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Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto-Friendly?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/30/2023

Balsamic vinegar is a popular Italian condiment often mixed with olive oil to make balsamic vinaigrette and other salad dressings. But is balsamic vinegar keto-friendly? 


Traditional balsamic vinegar tends to be relatively low in carbs and can be enjoyed in moderation on a ketogenic diet. However, commercial balsamic vinegar and balsamic glazes are often packed with sugar and can contain up to 18 grams of net carbs per tablespoon.


Learn why some balsamic vinegar can quickly push you out of ketosis and discover the best keto-friendly alternatives. 

Bottle of balsamic vinegar

Can you have balsamic vinegar on keto?


Whether you can have balsamic vinegar on keto depends on the carb content of the specific balsamic product you plan to use. 

 

Balsamic vinegar is made by boiling down and fermenting concentrated grape juice, creating a dark vinegar with a sweet and tangy flavor. However, not all carbs are broken down during the fermentation process, which explains why most balsamic vinegar contains some amounts of residual sugars.


“Depending on the quality of the grape juice, fermentation method, and aging period, the carb content of specific balsamic vinegar brands can differ significantly,” explains Dr. Berg. 


How many carbs are in balsamic vinegar? 

Regular balsamic vinegar and white balsamic vinegar varieties contain between two to ten grams of carbs per one tablespoon (15 ml) serving. However, some low-carb versions are available that contain less than two grams of net carbs per serving.


Balsamic glaze is a highly concentrated form of balsamic vinegar with a thick and syrupy consistency, often used as a drizzle or sauce to add flavor and decoration to dishes. 


Most commercially produced balsamic glaze is sweetened with sugars and thickened with syrups or caramel and can contain as many as 18 grams of carbs per tablespoon. 


It’s important to check labels and opt for low-carb balsamic products that won’t interfere with ketosis and disrupt fat burning.


Alternatively, opt for carb-free vinegar options such as:

  • Red wine vinegar 

  • White wine vinegar 

  • White vinegar

  • Apple cider vinegar 


Watch the video below to discover the difference between balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar on keto.

Balsamic vinegar vs. apple cider vinegar on keto


Apple cider vinegar is generally considered more keto-friendly than balsamic vinegar due to its minimal carbohydrate content.


Apple cider vinegar contains less than one gram of net carbs per tablespoon, which makes it an excellent low-carb alternative to balsamic vinegar.


And, what’s more, apple cider vinegar works great for weight loss, supports digestion and mineral absorption, speeds up keto-adaptation, and promotes healthy blood sugar regulation. 


But does apple cider vinegar break a fast? No, it doesn’t! Apple cider vinegar is safe to have while fasting and may even enhance your fasting results.

Low-carb foods

How much balsamic vinegar can I have on keto?


How much balsamic vinegar you can have on keto depends on its carb content and your daily net carb limit.


“One tablespoon of low-carb balsamic vinegar may not disrupt fat-burning and ketone production if you can maintain ketosis by limiting your net carb count to 50 grams daily.


However, if you consume no more than 20 grams of net carbs daily, as little as one serving of high-carb balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze can push you out of ketosis. 


If you occasionally enjoy the tangy flavor of balsamic vinegar, try making this delicious keto balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Balsamic vinegar dressing

Health benefits of balsamic vinegar


Most balsamic vinegar contains around six percent of acetic acid, an organic acid found in all types of vinegar and responsible for its acidic sharpness.


Research published in the Journal of Food Science suggests that acetic acid has potent antidiabetic, antiobesity, antimicrobial, and antioxidative properties and may support healthy blood pressure.


Compared to other types of vinegar, balsamic has the highest concentrations of resveratrol, a plant phytonutrient and antioxidant with profound benefits. 


A study published in Biomedicines concludes that resveratrol is linked to several health advantages, such as:

  • Improved blood sugar control

  • Weight loss

  • Anti-cancer effects

  • Skin health 

  • Strong immune defenses 

  • Digestive support  

  • Anti-aging effects 

Three kinds of vinegar in glass bottles

Key takeaways


Is balsamic vinegar keto-friendly? The answer depends on the type of balsamic vinegar you plan to use. 


Most traditional balsamic vinegar is relatively low in carbs and may not interfere with ketosis if consumed in moderation. In contrast, mass-produced balsamic vinegar and glazes are often high in carbs and unsuitable for keto.  


It’s important to check labels and choose a low-carb balsamic vinegar or opt for keto-friendly alternatives such as apple cider vinegar instead.



FAQ


1. What is the best vinegar on a keto diet?

Apart from balsamic vinegar, all types of vinegar are low in carbs and keto-friendly. 


However, apple cider vinegar has profound health benefits, such as promoting healthy blood sugar control, speeding up keto-adaptation, and supporting digestion, making it one of the best vinegars on a keto diet.  


2. Are there carbs in balsamic vinegar?

Yes, there are carbs in balsamic vinegar. Depending on the brand, balsamic vinegar contains between two and ten grams of net carbs per tablespoon (15 ml). 


3. How much sugar is in one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar?

While some balsamic vinegar contains only two grams of sugar per tablespoon, other types can contain up to ten grams.


4. Are all types of balsamic vinegar high in sugar?

Not all types of balsamic vinegar are high in sugar. Traditionally produced balsamic vinegar typically undergoes a lengthy aging process, resulting in lower carb content, which may be suitable for a keto balsamic vinaigrette recipe. 


5. Why are some balsamic vinegars high in carbs?

Depending on the fermentation process and aging period, some balsamic vinegar retains more residual carbs, which causes a higher sugar content.


In addition, mass-produced balsamic vinegar products often contain added sugars or sweeteners to enhance their flavor, resulting in a higher sugar content than most artisan balsamic vinegar brands.


6. What vinegar is keto-friendly?

Apple cider, red wine, and white vinegar are keto-friendly vinegars that won’t kick you out of ketosis. 


7. What is an alternative to balsamic vinegar on keto?

Organic apple cider vinegar is an excellent keto-friendly alternative to balsamic vinegar. 


Not only does apple cider vinegar contain less than one gram of carbs per tablespoon, but it’s also linked to several health benefits, such as improved blood sugar control, weight loss, and antimicrobial effects.  

  

8. Is balsamic vinegar keto-friendly? 

Whether balsamic vinegar is keto-friendly depends on the exact type you plan to use. 


While some brands of balsamic vinegar contain up to ten grams of sugar per tablespoon, other types have only two carbs per serving and can be consumed in moderation on a low-carb diet.  


9. Will balsamic vinegar break my fast?

Yes, balsamic vinegar can break your fast. Balsamic vinegar has the highest carb count of all types of vinegar, which can interfere with fat burning and disrupt your metabolic fasting state.  

  

10. Balsamic vinegar vs. apple cider vinegar: which is better on keto?

Apple cider vinegar contains less than one gram of carbs per tablespoon, making it a more keto-friendly choice than balsamic vinegar, which often has a considerably higher carb content. 


11. Is balsamic vinegar gluten-free?

Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from grape juice and is gluten-free. However, some balsamic glaze products may have gluten-containing additives and thickeners, and it’s important to check the label if you have Celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten.  


12. Can I eat balsamic glaze on keto?

Balsamic glazes are often sweetened and thickened with sugar, caramel, or syrups, making them unsuitable for keto. 

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