September 09, 2013

Vinegar Before High Carb Meals?


This is actually a follow-up to the last Sin and Redemption post, but why not pass on a not-yet-thoroughly-proven but intriguing tip for blunting glycemic impact, blocking starch absorption, decreasing appetite and possibly losing weight for those who are interested in that sort of thing?

Also, we shall answer the question: did Crabby indeed go out and have a hot fudge sundae the way she said she was going to as a reward for good behavior, or did she wuss out and settle for some faux nondairy low carb nonsugar substitute?

And in a totally unrelated side note, the awesome Jenn over at Fit Bottom Girls was nice enough to interview me over at the FBG site, do check out the Crabby McSlacker interview if you have a second, there were some great questions!

Vinegar As Carb-Blocking Weight Loss Miracle?


I had vague recollections that vinegar was supposed to be good for you in some weird way, but had forgotten what it was.

What reminded me was the latest Prevention Magazine, which mentioned weight loss and glycemic benefits of vinegar in one of their irritating inserts trying to sell some diet book or another.

And so I googled, and there are indeed some studies out there suggesting vinegar ingested before a high carb meal apparently reduces the post-prandial plasma glucose levels generated by a high-carb meal, even in non-diabetics. The most recent one found that "daily vinegar ingestion reduced fasting glucose in an immediate and sustained manner" and concluded that "incorporating vinegar into the food matrix may favorably influence blood glucose."

The stuff about weight loss I couldn't find a lot of research on, which is weird considering I kept reading over and over that "people have used it for thousands of years" for this purpose. You'd think there'd be a study or two along the way?  There have been a couple studies out of Japan that support this notion, but there never seems to be a link to them in any of the pro-vinegar research.

There are other possible but unproven vinegar health benefits as well, including lowering blood pressure, fighting cancer, boosting heart health, and lowering cholesterol.

How Much Vinegar? What Kind?


Seems a frequently recommended dose is a 1-2 tablespoons a day diluted in 8 ounces of water or another liquid, not straight up. Don't get all excited and forget to dilute. Straight up could damage your throat and mess with your mouth.  Indeed I have discovered from personal experience that insufficient dilution makes you cough and you talk real funny for a while.  Best avoided. However, given many of us use salad dressings that are not this dilute, I confess I'm personally using less than 8 ounces but would not actually be so dumb as to recommend you do that yourself.

I've read that the vinegar should be at least 5% acidity, though I'm not sure why this is important if you're going to dilute it anyway? Couldn't you just use more of a lower acid one?

Apparently any old vinegar will do, but for some reason all the cool kids use Apple Cider Vinegar, or "ACV."  The cloudier and funkier the better and there are all kinds of hyperbolic health claims about the stuff.  I have NOT researched this yet, but dutifully went out and bought my bottle of hippy-dippy Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar.  I don't even know what "the Mother" is yet, but it sounds pretty potent doesn't it? I am eagerly awaiting vibrant health, clearly defined abs, and assorted superpowers.

So the timing of all this was perfect, because, as my 3 regular readers all know, I promised myself a big-ass reward for getting back to more rigorous exercise and healthy eating since my Toronto house swap adventure.

Well, I didn't want to be one of those people who just talks about being a glutton but never follows through.  My follow-through may be lacking on a lot of fronts, but gluttony is not one of them.

So as you may have suspected, the answer to the question posed in the intro: of COURSE I had my sundae.

The Crabby McSlacker Crazy-Pants Way to Enjoy a Hot Fudge Sundae


I kept my calories low that day and my exercise expenditure extra high, and had a light low-carb, high protein/fiber meal before the sundae and a walk afterwards.

So I could justify the calories. But I did not want to spoil my treat with remorse about the sugar.  (I generally eat a diet that's fairly low carb and am mindful of research that says how much sugar messes with one's insulin sensitivity and the dire consequences of that).

Note: this is not to suggest you be an idiot and start eating sugary refined processed crap instead whole foods and then thinking you can magically erase the consequences by downing vinegar.

But anyway, being the freak that I am, I actually tossed some vinegar in a bottle of a flavored fruity drink of a low calorie but entirely unnatural and embarrassing kind, and brought it with me to Ben and Jerry's.




It didn't taste bad at all!

Though the vial used above is a recycled 5 hour energy drink, which I discovered was too small for proper dilution of 2 tablespoons. (Cough, cough.)  The Lobster, who does not drink coffee, has recently discovered these; I have no need given my love of java.

