Vinegar reduces postprandial hyperglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a recent study.

Panayota Mitrou, MD, of the Hellenic National Center for Research, Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus and Its Complications in Athens, Greece, and colleagues enrolled 10 patients with type 1 diabetes treated with rapid-acting insulin preprandially and long-acting insulin once daily.

They randomly assigned subjects to consume vinegar (30 mL vinegar/ 20 mL water) or placebo (50 mL water) five minutes before a meal consisting of bread, cheese, turkey ham, orange juice, butter, and a cereal bar. Fasting blood glucose was similar during the vinegar and placebo experiments and remained so until 30 minutes postprandially (7.4 vs. 7.7 mmol/L, respectively).

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In the placebo experiments, blood glucose continued to increase thereafter, with a peak of 11.6 mmol/L at 94 minutes. After the consumption of vinegar, blood glucose rose to 8.6 mmol/L and remained unchanged without postprandial spikes until the end of the experiment, the authors reported in Diabetes Care (2010;33:e27). Vinegar reduced blood glucose by nearly 20% relative to placebo.

The investigators, who noted that the mechanisms which vinegar decreases postprandial blood glucose levels are unclear, concluded that two tablespoons of vinegar could easily be used as a complementary food, such as in a salad dressing, to reduce hyperglycemia.