Vinegar Mechanisms & Side Effects

Vinegar Mechanisms & Side Effects
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Does vinegar work by slowing stomach emptying, acting as a starch blocker, or improving insulin sensitivity? What might be the downsides?

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As I note in my chapter on greens in my book, How Not to Die, vinegar may be one condiment that’s actually good for you. Randomized controlled trials involving both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals found that adding two teaspoons of vinegar to a meal may improve blood sugar control—effectively blunting the blood sugar spike after a meal by about 20 percent. But how?

Originally, we thought it was because vinegar delayed the gastric emptying rate, slowing the speed at which a meal leaves your stomach, which makes sense, because there are acid receptors in the first part of the small intestine where the stomach acid is neutralized. And so, if there is excess acid, the body slows down stomach emptying to give the intestine time to buffer it all. So, the acid in vinegar was thought to slow the rate at which food leaves the stomach, resulting in a blunted sugar spike.

But then, studies like this were published, where taking apple cider vinegar before bedtime resulted in lower blood sugars the next morning. How does that work? That’s obviously not some acid-induced stomach-slowing effect. And indeed, anyone who actually went to the trouble of sticking an ultrasound probe on someone’s stomach could have told you that—no difference in stomach-emptying times comparing vinegar to neutralized vinegar. So, it’s not just an acid effect. Back to square one.

Studies like this offered the next clue. Vinegar appeared to have no effect on blood sugars, but this was after giving people a straight glucose solution. Glucose is a byproduct of sugar and starch digestion, and so, if vinegar blunts the blood sugar spike from cotton candy and Wonder Bread, but not glucose, maybe it works by suppressing the enzymes that digest sugars and starches. And indeed, vinegar appears to block the enzyme that breaks down table sugar. But it wasn’t just an acid effect; there appears to be something unique about acetic acid, the acid in vinegar. But this was based on intestinal cells in a petri dish. What about in people? Feed people some mashed potatoes with and without vinegar, and glucose flows into the bloodstream at the same rate either way; so, there’s another theory shot down.

So, let’s figure this out. If sugar enters the bloodstream at the same rate with or without vinegar, but vinegar leads to significantly less sugar in the blood, then logically it must be leaving the bloodstream faster. And indeed, vinegar ingestion appears to enhance sugar disposal by lowering insulin resistance, which is the cause of type 2 diabetes, and indeed, vinegar ingestion does appear to improve the action of insulin in diabetics. The mystery of how vinegar works appears to have been solved, at least in part.

So, diabetics can add vinegar to their mashed potatoes, or just not eat mashed potatoes. If you add vinegar to a high-fiber meal, nothing happens, explaining results like this. No effects of vinegar in diabetics in response to a meal. No surprise, because the meal was mostly beans. But if you are going to eat high glycemic index foods like refined grains, vinegar can help, though there are some caveats.

Don’t drink vinegar straight, as it may cause intractable hiccups and can burn your esophagus, as can apple cider vinegar tablets, if they get lodged in your throat—not that apple cider vinegar tablets necessarily actually have any apple cider vinegar in them at all. Don’t pour it on your kid’s head to treat head lice. It’s not harmful—except when it leaks onto the face and penetrates the eyes, and it turns out it doesn’t even work. Can cause third degree burns if you soak a bandage with it and leave it on.

Though as many as a total of six tablespoons a day of vinegar were not associated with any side effects in the short term, until we know more, maybe we’d want to stick with more common culinary-type doses, like two tablespoons max a day. For example, drinking 2,000 cups of vinegar was found to be a bad idea.

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 amarosy / 123rf

As I note in my chapter on greens in my book, How Not to Die, vinegar may be one condiment that’s actually good for you. Randomized controlled trials involving both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals found that adding two teaspoons of vinegar to a meal may improve blood sugar control—effectively blunting the blood sugar spike after a meal by about 20 percent. But how?

Originally, we thought it was because vinegar delayed the gastric emptying rate, slowing the speed at which a meal leaves your stomach, which makes sense, because there are acid receptors in the first part of the small intestine where the stomach acid is neutralized. And so, if there is excess acid, the body slows down stomach emptying to give the intestine time to buffer it all. So, the acid in vinegar was thought to slow the rate at which food leaves the stomach, resulting in a blunted sugar spike.

