Vinegar is one popular food item that finds its use in homemade pickles, salad dressings and other savoury items.
It is derived from the French word ‘vin aigre’ which means sour wine. It is prepared by fermentation of a carbohydrate source.
These carbohydrate sources could be anything such as wine, apple, pears, berries, grains etc. In this process of fermentation, microbes convert sugar to alcohols which are further fermented to acetic acid.
Acetic acid is the major component of vinegar. Vinegar contains 3-9% of acetic acid by volume. It is an organic acid with a sour taste. It is a weak acid and therefore is used in food as a diluted version.
Vinegar finds its use in other medicinal objectives because it has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-tumor effect and it also reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases.
How does vinegar help in weight loss?
Few ways by which vinegar is said to impact weight loss are:
- Vinegar controls blood glucose levels and supports glucose utilization.
- It reduces fat production and promotes breakdown of fats.
- It promotes satiety.
- It delays gastric empyting thereby giving a feeling of fullness and controlling appetite.
- It influences insulin and cholesterol levels.
- It promotes burning of calories.
Now we shall go over some scientific evidence we suggests that vinegar is good for weight loss.
1. Vinegar consumption hastens weight loss
Body fat as well as fats present in the blood is of great concern in obesity. A Japanese study reports that regular intake of vinegar can lead to body weight reduction.
In a 12 week treatment period, subjects that were given beverages containing different concentration of vinegar experienced a decrease in body weight, BMI, visceral fat and waist circumference.
Another study was conducted wherein subjects consuming 2 tablespoon of red raspberry vinegar daily without any food restrictions lost weight whereas the control group consuming cranberry juice gained weight.
2. Vinegar influences glucose metabolism
Blood glucose levels are altered by food consumption. These changes are measured in terms of units called glycemic index. High glycemic index foods increase hunger and lower satiety while low glycemic index foods help suppress appetite.
Sharp rise in glucose levels after a meal can lead to obesity or diabetes as elevated glucose levels accelerate production of fat and its deposition.
3. Vinegar curbs appetite
Combination of cinnamon and acetic acid is proven to control rise in blood glucose after a meal and thereby promote satiety.
One of the most popular studies quoted in reference to acetic acid’s effect on satiety is the Sweden study. Volunteers were given a breakfast of white wheat bread and vinegar.
Vinegar was successful in lowering post meal blood glucose and insulin response. It also increased satiety.
Vinegar’s potential in curbing blood glucose response is similar to that of peanuts. After consumption of high glycemic index food, reduced energy consumption by 200 to 275 kcal. This daily calorie reduction can contribute to a weight loss of 1 to 1 ½ pounds monthly.
Acetic acid suppresses disaccharidase activity. Disaccharidase is a group of enzymes that breakdown sugars. This helps in suppressing or delaying the rise in glucose levels after a meal.
Another mechanism which is suggested to be responsible for improvement in glucose responses by vinegar is delayed gastric emptying.
Delayed gastric emptying or when the stomach remains full for a long time due to slow digestion, it definitely promotes satiety and controls appetite.
4. Acetic acid in vinegar burns fat
Acetic acid promotes the activity of genes that are required for production of fat oxidising enzymes. Increased levels of these enzymes help in breakdown of fats thereby preventing deposition of body fat.
5. Acetic acid in vinegar improves metabolic health
Acetic acid is also proven to reduce cholesterol and blood lipid levels by preventing fat production in liver and facilitating excretion of bile acid. This could be of relevance in treatment of atherosclerosis.
What does this mean?
Vinegar helps to burn fat and suppresses appetite. It also regulates fat and glucose metabolism which benefits in obesity.
4 Types Of Vinegar That Help In Weight Loss
As mentioned previously, vinegar can be prepared from any carbohydrate source. A variety of vinegar types are mentioned below which affect appetite and body weight.
1. Apple cider vinegar controls appetite
Apple cider vinegar is vinegar prepared from apple juice or cider which is a fermented alcoholic beverage derived from apples.
