaspoons. Or scrap the bagel with juice, and just have some oatmeal with berries instead.

What if you consume vinegar every day for months? Researchers at Arizona State randomized prediabetics to drink a daily bottle of apple cider vinegar drink—a half bottle at lunch, a half bottle at supper—or, take an apple cider vinegar tablet, which they pretty much considered a placebo control, since while the bottle contains two tablespoons of vinegar, two tablets would add up to only about a third of a teaspoon a day. So, they were, in effect, comparing about 40 spoonfuls of vinegar a week, to 2 for 12 weeks.

This is what happened. On the vinegar drink, fasting blood sugars dropped within one week. How significant is a drop of 16 points? A simple dietary tweak—a tablespoon of vinegar twice a day—worked better than the leading drugs, like Glucophage and Avandia. This effect of vinegar is particularly noteworthy when the cost, access, and toxicities that are associated with pharmaceutical medications are considered. So, safer, cheaper, and more effective. No wonder it’s been used medicinally since antiquity. Interestingly, even the tiny amount of vinegar in pill form seemed to help a bit. That’s astonishing. And no, the study was not funded by the vinegar company.

What about long-term vinegar use where it really counts: in diabetics? They were randomized into one of three groups. Two tablespoons of vinegar twice a day, with lunch and supper; two dill pickles a day, which each contained about a half tablespoon’s worth of vinegar; or an even smaller vinegar pill twice a day, each containing only 1/16th of a teaspoon’s worth of vinegar. So, I wasn’t surprised the pill didn’t work, but neither did the pickles. Maybe the tablespoon a day isn’t enough for diabetics? Regardless, the vinegar did work: all the more impressive, because the diabetics were mostly well-controlled on medication, and still saw an additional benefit from the vinegar.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Andreas Levers via Flickr

Consuming vinegar with a meal reduces the spike in blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides. And it appears to work particularly well in those who are insulin resistant, on their way to type 2 diabetes; no wonder the consumption of vinegar with meals was used as a folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes before diabetes drugs were invented.

Many cultures have taken advantage of this fact, mixing vinegar with high glycemic foods like white rice—in Japan, for example, to make sushi; dipping bread into balsamic in the Mediterranean; a variety of sourdough breads throughout Europe, which cause lower blood sugar and insulin spikes. And you can do the same with boiled white potatoes by adding vinegar, and cooling them to make potato salad.

Adding vinegar to white bread doesn’t just lower blood sugar and insulin responses, but increases satiety—the feeling of being full after a meal. If you eat three slices of white bread, it may fill you up a little, but in less than two hours, not only are you as hungry as you started, but actually hungrier—less satiated than when you began. But if you eat that same amount of bread with some vinegar, you feel twice as full. And even two hours later, you’re still feeling nearly just as full as if you just ate the three pieces of bread plain. But this remarkable increase and prolongation of satiety took nearly two tablespoons of vinegar. That’s a lot of vinegar.

It turns out even just small amounts of vinegar—two teaspoons with a meal—can significantly cut down on the blood sugar spike of a refined carb meal—a bagel and juice in this case. So, you could have a little side salad or even just add it to some tea with lemon—it’s only two teaspoons. Or scrap the bagel with juice, and just have some oatmeal with berries instead.

What if you consume vinegar every day for months? Researchers at Arizona State randomized prediabetics to drink a daily bottle of apple cider vinegar drink—a half bottle at lunch, a half bottle at supper—or, take an apple cider vinegar tablet, which they pretty much considered a placebo control, since while the bottle contains two tablespoons of vinegar, two tablets would add up to only about a third of a teaspoon a day. So, they were, in effect, comparing about 40 spoonfuls of vinegar a week, to 2 for 12 weeks.

This is what happened. On the vinegar drink, fasting blood sugars dropped within one week. How significant is a drop of 16 points? A simple dietary tweak—a tablespoon of vinegar twice a day—worked better than the leading drugs, like Glucophage and Avandia. This effect of vinegar is particularly noteworthy when the cost, access, and toxicities that are associated with pharmaceutical medications are considered. So, safer, cheaper, and more effective. No wonder it’s been used medicinally since antiquity. Interestingly, even the tiny amount of vinegar in pill form seemed to help a bit. That’s astonishing. And no, the study was not funded by the vinegar company.

What about long-term vinegar use where it really counts: in diabetics? They were randomized into one of three groups. Two tablespoons of vinegar twice a day, with lunch and supper; two dill pickles a day, which each contained about a half tablespoon’s worth of vinegar; or an even smaller vinegar pill twice a day, each containing only 1/16th of a teaspoon’s worth of vinegar. So, I wasn’t surprised the pill didn’t work, but neither did the pickles. Maybe the tablespoon a day isn’t enough for diabetics? Regardless, the vinegar did work: all the more impressive, because the diabetics were mostly well-controlled on medication, and still saw an additional benefit from the vinegar.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Andreas Levers via Flickr

Doctor's Note

Make sure to check out the first three installments in this series, if you missed them:

This vinegar effect seems a little too good to be true. There have to be some downsides, right? I cover the caveats next in Vinegar Mechanisms and Side Effects, the final video in this series.

There are a few other foods found to improve blood sugar levels:

The best approach, of course, is a diet full of healthy foods:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

147 responses to “Optimal Vinegar Dose

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    1. Yeah, the video promised to discuss the optimal vinegar dose, but most of the studies dealt with participants at risk for diabetes. What about healthy individuals? It sounds like 2 tablespoons per day is a possible minimum. Is there any risk for 2 tablespoons per day? I could probably drink 4-6 tablespoons a day just because I like the taste of the stuff. Any anticipated problem with that level of consumption?

      1. Drinking two tbsps of vinegar everyday, even if it’s highly diluted, would ruin the teeth. Using a straw is a solution but not a very good one. When I drink dilute apple cider vinegar with a straw, the vinegar still touches the back of my teeth. Don’t know if it’s just me.