But then, studies like this were published, where taking apple cider vinegar before bedtime resulted in lower blood sugars the next morning. How does that work? That’s obviously not some acid-induced stomach-slowing effect. And indeed, anyone who actually went to the trouble of sticking an ultrasound probe on someone’s stomach could have told you that—no difference in stomach-emptying times comparing vinegar to neutralized vinegar. So, it’s not just an acid effect. Back to square one.

Studies like this offered the next clue. Vinegar appeared to have no effect on blood sugars, but this was after giving people a straight glucose solution. Glucose is a byproduct of sugar and starch digestion, and so, if vinegar blunts the blood sugar spike from cotton candy and Wonder Bread, but not glucose, maybe it works by suppressing the enzymes that digest sugars and starches. And indeed, vinegar appears to block the enzyme that breaks down table sugar. But it wasn’t just an acid effect; there appears to be something unique about acetic acid, the acid in vinegar. But this was based on intestinal cells in a petri dish. What about in people? Feed people some mashed potatoes with and without vinegar, and glucose flows into the bloodstream at the same rate either way; so, there’s another theory shot down.

So, let’s figure this out. If sugar enters the bloodstream at the same rate with or without vinegar, but vinegar leads to significantly less sugar in the blood, then logically it must be leaving the bloodstream faster. And indeed, vinegar ingestion appears to enhance sugar disposal by lowering insulin resistance, which is the cause of type 2 diabetes, and indeed, vinegar ingestion does appear to improve the action of insulin in diabetics. The mystery of how vinegar works appears to have been solved, at least in part.

So, diabetics can add vinegar to their mashed potatoes, or just not eat mashed potatoes. If you add vinegar to a high-fiber meal, nothing happens, explaining results like this. No effects of vinegar in diabetics in response to a meal. No surprise, because the meal was mostly beans. But if you are going to eat high glycemic index foods like refined grains, vinegar can help, though there are some caveats.

Don’t drink vinegar straight, as it may cause intractable hiccups and can burn your esophagus, as can apple cider vinegar tablets, if they get lodged in your throat—not that apple cider vinegar tablets necessarily actually have any apple cider vinegar in them at all. Don’t pour it on your kid’s head to treat head lice. It’s not harmful—except when it leaks onto the face and penetrates the eyes, and it turns out it doesn’t even work. Can cause third degree burns if you soak a bandage with it and leave it on.

Though as many as a total of six tablespoons a day of vinegar were not associated with any side effects in the short term, until we know more, maybe we’d want to stick with more common culinary-type doses, like two tablespoons max a day. For example, drinking 2,000 cups of vinegar was found to be a bad idea.

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 amarosy / 123rf

Doctor's Note

It’s worth noting that the time period in the final case report in the video was six years—so at a cup of apple cider vinegar a day, she drank more than 2,000 cups!

Other good-for-you condiments include (salt-free) mustard and horseradish. You may be interested in my Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli video.

This is the final installment of my five-part video series on vinegar. If you missed any, here they are:

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

110 responses to “Vinegar Mechanisms & Side Effects

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  1. This vid answers questions raised in the comments section for previous vinegar-vids. Not just any acid will produce the effects demonstrated for acetic acid. And vinegar seems to do its thing by aiding insulin in the disposition of blood glucose, not by modifying digestion.

    1. Not at all. Vinegar will arrest the action of salivary enzyme and it will lead to putrefaction. Rotten products will rot everything close to it even outside of your body. And that will stink when it gets out of you. That’s for sure. And these “vinegar vids” are mere quasi science. Even a thought of drinking vinegar is abominable. To a sane man.

      1. Interesting, given that most humans throughout history used fermentation as a means of preservation. I think your view of vinegar as “rotten” is not particularly useful.

      2. I have an inflammatory disease and I have a tablespoon of bragg’s apple cider vinegar in water every morning – I’ve gotten used to the taste and it doesn’t bother me — and I’m a very picky eater. I have found it helps with inflammation and digestion.

