Vinegar is made from the fermentation of ethanol. The medium in which it is fermented determines the type of vinegar. For instance, apple cider vinegar is fermented from apple must, while balsamic is from grape must. The process produces the main ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, which gives it the characteristic acidic taste. Vinegar is used in salad dressings, as a cooking ingredient and for pickling or home canning. Researchers in Japan found new evidence that vinegar can prevent accumulation of body fat and weight gain. There are many ways to use vinegar to take advantage of this weight-loss capability.
As a Drink
The acetic acid in vinegar is responsible for controlling blood pressure, blood sugar levels and fat accumulation, according to Sciencedaily.com. How? Acetic fights fat by activating genes for fatty acid oxidation, thereby curbing fat accumulation in the body. Apple cider vinegar is commonly used to induce weight loss. The reason is clear: If it is not distilled, filtered or pasteurized, apple cider vinegar contains nutrients, enzymes and organic acids that serve to suppress appetite and increase metabolic rate.
To make an apple cider vinegar drink, mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey. Dr. D.C. Jarvis, author of the book "Folk Medicine" and a proponent of using apple cider vinegar for weight loss, suggests drinking this concoction before every meal. He maintains that weight loss with this process is gradual but permanent.
Most basic salad dressings are a combination of vinegar, healthy oils and a variety of herbs and spices. To tap into the fat-busting qualities of vinegar, make your own basic dressing: 1 part vinegar, 3 parts olive oil (or sesame oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil), salt and pepper and your favorite herb or spice. Homemade dressing has many advantages—it has no added preservatives, no saturated fats or chemicals.
Experiment with different kinds of vinegar: balsamic, pomegranate-infused vinegar, white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.
When used as a cooking ingredient, vinegar imparts the acidic flavor that can enhance certain dishes. Most sweet and sour Asian dishes have vinegar added to give them the piquant taste. Barbecue sauce would not taste appetizing without the hint of sour, courtesy of vinegar. Hot and sour soup has a generous amount of vinegar. Vinegar can also be used to make condiments, sauces, salsa, marinades and as a meat tenderizer.
Vinegar is also used to pickle vegetables. Ginger, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, chili peppers, red peppers, radishes, daikon and napa cabbage make good pickles. Use pickles as a side dish to help burn fat with each meal.
Gourmet Fruit Vinegars
If you are looking for interesting varieties of vinegar to add to your diet, try gourmet fruit vinegars. Disease-fighting phytochemicals in fruit vinegar may become even more potent in the fermenting process, according to a study at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. They found that when grapes are fermented into red wine vinegar, more phytochemicals are present. Use gourmet fruit vinegar to boost flavor in your food—from salads to glazed fruits to stir-fry.
Gourmet fruit vinegars may be expensive, but you can make your own. Simply heat white vinegar to below the boiling point, toss in fruit (apricot, black currant, raspberries, cherries, key limes), cool, refrigerate and strain after a few weeks.