To win the fat loss war you need to manage insulin. The more insulin sensitive you are, the better your chances.
Many things contribute to insulin sensitivity: training, single nutrients, exercise, lifestyle…
You just can’t be lean and healthy without being sensitive to insulin.
What is insulin sensitivity?
Insulin sensitivity is simply how the body reacts to the physiological effects of insulin produced after a meal. Basically to be insulin sensitive means one requires smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity. One important thing to know is that all foods will stimulate insulin, but not equally. Fats have very little impact on insulin. While proteins only have a moderate one. Actually, some proteins like whey are more insulinogenic than white sugar. But those are more the exception than the rule. The foods that trigger the most insulin release are those that contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar and starches.
What does elevated insulin do to your body?
Well, too much insulin, too often, over a too long period of time lead to fat gain, obesity and insulin resistance. This is the preliminary stage of type 2 diabetes. So you want to lose fat faster? Work on improving your insulin resistance. Of course, having a stable blood sugar is essential for health as well.
A simple dietary intervention
Science has identified one very simple and underestimated food to both reduce your insulin response to high carb meals and lose body fat. Acetic acid, otherwise known as plain old vinegar. Studies on rats (1) have recently made interesting headway into explaining the mechanism of action. In addition, human trials have proven that vinegar consumption is not just useful in the animal models.
The very first study on the metabolic impact of vinegar dates as far back as 1988 (2). Since then, many studies have followed that concentrated on blood sugar levels, insulin levels, energy expenditure, satiety and body fat. All have demonstrated a positive effect from consuming acetic acid in one form or another. A 2009 Japanese study (3) even showed that there are benefits on body fat, BMI and waist circumference from just 15 ml of vinegar a day on obese subjects.
The same team of researchers demonstrated later in a 2010 sequel study (4) that consumption of vinegar increased energy expenditure. And that from just a tablespoon, so about the quantity you need to make a good salad dressing. The same year, another study found that post-meal glycemia was reduced when type 2 diabetic subjects consumed vinegar with the meal. But other evidences abound proving that this effect extends to normal healthy subjects as well (5-9). There is even evidence that acetic acid improves satiety, making you eat less (6, 9-10).
What’s best, both the consumption of vinegar in the form of condiment such as salad dressing or the consumption of pickled foods can provide these benefits (11, 12).
Better than drugs?
Overall, the glycemia lowering effect of vinegar seems to be approximately around 20% (13). Also keep in mind that there is a dose response associated with this effect (9)
All referenced studies showed benefits of lower blood glucose level, and thus insulin response, to be between 20-35%. This is quite significant as it compares advantageously to many drugs. This is shown to be true both for obese, diabetics and normal healthy subjects.
Whether you need to lose fat, stabilise your blood glucose or just feel less hungry, the simple addition of vinegar to your diet is a simple step to reap all those benefits. So use all types of vinegars in your food preparation, it’s going to do your body, and your taste buds, a world of good
Coach Charles R. Poliquin
1) Hiromi Yamashita (2015): Biological Function of Acetic Acid- Improvement of Obesity and Glucose Tolerance by Acetic Acid in Type 2 Diabetic Rats, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI:10.1080/10408398.2015.1045966
2) Ebihara K, Nakajima A. Effect of acetic acid and vinegar on blood glucose and insulin responses to orally administered sucrose and starch. Agric Biol Chem. 1988;52:1311–1312
3) Kondo et al, Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. Epub 2009 Aug 7
4) Hattori M et al, A single oral administration of acetic acid increased energy expenditure in C57BL/6J mice, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(10):2158-9. Epub 2010 Oct 7
5). Brighenti F, Castellani G, Benini L, et al. Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995;49:242–247.
6) Liljeberg H, Bjorck I. Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998;64:886–893.
7) Johnston CS, Buller AJ. Vinegar and peanut products as complementary foods to reduce postprandial glycemia. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1939–1942.
8) Leeman M, Ostman E, Bjorck I. Vinegar dressing and cold storage of potatoes lowers postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59:1266–1271.
9) Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Bjorck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59:983–988
10) Hunt JN, Knox MT, The slowing of gastric emptying by nine acids, J Physiol. 1969 Mar;201(1):161-79
11) Sugiyama M, Tang AC, Wakaki Y, Koyama W. Glycemic index of single and mixed meal foods among common Japanese foods with white rice as a reference food. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57:743–752.
12) Ostman EM, Liljeberg Elmstahl HG, Bjorck IM. Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular and fermented milk products. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74:96–100.
13. Johnston CS1, Steplewska I, Long CA, Harris LN, Ryals RH Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;56(1):74-9. doi: 10.1159/000272133.