If you’re eating and drinking in the Keto Zone, you’ve likely tried to find the best keto-friendly milk alternatives. You want ones that taste good, have a good mouthfeel, and that work well in the dishes or recipes you enjoy.
And, you’re in luck! There are now many good keto-friendly milk alternatives for different Keto Zone recipes and dishes.
Here’s why cow’s milk is not keto-friendly but not other dairy products are, which other milks you should avoid, and which are the best keto-friendly milk alternatives.
There’s no doubt: it’s controversial among keto crowds whether or not to avoid all dairy. However, milk itself is not controversial. For most people, it simply has too many carbohydrates to stay in ketosis.
Milk typically contains 12 grams of lactose, or milk sugar, per 8 ounces. It’s important to note that lactose is a low glycemic index carbohydrate. However, it still doesn’t fit well into keto.
On the other hand, there are dairy products in which the lactose has been broken down, removed, or simply not used. For example, cream and butter are almost 100% fat and contain very little lactose. In fact, 1 tablespoon of butter only has 0.1 grams carbohydrates (1). Cheese, cottage cheese, and cream cheese are mostly fat and protein, with very little lactose.
What’s more, plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt can be eaten on Keto Zone. It’s lower in carbohydrates than milk, and higher in protein and fat. What’s more, the carbohydrates have been fermented, which changes their structure and impact on blood sugars. These fermented sugars are thought to offer health benefits to human digestion and overall health (2). Still, since Greek yogurt can contain 8-12 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounces, only 1/4 cup or so is suitable per day in the Keto Zone.
And while many dairy products can be used in the Keto Zone, not everyone tolerates dairy well. If you are concerned about dairy intolerance, here are 5 signs you should avoid it.
In addition to avoiding cow’s milk, some milk alternatives are still not suitable for Keto Zone. This can be confusing because some are lactose-free. However, if they are made from a grain, or sweetened, they are still not low-carb or keto-friendly.
Which options are keto-friendly milk alternatives?
Here are 7 to try:
Unsweetened almond milk is a great choice for keto-friendly cereals, as a drink, and more. It only contains 1.1 grams of net carbohydrates per cup (7). It’s made from simply soaking almonds in water, blending, and straining.
Unsweetened coconut milk is another great low-carb keto-friendly milk alternative with only 0.6 grams of carbohydrates per cup (8). You can use the type out of the carton. Or, for a thicker, higher-fat version, try full-fat canned coconut milk.
Macadamia nut milk is definitely a pricey option, but it’s very low in carbs. In fact, it has 0 grams net carbs per serving, and a great taste (11).
Flax milk is a healthy option made from flax seeds. Each cup contains only 1 gram of net carbs (12).
Cashew milk is a creamy option that only contains only 2 grams of net carbs per cup (13). Cashew cream is also a great option to replace milk in soups and recipes when canned coconut milk is not preferred.
Peas are a legume, so they contain both carbohydrates and proteins. Pea milk works in Keto Zone, with only 2 grams of net carbs and a whopping 8 grams of protein per 1 cup (14).
Half-and-half and heavy cream are also good options. Half-and-half is a mixture of heavy cream and milk. Both options contain 8 grams of net carbs per cup, but can be watered down to a milk consistency for only 4 grams of net carbs per cup (using 4 ounces half-and-half or cream and 4 ounces water) (15). Both options are also good choices in smaller amounts for recipes.
When choosing a keto-friendly milk alternative, it’s important to be aware of what each doesn’t contain. For example, since almond, cashew, and other kinds of milk are strained, they are not necessarily a good source of healthy keto fats or protein. But, you can fortify them yourself.
Thankfully, most keto-friendly milk alternatives are commercially fortified with calcium and plant-based vitamin D which can support healthy bones (16).
These days, there’s no shortage of options for keto-friendly milk alternatives. Find one you like, and read the label to understand what it does and doesn’t contain. Make sure it’s low-carb. Fortify it if you’d like.
And, if you’d like more tips, recipes, and help with Keto Zone, try our FREE Keto Zone 21-Day-Challenge today!