There has always been a common question amongst people- whether a Balsamic Vinegar is Keto-friendly or not?
And the answer to this hyped question is NO.
Since the Balsamic Vinegar generally has 4 grams of carbohydrates and sugar per tablespoon present in it, so it cannot be considered as an option for people who mainly focus on Standard, Targeted, or High protein Keto diet, which already have a limitation of the total daily amount of carbohydrates to that of 50 grams.
But this is highly helpful for people who follow the Cyclical Keto Diet.
But still, the answer is not an exact YES or NO.
So to explore more stuff about Keto and the overall impact of Balsamic Vinegar on our health and diet, let’s jump into this and by the end of this article, you will grab every information and this will help you in making a crucial decision while purchasing your vinegar and you will be able to enjoy the luscious balsamic vinegar without smashing your diet. And the alternatives to balsamic vinegar which can be highly incorporated in your diet will also be discussed to make your diet and health better than ever.
So what actually is this Keto diet?
And how does this balsamic vinegar factor in?
Well, a Keto diet is known for being low on carbohydrates and high in fat, where the body is involved in the production of ketones in the liver which is then used as the energy (Ketosis).
And it is well known for its different names such as Ketogenic Diet, Low carb Diet, Low carb high-fat Diet, etc.
When you consume the food which is high in carbohydrates, your body is ought to produce glucose and insulin.
And once your body will get a hang of the ketogenic diet, you can be a little less militant in carbs completely off your dinner plate.
But when you have just started on your Keto diet, it’s really very crucial to follow the diet a plan very strictly otherwise you will find it very difficult to achieve Ketosis.
When you cut off the carbs from your diet plan, your body enters the state of ketosis where it will eventually start burning the stored fats and use this energy for your everyday tasks instead of carbohydrates.
The low carb level in the body lowers the body’s glucose levels forcing the body to utilize different/alternate sources of energy.
So it starts burning your stored fats. And sue to this mechanism you start losing your stored body fat.
When we talk about the normal balsamic vinegar- it usually has 4 grams of carbs per tablespoon and 4 grams of sugars per tablespoon with no fat in it.
So right out of the gate, we now know that the balsamic vinegar (having a high amount of carbs) does not meet the test of low carb, high fat associated with Keto.
To make your concepts clearer, here’s a list of some widely consumed vinegar along with their carbs and sugar uptake. However, it is highly advised to check the labels of the vinegar bottles as some kinds of vinegar especially wine vinegar are diluted differently.
But before moving onto to further let’s get the basic idea about the differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Regular Vinegar?
Vinegar is traditionally prepared from grapes and white vinegar is comprised of acetic acid and water essentially.
And acetic acid is that prime component which gives vinegar that authentic taste and smell which it usually has.
However, in some countries like the U.S., Vinegar is prepared from the natural fermentation process by bacteria. And the Vinegar of modern age which is not distilled are usually prepared using ethanol (obtained from sugar beets) imported from France.
And when it comes to the variety they can also be made with sugars like the Balsamic Vinegar (explained above).
And various other vinegar like the Apple cider vinegar, Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and sherry vinegar are also highly consumed.
Is Balsamic vinegar really high on carbs?
As compared to the modern day’s Balsamic vinegar, traditional vinegar generally has more carbohydrates because of its purity.
And this marks them as the expensive ones too. Modern balsamic vinegar is usually a mixture of concentrated grapes and wine vinegar. And as a result, the composition has higher volume, low sugar content, and the increased speed of the acidification process.
Is vinegar really Keto-friendly?
When it comes to balsamic vinegar, it is something different from the others.
Others like the apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, red and white wine vinegar are free from carbohydrates.
So it can be said that all the vinegar except the Balsamic Vinegar have zero carbs and should /can be used in one’s ketogenic diet.
Balsamic vinegar is not at all Keto-friendly. Most o the balsamic brands contain 2gm to 9gm of sugar per tablespoon in them. And the people who follow a strict Keto diet plan will have a huge impact on their diet.
Are vinegars Keto-friendly?
Balsamic vinegar is something different when it is compared to other kinds of vinegar. Various other vinegar like the white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or the red wine vinegar are free from carbohydrates.
