The FASEB Journal

Frozen pickle juice reduces mealtime glycemia in healthy adults

By Carol S Johnston and Christy L Appel
Nutrition, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
Published Online: 1 Apr 2009


The antiglycemic effect of 20 g vinegar ingested at mealtime is well characterized; yet chronic vinegar ingestion is impracticable due to esophageal discomfort and astringent taste. Vinegar is more palatable when incorporated in a food matrix. This trial examined whether a frozen pickle juice product possessed antiglycemic properties. Healthy, non-diabetic adults (13 F, 3 M; BMI: 25.4±1.4 kg/m2; age: 29.4±2.8 y) consumed frozen pickle juice (56 g, Pickle LLC; Seguin TX) or sugar free popsicles (71 g, Fla·Vor·Ice Light; Jel Sert Company, West Chicago IL) immediately prior to a carbohydrate load (1 buttered bagel and 6 oz fruit juice) in a randomized, crossover fashion with two weeks separating treatments. Fasting and postprandial blood samples were collected for glucose analysis. The incremental peak glucose concentration at 30 min post-meal was reduced 42% with frozen pickle juice ingestion as compared to control (p=0.05). Postprandial glycemia (incremental area-under-the-curve) was reduced by the pickle juice treatment at 0-60 and 0-120 min as compared to control (-46%, p=0.038 and -39%, p=0.074). These data indicate that pickled food products possess antiglycemic effects similar to vinegar in healthy adults. Foods containing vinegar may help pre-diabetics and diabetics manage their condition and may be considered functional foods. This research was supported by the ASU Nutrition Research Fund.

More information:

Gastric emptying after pickle-juice ingestion in rested, euhydrated humans.

More research for our science buffs!

J Athl Train. 2010 Nov-Dec;45(6):601-8. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-45.6.601.
Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108- 6050, USA.



Small volumes of pickle juice (PJ) relieve muscle cramps within 85 seconds of ingestion without significantly affecting plasma variables. This effect may be neurologic rather than metabolic. Understanding PJ’s gastric emptying would help to strengthen this theory.


To compare gastric emptying and plasma variables after PJ and deionized water (DIW) ingestion.


Crossover study.




Ten men (age  =  25.4 ± 0.7 years, height  =  177.1 ± 1.6 cm, mass  =  78.1 ± 3.6 kg).


Rested, euhydrated, and eunatremic participants ingested 7 mL·kg⁻¹ body mass of PJ or DIW on separate days.


Gastric volume was measured at 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes postingestion (using the phenol red dilution technique). Percentage changes in plasma volume and plasma sodium concentration were measured preingestion (-45 minutes) and at 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes postingestion.


Initial gastric volume was 624.5 ± 27.4 mL for PJ and 659.5 ± 43.8 mL for DIW (P > .05). Both fluids began to empty within the first 5 minutes (volume emptied: PJ  =  219.2 ± 39.1 mL, DIW  =  305.0 ± 40.5 mL, P < .05). Participants who ingested PJ did not empty further after the first 5 minutes (P > .05), whereas in those who ingested DIW, gastric volume decreased to 111.6 ± 39.9 mL by 30 minutes (P < .05). The DIW group emptied faster than the PJ group between 20 and 30 minutes postingestion (P < .05). Within 5 minutes of PJ ingestion, plasma volume decreased 4.8% ± 1.6%, whereas plasma sodium concentration increased 1.6 ± 0.5 mmol·L⁻¹ (P < .05). Similar changes occurred after DIW ingestion. Calculated plasma sodium content was unchanged for both fluids (P > .05).


The initial decrease in gastric volume with both fluids is likely attributable to gastric distension. Failure of the PJ group to empty afterward is likely due to PJ’s osmolality and acidity. Cardiovascular reflexes resulting from gastric distension are likely responsible for the plasma volume shift and rise in plasma sodium concentration despite nonsignificant changes in plasma sodium content. These data support our theory that PJ does not relieve cramps via a metabolic mechanism.