Milk and Dairy Products – Are They Allowed on a Ketogenic Diet?
If you are already following the ketogenic diet, then you already know that it involves reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing high carb foods with healthy complex carbs and fats. This puts your body (or keeps it) in a state of ketosis, and by doing this you are making your body more efficient in converting your stored fats into energy.
If you’re a dairy lover an obvious question you may be asking is whether milk and keto diet can be bedfellows? What about other dairy products? If whole is not allowed on keto, what are some of the friendly milk substitutes you can consume?
One glass of whole milk as we know it contains about 12g of carbs. If you do the math that’s equivalent to 1/3 of the carbs permitted on the ketogenic diet.
So you have probably already minimized, or completely eliminated your bread and grain intake, and many other high carbohydrate foods already. However, although you may now be living with fewer carbohydrates in your diet, you may be wondering about milk and keto diet and other dairy products. After all, they are made up of protein and fat, but are they allowed on the ketogenic diet?
Can You Add Milk or Dairy to Your Diet?
What if you cut out some carbs and replace it with milk instead? Let’s find out.
Dairy is a classification of food that includes not only milk, but also products such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter. A cup of milk will not kick you out of ketosis, however, on average it contains 12g of carbohydrate content. Therefore, you will want to keep a keen eye on how that impacts your daily carb intake so you don’t blow your allowance. You might want to work out or review your foods for the day and see if your calculations can include a cup of milk or not.
In other words, you have to be careful! If your carb allowance is 20g you can see how just 2 cups of milk in a day can wreck your well-laid diet plans.
However, milk is very nutritious as it contains fat, minerals, protein, water, essential amino acids and vitamins. You just have to remember it also contains the keto dieter’s nemesis, carbohydrate.
Top 5 Milk and Keto Diet Substitutes
The key to maintaining your keto diet even if you love milk is to choose milk with the lowest carbohydrate content. You may have to opt for keto friendly milk alternatives. This may not be what you are wanting to hear, especially if you are a dairy lover, but perhaps it’s time to consider that option. Among the best choices, here are top 5 milk substitutes for keto according to the USDA database are:
This milk is high in vitamins and omega-3s, and contains only one gram of carbohydrate and zero sugar. It is nut-free which is also a good alternative if you have allergies.Flaxseed milk also contains proteins and other nutrients that may help manage the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and other cancers.
The high content of omega-3 fatty acids means it helps with better cognitive functioning, helps in dealing with memory loss and less inflammation. Comparatively, it is also less expensive which makes it all the better. Check this for a thorough discussion on the health benefits of flaxseed milk.
Here’s one of the greatest things about coconut milk and keto: it’s a creamy milk with only one gram of carbohydrate and contain lots of vitamins C and E. If you miss the creaminess of whole milk coconut milk may be the keto milk alternative for you.
It has a high content of saturated fat, and no sugar. It is also safe for those with nut allergies and is ideal for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Most commonly seen as an ingredient in Asian cuisine, it also contains no casein.
Other benefits of coconut milk and keto diet is helps you meet the much needed micronutrients that you hardly hear about on keto discussions. A cup of your store-bought canned coconut milk supplies more than 10 percent of your daily nutritional requirements of important minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
What’s more? The high fat content you find in coconut milk is of the good type. Follow the link below for the more on the health benefits of coconut milk.
Yes this milk comes from the Cannabis Sativa L plant and is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and all the amino acids essential for health. It has one gram of carbohydrates and zero sugar content and probably is the highest source all the micronutrients.
Micros such as folic acid, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, E, B12 and D are all found in hemp milk. Compared to other low carb substitutes, it’s a little more expensive but it’s worth every drop.
One good thing though is that you can make hemp milk yourself. Get the hemp seed from the store, blend at high speed with water to the consistency you desire and there you go. If you have not tried hemp milk, be prepared to be surprised and pleasantly pleased.
Hemp milk also contains a great deal of macros as well. A cup of hemp milk contains about 70 calories, 5g of fat, 3g of protein and 2g of carbs.
This is perhaps the most deliciously creamiest and thickest whole milk and keto substitute you would find from the store shelf. With a high fat content, it’s a sure way to kill off some of the cravings as wells as hunger you experience on the keto diet. It also contains more calcium than other milk alternatives.
Cashew milk is a great add-in for healthy low carb recipes for vegans and non-vegans alike. Cashew milk purchased from stores comes with being fortified with essential vitamins like A and D. Follow the link below for more on the health benefits of cashew milk.
Almond Milk and Keto Diet
Of all the milk and keto diet substitutes, almond milk is probably the closest to whole milk. You can surely add it to your keto recipes and other low carb foods but always read the label to know how much of sugars and other additives are there. A cup of almond milk contains only two grams, contains more calcium and is a good substitute that you can use, not just as a drink, but also for making ice cream, or smoothies.
You can make almond milk at home by blending the raw almonds with water and then straining the resultant liquid to remove the solids. Due to it’s creamy, nice and nutty flavor, it’s the preferred alternative to whole milk for vegans and other low carb food lovers such as keto dieters.
A cup of commercial almond milk contains less than 2g of carbs. Read more for the health benefits of almond milk.
Milk and Keto Diet – Other Dairy Products
You can follow a keto diet and still eat a few dairy products in moderation! Otherwise opt for dairy substitutes with low carbohydrate content.
Here are a few examples:
Heavy or pure cream is a byproduct in the process of making milk and contains only 7g of carbs per cup, compared to 12g in the same volume of milk. So you may like to add a big fat dollop of cream to your coffee instead. Just remember it is high in calories, if you are watching your caloric intake too.
Yes, you can eat cheese. There are many suitable, as cheese is high in fat and many contain almost no carbs at all.
Choose yogurt with low carbohydrate content, such as Greek Yogurt.
Our Conclusion on Whole Milk and Keto Diet
Now that you are aware of what milk and dairy can do for you while on your ketogenic diet, it is up to you how much or how little you consume. You don’t have to go without, so it is allowed, but with any foods, it’s all about moderation. Choosing and eating your foods in moderation is the key.
As always we recommend you share your experiences with other readers on the consuming whole milk substitutes whilst on keto. If we missed any other milk alternative that should be here on the list, please use the form below to let us know.
If you’re new to keto and want to find out more, check the link below for our recommendation on Keto Enhanced.