Nutritional Problems of Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, if you are careful not to consume it in excess, can be a fairly healthy alternative to many salad dressings and sauces, which tend to be high in fat and sodium. However, even balsamic vinegar can be problematic for your diet if you eat too much of it.

Balsamic vinegar is often served on salad. (Image: Magone/iStock/Getty Images)

Calories in Balsamic Vinegar

One 1/4-cup serving of balsamic vinegar contains 56 calories. While this may not seem like a significant amount of calories, especially considering that the same serving of ranch dressing contains about 20 times that amount of calories. However, if you find yourself not losing the weight you expected on your diet, you may not realize that flavorings like balsamic vinegar can contribute significantly. That one serving is about 3 percent of a 2,000-calorie diet for an entire day.

Carbohydrate Content

Carbohydrates, in and of themselves, are not bad for you. You need carbohydrates to serve as a source of energy for all of your body's functions. However, if you consume too many carbohydrates without being physically active enough to burn them off, carbohydrates can lead to unhealthy weight gain. The serving of balsamic vinegar contains 10.86 grams of total carbohydrates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 45 and 65 percent of your daily caloric requirement should be provided by carbohydrates.

Balsamic Vinegar and Sugars

The balsamic vinegar also contains 9.53 grams of total sugars, including 4.83 grams of glucose and 4.7 grams of fructose. This sugar is likely not as harmful to your health as the added sucrose found in many snacks, candies and cereals. However, it is still not nutritionally beneficial to your health -- it is simply burned for energy. If you are not physically active enough to burn the sugars off, they can contribute to unhealthy weight gain.

Risks of Acidic Foods

Studies show that a diet high in acidic foods can have a negative effect on your health. One study, in the February 2014 issue of the "Journal of Bone and Mineral Research," reports that a high dietary acid intake is directly associated with low bone-mineral density, especially if you also have a low calcium intake. Another study in the November 2013 issue of "Diabetologia" notes that a high acid intake may raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Balsamic vinegar has one of the highest acid contents, exemplified by its low pH -- 2.3 to 2.8, according to Nordic Food Lab. Use balsamic vinegar in moderation.

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