Vinegar Fat Fighter:
As a Fat Fighter
fighting to keep unhealthful, unsightly fat off your belly? Join the
enjoys an ancient reputation as a healthful food, and new research
suggests that pickled foods and vinegary dressings may help fight
The secret to the fat-fighting potential of vinegar lies in its defining
natural constituent ... a tart, tangy chemical called acetic acid.
(For some suggested ways to get vinegar into your diet, see What
can you do with this information? below.)
The body stores excess dietary calories as body fat, and most of that
fat ends up one of two places.
Fat can be stored either as subcutaneous fat, located just under the
skin. Or it can be deposited as unhealthier, harder-to-lose abdominal
(visceral) fat which, by definition, is fat found around the bodys
An excess of abdominal fat is known medically as central obesity,
and is commonly called belly fat.
Aside from being socially and romantically undesirable, theres
a strong correlation between central obesity and an increased risk
of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
In fact, central obesity is one of the physiological factors that
constitute metabolic syndrome, which often leads to diabetes.
The genetic connection between vinegar and body fat
Its been known for some time that activation of genetic switches
called PPARs induces the body to store excess calories as subcutaneous
fat instead of depositing them as unhealthier abdominal fat.
The acronym PPARs stands for peroxisome proliferator-activated
receptors, and these switches help regulate the expression of
genes associated with metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Long-time readers of Vital Choices may recall past articles about
the beneficial effects of omega-3s on PPARs with regard to development
and progression of diabetes.
Three years ago, researchers at Laval University in Quebec, Canada,
published a study in which they fed rodents carboxylic acid (COOH),
which is the chemical parent of acetic acid (CH3-COOH).
As they reported, In rats treated with the full PPAR-gamma agonist
[activator] COOH for 3 weeks, subcutaneous fat mass was doubled and
that of visceral fat was reduced by 30% relative to untreated rats.
And the Laval team found that feeding rodents this close chemical
cousin to acetic acid also stimulated fat burning (thermogenesis)
in abdominal (visceral) fat:
The agonist [acetic acid] increased
fatty acid oxidation
and thermogenesis much more strongly in visceral fat than in subcutaneous
fat ... These findings demonstrate that PPAR-gamma agonism [activation]
and energy expenditure is greatly increased
in visceral fat, with consequent reduction in fat accumulation.
(Laplante M et al. 2006)
Their findings indicated that carboxylic acid - and perhaps related
compounds like vinegars acetic acid - is an ally in the fight
to shift body fat to a healthier location, and preferentially burn
body fat sited in its least healthful location.
New findings support the fat-fighting value of vinegar
Last month, researchers at Japans Mizkan Group published findings
that more directly support the promise of vinegars acetic acid
as a potent ally in the fight to prevent central obesity (Kondo T
et al 2009).
In short, they found that dietary acetic acid helps prevent obesity
in mice fed a high-fat diet, both by the PPAR mechanism reported from
Quebec in 2006, and via other means as well.
The Japanese team reports that acetic acid up-regulates
the expression of genes that induce oxidation (burning) of fatty acid
in the liver
an effect called thermogenesis that suppresses
the accumulation of body fat.
As they said, Significant increases were observed in the expressions
of genes for PPAR-alpha and for fatty-acid-oxidation- and thermogenesis-related
in the liver
In conclusion, AcOH [acetic acid]
suppresses accumulation of body fat and liver lipids
(Kondo T et al 2009)
Specifically, the new study showed that mice fed a high-fat diet with
added acetic acid developed about 10 percent less body fat than mice
fed a high-fat diet absent the characteristic vinegar compound.
Importantly, the new research provides the first hard evidence that,
like carboxylic acid, acetic acid fights body fat build up by switching
on genes that in turn activate fat-burning enzymes.
What can you do with this information?
For starters, you can munch on pickles (cucumbers marinated in vinegar)
and add vinegar-pickled veggies like beets and cauliflower to salads
Salad dressings made with vinegar are another avenue, although the
amount of oil in most vinaigrettes would overcome any fat-fighting
Balsamic vinegar is a particularly healthful, delicious way to get
more acetic acid into your diet, without added fat.
Use balsamic vinegar as a sauce ingredient when cooking.
Or drizzle it sparingly over breads, salads, and cheeses
sorbet! Our deep, dark, 100% organic balsamic vinegar is made in Spain
from concentrated organic grapes and organic red wine.
Here are a few other suggestions:
cider vinegar as a substitute for fresh lemon juice in recipes.
*Pour cider vinegar over roasting lamb. Adding honey and sliced
onions to the roasting pan will produce a sweet, tangy sauce when
the vinegar mixes with them.
*Sushi rice: Japanese use rice vinegar as an essential ingredient
for sushi rice.
*Use cider or white wine vinegar to flavor collard greens, green
beans, or cabbage.
the healthiest, zestiest of all pickled foods is the addictively delicious
Korean side dish called kimchi or kimchee.
Kimchi usually features crisp green vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower,
cucumbers, bell peppers, garlic, onions, chili peppers, radishes,
and the like.
These foods have few calories but lots of fiber, vitamins (especially
A and C), beneficial polyphenol antioxidants, and minerals such as
calcium and iron.
The distinctive flavor of kimchi depends on the level of acetic acid
(more is better), which will vary according to the ingredients used,
the fermentation temperature (cooler is better) and period, and the
level of salt (less is better).
Kimchi fermented with less salt at a low temperature has more acetic
acid and a better flavor, according to connoisseurs. And, like yogurt,
kimchi contains lactic acid generated by beneficial probiotic bacteria.
consider organic whole foods from both plant and animal kingdoms
to be a major key to superior health. We also think it's terribly
important to eat fish at least twice a week to get the essential
fatty acids. Here at our house, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon
and other wild seafoods from our friends at Vital Choice. Click
here to visit Vital Choice Seafood.
T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Kaga T. Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression
of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body
Fat Accumulation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 May 26. [Epub ahead of print]
*Laplante M, Festuccia WT, Soucy G, Gélinas Y, Lalonde J, Berger
JP, Deshaies Y. Mechanisms of the depot specificity of peroxisome
proliferator-activated receptor gamma action on adipose tissue metabolism.
Diabetes. 2006 Oct;55(10):2771-8.
Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to
the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.