  2. Glad to know the homemade ketchup I have with my oven-baked fries is actually healthful. It tastes even better than store-bought, and I get to control the amount of sodium. Basic ingredients for ketchup are water, tomato paste, vinegar and sea salt (measures I use are 1 cup, two large kitchen spoon dollops, 1 tablespoon, and half a teaspoon). Add extra spice to taste (combination of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and/or paprika are my go-to’s). Add to that the couple of squirts of rooster sauce I add to my veggie stir-fries and I suspect I’m getting my 2 tablespoons of vinegar a day without really trying.

  3. Based on all this, one could bypass nearly all the problems by just drinking a dilute solution of vinegar at bed time only. I like 2 Tbs apple cider type in 10-12 oz water w/ a bit of stevia…

      1. My money’s on “help.” Pre-vegan, I had very bad acid reflux. Drinking a mild apple cider vinegar solution daily made it go away.

      2. The best is raw apple cider vinegar too. I use Braggs – a tablespoon in water in the morning and at night. Helps with inflammation too!

  4. Some people who ingest vinegar diluted in water suggest sipping through a straw. They say that drinking vinegar in the amount of 1-2 T in a cup or 2 of water, could damage the enamel on one’s teeth. Does anyone know if this could happen?

    1. You’re correct, ACV even diluted in water will damage the enamel over time. Straws help, and definitely do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming vinegar. During a recent dental cleaning my dentist thought I had been grinding my teeth, but it’s really just from drinking acv before eating, regular chewing damaged the enamel.
      Personally I’m skipping ACV now and focusing on why my stomach acid would be low to begin with. Niacin is a good place to start researching.

      1. My dentist just says to rinse mouth with baking soda water afterwards and that will prevent any problems from vinegar or anything else such as orange juice.

      1. If one takes 10 ounces of distilled water which should have a ph of 7 and adds 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar it seems as though that would bring the pH above the 5.3 that you say will dissolve tooth enamel. Thoughts?

        1. I have a water distiller and some pH strips, so I thought I’d look into this. The plain water measures pH 5.5 (not 7; I think this is because water absorbs CO2). With the vinegar added, the pH is indicated as 4.5, but 4.5 is the lower limit of the pH strips’ working range, so the actual value may be lower. If anyone can get more accurate measurements, I’d be interested.

        2. I have a water distiller and some pH strips, so I thought I’d look into this. The plain water measures pH 5.5 (not 7; I think this is because water absorbs CO2). With the vinegar added, the pH is indicated as 4.5, but 4.5 is the lower limit of the pH strips’ working range, so the actual value may be lower. If anyone can get more accurate measurements, I’d be interested.

          1. I was at my dentist today for a cleaning. I asked the hygienist about drinking ACV in water and she said that the important thing is to not sip it as one might a drink, but to basically, drink it all down fairly quickly. That the prolonged exposure would be bad for the enamel. I suppose the straw idea would be best.

            How old are your pH strips?

        3. By diluting ACV you’re on the right track. Just like joss levy said, you can’t count on the pH of your water being 7. Some veggies like celery and greens are alkaline and will neutralize the vinegar’s acidity. Testing with a pH meter or strips can tell you exactly the pH of your vinegar solution. Your hygienist’s suggestion to drink vinegar fast to minimize time on the enamel is a good one. After chugging the vinegar, you can test your saliva with pH strips, maybe once a minute or so, to see how long it takes your saliva pH to recover after an “acid hit”. Once saliva pH is above 5.4 you’re out of the danger zone.

          1. Good thought on testing your saliva. Of course, if you use the “sip it through a straw” method, I’m assuming you wouldn’t need to test ones saliva.

            In regards to pH strips, can they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere thereby reducing their accuracy?

            1. Even with a straw some acid will get in your mouth. Testing your saliva pH anyway is a good idea. Ideal is 7.0. You never know if you are usually alkaline and would recover quickly from drinking vinegar or if your saliva is a little on the acidic side, making recovery more difficult. Strips cost about $10 and I’m unaware of gas in the atmosphere affecting the result. (There are several brands on the market; I’ve been happy with these: http://www.luckyvitamin.com/p-2270-micro-essential-laboratory-ph-testing-hydrion-papers-5-5-8-0-range?green=5F6D261B-DE87-5271-009C-42F418A6F017 )

  5. How about diluting 2 teaspoon in one glass of water and drinking it 15 minutes before each meal?

    Does it also help in increasing stomach acid ?