        1. Other videos on this site address the consumption of acid foods on teeth, in this case it was hybiscus. This video addresses the effect of acidic foods in general with mention of vinegar. The effect of acidic food, such as vinegar, was a a softening of a very thin layer on the surface of the enamel rather than a direct erosion. The damage wasn’t directly due to the softening of the enamel, but rather due to brushing of the teeth before the Ph. was neutralized and the enamel rehardened. So it looks like it is the combination of eating acidic food and immediately brushing (as we all were told we should do), rather than simply acidic food destroying your teeth.

          The take-away is acid food like vinegar, citrus, tomato, and the rest are fine to eat, just don’t brush immediately, rather wait 30 minutes after eating in order for Ph to return to neutral and the enamel to harden. You can speed to process by swish with plain water to return the Ph to neutral. Since a lot of foods that we don’t necessarily associate with being acid could have a softening effect, I think it wise to swish with water after every meal.

          1. I just asked the question, then scrolled down and found your comment. Now that you mention it, I remember reading that, just didn’t know how long one needed to wait out the softening effect. Thank you!

            1. Hi Ann! Here is a reponse to your original question — Good question — Dr. Greger speaks to your question in this post: Do Vegans Get More Cavities?

              Here is the relevant passage:

              There are a number of foods and drinks that have the potential to cause dental erosion, both unhealthy foods like soda and sour candy, as well as healthy foods like fresh fruit and certain herbal teas. In the biggest study to date, consuming citrus fruits more than twice a day was associated with 37 times greater odds of dental erosion compared to those who consumed citrus fruits less often. It also appears risky to consume apple cider vinegar or sports drinks once a week or more and soft drinks daily. These habits resulted in the odds of erosion being ten, four, and four times greater, respectively, than when the habit did not exist.

              How can we get the benefits of healthy foods like citrus while minimizing the risks of dental erosion? The most important thing is that we should never brush right after we eat sour fruit. We should wait at least 30 minutes. Acid softens our enamel such that if we brush right away we can actually brush away some of our teeth!

              I profile a study where they had some folks swish an acidic solution (Diet Sprite) and then brush immediately after, or 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes after. Drinking soda without brushing at all can lead to some enamel loss, but we may double or triple that damage if we brush our teeth when they’re in the acidified softened state. The researchers suggest we should wait at least 30 minutes and probably a whole hour afterwards to be safe. The simple solution is that after eating anything sour we should rinse our mouth with water to help neutralize the acid.

              Hope this helps!

      2. It can cause recurring canker sores. That’s what happened to me when I used 1 tablespoon in water with each meal.

          1. Joshua Pritikin, I don’t have a citation. I had Googled something like “causes of canker sores”. When I read that vinegar, among other things, can cause them I realized the whole episode of one sore after another began shortly after starting to drink 1 tablespoon of vinegar in water with meals. I stopped the vinegar and the sores went away and haven’t returned. So, I’m my only proof, but it works for me!

            I realize we have so many individual differences, so I’m not saying to avoid vinegar. Indeed, I still use it on salads and in other ways. I just don’t take a tablespoon with meals any more.

              1. It was Bragg’s organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar – the one shown in one of the pictures from this series.

  1. I usually added shredded cabbage to my grilled tempeh and tofu tacos, but as of late, I have been mixing in some balsamic vinegar and some sesame seeds. I find the resulting mixture very pleasant and would happily eat it as a side salad.

  2. Did the Johnston studies (at 2:02 and 3:23) both actually use the raw unfiltered organic forms of ACV shown in the illustrations? If so, I wonder if people using industrial vinegar (anything sold at room temperature) would get the same results?

    It’s worth noting that vinegar was traditionally fermented over months (or longer), developing a cocktail of probiotic acetic-acid-loving bacteria that remain in the raw refrigerated product (like the bottles shown with the video). That’s far too expensive a process for most companies, though, which now take less than a day to produce inexpensive industrial vinegar that contains none of the probiotics. But there’s a reason many health-minded people pay several times more for the traditional raw version—and I wish that difference had been highlighted more in this series of videos.

    1. Yeah, I am curious about that too. Is there any difference between balsamic, apple cider, and plain white vinegar? It seems like there should be because grapes and apples (respectively) offer lots of antioxidants compared to maybe less for whatever grains are used to create white vinegar.

    2. Previous videos have stated that acetic acid alone has significant benefits, but that the anti-oxidants in vinegars provide additional benefits. So distilled white “industrial” vinegar is not necessarily to be avoided. For one thing it costs something like a tenth as much as some of the more exotic vinegars. For me, Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar (their filtered, not their distilled, product) is a happy medium–not as good as Bragg, but better than white.

      1. Or you can just toss all your fruit scraps into a big old jug of water with some live starter from Braggs or some other brand with the mother, cover it with a cloth and let it do it’s thing! Takes a while depending on the temps, but you can just keep adding stuff as it ferments until it’s full! Looks creepy, but once the result is strained it’s awesome! And free!

      2. Might want to consider the source of the white vinegar.
        “Presently, we authorize the manufacture of vinegar from ethyl alcohol synthesized from natural gas or petroleum derivatives. It is our opinion that most of the distilled spirits used in the production of vinegar are derived from natural gas and petroleum. When such alcohol is used in the production of vinegar, we would consider any reference to ‘grain alcohol’ or ‘neutral grain spirits’ would be misleading for the alcohol and also the name ‘grain vinegar’ would be misleading, except for connoting strength, e.g., 40-grains.
        POLICY: Synthetic ethyl alcohol may be used as a food ingredient or in the manufacturing of vinegar or other chemicals for food use, within limitations imposed by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Alcohol Administration Act, and regulations promulgated under these acts. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074550.htm#.T11AJoXe2P4.email

  3. I’ve read several places that seemed credible that vinegar is bad for bones, contributing to osteporosis. Would love to know how bad. Since caffeine and salt are bad for bones (I do both) will adding vinegar be too much. I wonder if how bad vinegar is for bones equals how bad caffeine is for bones? Confused? Yes, I am.

