2 Pre-Meal Tricks to Control Your Blood Sugar Response, Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Stay in Fat-Burning Mode

These 2 unusual pre-meal tricks could even help diabetics control blood sugar, but can also help non-diabetics to balance hormones via blood sugar balancing – and burn stubborn fat.

by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist


In several other articles, I’ve told you about some of the really cool experiments that Tim Ferriss has done in his new book that I read recently,“The 4-Hour Body“, and I wanted to show you this one today, because it’s pretty cool, and also a simple thing to do…

You may have heard different websites or anecdotes in the past about these 3 substances and their possible effects on reducing the blood sugar response of a meal (taken either before or during a meal), which can, essentially help to keep insulin levels lower post-meal and keep the body from depositing extra body fat.  Maintaining lower and more stable blood sugar levels also helps to prevent cravings and slow the aging process by reducing formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your body.

These 3 substances that he tested pre-meal are:

  • vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon

But do they actually work in controlling blood sugar response from a meal?

Well, that’s what Tim decided to test out on himself as one of his experiments that he did in “The 4-Hour Body”.  Tim actually used a blood sugar meter (normally for diabetics) that attached probes into his abdomen to get constant measurements and graphs of his blood sugar and response to different foods and meals.

In his tests, he tested ingesting all 3 of these “substances” before meals in separate tests.

The results?

The pre-meal vinegar:

The vinegar failed!

Tim tested both white vinegar and balsamic vinegar and neither showed any lowering effect on his blood sugar in his tests.  He even drank 3 Tbsp+ of vinegar before meals as a last attempt to see if vinegar could have any blood sugar controlling effects.  But he found no effect.

Tim includes some theories in his book on why the vinegar didn’t have any effect.

The pre-meal lemon juice:

Better news with the lemon juice! 

In Tim’s personal tests, he used 3 Tbsp of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (not store-bought stuff with preservatives and artificial additives) prior to his meals and this lowered his blood sugar response to meals (compared to his controls) by approximately 10%.

Remember that lowering the blood sugar response to a meal can help to control insulin levels and therefore keep your body in fat-burning mode for longer…and prevent cravings too!

The pre-meal cinnamon:

Yet another score!

If you’ve read my articles in the past, it’s no secret that cinnamon can be powerful in terms of helping to blunt blood sugar response to a meal.  In fact, I regularly take 2 cinnamon capsules (approx 1 gram) if I know I’m going to eat a meal that contains moderate or high levels of carbohydrates.  Some studies show that cinnamon can reduce the glycemic response of a meal up to 29%!

But there are different types of cinnamon…so which is best?

Tim actually tested 3 types of cinnamon in how they affected his blood sugar response to meals.

Saigon cinnamon (aka Vietnamese cinnamon) was found in Tim’s tests to be the most effective at controlling blood sugar.

Cassia cinnamon came in 2nd place in effectiveness

Ceylon cinnamon came in 3rd place in Tim’s tests in effectiveness in controlling blood sugar response to a meal.

Tim did note however that all 3 types of cinnamon helped control blood sugar to some extent.  I personally like to use cinnamon in smoothies, in yogurt or oatmeal, with apples and almond butter, or in capsule form before any meals that are going to have more than 35 grams of carbohydrates.

Keep in mind that if you take medications, you need to consult with your doctor to make sure that cinnamon use does not interfere with the medications (especially with blood thinners).  Tim also warns that 4 grams per day (about 1.5 teaspoons) is probably the max amount of cinnamon that anyone should take.

So there you go!  Lemon juice and cinnamon are the 2 tricks that Tim revealed through his own blood sugar testing that helped to control blood sugar response, fight cravings, and therefore can help you to maintain lower blood sugar and insulin levels and stay in fat-burning mode longer!

And remember that yet another benefit of maintaining lower blood sugar levels is that you help to SLOW the aging process, since high blood sugar levels over time increase glycation in your body, which ages you faster. 

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