Q: I’ve heard that vinegar can help lower blood-glucose levels. Is it true?
A: There is some research suggesting that taking vinegar during meals may reduce the rise in blood glucose and insulin that occurs after eating. A Swedish study published in 2005 found that soaking bread in vinegar dampened the body’s blood glucose and insulin responses after the meal. In addition, the researchers discovered that vinegar helped people feel full and satisfied longer, up to two hours after eating. Research studies indicate that a dose of 2 to 4 teaspoons of vinegar consumed with or just before meals is needed to have a significant impact on blood sugar. Though some studies served participants a “shot” of vinegar diluted with a few tablespoons of water, there are more palatable ways to achieve the same beneficial effect. You could prepare a homemade vinaigrette dressing with apple cider or red wine vinegar and heart-healthy oil to enjoy with a salad, or sip a mug of hot tea mixed with a few teaspoons vinegar and lemon alongside your meal. If you want to try vinegar, I recommend talking with your doctor first — if it really does work, you may need to adjust your treatment plan (and medications).