Vinegar and weight loss is a notion that has been around for a while. Vinegar suppresses appetite and increases metabolism, which in turn leads to weight loss.
Reports also claim that vinegar lowers blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, improves symptoms of diabetes, kills bacteria, and may protect against cancer.
More than with many of our other myths there is actually some substance behind some of the claims for vinegar.
One such claim is that it increases “insulin sensitivity”. This is a fairly big deal as a decrease in insulin sensitivity often accompanies, or possibly even contributes to, elevated blood sugar, obesity, and/or diabetes.
When you eat, especially when you eat a large carbohydrate meal, your body releases insulin. Insulin tells muscle cells that there’s a lot of sugar available in the bloodstream. The muscle cells then stock up on fuel while it’s there.
Decreased insulin sensitivity means that this process stops working very well. When muscle cells fail to store the sugars they convert them to fat.
So any substance you can ingest with a large meal that increases insulin sensitivity is a GOOD THING. It helps your muscles get the signal to store the sugars before they are converted to fat.
Vinegar and weight loss: Effective or not?
There is another whole side to this insulin sensitivity, however. Muscle cells can be sensitive to insulin, but if the muscles’ “gas tank” is already full with the stored sugars, it doesn’t really matter if you have increased insulin sensitivity. The sugars in the blood will still be converted to fat.
And the most effective method of moving stored sugars out of the cells so that they can take on new stored sugars is high-intensity exercise, like weight training.
Increased insulin sensitivity is a good thing, but there is no way it will overcome a significant calorie surplus. So make sure you don’t rely on the hype so much that you think that it will negate your need to run a calorie deficit.
Vinegar and tooth decay
Unlike the case with lemon water, depending on who you ask vinegar either rots teeth or it prevents rotten teeth.
Some say that its anti-bacterial infection-fighting properties lead to healthier gums and healthier teeth.
But others point out that vinegar is highly acidic, and that acidic foods and drinks wear away the enamel of teeth, which leads to decay. This is why bulimics often have rotten teeth: Vomit is extremely acidic and rots teeth.
So if you do decide to supplement your diet with vinegar, you should consult with a dentist on how to do this in way that doesn’t permanently damage your teeth.
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