Is Vinegar Actually Bad For You?

What if I told you, I eliminated vinegar and lost 1 inch in my waist in 2 days and 2% body fat in 10 days as well along with significantly improved athletic performance? How is this possible? Let's step back for a second.

- National Institute of Health published that vinegar can reduce blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.

-American Diabetes Association published 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.

-National Institute of Health published other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.

-National Institute of Health published rat studies showed that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

-National Institute of Health published studies which shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

So how can vinegar, which studies have shown many positive benefits, be beneficial to eliminate? I invested in a 96 food allergy test at LifeTime. It tested the 96 most common foods Americans consume daily. The results come back as a (0) no issues, (1) consume only once a week, (2) eliminate for 3 months, and (3) eliminate for 6 months. Both 2s and 3s have caused a "leaky" gut. (refer to How To Heal A Leaky Gut by Catherine Guthrie for understanding more about "leaky" gut) I received my results back on a Monday and saw what food issues I had. Some I had suspected, eggs, wheat, dairy, but others, (asparagus, beans, nuts, black pepper, tomato, brewers yeast, to name a few), I had no idea,. I immediately eliminated all 1s, 2s, and 3s from my diet that day.

What puzzled me was having a 3 for brewers yeast. I set up a lab interpretation with LifeTime Registered Dietitian Ashley Graven on Thursday, 4 days later, to review the data and ask some questions. The main question I had was, "How can I have an issue with brewers yeast (beer comes to mind) when I had a total of 3 beers in 2014?" Ashley explained that not only is brewers yeast in beer but it is in other foods as well such as vinegar. My jaw dropped. I consume approx 1 tablespoon of vinegar a day in the form of homemade vinaigrette for my salads. I use it so much of it because of taste and the health benefits listed above. I had to eliminate all vinegars, homemade vinaigrettes, mustard, and pickles.

Friday was my first day without vinegar. Saturday was a nice day outside and I felt like doing sprints as my workout while my children napped. Normally, I do (6) 42 second sprints. The speed is truly explosive and I am shot in between each set, even with a 4-5 minute recovery. Typically, I have to lay down on the ground for a while since I so shot. Saturday, I felt energized and took only a 90 second recovery after the first sprint. I did the same after the second sprint. I noticed while I was tired after each sprint, I was not exhausted as I was in the past. I proceeded to finish 8 sprints in record time with improved distances with every sprint. (Keep in mind, I had not done any sprints in over 2 months due to it being so cold outside).

On Sunday, I was getting dressed and I put on my jeans. My wife saw me and said, "Your jeans look terrible on you! They are too baggy. You need knew jeans!" I measured my waist later that day and I had dropped over 1 inch in 2 days! I was shocked how much my belly button changed overnight. It was flat and did not have a mini donut around it. It was crazy how much better I felt. Now, in 2 days, I understand I had not lost much fat, but I reduced over 1 inch of inflammation in my waist which will set myself up to lose body fat later on.

Monday, I began my strength training workout in a circuit style. Circuit style refers to 6 lifting exercises that must be completed and I track how many minutes and seconds it takes me to finish each set. I had to finish each of the following stations: 65lb fireman carry (carry 65lbs in my had a specific distance), 95lb battle rope pull (take a battle rope, tie 95lbs to it and pull it to you 2x), 20 ice skaters, 10 86lb jumping spidermans (hopping laterally while completing a narrow row upon impact), 45lb db snatch each arm, 8lb med ball throw and catch (throw a medicine ball away from you and sprint to catch it after it bounces 1x but before it bounces 2x). It is a very challenging workout.

The following are my 3 workouts, sets, and time it took it took me to compete before I eliminated vinegar. 

    Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Set 6

Workout 1 5.41 6.11 6.21 6.25 7.11 7.15

Workout 2 5.47 5.47 6.12 6.11 6.39 6.53

Workout 3 5.47 5.45 6.13 6.09 6.19 6.27

Now after completing each set, I took a 2 minute break. During my break I was spread eagle laying supinated (face up). I had an inability to talk due to the exhaustion. 

When you look at the numbers, overall all the Sets 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s are relatively close with each other with minor improvements. Sets 5 and 6 showing definite increases in time displaying my fatigue and an inability to recover. Because of this fatigue, I was taking a 3 minute recovery after Sets 5 and 6 because I could not function due to exhaustion.

After eliminating vinegar, I had the following numbers.

                     Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Set 6

Workout 1 5.37 5.38 5.34 5.33 5.39 5.25

Workout 2 5.03 5.03 5.17 5.29* 5.09 5.01

Workout 3 5.24 5.01 5.21 5.24 5.12 5.17

Workout 4 5.10 4.57 5.06 5.10 5.07 5.03

*Someone was in my way slowing me down for the fireman carry.

When taking each 2 minute break, I was sitting upright talking to members. I kept to a strict 2 minute recovery. I was amazed at how my performance dramatically improved because of the removal of inflammation. I crushed it! Don't get me wrong, the workout is still tough however, when I am recovering, I am actually recovering and ready to perform on the next set. In fact, my recovery was so great, a couple of times, I pushed a 90lb loaded Prowler approx 100 yards up and down the parking ramp.

Is vinegar bad for you? Absolutely not. In fact, I recommended clients incorporate vinegar in their diet due to the numerous health benefits. In my case however through over consumption, it became a poison to my body. My body developed a "Leaky Gut" causing me to increase inflammation around my abdomen. This increase of inflammation lead to an increase in body fat storage, no matter how hard I worked out and no matter how "clean" I ate. I did not optimize my "clean" diet or workout until I eliminated the Poison (brewer's yeast in the form of vinegar) from my diet.

On Monday, 3 days after eliminating the vinegar, I had a few clients comment how leaner I looked, particularly my abdomen and arms. I am definitely one step closer to my goals.

Always remember, if you overconsume any item of food, even  healthy food, you can develop an intolerance to it. The intolerance will not surface after eating the same food for days or even weeks. It takes the average person months to years to develop an intolerance. 

What can you do?

 Invest in a Food Allergy blood test to determine what foods are inflammatory for you and not. . Incorporate the information into your diet and watch your workouts improve.

For information on 1on1 Personal Training or Nutrition coaching, feel free to contact me at


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified

1 comment