Is Balsamic Vinegar Unhealthy?

olive oil and balsamic vinegar - Mediterranean spices
Balsamic vinegar can be served with vegetables, breads or on salad. (Image: jstankiewiczwitek/iStock/Getty Images)

Balsamic vinegar is a thick, strongly flavored type of vinegar that is produced from grapes. Balsamic vinegar is a low-fat alternative to many more processed salad dressings and is a source of several important nutrients; however, it is also high in sugar. Like many foods, therefore, it should be consumed in moderate quantities as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Calories, Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium

One cup of balsamic vinegar contains 224 calories, which is about 11 percent of a typical person's daily recommended intake. The vinegar contains no fat and cholesterol. It does contain 58.7 mg of sodium, which is only 2.4 percent of a typical daily recommended intake. According to the American Heart Association, most individuals consume too much sodium, increasing their risk for stroke and heart disease. Eating low-sodium foods like balsamic vinegar can help reduce this risk.

Carbohydrates, Sugar and Protein

The vinegar contains 43.4 grams of carbohydrates, or 14.5 percent of a typical daily requirement, and no dietary fiber. It contains 1.2 grams of protein, which is about 2.5 percent of a typical daily requirement. It contains 38.1 grams of sugar, or 76.2 percent of a typical daily recommended intake -- the main dietary negative in the balsamic vinegar. According to the American Heart Association, excess consumption of sugar can lead to an increased risk of weight gain, obesity and related health conditions.

Potassium

Balsamic vinegar contains more potassium than any other mineral, with 285.6 grams of the nutrient per serving of vinegar. That is over 8 percent of a typical recommended daily intake of potassium. According to Medline Plus by the National Institutes of Health, potassium is a nutrient that your body uses for many different purposes. These include helping build muscles from the protein you eat, helping convert carbohydrates into energy and contributing to proper heart function.

Other Minerals

Each serving of balsamic vinegar also contains 68.9 milligrams of calcium, which is nearly 7 percent of a typical recommended daily calcium intake; 48.5 milligrams of phosphorus, which is nearly 5 percent of a typical recommended daily phosphorus intake; and 1.8 milligrams of iron, which is over 10 percent of a typical recommended daily iron intake.

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