The Best & Worst Milk Options on Keto
Since the options we're going to talk about in this post aren't derived from animals and some of them are plant-based milk options, we will call them "milk options" or "alternatives," and you might see them labelled as "mylk" or "m*lk" depending on the brand.
Milk is an essential component for numerous beverages and dishes, and thankfully there are a lot of milk choices that are keto-friendly. Uncertain if the milk you typically drink is keto-compatible? You have arrived at the right place. Here we are going to discuss the best and worst milk options to have on a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic lifestyle and diet.
For a nation of tea drinkers, a life without milk is one most people can't imagine. It was certainly a challenge for Taeya when she started her Keto journey. Fortunately, there are a lot of alternatives out there but it can be confusing to know which to choose. We're here to help.
Let's get started.
When we talk about Keto Milk, what am I looking out for?
For the keto diet, which is low in carbs, high in fat, and has moderate amounts of protein, look for milk with lownet carbs and no added sugar and no fillers (some coconut and almond milks contain rice powder which makes it thicker, but also increases the carbs). It's important to consume foods that don't exceed your daily net carb limit to stay inketosis.
We go into much more detail about this topic in our post aboutCounting Macros.
It's advisable to stay away from regular milk and milk that is sweetened, this includes any sweetened versions of keto-friendly milk. These are too high in carbs because of their natural sugar content.
Some of the worst milk options for the keto diet are:
- Cow's milk varieties, like evaporated milk, ultra-filtered milk and raw cow's milk all contain lactose or milk sugar. Every cup of whole cow's milk contains 12g of net carbs.
- Goat's milk has a relatively high carb content due to its naturally occurring sugars - one cup contains 11g of net carbs.
- Oat milk is made from oats and has a high carbohydrate content - one cup contains 17g of net carbs.
- Rice milk is not suitable for a ketogenic diet due to its high carb content - one cup contains 21g of net carbs.
- Sweetened condensed milk is a sugary milk product commonly used as an ingredient in desserts. Each cup of condensed milk contains 165 grams of net carbohydrates.
What Makes Milk Keto Friendly?
If you're following the keto or low-carb diet, there are plenty of milk options with a low-carb content to choose from.
For a healthier option, select unsweetened products instead of those that have added sugars.
Due to their different components and methods of production, carb counts can differ between brands. To be sure you are eating the right amount, it is important to check nutritional facts and ingredient labels.
Here are keto-friendly milk options listed from lowest to highest net carbs:
9 low-carb milk alternatives that are perfect for a keto diet.
1. Macadamia nut milk
This milk is derived from the macadamia nut. The nut is high in monounsaturated fat that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes 9. Macadamia nut milk is more costly than other ketogenic milk options but is also the lowest in carbohydrates. Each cup contains 0g of net carbs.
2. Almond milk
Almond milk is a great dairy-free, vegan and low-carb option. High in Vitamin E, an excellent source of calcium and potassium, the list of health benefits goes on.
As the less expensive and widely available option at many grocery stores, almond milk is quite popular amongst keto dieters. One cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only1gof net carbs.
You can browse around and see what tickles your fancy. Currently, this one is our favourite!
But be careful some almond milk actually contains a lot of fillers like rice and other ingredients.
3. Flax milk
Flax seeds are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. One cup contains only1gof net carbs.
A relatively neutral flavour makes it the perfect base for smoothies or soups.
4. Whipping Cream or Double Cream
Double cream is made from the fat separated from fresh cow's milk to make butter or whipped cream. If you need the similar creamy feeling of cow's milk, this is a great option. It's high in fat and calories and one cup contains1gof net carbs.
It's also the perfect coffee creamer and must-have ingredient to make delicious keto-friendly desserts. You can simply whip it up to add on top of your keto-friendly hot chocolate or pancakes!
5. Cashew milk
This milk is less common than other milk alternatives like almond milk and coconut milk, but it's great for keto because of its higher fat content. One cup of cashew milk contains2g of net carbs.
A little salty, sweet and nutty, this milk is perfect for any kitchen venture. It'll help boost the flavour of your food rather than taking over! Add cashew milk to your bowl of porridge or even to your curry.
6. Pea milk
Peas are naturally high-protein legumes. Pea milk is a great option for those that are dairy-free, nut-free and vegan-friendly. One cup has a whopping8g of protein and2g of net carbs.
Thick and creamy, pea milk tastes similar to plain almond milk, just creamier. So don't worry, it doesn't taste like peas! Add it to your porridge for a protein boost or use it in your favourite smoothie.