Oh, and I put a couple of cinnamon caplets in my pocket because I've read cinnamon can be useful too in terms of lowering blood sugar.

Et voila! I came, I saw, I scarfed. And took yet another blurred camera phone picture.

Notice the Caramel AND Hot Fudge Toppings

Here's what I can report after this experiment:

Effect on glycemic response and insulin sensitivity: I have no freakin' clue.  I did not rush to a laboratory to find out.

Effect on enjoyment of sundae: Positive and Enormous!

By swigging a pre-pigout concoction that had a sweet/sour taste like some sort of prescription liquid, and by popping a couple of pills, I felt I had "taken my medicine" and was thus duly protected from any unfortunate health consequences of my sin.   The fact that this might be wholly imaginary didn't matter! The point was I pre-absolved of guilt and enjoyed every damn bite.

Anyone else every try the vinegar thing or does it sound bogus? Or, if you were to have a pig out, what would you feast on?

55 comments:

  1. I didn't know this was one of the wonders of vinegar. I use ACV from time to time especially when I am getting a cold. Lately I have been downing 1-2 teaspoons a day in water for the potassium to ward off leg cramps.

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    1. Leah, so glad it helps! And thank you for that info, because I've been dealing with calf cramps like crazy since taking up running again. Though not so much the night time variety, more the daytime point-your-toes-too-far-and-seize-up-in-stupefying-pain kind. And I stretch etc. I suspect ACV won't be a magic solution and I need to investigate further, but great to know it might help a little! Though I already get craploads of potassium. Hmm, must ponder...

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    2. Good to know about usage for a cold. I didn't know that one (or leg cramps).

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  2. Vinegar plays a huge role in my life... I clean with it! LOL

    Maybe I should consider cleaning my insides as well.

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    1. HaHa - I like the role that vinegar plays in your life - about the same as mine!!

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    2. I'd rather drink vinegar than clean house with it, being the world's laziest housekeeper. :)

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    3. Crabby, I am the world's least competitive person but for the title of the laziest housekeeper, I will challenge you. Perhaps not so much laziest, since I do lots of other things, just not housekeeping. What the hell is the point? You turn around and have to do it all over again, like two days later.
      Papers pile up, things need to be filed, books need to be re-shelved, on and on. It makes more sense to wait until non-residents visit, THEN you do it. That is my housekeeping philosophy and I'm sticking with it . Vinegar is involved in my rare, manic, panicked housecleaning episodes, since goodness knows salads make an even more sporadic appearance than the vacuum cleaner.

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  3. I know people who do the vinegar thing daily - it's not for me! I would rather just work a little harder the next day!

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    1. Sounds quite sensible Kim! The taste actually doesn't bother me, but I do cheat and sweeten it. The sweet/sour is actually kinda refreshing.

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  4. When I was watching "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" the girls all drank cider vinegar straight to stay slim and they ate a lot at McDonald's. Of course they also bleached their teeth with household bleach so possibly not the best source for the latest health updates.
    Now what cure do you have for reality TV brain rot 'cause I just can't seem to look away.

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    1. There is a show called that?! This really exists?

      The things one learns on crabby's site...

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    2. OMG, I am reporting the same healthy tips as people who are putting household bleach on their teeth? Yikes!

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    3. Howling! Thank you, totally needed that.

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  5. Picky me - not a vinegar fan. I don't even eat salad dressing if I can avoid it. I'm with Kim - think I'll stick to bicycling and running to rationalize the ice cream. Of course, I think your taste in special treats is perfect.

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    1. DRG, when one rides hundreds of miles and doesn't give it a second thought the way you do, you do not need any gimmicks to justify ice cream!

      I'm just always on the lookout for "magic" tricks that allow for guilt-free gluttony.

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  6. My old friend Colonel Tom used to drink apple cider vinegar and recommended that! He lived a long time and was quite slim and fit.

    Like Julie, a vinegar cleaner here :-)

    Try sauerkraut juice sometimes for the same thrill, lol!

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    1. Great to hear about Colonel Tom, Dr. J!

      Hmm, if I like vinegar why am I under the impression I dislike sauerkraut? I can't remember actually TRYING it, perhaps that's the problem! I think it always just sounded scary.

