Maybe it’s my German heritage, but I’m a sucker for tart or sour foods. While some of my German favorites – sauerkraut, mustard and bratwurst, pickled vegetables – aren’t always on the healthy side, one popular ingredient is: vinegar.
What is Vinegar, Anyway?
Vinegar is an acidic liquid which is processed from the fermentation of ethanol. This process yields the key ingredient acetic acid (ethanoic acid), which we’ll get to later.
There have been many health benefits ascribed to vinegar over the years, particularly apple cider vinegar. While it has often been considered a folk remedy with little evidence to back it up, in recent years its health benefits have been backed by scientific studies.
- A 2006 study found that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, had a cholesterol-lowering benefit in a test group of rats. They saw significantly lower total cholesterol and triacylglycerol. High levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
- According to a study quoted by RealAge.com, obese people who had one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar on a daily basis lost significantly more body fat (including belly fat) than another group who took a placebo. Both groups were on the same diet and exercise plan.
- According to the famous YOU Diet docs and Oprah favorites, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, it doesn’t seem to matter which type of vinegar you use to see the health benefits. Whether you prefer balsamic, malt, white, or apple cider, the main thing you have to look for is the five percent acidity vinegars, which is usually indicated on the label.
- Small amounts of vinegar (about two tablespoons) added to food, or taken along with a meal, have been shown by a number of medical trials to reduce the glycemic index in food. The American Diabetes Association also mentions a 2005 study that implies adding vinegar to your diet may help control blood glucose and insulin levels, along with making you feel full longer.
Pucker up, and kiss your fat goodbye.