In an experimental animal model, mice treated with apple cider vinegar experienced less weight gain than the group that was untreated. Vinegar influenced activities of liver enzymes which could be held responsible for this effect.
Apple cider vinegar is also proven to reduce post meal elevations in blood glucose and insulin, thereby improving insulin sensitivity. In fact this study reports that Apple cider vinegar’s physiological effect is similar to that of metformin, an antidiabetic drug.
What does this mean?
Apple cider vinegar prevents weight gain by regulating fat and sugar metabolism.
2. Tomato vinegar burns fat
Obviously tomato vinegar is prepared by fermentation of tomato juice. It has a strong flavour due to which it is used in tomato based dishes.
An experimental study reports that tomato vinegar exerts an anti-obesity effect. Mice fed with high fat diet were treated with tomato vinegar beverage which effectively reduced body fat, blood lipids and visceral fat.
It promoted excretion of fats and stimulated activity of enzymes that promote fat oxidation. Tomato vinegar also enhanced glucose metabolism. Both these mechanisms help in weight loss.
Another way by which tomato vinegar fights obesity, is by preventing development of fat cells and thereby obstructing fat deposition.
A study conducted in Korea reports that tomato phytochemicals when administered to mice fed with high fat diet prevented visceral fat deposit and reduced cholesterol levels.
All in all researchers suggest that tomato vinegar has anti-obesity effect.
What does this mean?
Tomato vinegar suppresses fat accumulation and burns fat thus helping in weight loss.
3. Pomegranate vinegar prevents fat accumulation
Pomegranate vinegar is rich in antioxidants and flavinoids. It has a number of health benefits such as it helps in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, improves digestion and memory.
Pomegranate vinegar is reported to attenuate fat deposition in rats by controlling AMPK signalling.
This in turn leads to breakdown of fats in fat tissue and oxidation of fats in liver.
AMP activated protein kinase is an enzyme that is responsible for controlling cellular energy. It plays a vital role in maintaining energy balance of the body by inhibiting fat production and supporting fat oxidation.
Pomegranate vinegar shows similar effects on human liver cells. It increases expression of proteins that stimulate breakdown of fats. Researchers recommend drinking tomato vinegar beverages for healthy weight management.
What does this mean?
Pomegranate vinegar prevents fat deposition and stimulates break down of fats by acting on proteins involved in fat metabolism.
4. Ginseng vinegar suppresses obesity
Ginseng is a herb whose roots are used for medicinal purposes. Persimmon vinegar is obtained from persimmon fruit that is native to Asian countries.
Persimmon vinegar is low in calories and rich in vitamins, fibres and minerals.
Mountain cultivated ginseng persimmon vinegar is said to beneficial for reducing blood lipids in obese individuals.
Volunteers consuming this vinegar experience great reduction in body weight, fat, blood lipid and inflammation.
Researchers suggest that a combination of ginseng and persimmon vinegar can serve to be a good health supplement food that suppresses obesity.
Ginsam, a component of ginseng extracted by vinegar, is proven to have beneficial effects on body weight and glucose utilisation by influencing genes involved in glucose and fat metabolism.
What does this mean?
Ginseng vinegar has anti-obesity potential and also benefits metabolic health.
How to take vinegar for weight loss?
Addition of vinegar to salads and other foods adds to taste and can also help with weight loss.
Mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar in one cup of water and drink it before meals. If you still find it to strong, dilute it further or add honey to taste.
Direct vinegar consumption is reported to cause dental erosion. It is advisable to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water and baking soda mixture to avoid erosion.
Also some people do not find it vinegar palatable when taken directly and is said to cause nausea. Discontinue use of vinegar if you observe any such changes.
Addition of vinegar to a low calorie diet can hasten weight loss by burning fat and curbing appetite. More clinical trials are needed to confirm the role of vinegar in weight loss but it is definitely a good addition to weight loss diet.
Vinegar is a fermented food and hence has a number of health benefits. There is no harm in giving it a try and making your cuisine healthier and tastier.