    1. I’m not sure what it does, but I use around the same amount and it gets rid of heartburn (I used to have GERD, now just occasional heartburn). I drink it pretty quickly then I follow it with a glass of water.

  6. I like drinking it straight & have had no burning in the esophagus. Does this mean I can carry on, or is there a cumulative effect that must be considered? Thank you!

    1. Ann–good question. I would be very cautious about continuing to drink it straight. I only say that because you may be doing damage and not necessarily know it. You might even ask your own doctor’s opinion and see what he/she thinks, but my advice would be to not–I bet you can find something to dilute it in or food to mix it with. Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you, for your response. Funny thing, though, the doctors I’ve attempted to discuss acv with haven’t seemed to know anything about it. I actually had one ask me why I would use it. Up to now, I had to do all my own research. Thank you, Nutritionfacts.org!

    2. I started drinking balsamic flavored vinegar a few days ago and pouring it all over starchy foods – I love it! The amount of flavor is amazing. So I have not noticed any cumulative effect yet (other than in my wallet). I do not think that I would enjoy the apple cider variety nearly as much though.

  7. Being a considerably overweight vegan with a love of carbs and on the path to eating more healthfully, but looking for some additional help in the meantime, inspired by this series on the benefits of vinegar for weight loss and overall health, I decided to go vinegar shopping. I noticed in our California stores that the shelves of vinegar carry a California Proposition 65 label warning that all bottles of vinegar marked as balsamic contain lead. I decided to steer clear of wine-based vinegars and instead opt for a daily dose of 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in the AM and a second tablespoon of organic brown rice vinegar in the PM. I noticed in one of the earlier vinegar videos Dr. Greger mentioned that black and purple rice vinegars are even more healthful. Is anyone aware of a brand and source of organic vinegars made from black and/or purple rices? I haven’t found any in our local stores or via the light online searching I have done so far. Thanks.

    1. I’m in california and use balsamic vinegar, but I never noticed the prop 65 warnings on it. :( I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks for noting that in your post.

    2. Thank you very much for the lead warning in Balsamic. I wonder how widespread this is? Where did your vinegar with the prop 65 warning come from Veggie?

      1. Unfortunately, the warning was a generic card taped to a shelf. It basically says something like, “Prop 65 warning: The vinegars on these shelves labeled ‘Balsamic’ contain lead.” So, the Prop65 warning was not attached a specific brand or bottle, rather it was generically being applied to all balsamic on the store’s shelves. I’ve seen the same warning in two different stores local to the SF Bay Area, but the balsamic vinegars on the shelves were both organic and non-organic and came from all over, including Europe.

          1. The article puts emphasis on the amount not being a concern. The writer dismisses this because of using “such small amounts” but does not say how frequently it is being consumed. So what about amounts that are not so small?

            1. Azoraa: I’m sorry, I don’t know. And you raise a key question/point. I hoped the article would be helpful with the information it does provide. But in the end, you just have to gather what information you can against your personal usage and make your best guess.
              .
              I would advise that anyone who still has any concerns to just skip consuming daily balsamic vinegar. There are plenty of other ways to lose weight and lower blood sugar spikes.

        1. Thanks Veggie! Your comment has prompted more reading on my part. I have written to a number of vinager makers in Europe asking the question since I have not stumbled across any EU set regulations and our supermarket shelves are full of balsamic and other vinegars. Certainly the same must also hold true then for any grape products depending on soil conditions and production methods. Some toxicologists are suggesting it is the production method that is at fault. I have never seen such a warning here in the UK. It brought to mind an old disease called Cyder Droop often warned against by my grandparent’s generation. Can’t find anything on that either this morning. I’m just not sure about this vinegar cure all. The more I delve, the more negatives are stacking up. There must be far better ways to get the same good results without so many potential side effects by using methods other than drinking vinegar.