    1. Hi, thanks for your interesting questions,

      For information on caffeine I thought Dr Greger’s video on Caffeine and Mortality would answer your question on bone loss and risk of total fracture and hip fracture. The references can be found under sources cited to the right of the video.

      caffeine and mortality

      For vinegar and bone loss or osteoporosis, I did a quick search for you on PubMed and only came up with an animal study and a case study that weren’t really relevant.

      Going on a slight tangent, for information on acid and dental health, Dr Greger has lots of great videos at

      dental health

    2. If I remember correctly, cider vinegar is an alkaline food, whereas white vinegar (for some reason) is acid forming. Might this impact upon bone health. I’ll do some research on this.

      1. The warnings about bone thinning referred specifically to apple cider vinegar which is used as a traditional folk remedy for all kinds of things.

  4. Don’t drink vinegar straight out of the bottle–it is very acidic and therefore corrosive to tooth enamel. I keep a spray bottle handy and use it the way I used to use salt: on popcorn or anything else that I want to be “savoury”. Two tablespoons in my green smoothie really improves the taste.

    Acetic acid causes a strong salivating reflex. I wonder if this has anything to do with vinegar’s benefits? Amylase in saliva breaks down starch. Could vinegar improve digestion of starch via improved salivary response? Just a thought.

    1. well, it did not work on simple sugars, so having more of those quicker on hand would seem to reduce, not improve the effects.

  5. Does drinking kombucha create a similar reduction in insulin and blood sugar spikes? Kombucha supposedly contains acetic acid, as does vinegar. I enjoy drinking my own home-brewed kombucha with my meals, so I am hoping that I can substitute for vinegar. Can anyone comment on this?

      1. Thanks, Thea. I watched the video and have been aware of concerns noted, however exaggerated in this case (my opinion). I don’t feel that the video does justice to the topic. I am not aware of anyone who believes that a food or drink will impart eternal life, and discrediting this beverage by even mentioning this reference is dialectically spurious tactic. Sorry, Dr G & staff, you can do better than this! However, more subtle claims have been made about kombucha that deserve further analysis. As you mention, batch to batch differences may exist, but studies can be done on samples from various sources to draw common conclusions. I wish that Dr G would take on this task to the level I am accustom to seeing here. I offer my kombucha for testing, if anyone is interested.

      2. Yeah, I find that video disconcerting. He kind of mocks the exaggerated reports with a few isolated and exceptional cases with a slew of possible variables, which just takes the topic to the opposite extreme lacking any definitive or conclusive proof! Sure there is cause for concern, but people can die from drinking too much water, I want to know why! Panning it based on a few outliers is like warning everyone off some food that causes an allergic response in a small minority. I always have a gallon brewing and consume it regularly as I would any tea, or second ferment it with other flavors. If someone can die from acidosis from drinking kombucha, vinegar is a whole lot stronger, even diluted in similar portions. I realize every batch is different and there are variables, but that’s typical throughout history, and with sourdoughs, etc. It’s made out of tea and fermented with probiotics, and i’m not saying it’s “magic” for sure, but I’ve found ferments in general to help eliminate my gut issues, improve mental clarity and mood, and boost immunity among other things. Most of all I love it as a beverage and wish he would update this video. Here’s a little more detail on the topic if anyone is interested.
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12073/full

        1. Vege-tater: The video says that there were a *series* of case studies where the researchers were able to link peoples’ drinking of kombucha to “life-threatening lactic acidosis.” To my knowledge, no one has gone into a coma drinking vinegar. So, even if we do not yet know the mechanism involved between kombucha and people’s blood turning to acid, I would say that there is a significant difference between kombucha and vinegar and that difference has nothing to do with the “strength” as you propose.
          .
          That said, I have no problem with people drinking all the kombucha that they want. I just think that they should be aware that there are potential serious risks. These are risks which you won’t learn about from those people who promote kombucha. Making people aware of the various food risk is one of the big goals of NutritionFacts. You don’t have to agree with it. It is just information to take in. And then once you are aware of the risks, you can make your own decision on what to do about it. I’m glad your batches have not been a problem to date and hope that they continue to provide you with healthy drinking far into the future.

          1. I agree, but that’s my point…yes, mention the cases, and yes of course take them into consideration, but he panned it with the red light and it was kind of mocking with no real explanation. The links above elaborate more and offer some possible insight. My comment about ‘stronger’ should have specifically said more acidic, as acidosis was the issue.

            1. Vege-tater: re: “My comment about ‘stronger’ should have specifically said more acidic, as acidosis was the issue.” That was my point. We have no idea how kombucha is changing some people’s blood into acid. How acidic kombucha vs vinegar is is probably irrelevant to the cause of the problem. People drink other acidic drinks all the time without problem.

              re”…with no real explanation.” There was no explanation, because we don’t have one.

              I can see how someone who loves kombucha would not appreciate the tone of the video. I felt Dr. Greger was making an important point about wild claims about kombucha. But I also guess that if Dr. Greger were making a video on kombucha today, the video would be the much more in-depth and nuanced look that you are wanting. The existing video is from Volume 4, which pre-dates this website. And as you know, Dr. Greger himself has said that his more recent videos are of way better quality.

              That said, I still stand by my original premise that the video, even as-is, is an important bit of knowledge for kombucha drinkers to have. We don’t know the cause between kombucha and blood turning to acid. We know that other acidic drinks do not cause people to go into comas. The problem seems to be limited to kombucha and affects a very small number of people. But the potential downside is extremely serious. (As opposed to say, the side effects of say eating a whole plant food diet which seems to have pretty much only positive effects for most people.) So, the warning of the kombucha video is appropriate and important in my opinion.

              1. Have to say I agree with Vege-tater – that video, which dismisses kombucha based on a single case report, fell far short of the standards to which this site should aspire. A more useful approach might have cited some of the research documenting kombucha’s health benefits (I list a couple studies above) and then cautioned against drinking too much. We all know the dose makes the poison. If someone newly diagnosed with HIV had read about kombucha’s health benefits and then drank bottle after bottle, is it fair to condemn the beverage if that person ended up dead?