Almost every vinegar except the balsamic vinegar generally has zero carbs in them.
Amount of carbs present in white Balsamic Vinegar-
Though the white balsamic vinegar is like the same as the balsamic vinegar with a light golden color making it different from the appearance.
And white balsamic vinegar and the traditional vinegar are made with the same technique and processes.
And the difference in appearance between the two is because the white balsamic vinegar is not cooked for those long hours as the normal balsamic vinegar are.
Though many people think that that the white balsamic vinegar might contain more sugar or carbohydrates because of the appearance they have. But they contain the same amounts as the normal vinegar has in them. And as the vinegar of different brands is concerned, the quantity of sugar and carbs usually ranges from 3 to 10 grams of carbs per tablespoon.
What is balsamic glaze and is it Keto-friendly?
So now the question arises, Can balsamic glaze be eaten on Keto? Balsamic glaze is nothing just the concentrated version of the normal balsamic vinegar. It is prepared just by heating it gently and allowing excess water to evaporate.
And due to this gentle heating, this vinegar is darker, thicker, and has a rich taste unlike the traditional or the normal ones. However, it is always advised to check up on the nutrition label on the bottle ensuring that no sugars are involved in the cooking process.
And you may find 10 grams of carbs per tablespoon in your balsamic glaze because of the concentrated grape juice.
How is balsamic vinegar made?
The making of this balsamic vinegar was traditionally started in Italy. Well, it might be surprising to you to know that it takes a minimum of 12 years to make original balsamic vinegar.
The primary component in the making of Balsamic Vinegar is Grapes. Grapes are simmered until it reaches a concentrated consistency.
After this, they are allowed to ferment naturally. After this step, they are allowed to mature in barrels in progressively decreasing sizes over time. And for taste, it totally depends on the wood used in barrels, as the balsamic vinegar possesses a variety in taste because of the barrel used. Hence giving different taste to each one of them.
And for commercial balsamic vinegar brands, they usually put more vinegar into the mixture. Though the taste is will not be that strong if this process is done.
Ingredients in Balsamic vinegar
There are no such ingredients in the making of this balsamic vinegar. In fact, there is only one ingredient which is the most crucial for the process that is GRAPE MUST. Now you might be thinking what this grape must be?
Grape Must is the fresh-pressed grape juice that contains the seeds, stems, and skins of the grape.
Uses of balsamic vinegar
In ancient times, the balsamic vinegar was used as a tonic and an elixir, and few tiny bottles of Aceto balsamico were bestowed upon important people as a special mark of favor. But today, people use them in literally everything they want.
And when it comes to the usage of this balsamic vinegar, it totally depends upon the type of vinegar you actually have.
How to use Balsamic vinegar in cooking?
Starting with the most basic one, most of the basic balsamic vinegar is usually used in making a salad or for the syrupy reduction or can be used as a marinade. And using them in the proper amount also changes the nature of your desired dish. It would be a great suggestion to use a good Aceto Balsamico di Modena to showcase vinegar as well as accentuate the food.
On the other hand. While using traditional balsamic vinegar you must treat it like a fine wine.
And in order to taste its intense flavors and complexity, you should be aware of its amount and handling. You can drizzle it over the cheese slices or rich gamy foods like roast squab.
Or serve it serve a thimbleful with dessert or after supper as a digestivo.
What is the taste of Balsamic vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is known for its soft, rich palate feel and a remarkable sweetness balanced by acidity. Traditional balsamic vinegar usually adds an authentic feel of local grapes and their multilayered complexities is obtained from the long production and lengthen aging.
Best Alternative for Balsamic Vinegar
As we know that Balsamic Vinegar possesses the highest number of sugar counts than any other.
It is quite obvious that you should avoid using it if you don’t want to hamper your strict Keto diet.
But if you are in love with the taste, there are several other vinegars that can be used in the place of Balsamic Vinegar which is quite well in substituting them that too without the high sugar content.
Those vinegar are-
It is wine vinegar prepared in Cadiz province of Spain. And it has zero carbs and sugars in them making them more feasible and apt for people following Keto-diet.
Red Wine Vinegar–
As with sherry wine vinegar, this red wine vinegar too does not have any carbs and sugars in them, making them ideal too when you are in a Keto-diet.