            1. Hi Carol, I couldn’t find anything on Cyder Droop either but my husband remembers watching a BBC documentary many years ago on this condition developed by drinking excessive amounts of apple cider. I did find some information from long ago, 1700 and 1800’s, about a condition then called Devonshire Colic. Of course the dates and production methods probably preclude this now and I use this only as a point of interest demonstrating that lead poisoning and related illnesses from toxicity have been around for a long time. I have no doubt that humanity, in the interim, has poisoned the soils dramatically in which we grow our food and the water we use. It is evident that anyone who does even a little research will find a host of reasons why what we eat and drink must be scrutinised thoroughly. I can’t express my gratitude enough for people like Dr. Greger and bloggers like the ones found here who raise flags and provide information that could make a big difference to quality of life and health. Thanks to you all!

      1. DrAlex: Oh wow. That puts a completely different spin on things compared to the article I found. And of course, your study is far more compelling than what I found. (Should I remove my post do you think?)
        .
        Question: the abstract says, “based on consumption rates ≥0.5 μg Pb per day”. Can you translate that unit in terms I might understand? Is that a tablespoon a day? More? Less?
        .
        Thanks for finding that study!

  8. This raises the question of if vinegar will have a weight loss effect in those not consuming refined foods, but instead sticking to high-fiber plant foods. Any evidence on that either way?

    1. Good question. I couldn’t find any research articles specifically addressing this question. I would direct you to this video from Dr. Greger last week: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Weight Loss?. You may have already watched it. I would have no reason to think, however, that you would not get the same benefit (and maybe even more?) while sticking with the high-fiber plant diet you asked about. Hope that helps a little.

  9. Will there be (or has there been) any replies to the concerns about lead in balsamic vinegar mentioned here. Also, could you reply regarding the sulphites in vinegar?

    1. As I understand it, this effect is unique to acetic acid, which vinegar contains. Lemon juice contains citric acid.

  10. Honestly, this is beginning to look more and more like “Mark’s Daily Apple”, vegan edition. It’s acid. Yes, of course drinking it straight or lightly diluted with water will be damaging to your teeth as well as other tissues. Why even consider doing that when a spoon can be added to your otherwise healthful meals, which would buffer it? Oven-baked potatoes? Alkaline-forming. Leafy green salad? Also alkaline-forming. Bizarre how Dr. Greger on the one hand promotes eating whole plant foods, and on the other… well, stuff like this.

    1. poop patrol: I don’t really understand what your point is. Do you think that Dr. Greger, after pointing out positive effects of drinking vinegar, shouldn’t also warn us about potential harms? It’s so obvious to you how vinegar should be diluted, but just yesterday I had lunch with a friend who told me how she drinks undiluted apple cider vinegar shots. I kid you not.
      .
      From past talks I have heard, Dr. Greger is aware that these little details (like proper preparation and proper volumes) have to be covered or people will find ways to mess up a good thing. I don’t see how this video is discouraging eating whole plant foods nor vinegar. The video is just helping people stay away from pitfalls.
      .
      Am I missing your point?

      1. Perhaps I should have posted this as a reply to either the person who said they take it straight, or the other person who was wondering if that would be harmful to teeth. My point is Dr. G reviewing these nutrition quick-fixes/’hacks’ can’t lead to much good — and in many instances, such as this one, can lead people to otherwise take up potentially harmful habits. Yes, it’s interesting that a couple Tbsp of vinegar have potential weight loss effects, or that a couple Tbsp of amla (whatever that is) has some potential health-promoting effect. As you can tell from these comments, people take these up as every day dietary fixes and ignore the bigger picture. How is promoting “super foods” in this manner any better than the hackery practiced by Dr. Oz?

        1. I feel Dr. Greger’s goal is to simply present the research, allowing us to make more informed decisions about what is best for us when it comes to our dietary choices.

        2. poop patrol: I completely disagree with you, but I do understand your point now. Thank you for the clarification. It makes more sense to me than your first post.

    2. Maybe because some people don’t like the taste of it and would rather just swallow it as “medicine” if it has sufficient merits? Until I started fermenting foods I HATED the taste of vinegar and wouldn’t touch it unless I had a darn good reason! Different now, but still…different strokes and all ya know, he’s covering all the bases.