                By the same logic, Dr G might want to add this popular beverage to his do-not-drink list, as well:
                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1770067/

                As for vinegar’s potential lethality, consider this: http://www.theonion.com/article/science-guy-bill-nye-killed-in-massive-vinegarbaki-288

                At any rate, I suggest Dr G scramble his newly fortified research time to revisit this topic. A beverage with scientifically documented health benefits that one can brew at home for less than $2 a gallon surely deserves a more serious analysis on this site.

                1. KnowBeans: I hear you.

                  One minor correction. You wrote: “…based on a single case report…” The video says that there was a *series* of case reports.

                  1. Yes, but the report mentions other cases without actually providing citations, which leaves the reader to take its word that they exist and support its conclusions. That, imho, doesn’t rise to the level of scientific credibility.

                  2. Reports of adverse effects related to kombucha consumption are rare. It is unclear whether this is because adverse effects are rare, or just underreported.[2] The American Cancer Society says that “Serious side effects and occasional deaths have been associated with drinking Kombucha tea”.[4]

                    Adverse effects associated with kombucha consumption include severe hepatic (liver) and renal (kidney) toxicity as well as metabolic acidosis.[8][9][10] At least one person is known to have died after consuming kombucha, though the drink itself has never been conclusively proved a cause of death.[11][12]

                    Some adverse health effects may be due to the acidity of the tea, which can cause acidosis, and brewers have been cautioned to avoid over-fermentation.[13][14] Other adverse health effects may be a result of bacterial or fungal contamination during the brewing process.[14] Some studies have found the hepatotoxin usnic acid in kombucha, although it is not known whether the cases of damage to the liver are due to the usnic acid contamination or to some other toxin.[9][15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha

                    The CDC reports 2 cases that I can find. They do not know if the Kombucha is the “killer”.
                    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00039742.htm

                2. KnowBeans: I look at look at your link for Bill Nye. Funny! :0) It must have been an April Fools edition or something. (Although I can see that it says August.) The headline got me for a second. Thanks for sharing.

                  1. I was going to say, if that were a true story, he would have made the top of the list for the “Darwin Awards” that year ;-)

      1. Glad to see a healthy debate ensue over kombucha! Citation of cases where kombucha might have caused health benefits deserve the same level of documentation and publication of the cases where kombucha might have caused adverse reactions. Until then, the argument remains unbalanced. Thea, when might we see this topic scheduled for an updated video? I want to know more – good or bad – even if the evidence only points in a certain direction. Also, if the current video is outdated or on the whole not communicating current thinking, should it not be noted or otherwise removed from the site?

        1. Mimi: you wrote: “Thea, when might we see this topic scheduled for an updated video?” I have no contact with Dr. Greger and no special insight into the schedule or topics for the videos. If interested, you can see some of the criteria that Dr. Greger uses to pick studies to highlight in the FAQ page linked to at the bottom of most pages on this site.
          .
          My guess is that Dr. Greger keeps an eye on the forum discussions. So, there is a good chance (I’m guessing) that Dr. Greger has seen this discussion and put kombucha on his to-do list for the future. For your sake, I hope he has done so!

  6. Can I add Braggs Apple cider vinegar to my morning smoothy, made with organic kale, spinach, frozen pineapple and mango, distilled water and about a cup of unsweetened almond milk, that makes me about 8 cups? Will the cider be strong and maybe sour the taste?

    1. Only one way to find out. But often what might sound like flavors that would clash when thinking about them individually actually turn out to add dimension and depth to the flavor profile since you are experiencing them not separately but all together as a whole. But then again it could taste like crap. Let us know how it turns out.

    2. I always taste my smoothies, which vary with whatever is in the fridge, and add an acidic component if they taste too sweet. It’s usually lemon or lime juice, but I have added kombucha and vinegar at various times. I usually add only a tablespoon or two, depending on how I want to balance the sweetness from the fruit.

  7. From the transcript:
    “Researchers at Arizona State randomized prediabetics to drink a daily bottle of apple cider vinegar drink—a half bottle at lunch, a half
    bottle at supper—or, take an apple cider vinegar tablet, which they pretty much considered a placebo control, since while the bottle
    contains two tablespoons of vinegar, two tablets would add up to only about a third of a teaspoon a day. So, they were, in effect, comparing
    about 40 spoonfuls of vinegar a week, to 2 for 12 weeks.”

    So if they consumed a bottle of the drink per day and each bottle contains 2 Tbs, would that not be 14 spoonfuls per week?

  8. I’m glad you finally mentioned sourdough bread. It’s a neat way to keep your vinegar on tap. Sourdough starters also improve the texture and flavor of the bread, lessen or eliminate the need for store-bought yeast, and is fun to play with. It just takes a little longer (2x times) time for your bread to rise.

    1. Not to mention it’s a lot of fun and easy to create your own local starter. Mine is about 2 years old now and I get razzed for being the only person they know that has to FEED stuff in their refrigerator!

      1. Indeed. I’ve been keeping my starters for a couple of decades. I found 6-8 keepers, with usually only 1 or 2 active at a time. SD Jack Mabee, Carl Griffith’s, Sourdough International Bahrain + San Francisco & Russian. With the exception of whole-rye starter, my homemade starters never performed as well. All the best. ;)

        1. A couple of decades, wow, that is discipline! Awesome! I don’t have any commercial starter to compare with and I would love to, but hey, it works and it’s free! I think traditional fermentation makes a HUGE difference in the digestibility of the loaf, even people who avoid bread seem to have no issues with sourdough. When you see how bread is now made and what goes into it, it’s no wonder people have problems with it! The staff of life has become the stuff of death! lol

          1. Sourdough is one of those things I’ve been super interested in making. I don’t know why, but when I start to read up on the process and up keep I just can’t stay focused. I remember loving sourdough bread when I was little,… now the store bought stuff is like, meh.
            Of course the number of real whole grain sourdoughs are limited, so maybe that is why I don’t get excited when I start to look.

