Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?” and will discuss the nutritional content of balsamic vinegar.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?

No, balsamic vinegar is not keto-friendly. A tablespoon of balsamic vinegar has 4 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, therefore it’s not keto-friendly. The Standard, Targeted, or High-Protein Keto Diets, which restrict total daily carbohydrates to 50 grams, balsamic vinegar would not be a good fit for these keto diets. Those following the Cyclical Keto Diet, on the other hand, may find it beneficial.

In a study, a total of 226 subjects who adopted a ketogenic diet were interviewed to explore their diet experience. Among the most frequently reported symptoms were nausea (mild, 29.2%; moderate, 16.4%; severe nausea, 5.8%), dizziness (mild, 39.8%; moderate, 27.4%; severe, 11.5%), polyuria (72.1% in total), and lethargy (69.7%). Furthermore, 90.3% of them felt happy about adopting a ketogenic diet, and 81.9% would recommend it for anyone who wants to lose weight (1).

How does balsamic vinegar fit into the Keto diet?

The effectiveness of the ketogenic diet is because it induces a metabolic condition known as ketosis in the body. For most people, after they’ve gotten used to the diet and their bodies have adapted, they may relax a little bit about eliminating carbohydrates from their diet. There is common agreement on the assumption that a ketogenic diet consists of a very low carbohydrate content, limited to 5–10% of total kcal daily intake, which consists of 50—and sometimes 20—grams per day, although the specific macronutrient composition may vary (2).

It’s essential to be mindful of hidden carbohydrates and stick to your ketogenic diet religiously when you’re first starting, else you may never be able to reach ketosis. The Keto diet is rich in fat and low in carbohydrates, much as the Atkins diet was. The Atkins diet also restricts carbohydrates, but unlike the ketogenic diet, it does not restrict consumption of calories or proteins. It reportedly can induce ketosis, which may decrease appetite and mobilize fat stores (3).

Carbohydrate-free dieters go into a condition called ketosis, in which their bodies begin using stored fat for energy instead of the carbohydrates they were previously consuming. Your body’s glucose levels are lowered as a result of the reduced carbohydrate intake, pushing it to search for alternative sources of energy. As a result, your body’s fat reserves begin to be burned.

As a result, your body begins to naturally shed fat stores. Ketogenesis occurs in the hepatic mitochondrial matrix, where fatty acids, released during low glucose availability states from adipose tissue by adipokine signaling of high glucagon and epinephrine levels and low insulin levels, are broken down into acetyl-CoA via β-oxidation. Under normal conditions, acetyl-CoA is further oxidized by the citric acid cycle (TCA/Krebs cycle) and then by the mitochondrial electron transport chain to release energy. However, if the amounts of acetyl-CoA generated through fatty acids β-oxidation challenge the processing capacity of the TCA cycle, such as in case of prolonged fasting, glucose deprivation, and intense physical exercise, acetyl-CoA is shifted to the biosynthesis of ketone bodies (2).

Typical, low-cost balsamic vinegar has 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, 2.3 grams of sugar, and no fat per tablespoon. So, we know straight away that although balsamic vinegar is low in carbohydrates, it fails the low carb, high fat test associated with keto because of its high-fat content.

Is it ok to consume vinegar while on the Keto diet?

vinegar like apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, and red and white wine vinegar are excellent for keeping you in ketosis. Balsamic vinegar contains a lot of carbohydrates and should be avoided on the keto diet.

To explain, even if you use wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar as a food source, the fermentation process will remove all of the sugars and carbohydrates. As a result of introducing yeast, apple juice becomes alcoholic and must be diluted with water. Yeasts initially ferment the sugars or starch in raw materials to form ethanol, which is further fermented by acetic acid bacteria to produce acetic acid. This can be accomplished with juices/mashes from apples, grapes, coconuts, rice, potato and others (4).

Some internet users now claim that eating a little amount of apple cider vinegar before a large carb meal helps decrease the body’s glucose reaction, which otherwise would cause it to exit ketosis. Recent investigation found that apple cider vinegar had a stronger ability to lower plasma glucose levels than acetic acid alone. Apple cider vinegar had comparable antiglycemic effects to the positive control group treated with the anti-diabetic agent sulfonylurea Glibenclamide (4).

