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Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly or Not?

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There’s nothing more satisfying than a high quality balsamic vinegar drizzled over fresh tomato and goat cheese. But balsamic vinegar is pretty sweet compared to other vinegars, so is it keto friendly or not?

photo of a bottle of balsamic vinegar with text that says is balsamic vinegar keto friendly?

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The answer is that it depends. Traditionally made balsamic vinegar has more carbs than the cheaper balsamic vinegar that you can buy in the grocery store. Supermarket balsamic vinegar has 2 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar.

The average keto diet allows for 50 grams of carbs per day. So in small amounts regular balsamic vinegar is keto friendly. What about traditional expensive balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze? Are those keto friendly?

How many net carbs does balsamic have? Are there any other keto friendly alternatives to balsamic vinegar? In this article I’m going to answer all of your questions. So you’ll know everything you need to know in order to decide if balsamic vinegar is OK for you to consume on a keto diet.

The type of balsamic vinegar will determine the amount of carbohydrates it has. Typically the best quality vinegars are not cut with regular vinegar so they have a lot of sugar compared to the ones you buy at the grocery store.

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Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?

Balsamic vinegar is the only kind of vinegar that has carbs and sugar in it. So of all of the vinegars out there it is the least keto friendly. However, eating 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar will only provide you with 4 grams of carbs. In moderation balsamic vinegar is good for a keto diet. In fact, a little vinegar will satisfy your sweet tooth which can prevent you from binging on carbs and blowing yourself out of ketosis.

What Is Balsamic Vinegar?

By definition, balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet, Italian vinegar made from grape juice that has been aged in wooden barrels.

How Is Balsamic Vinegar Made?

Traditional balsamic vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented grape juice that dates back to the Italian middle ages. This special vinegar is traditionally made by boiling down fresh grape juice until it’s concentrated, then it’s fermented and aged in wooden barrels for 12 to 25 plus years.

Commercially produced vinegar is a combination of balasamic vinegar and wine vinegar. Companies cut balsamic with wine vinegar to cut the production time and manufacturing costs down.

That’s why there is such a big dicodamie between balsamic vinegar prices. Some bottles are as cheap as 4 dollars while others can run up to 200 dollars for a tiny portion.

The vinegar is sweet, tart and acidic. It’s traditionally used to make salad dressings, sauces, balsamic glazes and more.

Balsamic Vinegar Nutrition Facts

A one-tablespoon serving of balsamic vinegar contains:

  • Calories: 5
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

Balsamic vinegar has a high sugar content compared to other kind of vinegars.

How many carbs does balsamic vinegar have?

Balsamic vinegar has 2 grams of total carbs per 1 tablespoon and 2 grams of net carbs.

 If you’re on a keto diet then you are going to want to know how many net carbs balsamic vinegar has. The way you calculate net carbs for any type of food is by taking the total carbs and subtracting the fiber from it.

This will tell you how many net carbs there are. Carbs from fiber are not counted on a ketogenic diet. So it’s important to calculate the net carbs to make sure that you’re maximizing your nutrition intake.

No matter what foods you are eating it’s hard to stay under 50 grams of carbs while eating low protein and high fat. To get to that number almost everyone needs to significantly cut their portions down.

By only count net carbohydrates you’ll be sure you aren’t going too low in your overall calorie count and stay below the daily recommended intake for carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Gluten Free?

Yes, balsamic vinegar is gluten free because it is derived from unfermented grape juice. Grape juice is the liquid that has been extracted from fresh grapes. Grapes are a type of fruit. Fruits are gluten free because they aren’t derived from wheat or wheat byproducts.

Keto Friendly Alternatives to Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar technically is keto friendly. But it is the least keto friendly vinegar out there because it has a high sugar and carb content compared to other kinds.

Balsamic vinegar has 2 grams of sugar and carbs. Most other vinegars, like wine vinegar, have zero carbs or sugar.

Nothing will come close to the sweetness of balsamic vinegar but some keto alternatives you can use include:

Can I eat Balsamic Glaze on Keto?

You can eat small amounts of homemade balsamic glaze on a keto diet, but you cannot eat commercially produced balsamic glaze.

Processed balsamic glaze is not keto friendly because it’s a processed ingredient with tons of carbs, added sugars and modified starch. One serving of balsamic glaze has 53.33g of net carbs per 100g serving. That’s more then the entire daily recommended 50 grams of net carbs per day!

Not to mention the sugar content. The sugar in balsamic glaze will raise your glycemic index making it hard for you to reach ketosis.

Unless you make homemade balsamic glaze, chances are it has modified starch in it. Modified starches are chemically altered starches that are used as an ingredient in processed food. Chemically modified starches should be avoided because they are harmful to your health. Common side effects of consuming foods with modified starch include:

  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue

In contrast, homemade balsamic glaze is nothing more than taking regular balsamic vinegar that has been gently cooked down until it’s thicker and more concentrated in flavor. Balsamic glaze will always have a higher carb count than plain vinegar, but 1 or 2 tablespoons of it is safe to consume.

Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar

Traditionally made balsamic vinegar is actually pretty good for you! Some of the health benefits of balsamic vinegar include:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Aids in healthy digestion
  • Good for skin health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves circulation
  • Diabetes friendly

Is Balsamic Vinegar Easy to Digest?

Yes, balsamic vinegar is easy good for digestive health for a few reasons. The most obvious reason is that it has no fiber. Since there is no fiber balsamic vinegar is easy to absorb. In addition, the main component of balsamic vinegar is acetic acid. Acetic acid has probiotics in it.