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    2. Watch it with kraut. There is sour and not-so-sour krauts. Don't judge one type. Of course I prefer the sweeter krauts. I haven't been able to buy any that is as good as homemade, but that is a whole OTHER story! lol
      And besides on a real good quality hotdog, my favorite sauerkraut is served on a good rueben sandwich with good quality rye bread. Yum

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  7. Been there, done that. Several bottles of brag ACV by the tablespoon straight - liked the taste. Actual benefits were zero, zip, zilch. Gave up this habit and waste of money. P.s. If I wanted potassium from a food source I would go with low sodium tomato juice but I just mix up potassium citrate bulk in water to add 3 grams to the estimated 3 grams I get from food fir a total of 6 mrams a day. Paleo man got north of 10 grams a day.

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    1. Interesting anonymous, and sorry there were no miracle benefits in your case. I'm not expecting anything specific, other than the psychological boost of feeling like I'm mitigating some of the health damage that might arise from the very very occasional junkfood pig-out post-meal blood sugar spike.

      And wow, I had no idea our paleo ancestors got that much potassium!

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  8. ACV is like the duct tape for the human body! Is there nothing it can't do? (Ok - it can't fix the aforestated double negative, but I digres...)

    I'm a big fan of ACV and became one when it was suggested that I did NOT have too MUCH acid in my innards - but, maybe too LITTLE. After making the non-diluted mistake (felt like I had tried to swallow broken glass!), I did the 2 table or teaspoons in some lovely sparkling water (with a half a Splenda) and it tasted like a wonderful apple fizzy:) AND - it magically fixed my supposed 'high acid' problem in no more than 2 treatments!

    But, the best part of this blog for me was the picture of a REAL hot fudge sundae!!! Thanks, Crabby - I needed that :)
    Anon

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    1. That's great Anon that the ACV fixed your stomach problem! Makes me curious about doing a bit more research. Even if none of the health benefits are supported by a ton of peer-reviewed studies, I'm a believer in the placebo effect and I'm hoping I'll benefit from some of health claims indirectly even if they're imaginary.

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  9. A few years back my Mom tried taking apple cider vinegar every day, though not for weight loss. If I'm remembering correctly, her skin was breaking out and one of my great aunts suggested that skin problems could often be a symptom of a stomach problem, and she should try apple cider vinegar. My Mom did say that she'd lost a few pounds, but she wasn't sure if the ACV was the reason. So that's proof of exactly nothing...Though I think she did have success in clearing up her skin. :)

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    1. Thanks JavaChick, that's great info! And lets hope the timing was not coincidental on the weight loss, but provides further evidence of the magic properties of ACV.

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  10. I will mix vinegar with hummus on my salads. I am one of those people that loves vinegar taste. :) But no visible abs here.

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    1. Ooh, that actually sounds like a tasty combo QD! I like vinegar anyway and hummus sounds like a nice counterpoint. Especially a good garlicky hummus. Yumm.

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  11. Vinegar is good, and i've taken it before mixed with honey and water. Don't know if it helps anything, but it can't hurt.

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  12. Hmmmm - Does it count if I just eat a lot of pickles? Pickled beans, pickled beets, pickled carrots, pickle pickles? Because my garden is going gangbusters and we're up to our eyeballs in pickles right now! :)

    Also: if you're going to have a hot fudge sundae, especially from B&J's, don't ruin it with all that rationalizing. Just go eat one and enjoy it!

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    1. I'd think pickles would count! But have no actual idea, bdaiss.

      As far as rationalizing: you, as a normal person, may not understand this, but for someone with a screwy brain like mine, rationalizing is fun in itself! To use it in the service of a hot fudge sundae is like icing on the cake.

      Mmmmm, did someone just say cake? Where's that bottle of vinegar?

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  13. I am a big fan of ACV and drink it in water all the time. I find it helps with heartburn and I prefer the vinegar to dancing with Big Pharma. If I am feeling unwell, I also like to drink it mixed with hot water and honey. Tasty to me.

    Your sundae looks like it was lovely!!!

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    1. Great to hear that ACV is so helpful for so many things Kimberley!

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  14. I like ACV and use it in sauces and dressings, but I've never tried it as a (diluted) drink. Not sure I want to. :) Whether or not the health claims are true, it's one of those things that seems like it wouldn't hurt.

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    1. It's not as bad as you'd think Cammy, but on the other hand, I think most of the health claims are still pretty speculative. So using it in cooking seems a sensible middle ground.

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  15. I, who can get a daylong headache just from breathing someone else's salad dressing, am not about to try this. And of course, I'm the one who eats ice cream with nearly every meal, including breakfast. I wonder what specific property of acetic acid is supposed to cause this effect, as opposed to citric acid, for instance?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. You can get a headache just from smelling salad dressing? Yikes! Yep, I'd stick to the ice cream.