      1. There’s a reason people don’t like the taste of it straight. It wasn’t meant to be consumed straight, hence it’s harmful effects to teeth and soft tissues. In terms of food, it’s traditionally been used as preservative, for ‘pickling’. Then people discovered how to add it to condiments and salad dressings to enhance their flavour, where a little goes a long way. I’ve never met anyone who dislikes ketchup, mustard and relish. Nor anyone who enjoys salad and doesn’t appreciate a decent vinaigrette. Those are more healthful ways to get a little dose of vinegar than taking it straight or lightly diluted in water – which is taking the ‘food as medicine’ thing a little too literally. In my (perhaps warped view), I think it’s intended to mean eat healthfully and incidentally your diet will promote health / ward off illness as effectively as medicine. Not ‘take x tablespoons of this’ or ‘y teaspoons of that’ as a more natural alternative two more highly processed industrial drugs.

      2. well vegetater, you might be on the right track with ferments, in animals however the more ferments in the animals diet, the shorter the lifespan . the thing I can,t tell you is if a very small part of the diet is ferments would be bad. What I mean is for example you feed cows at 10 % of diet fermented food, you increase to lets say 20%, those cows have a noticeable shorter lifespan., but if you feed them only 5% , I don.t know if thats beneficial or not

        1. I’m not an expert but animals like cows have a whole different physiology with their four stomachs for digesting and fermenting, and capacity for de novo lipogenesis, allowing them to efficiently convert the low-energy, inexpensive carbohydrates found in grains and grasses into calorie-dense fats. Humans however lack these attributes. (but people still believe starches will make you fat…and fat won’t)
          Anyway, I’m sure I eat far less fermented foods than our ancestors had to before refrigeration, but in any event, the reason I continue is because of the very noticeable benefits. It helped eliminate the IBS I suffered from for years and also had a dramatic effect on my mental health. Originally I was not at all fond of the flavors, but because of the positive feedback loop, have really grown to enjoy them. Since I make my own, I use less salt and lots of herbs, but since there is still quite a bit, it isn’t a food I would indulge in excessively anyway. I have no clue what the long term benefit or detriment is, but I know how much better I feel, and to me, that’s key. I’m in no hurry to croak, but living longer and dying longer are two different things.

    3. Gosh, . . I’m not seeing this composite of information from NF.O as either for or against anything. I see it as just that – presenting us all with a composite of information on vinegar in total . . . so far.

      As far as the details of the research go . . . i.e., swilling a vinegar concoction as opposed to dousing it on our food, . .Well, that has nothing to do with Dr. Greger. Drinking the vinegar was simply a way for the researchers to set a “standard” in the research and attempt to tease out what what happening. Dr. G. merely reported on it. Being a science geek, this is just exactly why I enjoy this site so much. It’s an honest attempt to share with us all the teasing out of the facts.

      I, too, am not quite understanding what your beef is? (no pun intended, . but enjoyed none-the-less.)

  11. By the way, I just noted that my kombucha beverage from Whole Foods has 30 mg of acetic acid per 8 ounce serving, so that may be equivalent to having one’s daily vinegar. Dr. Greger isn’t a fan of kombucha, because of several instances of contamination a number of years ago, but there haven’t been any reports of safety violations recently, so it appears to be pretty safe if you stick with known brands. I also appreciate the Vitamin Bs in it. I gave up my B-Complex vitamins thanks mostly to kombucha.

    1. I’m a big fan of kombucha and ferments in general for physical and mental benefits, and it’s one of the very few topics here that I don’t think gets a fair shake… or in our “germophobic” society in general! I’ve had some great benefits from adding traditional live fermented foods to my menu, as have scores of others I know personally and have read, like… http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/ (watch her “my story” video) and http://www.wildfermentation.com/ (a fermentation “revivalist” who credits his extended health with AIDS, in part, to fermentation), for starters. I get that there isn’t a lot of hard science or controlled trials about these, and that “anecdotal” narratives don’t constitute proof, but the benefits so outweigh any risks, which is why we started utilizing the amazing natural process of fermentation in the first place! It was to preserve our food and make it SAFER to eat, while actually boosting it’s nutritional properties, to say nothing of the beneficial microbes we ingest that add variety to our microbiome! Taking a shower, driving a car or crossing the street can be deadly too, but having a healthy perspective and exercising a bit of care and sense makes it more than worth the rewards!

