The Jessica Apple Cider Vinegar Experiment


Once upon a time when, in addition to my usual phobias, I was faced with the possibility of rockets landing on my Tel Aviv apartment building, my stress levels were so high I was barely able to eat or sleep.  The wise thing in such a situation, I suppose, would have been to pack up and get the first flight out of Tel Aviv.  Instead, I took the recommendation of a good friend and half-starved with bags like medjool dates beneath my eyes, I got in a cab and went to see a healer.

I know a charlatan when I see one.  If the healer was useless, I thought, I’d just leave.  No harm done.  And after my first glance at him – barefoot with orange-tinted hair and an enormous smile that showed off the gap between his two front teeth – I was ready to bolt.  But I didn’t. I was needy, desperate, and insecure – three symptoms any insane person knows require a healer’s attention, however orange his hair might be.  He recognized this and wasted no time.  “Why are you here?” he asked.

“I’m afraid of the war,” I said.

The healer laughed.  There were people with real problems, he told me.  Being afraid of a war was ridiculous.  Worst case scenario you spend a few weeks in a bomb shelter.

A few weeks in a bomb shelter.  No biggie, right?

“But wait,” I said.  “I do have other problems.  I swear.  I am full of problems.”

Over the course of many months the healer, who never wore shoes and often sat with his feet on an electric shiatsu foot massager which hummed and creaked, gave me advice on how to overcome my anxieties.  As we talked, he would politely offer me turns on the foot massager and spoonfuls of his mung bean snack.  “Everybody but you loves this,” he would say.

“I have problems,” I’d say back.

During my treatment, which was in some respects successful, the healer gave me homework assignments, such as using anxiety-reducing flower essences.  I  tried a few drops here and there.  For the most part I was unable to take them because as I imagined the preparation of the essences I could not stop saying to myself, “eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog.”  There were Macbeth’s witches with their bubbling cauldron before me.  There was my healer with an unwashed copper dish full of what looked like lavender and crushed seashells.  “Delicious for tea,” he’d exclaim.

One thing I did try on my healer’s recommendation was downing teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before I ate.  I don’t recall why he told me to do this.  I do, however, recall the highly unpleasant sensation of acid running down my esophagus – like reverse vomiting.  I don’t think my healer knew it, and neither did I (I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with diabetes), but there are some who claim that apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar.

In a previous post, I discussed the fact that there’s a whole lot of b.s. going around when it comes to claims of lowering and/or stabilizing blood sugar. I will offer you this from eHow as example:  How to Lower Your Blood Sugar Using Apple Cider Vinegar: From the list of instructions I choose to share with you this line, “Mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup honey…”

Hmmm… honey to lower blood sugar.  Doesn’t sound right to me.

But, let’s put internet idiocies aside now for a moment and focus on my own nonsense.  For no rational reason, I think that vinegar (without honey) might actually make a difference (a small difference) in my blood sugar levels.  Therefore, on the basis of a hunch, I have decided for the sake of all five of my beloved readers, to conduct an experiment: The Jessica Apple Cider Vinegar Experiment.

The experiment involves the following:

Day 1: Jessica Apple will check her blood sugar.  Jessica Apple will down a spoonful of vinegar.  Jessica Apple will consume at least 20 grams of carbohydrates and will not take any rapid insulin, flower essences, or eye of newt.  Jessica Apple will check her blood sugar at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes post-prandial.

As we all know, no experiment is good without its placebo partner.  So…

Day 2: Same as day 1, but replace vinegar with water

No doctor or medical practitioner has told me to do this experiment. I do not recommend you try this at home or anywhere else.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only.  Don’t even take it as information.

Preparation: 1 spoon, 1 glucometer, 8 test strips, apple cider vinegar or Apfelessig if that’s all you can find in your local supermarket (feline assistant optional), teflon tube for coating of esophagus (optional), one spoonful of water for placebo, carbohydrates

Now, I must drink my Apfelessig. Prost! Zum Wohl!  In keeping with the theme of the post, I have chosen an apple as my carbohydrate.  According to NutritionData, one medium apple has 25 grams of carbohydrate.

Day 1: An apple with vinegar

starting blood sugar: 97

30 minutes: 116

60 minutes: 95

90 minutes: Result is clear.  Why waste a test strip?

Day 2: An apple with water

starting blood sugar: 83

30 minutes: 125, feeling sluggish

45 minutes: 139

60 minutes: Out walking to avoid seeing 160

Conclusions: I cannot make them.  Yes, it looks as if apple cider vinegar did lower my blood sugar on Day 1.  There are, however, so many, many variables and my experiment is unscientific, and probably contaminated by cat hair, and one trial is proof of nothing.

This clearly necessitates further study and as my cats and I record this data, my husband is asking whether drinking half a liter of vinegar will enable him to eat a giant bowl of ice cream.  Perhaps he will be the next guinea pig.


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Laura Houston
11 years ago

I too would like to hear more about the healer – your recount of of your visit made me laugh out loud.  And for the record – I said WTF out loud too about the apple cider and honey.

12 years ago

A baked potato, for example, would be a more ideal food.

12 years ago

On the clinical studies that I have read for vinegar, the effect does not work on simple carbohydrates, so an apple would not be adequate for your experiment.  Not that it would work anyway, for Type 1 (one’s mileage may vary, so who knows), but you would need a complex starch, instead.  I had a link to the study somewhere, sorry I can’t find it right now… but it won’t work with simple starches, according to them.

12 years ago

Jessica, your post is fantastic! I laughed along with you through the whole thing, and I very much hope it works out well for you. If I could offer you anything like advice, I’d strongly recommend you mix your dosage of vinegar with some amount of water. Concentration should have no effect at all on efficacy, and you’ll spend a lot less time trying not to think about vomit! While very little apple cider vinegar research is ever funded, certain studies have shown that adding vinegar of some kind to your meals can reduce overall blood sugar levels by 20%,… Read more »

12 years ago

great piece, jessica. i love the description of the healer.
curious to hear how it goes…

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