Learn How Balsamic Vinegar Helps With Weight Loss

Effective weight loss requires eating fewer calories than you burn off daily. Although some foods can hinder weight loss, vinegar may help lower 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. The good news is a 1-tablespoon portion of balsamic vinegar contains just 14 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.

Research Findings

Vinegar intake helps decrease 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 15 to 30 milliliters -- equivalent to about 1 to 2 tablespoons and 14 to 28 calories 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.

Potential Concerns

Though rare, there's potential for health problems if you eat 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 happened in isolated cases after ingestion of vinegar.

Though vinegar may aid in weight loss, if you're burning off more calories than you eat daily you won't effectively shed pounds. In general, consuming balsamic vinegar -- in moderation -- will not be problematic during weight loss.

Ways to Use Balsamic Vinegar

There are many ways to incorporate balsamic vinegar into a 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 poultry, 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.