The main active compound in balsamic vinegar is acetic acid, which contains strains of probiotic bacteria. These probiotics don’t just preserve food — they can also enable healthy digestion and improve gut health. There’s also positive immune system benefits to having these healthy bacteria called gut biome. The probiotic compounds in acetic acid could be part of the reason some people swear balsamic vinegar makes them feel full.
Balsamic Vinegar & Weight Loss
Effective weight loss requires eating fewer calories than you burn off daily. While some foods can hinder weight loss, vinegar may help reduce your overall caloric intake and shed pounds. However, balsamic vinegar will only help you lose weight if used as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan.
Calories in Balsamic Vinegar
While balsamic vinegar is a fairly low-calorie food, the calories in it are mainly from sugar (grape must). The good news is a 1-tablespoon portion of white balsamic vinegar contains just 30 calories, which can help you control your overall caloric intake when used in place of higher-calorie salad dressings such as Italian, ranch, French or Thousand Island dressings. For example, 1 tablespoon of French dressing provides about 73 calories and a 1-tablespoon portion of ranch dressing contains 63 calories.
Vinegar intake helps reduce body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels in obese men, according to a study published in 2009 in “Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry.” Study subjects who lost weight consumed 1 to 2 tablespoons — of vinegar daily for 12 weeks. Subjects who ate vinegar had lower visceral fat and smaller waist circumferences than study subjects who did not consume vinegar.
Though rare, there’s potential for health problems if you consume too much vinegar — and you won’t lose weight eating balsamic vinegar if your overall caloric intake is too high. A review published in 2006 in “Medscape General Medicine” reports that inflammation and injury to the esophagus has occurred in isolated cases after ingestion of vinegar. Though vinegar may aid in weight loss, if you’re not burning off more calories than you eat daily you won’t effectively shed pounds. In general, consuming balsamic vinegar — in moderation — won’t be problematic during weight loss.
Ways to Use Balsamic Vinegar
There are numerous ways to incorporate balsamic vinegar into a weight-loss diet. Try topping vegetable or mixed-green salads with balsamic vinegar instead of higher-calorie dressings. Add it to tomato and mozzarella salads — or salads made with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and olives. Use balsamic vinegar as a marinade for chicken, pork, salmon, tofu, eggplant or roasted vegetables. Add it to three-bean salads containing green beans, chick peas, kidney beans and onions — or put it in homemade lentil soup. Sauté asparagus or mushrooms using balsamic vinegar. You can even top fresh fruits — such as strawberries and mangos — with balsamic vinegar.
Healthy Eating 2016