            1. Nick, it really is no big deal, I felt the same way. It can sound more complicated than it actually with all the terms, and there are more “steps” but little actual hands on time, it’s just a matter of developing your own rhythms, kinda like going plant based in the beginning! I gave some starter to a friend who said it felt like getting a new pet, more responsibilities and something else to feed! lol I told her to spread some out on wax paper and dry some, and also keep a small amount frozen for backup, in case she did manage to neglect the original. The thing to remember is though there are purists who insist you need to do this or that for the ultimate loaf…sourdough is very forgiving and the only way to “fail” is to not let it rise long enough. (Still edible, but kind of dense and flat…great toast!)
              The starter itself I just keep in the fridge and since I make bread for just me about once a week, I take it out and feed it a couple days before baking to activate. Early the next day I’ll mix my assorted flours and (unchlorinated) water for bread into a thin dough and let it autolyze for a few hours. (which is lazy alternative to kneading but works as well or better!). Then I add in a scoop of the activated starter, salt, some mixed sprouted grains and enough additional flour to make a firm dough, cover and forget it all day as it does it’s thing. My sourdough dough will break down a bit from the action of the microbes, so isn’t as firm as yeast dough, so when it’s raised as much as I want it, I just transfer it into whatever baking pan I want, and let it rise to perfection (whatever I decide that is that day), and bake. If you are the type who likes predictable consistency, there IS a lot written, but I have more fun winging it and seeing what happens, and learning as I go, since it is so forgiving. I usually make my formulaic type loaf as a base, and a second “experimental” one using different flours, liquids, grains, seeds, starchy and other veggies, whatever I get curious to try! (They aren’t all wonderful, but me and the birds usually enjoy them anyway!) Well worth trying, not just for the easy and awesome results, but also participating in a nourishing ancient tradition that can help eliminate the bromated, chemicalized, store bought monstrosities! Here’s a great website I find helpful when I need some guidance… http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons
              Enjoy!

              1. Wow! You are really something-even though it sounds like you don’t know how amazing what you are doing is! Thanks for all the info!

                1. You are so sweet, thank you! I think it’s fun, I’m a the unmitigated mad scientist, and since I never pursued it as a career, I get my kicks experimenting in the kitchen and life! I was that annoying kid that always asked “why” and since I rarely got a satisfying answer, learned to figure it out one way or another. Sometimes it’s great to learn what you need from those with expertise, but sometimes I still need to challenge the accepted and learn the “whys” myself. Some would call that a glutton for punishment, but it keeps me going, even old dogs can learn new tricks! :)

          2. For a cheap and wild (yeast) adventure anyone can invest two postage stamps and envelopes to get Carl’s starter from the Friends of Carl website: http://carlsfriends.net
            People can check out THE FRESH LOAF and other enthusiast sites to see how others bake with it.
            (If anyone wants to swap addresses offline I could probably be compelled to similar terms for some of my favorite starters, too.) Take care.

  9. Do vinegar capsules work as an alternative to liquid vinegar? That seems to be the solution to the effect on tooth enamel and the nasty taste . . .

    1. Chris, I would think it would depend on how many capsules you take (this is presuming the it is just vinegar, as in the study, in the capsules). You might have to swallow a lot to get up to a tablespoon. I’d suggest trying adding vinegar to various foods first–I really like the tang it adds to lentil soup and similar bean dishes.

    2. no, the video mentions those have too little, like only 1/16 tsp actual vinegar. I wish they did, I bought a lot of them now useless. The powder in them does not even dissolve in water….

    1. Hi Brian, in the studies, the vinegar was consumed at mealtime.
      A 2 T dose was effective in lowering after meal blood sugars, whereas the lesser amount in the pickles was not. The studies didn’t look at whether more would be better.
      the take-home message to me is that vinegar has health benefits, can be a beneficial part of the diet. I don’t think personally that everyone has to suddenly start taking it! But as a doctor, I would recommend it now to my diabetic or pre-diabetic patients. Of course having an overall healthy diet is much more important than focusing on one kind of food.

  10. Thanks for the article. Could I repeat the question in part by liliroza: is vinegar bad for the bones? The information about vinegar usage is really contradictory on the net. Also I read (Dr. Berger) that two tablespoons of cider vinegar a day will help protect you from fatty liver disease if you are losing a lot of weight. Any truth to this claim?

    1. Hi Charmaine, I had a look on the site WebMD which I consider reliable. It mentioned several cautions with vinegar, since there have been cases of low blood potassium with people who were drinking 8 oz a day for a long time. The cautions were connected with use of vinegar in people who are taking diuretics or digoxin, both medications which can lower blood potassium. There wasn’t any mention of osteoporosis as a caution. On that particular WebMD site, it considered that there was not sufficient evidence for benefits which are attributed to vinegar—not to say that there might not be benefits, but that the evidence was not solid enough. I am sorry I can’t find anything about protection from fatty liver disease when losing a lot of weight. Generally, weight loss is something that improves fatty liver disease. Some sources suggest monitoring liver functions (by blood test) if a person is losing weight, though this is not routinely done in clinical practice. I think though, if someone were losing weight rapidly it would be good to monitor. Healthy weight loss is considered to be about 1 or 2 pounds per week.

      1. Thanks very much for your answer Dr. Maisel and for your time! It agrees with what I found making two independant sources of research a valuable tool.

