How strong are the health claims of vinegar?

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Professor Buttriss: ‘All submissions for EU health claims have been rejected’
Professor Buttriss: ‘All submissions for EU health claims have been rejected’

Related tags: Nutrition

For decades, vinegar has been touted as a cure-all – but what is the evidence?

On the internet, you can find claims that vinegar can aid weight loss, improve vascular health, help with arthritis and improve skin and hair.

But all submissions for EU health claims have been rejected.

Most of the work on weight loss has been conducted in rodents. There are few human trials, and weight loss was at best very modest.

Effect on blood glucose

Vinegar’s effect on blood glucose after a meal has been the most researched.

A recent meta-analysis of 11 small interventions in humans found that blood glucose response was reduced when vinegar (median 20ml) was consumed with a meal.

The effect was small and greater in those with diabetes or pre-diabetes than in healthy subjects.

Acetic acid in vinegar

Rodent studies have hinted that acetic acid in vinegar interferes with conversion of starch to glucose. Whether this is the case in humans is unclear and the relevance of any effect is unknown.

Vinegar is not an alternative to a healthy diet, portion control or exercise for weight loss. Nor is it medication for those with diabetes.

Also, its acidity is shown to potentially harm teeth. Research Spotlight 2017 – Issue 6​ has more on the subject.

  • Judy Buttriss is director general of the British Nutrition Foundation

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