  12. Since I have hypertension and like the taste of salt in my food, I found that 1-2 table spoons of vinegar satisfies my salt cravings and I add it to potatoes, beans, rice, bread, oatmeal, salads and stews. An unexpected side effect was a drop of 17 points in my systolic and a 8 point drop in diastolic blood pressure within 3 days of taking it! My blood pressure which declined from 160/100 to 126/68 within 3 month of changing to a plant based whole food diet, suddenly dropped to 109/59 within 72 hours of taking white vinegar made from corn!

    1. That is great Magic! Another great trick to flavoring food without the salt is to add citrus (lemon, lime) or ginger. It’s nice to experiment with other flavors as well.

      1. Yes thank you. I just added 2 Tbls of white vinegar to air popped popcorn and it tasted great. A good substitute for salt!

  13. Anyone getting where Dr. Greger is getting the “two thousand cups of vinegar” at the very end? It says 250mL which works out to less than 17 tablespoons… just trying to figure out how extreme the case was to fully appreciate the caution in this cautionary tale.

  14. At the beginning of this series I posted that I was trying a recipe for a fermented drink using apple cider vinegar, mint and ginger.. At that point it wasn’t ready, now I have tried it and can tell you all it’s absolutely delicious. Here is the link to the website veggiesutra.com. With a little addition it would make a tasty adult bevvy on a hot summer afternoon too!

    1. Awesome, I second ferment my mature kombucha with a variety of flavors, (when it has a very distinct vinegar quality) and coincidently the last batch was apples, mulberries, mint and ginger! I like mulberries but the stems are a pain to deal with and messy as can be, so I just threw them in the blender, pureed them, and fermented. I’ll just strain it before bottling, and have a fizzy probiotic beverage to help mitigate the 95 degree heat this week! Fun stuff!

  15. Does consuming vinegar offer health benefits to those who eat a healthy vegan diet? This would be for someone eating lower fat generally, very high fiber (50-100 grams per day), lower protein generally, etc, all of the good basic healthy vegan things.

    1. Thanks for your question Tobias!

      Glad to hear you are consuming a plant based! According to this video, sprinkling vinegar on greens may augment their ability to improve endothelial function, therefore I don’t see any harm in using 2 tablespoons a day, especially if you enjoy it.

      Hope this answer helps!

    2. I get your inquiry, as the benefits shown in this series really adds nothing at all to the proper WFPB dietary way of life. It should be of much more interest for those who need a few baby steps toward a healther life to get started. Maybe it helps some get started living better.

      BUT also there are some of us who aren’t “100%” WFPB and might not suffer from the practice when eating unhealthy things for celebration or occasion.

  16. I have a question on a topic that I’ve never seen addressed on this website. I would like to know if Dr Greger recommends eating
    when you are not hungry, if that is whats required to get in the daily dozen.

    1. Thanks for your question!

      There are a lot of reported benefits to fasting for healthy people, however, to answer your question, I personally think it really depends on the context of any clinical condition, lifestyle and diet as much more detail would be required to assess that in your particular case.

      1. Thanks Darchite for your reply. I can see the logic of your answer. It seems that it might require me to send more information
        than would be appropriate, or feasible, for this format. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

  17. This was just to fill the emptiness, I can tell. Not much connected with nutrition, more with some rotten nofood you euphemistically call condiment, which is obviously the addiction of many strange people.

  18. I find it kind of amusing to read some of the responses on this topic, amazing how our tastes bias our take. When Dr G did a video on say, Hibiscus tea, most people found the info useful whether or not they had actually ever tasted it or ever planned to. Vinegar however seems to get relegated to a completely different category with some strong opinions in either direction on it’s usefulness!

