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If you want to lose weight, you need to change how you eat. You can make your meals smaller, eat fewer meals, cut out snacks, reduce your fat or sugar intake, or do anything else that causes you to eat fewer calories.
With less energy coming in, your body has no choice but to burn body fat to make up the calorie shortfall.
The easiest way to lose weight is to follow a diet. Diets take the guesswork out of knowing what you should and shouldn’t eat to drop those unwanted pounds. One of the best eating plans for weight loss is the keto diet. Keto is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet that forces your body to burn even more fat than usual.
Like any diet, while keto can help you lose weight, it can sometimes be boring. You won’t be able to eat a lot of your favorite foods, and the foods you can eat may be bland.
The Keto Diet and Balsamic Vinegar
The good news is that you can liven up your meals with seasonings and dressings. Unfortunately, a lot of sauces and condiments contain sugar and are not keto-friendly. In this article, we answer the question “is balsamic vinegar keto” so you can decide whether to include it in your low-carb meals or not.
What Is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is a dark, rich vinegar made from unfermented grape juice. It’s a staple of Mediterranean cooking and cuisine. Balsamic vinegar has a bold, distinctive flavor with a tart aftertaste.
The best high-quality balsamic vinegar is made and aged in wooden barrels, often old wine barrels, for many months or even years, and it can be expensive. Balsamic vinegar can be used on its own as a dressing or a marinade and is also an ingredient in many recipes.
Because it’s fat-free, balsamic vinegar is popular on weight-loss diets, and some studies suggest that this tasty condiment may have some additional health benefits.
Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto?
Despite being made from grapes, which definitely AREN’T keto, real balsamic vinegar is very low in sugar and carbs. Most of the sugar and carbs are removed during the fermenting process. As such, balsamic vinegar is usually keto-friendly.
Depending on the variety, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar will provide anywhere between one and six grams of net carbs. That same amount also contains just 15 calories.
Because balsamic has such a concentrated flavor, a little goes a long way, so you may not need to use as much as a 15ml tablespoon serving.
Not all varieties of balsamic vinegar were created equally, and some types have more carbs than others. The longer they are fermented, the lower the carb content will be. However, this type of balsamic vinegar is usually much more expensive.
Cheaper varieties of balsamic vinegar are usually less fermented, so they contain more carbs. Also, some manufacturers sometimes add sugar, caramel, and other ingredients to their products, which means you could end up inadvertently consuming more carbs than you intended.
Compare varieties to make sure you are buying a product that’s low in net carbs. However, most kinds of balsamic vinegar are reasonably low in carbs and keto-friendly.
The Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar
As well as being keto-friendly, studies suggest that balsamic vinegar also offers the following health benefits:
Balsamic vinegar can help you maintain or even lower your cholesterol levels. Antioxidants found in balsamic vinegar help reduce the toxins that can raise your LDL (unhealthy cholesterol) levels. Lower LDL cholesterol usually results in an increase in HDL (good cholesterol).
Balsamic vinegar contains acetic acid, which contains probiotic bacteria. Probiotics improve gut health for better digestion. A healthier gut can boost immunity, help prevent weight gain, and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Several types of vinegar are associated with weight loss, and balsamic vinegar is no exception. The probiotic compounds help you feel fuller for longer, and, unlike many other sauces and condiments, balsamic vinegar is fat-free and very low in calories.
Balsamic vinegar is also linked to increased insulin sensitivity and more stable blood glucose. Adding balsamic vinegar to your meals could help you reach your weight loss goals faster and more easily.
Lower Blood Glucose
Balsamic vinegar is anti-glycemic, which means it reduces the glycemic index of carbs. The lower the glycemic index of a given carb is, the more slowly it digests, and the smaller its effect will be on your blood glucose.
Lower, more stable blood glucose is beneficial for diabetics, for people trying to lose weight and anyone who wants to avoid the energy peaks and troughs caused by fluctuating blood glucose levels.
Better Cardiovascular Health
Balsamic vinegar contains polyphenols, which are beneficial for the health of your cardiovascular system. Balsamic vinegar is made from fruit (grapes), and that means it contains several healthful compounds.
Grapes can help prevent your blood from clotting, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This might be why residents of the Mediterranean region, who traditionally use a lot of balsamic vinegar, live longer and have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
Lower Blood Pressure
Balsamic vinegar can help reduce blood pressure, even in those with severe hypertension.
Studies have shown that consuming just 1 to 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar per day can have a marked effect on blood pressure while improving cardiovascular health.
Balsamic vinegar contains acetic acid, antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds. Consuming balsamic vinegar regularly might give you a clearer, brighter complexion.
It can also be used topically and applied directly to the skin to treat and prevent blemishes. But, because of its dark color, this practice is probably best left to nighttime.
Balsamic vinegar is low in calories and carbs, making it the perfect addition to the ketogenic diet. Not only is it tasty, but a little goes a long way, so even a small bottle can last a long time. You can use balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing, a dip, or a marinade. It’s a very versatile ingredient.
The best balsamic vinegars have been aged and fermented to give them a thick consistency and rich flavor. In most cases, these more expensive varieties are also lower in carbs. Cheaper products may contain added sugar, so make sure you read the nutrition label before you buy.
Drizzled over salad or used as a dip, balsamic vinegar is an excellent addition to your ketogenic diet and may offer some very welcome health benefits too.