Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly? (net carbs & alternatives)
I love all forms of vinegar, but in particular, I was curious as to whether balsamic vinegar was keto-friendly. After all, balsamic vinegar is a little different than your other vinegar varieties (white, apple cider, red wine, etc.).
I did a bit of research on balsamic vinegar, and here’s what I came up with.
Is balsamic vinegar keto friendly? Depending on the brand of balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon will contain between 3 and 6 grams of net carbohydrates, with some as high as 10 grams. This makes some brands of balsamic vinegar more keto-friendly than others when used sparingly.
In this article, I’ll dive a little more into keto and why you may or may not want to include balsamic vinegar.
We’ll also go over what precisely balsamic vinegar is, whether there’s a difference in balsamic vinaigrette, what makes balsamic vinegar different from regular vinegar, and maybe even throw in some keto-friendly recipes.
Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?
There is no black and white answer when it comes to balsamic vinegar and whether it’s “keto-friendly.”
Like many foods, one website may tell you to stay away from a particular food, and the next one may tell you it’s ok to eat.
That’s why here at The Art Of Keto, I like to educate you on the fundamentals.
By having a better understanding of HOW and WHAT will kick you out of ketosis will allow you to make informed decisions as to whether you should stay away from particular foods.
Balsamic vinegar is one such food that falls in the gray area of “keto-friendliness,” for lack of a better term.
What Exactly Makes A Food Keto Friendly?
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to limit carbohydrates enough that our body enters a metabolic state referred to as ketosis.
By limiting carbohydrates from the diet, our body is forced to rely on fats and ketones as its primary fuel source.
In general, people find that anywhere between 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day is low enough to enter and maintain this state of ketosis. Highly active people, including athletes, find that they may be able to eat upwards of 100 to 150 grams of net carbs and achieve and maintain ketosis.
If you look on the back of a nutrition label, to calculate net carbs, you would take the total amount of carbohydrates and subtract any fiber or sugar alcohols. Therefore, if an item had 10 grams of carbohydrates, but four came from fiber, and three came from sugar alcohols, you would be left with 3 grams of net carbs.
Now, here’s where people get semi-confused about what makes something keto-friendly. As long as you stay within or under your carbohydrate threshold (whatever that may be for you), you should have no problem getting in and maintaining a state of ketosis.
Take, for example, Suzy, who eats no more than 30 grams of net carbs, those 30 grams of net carbs can technically be filled with anything as long as she stays under that amount.
While Suzy would benefit from filling those carbohydrates from nutrient-dense sources that would offer more micronutrients and satiety, it doesn’t hurt to fill it with other foods, even things with sugar, once in a while.
The only caveat, if you’re like me and like BIG portions of items, you likely won’t be able to eat the amount you want. This also means the more balsamic vinegar you use, or if using a higher carb variety, the less of everything else you’ll be able to fit in.
You should think of your net carbs like a budget.
If you had $100 to spend on groceries for the week, while you can buy 2 lbs of that USDA Prime Filet for $40/lb, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
But you could.
Including certain foods can also be a slippery slope for some people, so be mindful if that’s you.
So Can I Eat Balsamic Vinegar On Keto?
Now that you understand what makes a food keto friendly, as long as you stay under your carb threshold, you can fit in small amounts of balsamic vinegar if you choose to do so.
Seeing how different brands of balsamic vinegar range in the number of carbohydrates they have per 1 tbsp serving, you’ll get more bang for your buck by sticking with a brand that has fewer carbs per serving.
Take, for example, a popular brand, Trader Joes, there brand of balsamic vinegar only has 3 grams of net carbohydrates per tablespoon. This other brand of balsamic vinegar has three times as much with 9 grams of net carbs per tablespoon.