The probiotics help break food down in the intestine and promote a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy microbiome leads to better digestion, less gas and bloating, complete bowel movements and a quicker transit time.

I’ve always noticed that eating balsamic vinegar with my meals left me feeling lighter and less bloated after the fact. I believe this is due to the acidic nature of balsamic vinegar which helps speed up digestion along with the live probiotics and enzymes in the balsamic vinegar. These probiotics and enzymes assist the body with the digestive process by helping break down food in the stomach.

Does Balsamic Vinegar Cause Heart Burn?

The only time I’ve ever seen vinegar cause heartburn is when it’s consumed straight.

A lot of people tout the benefits of drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar straight. shots of up to 2 tablespoons of vinegar per day are known to improve digestive health, promote healthy gut flora and assist with weight-loss.

However, what the health community fails to mention is that vinegar is highly acidic. And the lining of our intestines is delicate and sensitive to acid. Overconsumption of vinegar can cause acidic burns and corrosive damage to the upper digestive tract.

So as long as you consume normal amounts of balsamic vinegar as an additive to other foods and don’t drink it straight it should not cause heartburn.

If you already have corrosive damage in your upper intestine or suffer from GERD, heartburn or acid reflux, then consuming balsamic vinegar could aggravate symptoms. If you aren’t already suffering with heartburn, then normal balsamic vinegar consumption should be fine.

Can Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?

No, balsamic vinegar cannot go bad! It’s a fermented food that is often aged for up to 25 years or more before it’s even packaged up for sale. When I was in culinary school my teacher told us a story about how balsamic vinegar cannot go bad.

He was in William Sonoma (a fancy kitchen store) one day and saw that balsamic vinegar was on sale. When he asked the girl working in the store why the bottles were on sale she exclaimed that they were going to go bad soon.

She held up a bottle to the light and pointed to bits of sediment and clouds pooling at the bottom of the bottle. This woman had made a mistake. What she was in fact pointing to was the “mother.” The mother is a a gelatinous disc that looks like a slice of wobbly raw liver.

The sales woman thought that the sediment and clouds were a sign of spoilage but the mother is simply a host of probiotics in the vinegar. Knowing that the balsamic wasn’t going to spoil my teacher grabbed the entire stock and went home.

I can also state that vinegar doesn’t go bad. It may have a “best by” date on it, but it won’t have an expiration date. I’ve had some expensive bottles of balsamic vinegar in my pantry for up to 8 years and they are still edible.

How many carbs are in white balsamic vinegar?

White balsamic vinegar has more carbs than regular balsamic vinegar. The average 1 tablespoon serving of white balsamic vinegar has 5 grams of carbs while regular balsamic vinegar has 2 grams of carbs.

Is sugar in balsamic vinegar?

Yes, there are two grams of sugar in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. The sugar comes from the grapes used to make the vinegar.

Keto Friendly Brands of Balsamic Vinegar

The truth is that the most keto friendly balsamic vinegar brands out there are the low quality ones. By its very nature good quality traditionally made balsamic vinegar has a higher carb count.

Think of it this way, the thicker and sweeter the vinegar tastes, the more carbs and sugar it has. Cheap balsamic vinegar is made with grape must, food coloring and it’s cut with wine vinegar. Wine vinegar has zero carbs or sugar. So the dilution of balsamic vinegar alone reduces the carb count.

Some high quality balsamic vinegars that are keto friendly are:

  • De Nigris Balsamic Vinegar – 6 grams of carbs
  • Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinegar – 8 grams of carbs
  • Lucini Aged Balsamic Vinegar – 6 grams of carbs
  • Monini Balsamic Vinegar Modena Igp Glaze- 8 grams of carbs

Keto Friendly Recipes with Balsamic Vinegar

Now that you know that you can enjoy some sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar on a keto diet, here are some recipes you can try at home!

Keto Caprese Salad Recipe

My favorite keto friendly recipe that uses balsamic vinegar is this Keto Caprese Salad. This Caprese Salad Keto is a simple Italian dish that can be whipped up in a snap and it’s naturally low in carbohydrates, high in fat and low in protein. A.KA. its the perfect meal for someone on a Keto or low carb diet.

Keto Caprese salad with keto balsamic vinegar on a white plate
Caprese Salad Keto
This naturally low carb salad is simple to make and keto friendly.. with a modern twist!
Check out this recipe
is balsamic vinegar keto, Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly or Not?

Creamy Balsamic Dressing Recipe

This creamy balsamic dressing recipe is one of my most requested salad dressings. It will even transform the cheapest balsamic vinegar into something special. If you’re on a keto diet a cheap balsamic vinegar isn’t a bad thing. Let me explain why

The less expensive the balsamic vinegar is the more keto friendly it is because it has less sugar. Less expensive balsamic vinegar has less sugar in it because it is cut with red wine to lower the price. Red wine has zero sugar and is completely free from carbs and is therefore great for those on keto.

creamy balsamic dressing being poured into a green salad
Creamy Balsamic Dressing Recipe
This creamy balsamic dressing recipe is sweet, tangy, and incredibly rich It can be whipped up in 5 minutes with zero effort! You throw the ingredients in a blender and its done in a second.
Check out this recipe
is balsamic vinegar keto, Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly or Not?

Final Thoughts

Ultimately you have to decide if satisfying your taste buds with the intense flavor of balsamic vinegar is the best use of your carbs while on a keto diet plan.

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