  11. Here.s a recipe , using vinegar. Danish red cabbage, use about three quarter cup vinegar depending on the size of cabbage,add about 5 oz brown sugar or a more healthful sweetner, grate the head of cabbage and cook over low heat until tender. Smells really good as it cooks. I use the oven for about an hour. You can easily find recipes online, but they normally add salt, duck fat, and red currant juice. Don,t add the fat, it well be just as good without that.salt will add flavor and you can add water to make it a bit more liquid so it can cook. Only about a quarter cup water is needed.
    There,s a secret to red cabbage, it tastes good as a side dish to your main meal for sure, but it,s the leftovers that really count . Store the leftovers in glass jars in the fridge, toast a piece of whole grain bread and put the cold red cabbage on bread…….yum. I have meet confirmed meat eaters who would rather eat this sandwich instead of a meat sandwich. Oh and to make it Danish it,s always eaten open face. cheers

  12. Our body is alkaline, and i think we can destroy quickly our teeth, take off calcuim from our body and increase our risk of cancer by consuming vinegar, because calcium is a medium power anticancer mineral. The human body will maintain his pH level by taking calcium from the bones if we eat to much vinegar. A good way to prevent cancer is to alkalinize our body. Just thinking of vinegar make me salivate, because the saliva is alkaline (our body need to protect himself from this acidic food, but i will lose calcium if i put this in my mouth. NO WAY ! I alway asked myself why was so much cancer in the dr. Esselstyn heart disease reversing study on a whole food plant base diet, maybe : because they replaced nuts and seed with vinegar !? I always put sesame powder (950mg of Calcuium /100g) on my salad and chia seed , and nutritional yeast. Sorry, but I consider that vinegar is not a healty food.

  13. What about Ph balance that is, acidosis and alkalinity when it becomes acetic acid? I thought it was important. Unpasteurized, with the “mother” will be unlikely to cause extremes?

    1. Hi Ditza. Interesting question to me, since personally I use a lot of lemon, and don’t really like vinegar! these particular studies don’t give us the answer. These studies only look at the vinegar effects on blood sugar. It is not clear what the mechanism is, although one of the papers suggests that there could be a change in time of the intestinal bacteria, due to the fermentation process associated with vinegar. Dr Greger has a number of videos about lemons but I could not find a mention of blood sugar lowering effect, they mainly talk about antioxidants and also improving blood circulation.

  14. Many thanks for the vinegar info. One thing…satiate is pronounced say-she-ate, so satiety must be say-she-ate-tee : ) FYI, or look it up! Blessings!

  15. I have two vinegars which I like to use. They are Unfiltered Vinegar with the Mother, and Seasoned Rice Vinegar which I now note contains sugar. Is either one considered ‘superior’ to just plain apple cider vinegar?

    1. From what I can see “Unfiltered vinegar with the mother” is apple cider vinegar that contains the enzyme strands produced during fermentation. So basically having “the mother” means the enzymes were not filtered off so the vinegar will have particles floating in it. Seasoned rice vinegar on the other hand is made from Sake or by adding salt and sugar to plain white vinegar. Just from these descriptions it seems that the more “natural” product would be the unfiltered apple cider vinegar especially if it is also unpasteurized. Hope that helps with your decision making.

    1. Hey Todd that’s a great question. I looked at one of the studies cited and they don’t specify whether the vinegar was raw or pasteurized. They think the mechanism by which vinegar lowers the glucose is by both reducing endogenous (our own body’s) production of glucose as well as glucose uptake. I tend to always error on the side of choosing the least processing so I personally always use raw vinegar. I don’t think pasteurization will affect the acetic acid content but will certainly affect the viability of any enzymes or good bacteria generated in the fermentation process.

  16. Really like the idea that vinegar can help to control blood sugar spikes. Even though I’m more vegan wholefoods oriented, there are times when eating out that it would be good to use vinegar as insurance. Because vinegar doesn’t feel like a whole food to me, if I was to have it every day I’d be keener to have it with veggies, rather than just drink it, would that still work?

    1. Yes I think it would work as long as you are getting enough. According to this video as little as 2 teaspoons was sufficient to give a significant drop in blood sugar so mixing a couple of teaspoons with olive oil and herbs to make a salad dressing should hit the spot.

      1. Or skip the empty calories and negative impact on arterial endothelial cells from the fat and leave out the olive oil. A very nice simple dressing is to whisk some Dijon mustard into balsamic vinegar. I like a 3:1 vinegar to mustard ratio. Since there are 3 tsp in a tbsp, that works out to a tsp of mustard to a tbsp of balsamic. I also like to add a 1/2 tsp of maple syrup to file a little of the ragged edge off of the mustard and vinegar. Also some herbs and maybe a very tiny bit of roasted garlic would be a nice addition as well. The result is tons of flavor and no added fat. If you want fat on salad, I think the best way is to toss in some dry roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds and/or sliced almonds.

        1. Balsamic vinegar is all sugar though – how can it be compliant with this diet? I love my balsamic but the sugar content is outrageous and it’s a processed food. Help!

  17. There’s still a ways to go on this effect. The study showed the results of vinegar with a meal occurred with complex carbs, only. Simple sugars like those found in fruit, did not work. It was not tested on typical meals, so we don’t know what if any effects it has on average eating. It would work on a meal of bread, rice, pasta, etc, quite well. But who eats just those? It stands to reason it would have some beneficial effect, but we can’t tell how significant that effect would be (from this study, there may be others showing something else).

    1. “Simple sugars like those found it fruit” DO NOT cause a problem if consumed in their original package-the fruit. Average eating results in average sickness and average treatments and average results. Who in heck wants any part of that?

      I sometimes eat rice-seasoned as a meal, or even bread. Vinegar goes quite nicely with both of those. I might actually start making pasta salads again and play with vinegar in that bowl.

  18. I’m not as thrilled about vinegar as this video would seem to indicate we should be. One study used in this video shows a bagel and juice test using pure carbs and a significant lowering of the spike in blood sugar 2 hours afterwards using about a tbsp of vinegar with the bagel and juice. Another test shows that taking 750mg vinegar with “meals” (not specified what kind of meals) twice a day results in NO change in post-meal blood sugar spikes, NO change in A1c tests at 3 months, only a lowering of about 15-20 percent fasting blood glucose in the vinegar group. Hopefully, diabetics don’t go around eating bagels and juice, then wonder why their sugars are up, so the test is of tolerance only. Another test with more typical meals should then turn up improvements in the other measures, especially A1C’s. But it does not. The second test on type 2 diabetics, eating whatever meals type 2 diabetics eat, presumably meals not so high in fast-acting carbs, showed no change in A1c, which is the most critical number showing how well diabetes is being controlled, only a change in fasting glucose. Why no change in A1c? It may still be good to do vinegar, but all the ducks are not lining up here…not yet anyway.

