Vinegar has been used for millennia as a food, drink, medicine, preservative and disinfectant. Fruit juices are fermented with yeast into wine, which is further fermented by acetic acid bacteria into vinegar. Various types of vinegar are made from apples (cider vinegar), grapes (wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar), cereals such as barley (malt vinegar), sugar, and other products. Distilled vinegar (white vinegar) is made from dilute distilled alcohol.
The US Food and Drug administration requires products labelled â€˜vinegarâ€™, to contain at least 4% acetic acid. Cider & wine vinegars contain 5% to 6% acetic acid and white vinegar ranges from 4% to 7%.
Vinegar has been used as a folk remedy for various conditions, including hypertension, weight loss, leg cramps, osteoarthritis, cancer prevention, jelly fish stings, and warts. Before the availability of pharmacologic glucose-lowering therapy, vinegar was used as a home remedy for diabetes.
Research to support the potential use of vinegar to lower blood sugar dates to 1988, when Japanese researchers showed that vinegar containing 5% acetic acid reduced insulin response in seven healthy volunteers. The proposed mechanism for this effect is delayed gastric emptying; slow passage through the digestive tract and thus delayed carbohydrate absorption.