Let me tell you, when currently suffering extreme exhaustion, to the point you have to sleep during the day several times, every day, to get up the energy to basically do nothing (no joke, I left a SPA early last week due to being too tired), waking at 7.30am to get on the phone to the doctor, to get a sick note proving you are too exhausted to work, to be on hold for AN HOUR to then be told I could have done it all online (even though they said I couldn’t) last night, is NOT IT!!!!
So this vinegar thing is interesting, I too have taken some apple cider vinegar (live, with mother, it’s disgusting to look at!) in sparkly water every morning for a while as I’d read vinegar is good for regulating blood sugar (so is cinnamon FYI but I can’t abide cinnamon for long complicated PTSD reasons), however this blog post Wendy has discovered is interesting as it talks about taking vinegar or acid like lemon juice directly WITH carbs to lower their glycaemic index – I.e. the insulin/carb response they generate.
This does actually make sense the way it’s explained (side note, I think Jason Fung is very interesting, but I personally think his books would be improved no end if he just explained things as straightforwardly as he does in the video without all the convolution and repetition and going over the same point over and over and over again).
Basically what he’s saying, and it’s backed up by scientific studies which I also read last night, is that the starch in carbs like bread, pasta, rice etc. is broken down by two forms of the same enzyme, amylase. Starch is basically long chains of glucose molecules, which is why we get such a strong insulin response to it. The reason we have two enzymes – one in the saliva and one in the intestines (from the pancreas) is because our body likes to use glucose as the primary source of energy – yes I know before you all jump down my throat, we can reprogram our bodies to use keto bodies and proteins and fats, but the instinct is to use glucose, simply because it’s a really straightforward reaction – glucose + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water – simple waste products we can easily get rid of, and this reaction produces literally bucket loads of energy in the form of ATP. It’s a “clean” and “efficient” reaction. Anyway, I digress, but because we have glucose as our primary/preferred source of energy, our body is programmed to get as much out of our food as possible, and so we have an enzyme amylase present in our saliva to start digesting starch the second we eat it, rather than waiting till the intestines.
Salivary amylase starts working in the mouth and we start absorbing glucose straight away, then food travels to the stomach where, because we can’t absorb glucose in the stomach, the acid inactivates the enzyme, temporarily pausing digestion, until food reaches the duodenum (first part of the intestine) where pancreatic amylase takes over.
However what Jason is saying is that if we consume vinegar or acid or ferments (also acidic) with carbs, and I think he is literally saying it has to be with the carbs, not separate to it, we can reduce the GI of the carbs significantly because the acid inactivates the salivary amylase in the mouth, so we can’t start digesting starch until it reaches the intestine and therefore can’t get as much glucose out of the food.
This is an interesting take, and certainly worth experimenting with – although I would caution that the GI of bread etc. is still extremely high even with the vinegar – it’s interesting the research doesn’t really focus on legumes and pulses – I’m doing a lot of reading around this at the moment because legumes and pulses are super high in fibre, and are also good sources of proteins, but as we know also high in complex carbs and cause an insulin response in some people, but they are the original superfood really, so I’m trying to work out a way to incorporate more into my diet while still following the “rules” – I’m very much focussed on a keto version of the anti-inflammatory diet at the moment (seems best way to combat my PCOS) and confusingly some books say eat all the beans and pulses, and some say never shall thou even so much as look at a bean again lest you be struck down. So I’m confused.
Interesting side note of JF’s blog post, he says that the added vinegar seems to improve the satiety of complex carbs – I.e your sense of “fullness” or “satisfaction” – I wonder if this might be due to the acid helping to denature proteins in whatever grain is being used, helping us to absorb more of this…..this is just speculation
Anyway, to summarise, I won’t be rushing out and hoofing bread down any time soon with gallons of apple cider vinegar, but it’s nice to know you can perhaps moderate the damage if consumed with acidic food.
That’s it folks, science lesson of the day over, im going back to sleep!