    1. Hi,
      Are you referring to additional peer reviewed research studies, or are you referring to the studies in the video (or a mixture of both)? It’s a little confusing because you didn’t include any references, and the study in diabetics mentioned in the video *did* result in decreased HbA1C. Thanks!

      1. Does a drop of 0.16 in HbA1c seem proportionate with the blood sugar lowering effect, which was reported to be better than that of glucophage/metformin?

  19. Am over the moon as I have just come back from my GP who has signed me off statin drugs for very high cholesterol. My thanks goes to Dr. Greger and his blogs, who’s “all plant diet” i have been following for the past eight months quite rigorously, plus the book which guided me. I do not know how to thank you as all that you have informed us on makes such good sense. Thank you Dr. Greger.

    1. Congratulations! Dr. Greger did a lot of work to bring you the information, BUT you did the real work of changing your mind and trying something different. That tends to be a gigantic mountain (of molehill) for many folks to “get over”. Good job on your part and much continued success to you.

  20. The only thing that happened here is completely arrested digestion of carbs in the presence of acid. That is a physiological fact.

    The presence of any acid in our stomach (OTHER THAN OUR OWN HCL) will completely arrest the action of both ptyaline and pepsin. So no digestion of proteins is possible in the presence of acidic food.

    Recommending usage of vinegar or similar rotten products to lower glycemic spike is far from scientific and close to witchcraft. Causing indigestion is not a proper way to help people to lower glycemic spikes. The proper way is proper food and proper food combining. And vinegar is a poisonous product of fermentation, like wine, like brandy, and not a proper food.

    I am really proud that here in Serbia I was able to hear about the work of Dr. Herbert Shelton and his famous book Food combining made easy, and it is really surprising that such people like Dr. Michael Greger seem to never heard of him, or read the works of this most excellent American.

    1. I managed to find an article entitled “Efficient Digestion”, reprinted from *Dr Shelton’s Hygenic Review”. I’m not going to paste the link… if you want to read this hokum, you’ll have to Google/DuckDuckGo it yourself. If you bother to read the essay, you’ll find it’s based on a proposition that animals don’t mix foods (while often true, grizzly bears are notorious foraging on fish, berries, grubs, tubors, greens, etc). Not a single citation or supporting fact is offered besides the “doctor”‘s unsubstantiated opinions.

      i put doctor in quotes because “Dr” Shelton lost his license early in his career, he went on to be repeated jailed and fined for multiple at least *five decades* (!) for practicing medicine without a license and running at least seven incarnations of his “schools”. He was charged with having starved one patient to death and was eventually bankrupted when he had another patient die at one of his schools.

      “Dr” Shelton’s beliefs eventually were unable to prevent his own long protracted death from a degenerative neuro-muscular disease (probably Parkinson’s) where he was unable to walk and only able to whisper at the end of his life. Even after his death, his name was used to continue the grifting when a posthumous biography was published.

      Maybe these facts have something to do with why the good doctor Greger either is unaware of, or more likely steers clear of, this charlatan.

  21. Dr. Greger says to eat 4 Brazil nuts a month to lower cholesterol. Can you eat one a week instead of all at once and get the same result?

    1. Thanks for your question Sue,

      In the study mentioned by Dr Greger, the participants took either 5, 20 or 50g or Brazil nuts in a single meal and did not consume anymore Brazil nuts for the following 30 days. An important detail about this study is that participants were told to exclude selenium rich foods in the day they took Brazil nuts (eggs, egg yolks, garlic, whole wheat cereal, viscera, etc.) because these nuts are quite a rich source of this mineral. Therefore, I suggest perhaps follow a similar protocol if were to strictly follow the science. However, in my opinion, it is ok to eat the brazil nuts periodically.

      Hope this answer helps!

  22. Michael – this is a bit off topic, but: re. cherries for gout, does it matter what kind of cherry?–color (red vs. black vs. yellow vs…?) or flavor (tart vs ?) or species? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your question Ben!

      I quickly tried to analyse the video Dr Greger addresses the use of cherry in gout and it seems that all the studies or reviews only refer to cherries as “fresh fruit” with no specification towards any other factor. Perhaps eating the fresh fruit seems to be more important.

      Hope this answer helps!

      1. Thanks for that. However, my recollection is that one of the studies which looked at cherry juice concentrate, two tablespoons per week, showed a positive effect. I was wondering whether tart vs. “regular” concentrate makes a difference, or any other variables. Thank you!

  23. I mix apple cider vinegar with miso paste for my home made salad dressing. Do you think the soy protein would cancel out any of the benefits of the vinegar similar to milk or soy milk in tea?

  24. Unrelated, but I wanted to ask a question about this; http://www.goodhealthnaturalproducts.com/good-snacks/categories/extra-goodness/item/4-veggie-stix-sea-salt.html

    In the nutrition facts part, it has a lot of vitamins, but on the ingredients it has “nutrients from a proprietary blend of vegetables (spinach, broccoli, carrot, tomato, beet, shiitake mushroom)”. So I wonder, is it just vitamins or is it powdered vegetables? Because I want to avoid taking vitamin E in for reasons. Thanks to anyone who replies!

  25. Unrelated, but I wanted to ask a question about this; http://www.goodhealthnaturalproducts.com/good-snacks/categories/extra-goodness/item/4-veggie-stix-sea-salt.html

    In the nutrition facts part, it has a lot of vitamins, but on the ingredients it has “nutrients from a proprietary blend of vegetables (spinach, broccoli, carrot, tomato, beet, shiitake mushroom)”. So I wonder, is it just vitamins or is it powdered vegetables? Because I want to avoid taking vitamin E in for reasons. Thanks to anyone who replies!