But you will find sherry wine vinegar more flavorful than red wine.
Best use of Balsamic vinegar in Recipes
When it comes to the dishes, this vinegar is not that suitable and versatile condiment to add in too many dishes. Some common dishes where this balsamic vinegar can act as an effective ingredient are-
Fig Jam with Wine and Balsamic Vinegar
Seared Scallops and Shrimp with Balsamic Strawberries
Availability of this Balsamic Vinegar
You can easily get this balsamic vinegar in your everyday supermarket. The most basic ones you can get easily in groceries and supermarkets.
Moreover, Gourmet shops also do have a collection of this vinegar.
And if you want to try the traditional, authentic balsamic vinegar, you must go to the Italian shops or purveyors for the originality. And not only this you can also have a look at a reputed online portable for the same.
Storage- Storing food products/items do play a very crucial role. It is often regarded as the marketing function which involves the holding of goods or items from the time between their production and consumption. As there is always a time gap when the foods are manufactured to the time they are finally dispatched and consumed.
And since this vinegar is a natural byproduct of the aging phenomenon just like the wine, there is no harm in long storage before its final consumption.
But these vinegar needs to be stored in a cool, dark place especially away from heat like in a cupboard. Unlike other food items, it is not required to be refrigerated and it will not oxidize once it is opened. There might be chances that, that you might notice some sediment at the bottom of the bottle, it’s just because of the aging process and nothing else.
When it comes to counting the calories, 100 gm of Balsamic vinegar provides –
- 88 calories
- 17 gm of carbohydrates (6% is recommended on daily basis)
- Minerals such as- Manganese (6%), Iron (4%), Magnesium (3%), and phosphorus (1.5%)
- Polyphenols (an antioxidant which is very crucial to help lower the risk of cancer and heart diseases and is equally important in strengthing the immune system).
Various types of Balsamic Vinegar available today
This vinegar is traditional and authentic especially made in the traditional “Tradizionale” way in the provinces of Reggio and Modena.
This vinegar is being made from the centuries and are being tested and approved by the Balsamic Consortiums present in these two regions.
And as the packaging it concern, they come in a very unique bottle having the word “Tradizionale” on their labels. But the modern age vinegar bottles are in the bulbous form making it look prestigious from today’s world of fashion.
Moreover, this type of vinegar is very thick, delicious, dark-purplish brown and very aromatic having the sweet and sour ratio in a harmonious blend.
And since they are very thick, their viscosity and intense flavor allow the user to use them sparingly.
The vinegar which lies in this category is generally made by unadulterated cooked grape must. But are made with traditional methods though. And the sale is legally sooner than the required 12 years of time. Thus these do not fall into the category of Tradizionale.
And when it comes to the taste, these are actually very good and are costlier than the traditional ones.
These are very famous in Italy. The classic and Reserve Balsamics are included in this category.
These kinds of vinegar fall into the category of quickly made products. They are produced on a much larger scale and have several other components added on it to make them taste more fresh and authentic.
And to make them authentic and much more like the two categories mentioned above, they are made as pale facsimiles of them. And when it comes to the taste and aroma, these are very simple, acidic. These are regarded as the best for cooking.
These kinds of vinegar are made outside the regions of Modena and Reggio. And are known as “make-believe” balsamic vinegar.
They are generally marketed as “Aceto Balsamico di Modena”. And as the characteristics are concerned these account the imitation of about 70% of the overall Balsamic vinegar market.
These are made in a single day with a red wine vinegar diluted with water and do not contain any cooked grape must.
Various other components like the herbs, caramel, cane sugar, vanilla, and artificial thickeners are generally added to bring artificial sweetness and required depth.
Final Verdict- Whether Balsamic Vinegar is Keto-friendly or not?
Balsamic vinegar contains carbs when compared to other types of vinegar. And to follow a proper ketogenic diet, you can fir this vinegar in your diet plan but in moderation.
And as one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains somewhat around 2 to 10 grams of net carbs, so make sure you are giving attention to the nutrition label it possesses.
And while talking about the other side of the coin, several other kinds of vinegar has zero-calorie or carbohydrates in them.
So try to add them in your diet plan as that will not hamper your imposed health and diet plan.