Balsamic vinegar is a common ingredient in marinades, food preparations, and salad dressings. It is known to have a complex, distinct, and bold flavor with a tart aftertaste.
Real balsamic vinegar is made from unfermented grape juice aged in barrels for months. Most people consider it as a healthy food since it can help lowering cholesterol and can aid in weight loss. [*]
However, if you are following a keto diet, you know that not all foods that are considered healthy in the Standard American Diet are accepted in a keto diet. So you have to wonder – Can I have balsamic vinegar on keto?
Balsamic vinegar is not keto. Most balsamic vinegar brands contain between 2g to 9g of sugar per tablespoon. This will have a huge impact on a typical keto diet that restricts carb consumption to 20g per day.
Additionally, a strict keto diet does not allow carbohydrates with a high glycemic index such as sugar. High glycemic foods may cause the insulin levels to spike which will prevent or kick you out of the fat-burning state known as ketosis.
Sugar Content of Popular Balsamic Vinegar Brands
Below is the table containing the sugar content of popular balsamic vinegar brands.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon
|Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
|Modenaceti Aceto Balsamico
|Napa Valley Balsamic Vinegar
|Olive Vine Aged Balsamic Vinegar
|Bertolli Balsamic Glaze
* All brands contain 0g of protein, 0g of fat, and 0g of fiber.
Keto-Friendly Alternative to Balsamic Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar
As with balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar is also linked to many health benefits. However, unlike balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar contains no sugar. This makes it an ideal keto alternative to balsamic vinegar.
Nutrition breakdown of Apple Cider Vinegar per 1 tablespoon:
0 g Fat
0 g Carbohydrate
0 g Fiber
0 g Protein
11 mg Potassium
Apple cider vinegar is created via a double fermentation process. This process creates a strain of bacteria that consumes all the sugar from the apples and makes ACV a carb-free health food.
6 Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Studies show that apple cider vinegar is linked to many health benefits including reduced cholesterol, weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and better symptoms of diabetes.
Here are the 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar:
1. Helps Lose Weight and Reduce Belly Fat
Studies have found that apple cider vinegar can slow down the speed at which food leaves your stomach. [*]
This means that ACV can help you suppress your appetite because you feel satiated longer. Another benefit of this is that it can help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels which in turn helps prevent sugar cravings.
In a recent study conducted in 11 people, those who took ACV had a 55% lower blood sugar levels after one hour of eating.
They have also consumed 200-300 fewer calories for the whole day compared to those who did not take ACV.
So if you are having a hard time with your sugar cravings, then consider adding apple cider vinegar to your keto diet!
2. Lowers Cholesterol and Promotes Heart Health
Apple cider vinegar can also help you lower several risk factors related to heart disease by reducing blood sugar levels.
Blood is basically water containing nutrients drifting around your body. An increase in blood sugar level or being dehydrated can result in thickening of your blood. A thickened blood will cause your heart to pump harder which may lead to heart problems in the long run.
You can drink a cup of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help you in lowering blood sugar and improving hydration. This can help your heart to pump your blood easier and will lead to better heart health.
3. Natural Energy Booster
Most people usually feel an energy crash a few hours after lunch. If you’re not following a strict keto diet, that crash is going to be even worse and is often paired with major sugar cravings.
Consuming apple cider vinegar can help prevent energy crashes since it contains potassium and it can regulate blood glucose levels.
This hack will only cost you about 25 cents and around 6 calories, which is a cheaper and healthier alternative than most energy drinks available out there.
4. Clears Up Your Skin
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that can help clear up your skin.
You can use it topically by diluting 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water. You can then wipe it over your face and neck as a natural cleanser and toner.
Apple cider vinegar can also help your skin if you consume it with water since it can make you hydrated and it can balance your body’s pH levels. Your skin will naturally glow if you are hydrated and have a balanced pH level in your body.
5. Relieves Cold And Sinus Infection
If you’re suffering from colds or seasonal allergies, try drinking a glass of water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The water will keep you hydrated while the potassium and acetic acid from the vinegar can help break up mucus accumulation.
Moreover, apple cider vinegar naturally has antibacterial properties that can break down the actual pathogens that are causing your cold and allergies. It is also used as a natural remedy against sinus infection.
6. Helps With Acid Reflux or Heartburn
It may sound counterintuitive to take an acidic vinegar to help with acid reflux, but many people have experienced improvement after doing so.
Some medical experts speculate that low acid level is the real culprit to acid reflux.
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring muscle between your stomach and esophagus, did not close properly. This makes your stomach acid reach up to your esophagus causing irritation and a burning sensation.
Scientists are now thinking that the actual signal for LES to close is the level of stomach acid. A low level of stomach acid means that LES would not get the cue it needs to be closed appropriately.
A lot of people testify that drinking a cup of water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before consuming a meal has drastically improved their symptoms of acid reflux.
4 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Keto Diet
Considering the amazing health benefits mentioned above, you may want to add this potent tonic to your keto diet plan. We use it daily in one of these four ways:
1. Meats, Vegetables, and High-Carb Foods
One of the easiest ways to include apple cider vinegar on a keto diet is to just add it to your meals. You can add 1 to 2 tablespoons on veggies, meats, and meals with higher carb content especially when cycling out of keto diet.
One hack to lower down the glycemic index of a food is to add apple cider vinegar on it. For example, you can lower down the glycemic index of a high-carb food such as quinoa or white rice by directly adding apple cider vinegar on the cooking liquid.
You may also use apple cider vinegar as a marinade to your grass-fed steaks. It is a great way to make your meat tender, tasty, and easy to digest!
2. Drink Prior Eating Meals
Drinking 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of water can improve stomach acidity and enhance digestion.
As mentioned earlier, it also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels, especially when consumed 15 minutes before a high-carb meal.
This is an easy and efficient way to use apple cider vinegar to help regulate blood sugar and increase the production of ketones.
3. Soups & Stews
Apple cider vinegar is also great for stews and soups. A splash of ACV to a chicken or beef stew can add a tangy flavor while also helping to pre-digest the veggies and meat on the stew.
The acetic acid contained in ACV can start the break down of proteins and vegetable fibers to aid in the actual digestion and extraction of nutrients.
4. Morning Primer
Our favorite way to use apple cider vinegar is to have it as a morning primer.
Drinking 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of water first thing in the morning is an excellent way to start the day. This morning primer will help control gut bacteria, balance the body’s pH levels, prime the kidney, and provide an early morning energy boost.
Most people who have tried this morning primer report that they feel a great boost in overall wellbeing when they drink it regularly. We recommend that you try it out for two weeks and see if it works for you.
Balsamic vinegar is generally considered a healthy food in a Standard American Diet. However, balsamic vinegar is not recommended to be consumed while on a keto diet due to its high sugar content per serving.
Apple cider vinegar is an ideal keto alternative to balsamic vinegar since it is also linked to many health benefits, but it does not contain sugar.
Health benefits of apple cider vinegar include weight loss, better heart health, more energy, and clear skin.
We recommend that you use apple cider vinegar as an alternative to a sugar-loaded balsamic vinegar especially when following a keto diet.
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