7. Soy milk
It's likely that you've heard of soy milk. This low-fat, low-carb alternative offers a decent (albeit imperfect) solution for the keto diet. A single cup of plain, unsweetened soy milk contains 1 to 2 grams of fiber,7 grams of protein and 3 grams of net carbs.
Soy milk is highly processed, during which soybeans are exposed to neurotoxins that are dangerous when inhaled, but probably aren't great for you to ingest either. It also contains gut irritants that can cause an imbalance in your gut bacteria. There is also controversy surrounding the high amounts of plant-based oestrogen found in soy milk which resembles human oestrogen, mainly because the oestrogen from soy milk could tamper with oestrogen-related bodily activities, such as reproduction. But not to fear - there are studies that show that a smaller intake of soy milk does not impact oestrogen levels.
Whilst drinking a lil' soy milk won't kick you out of ketosis, it's not great to have soy milk regularly, especially when there are healthier keto-friendly options on the market!
8. Coconut milk
The reason why coconut milk is this low down is that some brands contain up to 5g of net carbs per cup. This is why you should shop carefully for this milk option and drink it sparingly. Sweetened versions are a no-go, so stick to unsweetened, full-fat options. Cartons tend to have lower carbs than canned coconut milk, containing1gof net carbs instead of6gper cup. So just choose your coconut milk carefully by reading the nutritional labels and you'll be fine.
The coconutty, slightly sweet taste of coconut milk makes it perfect to add to soups, curries, stews or even desserts and salad dressings.
Here's a keto-friendly coconut milk option!
9. Lactose-Free Milk
Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk products which can be hard for some people to digest 8. Lactose-Free milk is a great option for those following the ketogenic diet. It's made from cow's milk but with the lactose enzyme removed, making it easier to digest. This type of milk can generally be taken as a substitute for regular cow's milk when cooking and baking recipes.
The main benefit of LactoseFree milk is that it contains fewer carbs than regular cow's milk. A single cup of LactoseFree milk contains just 4g of net carbs, making it a great option for those on a keto diet.
It also has the same nutritional benefits as regular cow's milk, including 8g of protein and 12g of calcium per cup. Plus, it tastes just like regular cow's milk!
So if you're looking for a low-carb milk option, LactoseFree milk is a great choice.
Conclusion & Key Takeaways
Now you are completely informed about what types of milk are allowed and disallowed on the ketogenic diet! You can confidently go shopping for milk. So, tell us, what is your preferred milk option? Is there a certain brand that you believe is particularly good? Share with us in the comments section!
If you're looking for ways to sweeten your tea, we have a post about the types of sweeteners we use at No Guilt Bakes and how they differ from regular sugar.
Mylks in the UK, A Comparison
- ◄What milk is OK on keto?
- Unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, macadamia nut milk, flax milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and pea milk along with half-and-half and heavy cream are all keto-friendly milk options. 1
- ◄Can I drink skim milk on keto?
- Due to its major amounts of lactose (a.k.a. sugar, a.k.a., carbs), milk is not keto-friendly (one cup of whole milk has 11 grams of carbs). And that means all dairy milks—skim, one percent, two percent, you get the gist—are not keto-approved. 2
- ◄Which milk has the least carbs?
- Unsweetened almond milk - 0g net carbs per cup. 3
- ◄Can I eat yogurt on keto?
- Any type of yoghurt could be included in the keto diet, as long as the total carbohydrate intake across the day remains low enough to keep the body in ketosis (using stored fat instead of carbohydrate to fuel the brain and body). 4
- ◄Are there any additives in keto milk options?
- When buying any food, it's important to read the nutritional information. Some would be purely what they advertise, while others wouldn't. Only the label on the particular option you’re considering can reveal the truth.
- ◄When milk isn't keto, why is it not keto?
- The requirements of a keto diet are low carbs, high fat, and moderate amounts of protein. Any food that exceeds the net carb limits per day can kick you out of ketosis. Milk that goes beyond these limits is not considered keto-friendly.
- ◄Is almond milk keto?
- Pure almond milk which doesn't contain fillers such as rice, can be considered Keto and is a pretty popular option for dieters. One cup contains only 1g of net carbs.
- ◄Eliminating dairy a good or bad idea?
- Dairy has negative effects on some people. If you’re one of those people, it may be a good idea to eliminate dairy. Because of the high fat and low-carb content in dairy, it's good for keto but it's worth noting that it's possible to go overboard with it. Limiting it is a good idea especially if you're stalling with weight loss.