Fork Fed: Pickle Juice

Post by Fork Fed


Is pickle juice the new health hype? Many new health claims state that pickle juice can enhance athletic performance, and improve blood sugar control for those with diabetes; which makes me wonder whether drinking pickle juice can actually be worth it?

Before we take a look at the nutritional aspects of pickle juice, we need to keep in mind that this drink is definitely going to be a salty one! So those with high blood pressure issues should definitely stay away from this drink. In regards to carb, protein or fat amounts, pickle juice doesn’t really have much to make it stand out in a special group. What pickle juice does have is lots of sodium as well as a decent amount of probiotics.

In the old days, pickle juice was the result of combining cucumbers, salt and water. The cucumbers are fermented by the bacteria Lactobacillus resulting in some probiotic content in the pickle juice. Nowadays, pickle juice is the result of combining cucumbers in vinegar, therefore no probiotics are really available, so stick to your yogurt if you want the probiotics. Regardless of the probiotic content, pickle juice is claimed to have other health benefits that may or may not have any truth to them.

1 – Pickle juice can help relieve muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps could be the most annoying thing, especially when they happen when you’re asleep or during a workout. There could be a cure, but only after the cramp takes place. Recent research has shown that taking 1 ml per kg of your current body weight of pickle juice during a muscle cramp could help you recover faster than drinking plain water or ignoring it and not having anything at all. The verdict: TRUE! Keep your pickle juice jars on your nightstands or take them with you to the gym if you frequently get muscle cramps. It could be worth it for you if it takes you a while to recover from that cramp.

2 – Pickle juice can help with stomach cramps.
Stomach cramps usually happen due to low amounts of acid in the stomach. Adding in the acidic pickle juice could potentially help since we are re-adding acid to our stomachs. Unfortunately no scientific evidence has proved that re-adding acid could help with stomach cramps. The verdict: FALSE! Maybe sticking to antacids or just avoiding some foods could be best with stomach cramps.

3 – Pickle juice can help enhance athletic performance.
The theory is behind the high salt content in pickle juice. Since salt retains fluid, the idea is that having pickle juice prior to exercising could keep you more hydrated and enhance your athletic performance for exercises requiring stamina. Unfortunately most studies have not shown any effect making this claim worthwhile. The verdict: FALSE! Stick to regular water, good training and sleep to enhance your performance.

4 – Pickle juice can control blood sugar.
Vinegar and blood sugar have been researched for a while. The link is between vinegar and insulin to be precise, where vinegar has been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in the body – therefore reducing blood sugar levels. Vinegar has also been found to slow down the absorption of food in the stomach, when taken with a meal; that could also help potentially lower blood sugar levels. The verdict: True! I would consider adding vinegar but not necessarily consuming a cup of pickle juice with my lunch or dinner. Perhaps some apple cider vinegar in my salad dressing would be a more palatable choice.

So, would you be consuming pickle juice? I certainly will continue to enjoy eating my pickles and until more research has been conducted, I will be holding off on the pickle juice.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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12 comments, add your own...

  1. teenum says:

    are you by any chance the mayor of townsville?

  2. Buzz says:

    You forgot to mention the obvious: Pickles are high in salt. A regular, high intake of salt in your diet leads to many health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease and fluid retention.

    • Ipsom says:

      I was just going to say that this should be choke full of sodium.

      I even think that salt should be limited as much as possible (even for normal people), like sugar.

      • Mark says:

        She mentioned it was high in salt and sodium in her second paragraph.

        Anyway right now I’m on a ketogenic diet and it’s recommended I have a lot of sodium/salt because with keto your body isn’t retaining water like it usually does. Here is an excerpt from some random website i just googled so i could highlight this interesting aspect of having more sodium than usual:

        Sodium has always been advised against, especially for those trying to lose weight. The truth is that your body needs extra sodium on a low-carb diet. The reason is that insulin, which also has the effect of reducing the rate at which sodium is extracted through kidneys, drops and it can cause sodium levels to drop significantly, too. You should eat 3,000-5,000 mg of additional sodium occurring naturally in food. It’s quite simple to get sufficient intake of sodium: Unless you have any medical conditions that restrict your sodium intake, don’t be afraid to use salt, and even if you feel you need more, drink 1-2 cups of bouillon / stock / broth a day.

  3. Sami AlAwadhi says:

    What a miserable existence for these health fanatics

    • Mark says:

      why do you think eating and living healthy is a miserable existence? I’m a health fanatic that loves food and i’m not miserable at all, I love this life style. I’m saying this after not having eaten any wheat or grain product for the past 5 weeks.

      • Mathai says:

        Btw, have you got a blood ketone meter? I was thinking about getting one to see if there’s any progress :)

      • Sami AlAwadhi says:

        I meant healthy food fanatics. The people who make weird concoctions, follow strange food regiments, avoid eating meals with friends and family, bringing their own food instead, Food becomes an “unhealthy” obsession. Listen, just enjoy and eat everything in moderation. Your body, though billions of years of evolution can handle a lot of the shit that you throw at it. Health “experts” make you feel that your body is some fragile machine that needs constant de-toxification and cleansing. It doesn’t. Cheers.

        • Mark says:

          Well whats your target end of the day? If you’re an athlete that needs to perform then you’re going to have to be extreme. Do you want abs? Have you tried getting abs by just eating everything in moderation? Everyone has their own reason, let everyone do whatever they want. I’d rather people obsess about eating healthy than obsess about Lotus.

  4. Mathai says:

    From personal experience I fully agree with #1 but IMHO it doesn’t HAVE TO be pickle juice. I used to get muscle cramps in my calves at night when I was running (a long time ago in a galaxy far far away) and my mom recommended drinking a glass of diluted buttermilk and salt before bedtime. Your body loses quite a bit of salt with perspiration so you’ll need to compensate somehow.

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