While some people believe that consuming apple cider vinegar helps curb their appetites, others believe that it increases them, leading to carbohydrate binges and a blown diet. However, studies showed that apple cider vinegar may assist in controlling blood glucose and lipids, weight loss and hypertension and therefore may be helpful in the management of type 2 diabetes (4).

For any of that, a study done by the National Institutes of Health which stated, “several recent scientific studies have shown that vinegar consumption decreases the glycemic response to a carbohydrate load in healthy people and those with diabetes.” (5).

Carbohydrate content of balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has a lot of carbohydrates, therefore it’s not a good choice for people watching their carb consumption. Per tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, you’ll find 2.7 grams of carbohydrates and 2.3 grams of sugar. Balsamic vinegar is too high for most individuals on a ketogenic diet, who aim to consume no more than 50 grams of carbs per day.

However, I guess the term “high” is subjective. In comparison to white bread, which has 14 grams of carbohydrates per slice, balsamic vinegar has 4 grams of carbs per tablespoon. You can season a salad for four people with only a tablespoon or three of balsamic vinegar and some EVOO, so it’s not too high in carbohydrates.

However, balsamic vinegar has a higher glucose content than any other vinegar. As a general rule, you only need a tiny quantity of vinegar per serving, so keep this in mind when figuring out how much to add to your dish. In the final product both glucose and fructose act as structure promoters, affecting the viscosity of traditional balsamic vinegar and the glucose:fructose ratio is greater than 1 due to the higher reactivity of fructose to the Maillard reaction and the fructophilic metabolism of several traditional balsamic vinegar yeast species. Other minor sugars have been evaluated in some traditional balsamic vinegar samples and their concentration ranges (expressed as g · kg–1) are as follows: xylose 0.11-0.39; ribose 0.0780.429; rhamnose 0.061-0.195; galactose 0.136-0.388; mannose 0.41-1.46; arabinose 0.33-1.00; and sucrose 0.46-6.84 (6).

Assuming 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day, here’s what a typical day’s carb consumption might look like on a ketogenic diet:

·         Breakfast: 4 Cream Cheese Pancakes with Butter and any kind of sugar for breakfast (sweetener like stevia if preferred), coffee with heavy cream, and shaved bacon- 7 grams of carbohydrates are included in one serving.

·         Lunch: 1 cup of tuna salad with romaine lettuce (tuna, mayo, salt, and pepper).

·         Dinner: 1 cup chili (beef or turkey with salsa and seasonings), sour cream, and sharp cheddar cheese. Add fried pig rinds for a tasty finishing touch- About 5 grams of carbohydrates are included in one serving.

String cheese (approximately 1 gram each string, twice a day) and avocado (6 grams of carbohydrates for 4 oz) may be used as snacks throughout the day to get your total daily carbs up to 24 grams. That said, if you’re OK with eating up to 50 grams of carbohydrates per serving, you may include a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Can you be allergic to vinegar? 

Can you be allergic to apple cider vinegar?

How to counteract too much apple cider vinegar?

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto Friendly?” and discussed the nutritional content of balsamic vinegar.


  1. Shalabi H, Alotaibi A, Alqahtani A, Alattas H, Alghamdi Z. Ketogenic Diets: Side Effects, Attitude, and Quality of Life. Cureus, 2021, 13, e20390. 
  2. Watanabe, Mikiko, et al. Beneficial effects of the ketogenic diet on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A comprehensive review of the literature. Obes Rev, 2020, 21, e13024.  
  3. Kossoff, Eric H., et al. Efficacy of the Atkins diet as therapy for intractable epilepsy. Neurology, 2003, 61, 1789-1791.
  4. Morgan, Joanna, and Sapha Mosawy. The potential of apple cider vinegar in the management of type 2 diabetes. Int J Diab Res, 2016, 5, 129-34.  
  5. Mitrou P, Petsiou E, Papakonstantinou E, et al. Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. J Diabetes Res. 2015, 175204.
  6. Giudici, Paolo, Maria Gullo, and Lisa Solieri. Traditional balsamic vinegar. Vinegars of the World. Springer, Milano, 2009. 157-177.