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Keto Milk Alternatives: Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, and Beyond

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FACT CHECKED
  Published on September 3rd, 2021
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified September 2nd, 2021
keto milk alternatives

Whether you are pouring a bowl of keto cereal or whipping up some mashed cauliflower, milk is a staple in many different foods and recipes. That being said, traditional cow’s milk is filled with added sugar and has a high carb count. Many people also avoid dairy products and are looking for keto-friendly milk substitutes.

The “milk” section of the grocery store has expanded vastly in the past few years, so it’s understandable that you might be lost as to which milk is keto-friendly and which isn’t. Let’s go over the most common products located in the diary section and whether or not they are acceptable on a low-carb diet.

 

Keto Milk Options

Almond Milk

Unsweetened almond milk is a staple in many households, whether you are keto or not! Many people gravitate towards almond milk because it is commonly available in many stores and restaurants, and has low-fat content, meaning it is also lower in calories than most other milks.

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 30 calories, 1g of protein, 2.5g of fat, 1.1g of total carbs, and 0.7g of fiber . [1]

how to make almond milk

Coconut Milk

Unsweetened coconut milk is a common alternative to almond milk. It is similar in calories and macronutrients but has a slightly different taste. While the taste is very milk, it doesn’t have a slightly nutty flavor.

1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk contains 45 calories, 5g of fat, 1g of protein, and 1g of net carbs. [2]

 

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is a less common milk alternative in comparison to almond milk and coconut milk but it is often considered more keto-friendly than the other two due to its higher fat content.

1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk contains 90 calories, 6g of fat, 2g of total carbohydrates, 1g of fiber, 1 gram of net carbs, and 8 grams of protein. [3]

 

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is another less common plant-based milk alternative that is actually higher in fat than almond and coconut milk.

1 cup of hemp milk contains 50 calories, 5g of fat, 1g of total carbs, 1g of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. [4]

 

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream can be used for more than just making whipped cream! It can actually act as an alternative to traditional milk in recipes, coffee drinks, and more.

The benefits of heavy cream come from the higher-fat content. Heavy cream is thicker than the aforementioned nut milks, therefore it can alter the texture of recipes in a slightly different manner.

That being said, heavy cream should be consumed in smaller quantities as compared to the previously mentioned plant-based milks. All of those milks have a high water content, meaning they are less dense, but also less calorically dense.

1 fluid oz of heavy cream (remember, 8 oz are in a cup) contains 101 calories, 11g of fat, 1g of net carbs, and 1g of protein. [5]

ketogenic diet milk alternatives

Milk to Avoid On Keto

Regular Milk (Dairy, Cows Milk)

Traditional cows’ milk is high in lactose. Lactose is a carbohydrate, specifically a disaccharide, that is broken down into glucose and galactose. Many gallons of milk that you will find at your local grocery also contain added sugar.

Milk contains about 12g of net carbs per cup! It also has 120 calories, 5g of fat, and 8g of protein. [6]

Low-fat, 1%, fat-free, and 2% milks are also high in sugar and should be avoided as well.

 

Certain Lactose-Free Cows Milk

Since one of the reasons that milk is high in carbohydrates is from the lactose content, you might assume that lactose-free milk is inherently lower-carb, but that isn’t always the case! Lactose-free milk is made by adding the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, and is thus lactose-free.

However, most of these milks still have high sugar content.

1 cup of lactose-free milk has about 125 calories, 5g of fat, 13g of carbohydrates, and 8g of protein. [7]

lactose in dary on keto

Flavored Creamers & Milks

As a general rule of thumb, anything flavored should be avoided on a low-carbohydrate diet! To get rich chocolate, creamy caramel, or nutty hazelnut flavors added into creamers and milks, sugar is typically added.

The exception to this would be if the packaging states it is sugar-free and then it’s important to read the ingredients to figure out what sweeteners are being used.

 

Oat Milk

Since oats are high in carbohydrates and aren’t keto-friendly, it might seem intuitive that oat milk isn’t keto and you’re right!

1 cup of oat milk contains 120 calories, 5g of fat, 16g of total carbohydrates, 2g of fiber, and 3g of protein. [8]

 

Rice Milk

Similar to oat milk, rice milk is also created from a product that is high in carbohydrates.

1 cup of rice milk has 113 calories, 2g of fat, 22g of carbohydrates, 1g of fiber, and 1g of protein. [9]

 

Nutrition facts might vary slightly based on the brand.

 

 

Do You Consume Milk On Keto?

What’s your favorite type of milk to enjoy on a ketogenic diet? Comment below and share your thoughts!

Discussion

  1. chad hauser says:

    Gret article! I’ve always loved my almond milk even before my keto days

    1. Hi, Chad. Glad you enjoyed the article! Almond milk is a great alternative to traditional milk, even if you aren’t keto!

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