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  16. I see this everywhere & a fav workout/foodie blogger takes it every morn - I need to try & see what is up with that! Hey, what are these cinnamon tabs.. I buy the super size cinnamon at Costco cause i eat a side of food with my cinnamon, ;), but tabs???

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    1. Too funny about the side of food with your cinnamon!

      I get cheapo vitamins from Swanson, and got some capsules 'cause I never remember to eat enough cinnamon. Studies are mixed on this but they helped my mom lower her blood sugar, and at my last physical, mine was only barely within normal range despite eating low carb, plus I have a family history of diabetes. So I'm taking some sort of as what the hell insurance.

      There are two kinds of cinnamon and one can be problematic if taken in medicinal doses; of course I can't remember which is the good kind but google probably has an answer!

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  17. Ah, good old ACV (shudder). It was making the rounds as a weight-loss aid 20 years ago, but I've always stayed away from it, being the Queen of Heartburn. Who knew it had so many other helpful properties? :-D

    I'm intrigued about the cinnamon, though! That's a new one on me and I'll have to look into it to see if I should be getting more to help with the ever-present blood sugar gremlins. Thanks for the tip, Crabby!

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    1. The great thing about going for cinnamon Heather is that even if it doesn't do squat, at least it tastes good! Or, in capsule for, it's cheap.

      My sense is that studies are mixed because SOME people respond to it and some don't. But of course the headlines covering the studies are all: It Works! No It Doesn't Work!

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  18. There are so many other ways that I can think to avoid carbs. Vinegar is not one thing that I would ever think to try. I just cannot fathom it!

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  19. Do you think sprinkling vinegar on food counts? I wouldn't think to down a shot of it, or a diluted cup of it, but I'm pretty generous with it on salads, in soups and basically over anything else that needs a kick (but already has plenty of salt).

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    1. I agree Claire, sure seems to me like using a ton of vinegar in food prep would have the same effect, and it sounds like you're like me and enjoy the taste of it anyway. I think there's also the advantage that for carnivores, if you make chicken soup or anything else that involves boiling bones, putting vinegar in as it cooks is supposed to help boost the calcium content of the soup. Kinda makes sense anyway.

      But I'm thinking I recall you're a vegan? In which case never mind about the bones!

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  20. Wait.. what? Vinegar has carb-blocking powers? And all this time I was blocking carbs with some duct tape to the mouth. Now you tell me....

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  21. If this is true, then I need to start drinking ACV before each meal. I just got off a sugar-free diet and I am missing my carbs dearly. I would rather have to down a glass of diluted ACV before a carby meal than not have them.

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  22. It's become quite popular now really. I can't really stomach it first thing in the morning like others but it's highly recommended that's for sure!

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  23. I don't know about ACV as a weight loss aid but I am somewhat prone to UTIs and have read about how so many people swear by it as a cure. I don't like the idea of antibiotics so I tried it a few years ago when I developed a very uncomfy UTI. I took a couple of tablespoons in warm water with honey about 4 times a day. After a few hours my symptoms eased. I continued it for a few days.. magic! I developed another one about couple of years after that and I had the same result. I'm convinced that it has healing properties. That's good enough for me.

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    1. Great to know about the UTI's hilary, hadn't heard that one!

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  24. Oddly enough, I had some ACV of the Bragg variety this morning. Then I come to catch up on my internet reading and behold, recommendation of ingesting it! Funny how the world works that way sometimes.

    I woke up from a dead sleep because my throat was trying to burn off of my body, which is my version of heartburn, and quite possibly the worst I've ever had. Googled home remedies for heartburn since I don't get it often enough to have Tums in the house, and one of the suggestions was a teaspoon of straight organic ACV chased with a cup of water.

    It could have been the placebo effect, but it did make a significant and almost instant improvement that lasted for at least a half hour.

    If I had only known I would have chased it with ice cream instead of water! :)

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    1. Wow, that's counter-intuitive Midknyt, to toss a burny acid straight down an already irritated throat, very brave of you--and it worked! Excellent!

      And too funny about the ice cream. :)

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  25. Is it odd that Im rummaging the cupboards for acv!
    Love the post!

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    1. I don't find it odd at all blogomomma, as I'm tempted to go chasing after miracle carb-erasing cures no matter how wacky they sound.

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  26. Why have I not heard about this before? I'm certainly going to give it a try but not sure if I will be able to stomach the vinegar. Here goes nothing.

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    1. Good luck Dina!

      If you dilute it and toss in something sweet, it's not all that horrible. In fact I kinda like it. But am way weird.

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