  19. Drinking vinegar, even diluted, is pretty horrible (and probably murder on your teeth), so what I came up with is… Vinegar jello. Make some jello of whatever flavour you like, but add some apple cider vinegar at the end. It won’t taste great, but it’s better than just drinking it, and it’s much easier on your teeth and throat. It’s even more palatable if you put some water in your mouth before each spoonful of jello, to help with swallowing. You’ll have to figure out the correct amount of vinegar to use depending on how much jello you want to eat each time.

  20. The end of the video made a couple of points on consuming more than 2 tbl a day but more info on this would be helpful as I am consuming larger amount by drinking it (delicious balsamic vinegar, not apple cider!)

    1. Thanks for your question Clint.

      I am not aware of any RCT that compares each type of vinegar and determined which is best for health, however, as Dr Greger has pointed out in these videos (see here, here and here), different types of vinegar may provide different health benefits.

      Hope this answer helps.

  21. I am plant-based whole foods, my blood work shows that my LDL and glucose are high what could be causing this and how can I reverse it ?

    1. Leigh,

      There are a host of potentials that can create high blood glucose and LDL. Please see the suggested video by Dr. Greger and start to experiment by taking readings of your blood sugar, after meals. You can receive a free glucometer to measure your blood sugars from many manufactures with a prescription.

      Check ~1 hr after you finish eating and start to evaluate the meals effect and find some of the problem foods or generalized issues. I would then recommend working with a functional medicine physician to make certain that your addressing the underlying problem. Remember that these two issues can be very much related so start with the elevated glucose.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  22. Vinegar contains acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen (!) REF: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124883/
    “The highest concentrations of acetaldehyde were determined in vinegar (1.06 g/kg), but also in milk products and diverse fruits and vegetables.”

    We normally hear of carcinogens in a few parts per million. The study reports vinegar is 1000 ppm acetaldehyde… a high concentration of CARCINOGEN

    And, ACV is often taken by people at risk for cancer of the stomach and esophagus. If Dr Gregor is anti-alcohol (because it has the same carcinogen) Is it really safe for him to be promoting ACV use?

  23. After reading so many good recommendations of drinking ACV in the mornings, I did it for a week. I now get the worse acid reflux by ingesting ACV or any other type of vinegar. Before I was able to use it for cooking now when my body detects any trace of vinegar in the foods I get reflux. Interestingly, I can drink kombucha without any problems. (I have autoimmune issues: Hashimoto’s and fibromyalgia)

  24. Hello,

    How does one ingest vinegar eg. In a salad dressing without causing damage to teeth because of the acidic nature of vinegar?

    1. Hello,

      It’s very important to be aware of oral health when consuming acidic foods such as vinegar or hibiscus tea. To prevent damage, Dr. Greger recommends rinsing your mouth with water after the meal. DO NOT brush your teeth right away because your enamel can be weakened and brushing will cause damage.

      I hope this clears it up for you,

      Matt

      1. Hi, I used to be a HUGE Dr. Greger fan but I finally took the time to craft an important question and apparently it is too difficult (or too realistic??) for nutritionfacts.org to answer. Hopefully this avoidance of reality is not a trend. I posted the same question on 4 different ACV topics on your website… NO ANSWER.

        Here it is again:

        Normally we are concerned when carcinogens appear in a few parts per million. According to the study below , acetaldehyde (the molecule that makes alcohol carcinogenic) appears in VINEGAR in 1,000 ppm. This is of particular importance because some of the people who take apple cider vinegar take it *because *they are susceptible to esophageal CANCER. QUOTE: “The highest concentrations of acetaldehyde were determined in vinegar (1.06 g/kg), but also in milk products and diverse fruits and vegetables.”

        SOURCE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124883/

        Not everything is cut and dried. It is extremely disturbing to witness a website – supposedly based on research – to selectively ignore research.
        This appears to be a growing problem with NF and unless you want to lose credibility (and maybe kill off some supporters)… I strongly suggest you figure out how to be more honest.

        For the FIFTH time… *Please provide some comment on this article that reports a carcinogen NF tells people to avoid ALSO exists in HIGH concentrations in food items NF promotes to people, including those with susceptibility to cancer, like me.*

        THANK YOU!!!

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