  26. I’ve noticed that the local Whole Foods has a Prop 65 sign where they sell vinegar. After looking into this I learned that vinegar often contains lead (http://goo.gl/dNL6hm). Now I wonder whether the risks may outweigh the benefits, or whether the “optimal does” in this video considers that we may ingest lead along with the vinegar. Yes I’ve read that one need to consume quite a bit of vinegar to reach the Prop 65 levels, but on the other hand, Prop 65 may be out of date and the actual safer level may be lower. Any ideas? Thanks!

  27. I’ve noticed that the local Whole Foods has a Prop 65 sign where they sell vinegar. After looking into this I learned that vinegar often contains lead (http://goo.gl/dNL6hm). Now I wonder whether the risks may outweigh the benefits, or whether the “optimal does” in this video considers that we may ingest lead along with the vinegar. Yes I’ve read that one need to consume quite a bit of vinegar to reach the Prop 65 levels, but on the other hand, Prop 65 may be out of date and the actual safer level may be lower. Any ideas? Thanks!

  28. This is so fascinating. As a Type 2 diabetic, I was eager to begin consuming 2 tsp. of a good vinegar twice a day with food and work up to 2 T to see if I would benefit. Now I’ve just been diagnosed with gastroparesis, and am wondering if vinegar consumption of the recommended 2 T would create a harmful stomach/gastro situation?

  29. Will apple cider vinegar help lower triglycerides? This is not clear from the video. I am vegan but still have high triglycerides. I guess it’s all the carbs. Will a vinegar supplement work?

    1. Thanks for your question! Even just small amounts of vinegar—two teaspoons with a meal—can significantly cut down on the spike in blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides. I would recommend actually using vinegar on food over taking a supplement. A few other things to consider for high triglycerides – are you consuming simple carbohydrates – such as alcohol (wine, beer), white flour products, or items with added sugar (dried fruit, honey, maple syrup, molasses, rich desserts, fruit juice)? These foods are known to raise triglyceride levels. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for the advice. I am trying to reduce my simple carb intake. It’s hard not knowing if what I am doing is making a difference. I always wonder… Did I make enough changes? Does vinegar make a difference for me? I am considering an at home cholesterol test machine.

        1. Have you reviewed Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen? If not, that’s a good place to start. You can find these recommendations in his latest book How Not to Die – or there’s also a free app available via iTunes or Google Play. As you know, just because something is “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Be sure to fill up on the good, complex carbs (oats, quinoa, wild/brown rice, sweet potato) and try to avoid processed vegan foods. Regular physical activity can also help improve your lipid panel. Best of luck and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns. Our team is always happy to help!

    1. Hi Ray – To my knowledge, this is a myth. What you eat can definitely affect your cancer risk, however the acidity or alkalinity of foods is not important. We have a number of videos on cancer preventions that you might also be interested in. You can find them here: Cancer Prevention Videos.

  30. Would be very helpful if Dr. Greger could sum up the benefits/risks from consuming various fermented foods: vinegar, sourdoughs seem to be healthy supportive, while pickled vegetables, beer, seem to be less so. And where do other fermented foods lie along this spectrum: miso, tempeh, plant-yogurts (plant or animal), cheeses (dairy or nut or tofu based) etc.? Do effects depend on added ingredients like salt, alcohol, sugar? The involvement of gut bacteria? What impact does heat play? For those of us trying to practice “culinary medicine”, these insights would be enormously useful. Thank you!

  31. Hello Cathy, I am a volunteer moderator helping Dr. Greger with questions. I am also a plant based dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
    Your question is very interesting to me, because as an Instructor at Arizona State University I have become quite familiar with the work of my colleague, Dr. Carol Johnson, who is the leading expert in the health benefits from vinegar. She is cited by Braggs for her research http://www.gemsnaturalhaircare.us/vitaminresource/braggsapplecidervinegar.php so you can take a look at their summary of her findings. This link http://braggacv.com/reports.html will take you to a summary of her studies. It is not clear what the mechanism of action is with these studies; some of them were unusually small thus making the results not generalizable or statistically significant. However, for a low cost, safe, widely available condiment it is clearly promising. Enjoy!

  32. I mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with mother, juice of half a lemon, and 1 tsp of erythritol in a glass of water. Is this combination okay or should I just swallow the vinegar alone?

    1. Hi Brian!
      I have had a read around, and a few studies with vinegar do often mix the vinegar with other foods, such as saccharine (another sugary substance) or even cheese! These studies still showed a benefit on blood glucose control. So it looks like taking the vinegar with lemon and erythritol should be fine. Just bear in mind that erythritol does cause a blood glucose increase though, it is still a sweetener: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-harmless-artificial-sweetener/

  33. Hi Valerie!
    Thanks for your question.
    I found a study comparing acidic vinegar with a neutralised vinegar (no longer acid). It showed that the acidic one had a positive effect on blood glucose in comparison to the neutralised one. There is also another study which tested different apple cider vinegars (on rats!) and found them all to be beneficial. It is the apple cider vinegar which has been tested more than others, therefore it may be useful to stick to this one for the known effects. And it looks like as long as the vinegar is acidic it will have a beneficial effect.

  34. If I decided to add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar per day to my salad (let’s say Apple Cider Vinegar) how will this impact the erosion of tooth enamel?? If I drink plenty of water during and after salad [with vinegar] consumption, will this alleviate any negative impact in which the Apple Cider Vinegar will have on tooth enamel while still being able to enjoy the health benefits vinegar has to offer??

  35. I was agog to know how ‘satiety’ was pronounced so thank you for that! Clearly satiety is what a processed food high calorie diet is not providing. I suspected high fiber would be good but did not realize that cider vinegar was great to. Thanks for your information pronunciation. I found a website that pronounces ‘satiety’ in two different ways.

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