Can you have milk on a keto diet? How many carbs are in a glass of milk? We’re covering everything you need to know about the carb content of milk, plus some low-carb substitutes you can consider.
If you’re new to the keto diet, you may be wondering which foods you’re allowed to have and which ones to avoid. If you’re not careful, you could end up blowing through your daily carb allowance without realizing it. This begs the question: is milk keto?
The ketogenic diet requires you to limit your intake of carbohydrates while consuming higher amounts of fat. To determine whether milk is keto-friendly, we’ll need to have a look at its nutritional profile, paying special attention to its net carbs.
Is Milk Keto?
Due to its high carb content, cow’s milk isn’t very suitable for the keto diet. With 12 grams of net carbs per cup, you could be halfway through your daily carb allowance before you’ve even finished breakfast. Plant-based milks tend to be much lower in carbs, making them a better choice for keto.
How Many Net Carbs In Milk?
Reduced fat (2%) milk is perhaps the most commonly purchased type of milk. It contains 12 grams of net carbs per cup and only 4.6 grams of fat. Whether you choose reduced fat (2%), whole milk or skim milk, the net carbs will definitely be too high for the keto diet, as you can see in the table below.
|1 cup serving||Net Carbs|
|Whole Milk||11.5 grams|
|Reduced-fat Milk||12 grams|
|Low-fat Milk||12.7 grams|
|Skimmed Milk||11.9 grams|
How Many Carbs In Milk?
There are about 12 grams of net carbs per cup of reduced fat (2%) milk, with similar amounts in a cup of whole milk and skim milk. Since milk has no fiber, its carb content is the same as its net carb content.
When you’re shopping for cow’s milk, you’ll be presented with many options in terms of fat content. Whole milk is 4% fat and reduced-fat milks are either 2% or 1% fat. Of course, non-fat milk is 0% fat.
More than 50% of the fat in milk is saturated, while 25% is monounsaturated fat. Milk contains trace amounts of polyunsaturated fat.
Dairy-based milks are high in protein, with 8 grams in a cup of whole milk. Milk is considered a complete protein, since it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Calorie content depends on the type of milk. Whole milk contains 149 calories per cup, while skim milk contains 90 calories per cup. 2% milk provides 122 calories per cup and 1% milk provides 102 calories per cup.
Keto Milk Substitutes
With less than 1 gram of net carbs per cup, unsweetened almond milk is perfect for the keto diet. Just be sure to avoid sweetened almond milk, since extra sugar means extra carbs.
Whipping Cream or Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is formed when fat naturally separates and rises to the top when fresh cow’s milk is left to settle. Sometimes labeled as “heavy whipping cream,” this dairy product is high in fat and calories, but contains less than 1 gram of net carbs per fluid ounce.
While unsweetened coconut milk can be considered keto-friendly, sweetened coconut milk should definitely be avoided. One cup of plain coconut milk contains only 3.38 grams of net carbs, but the sugar in sweetened coconut milk nearly doubles the carb content.
Unsweetened coconut milk gets extra points for its high fat content, with almost 12 grams per cup.
Soy milk is a popular choice for vegans and those with lactose intolerance. It’s also a great option for the keto diet, since it contains only 1.6 grams of carbs per cup. The only drawback is that it’s also very low in fat, with only 1.7 grams per cup.
Flaxseeds have a number of uses in the kitchen and can even be used to make milk. One cup of unsweetened flax milk contains only 2 grams of carbs with 3.5 grams of fat.
With its slightly sweet taste and creamy texture, macadamia milk is delicious in coffee, smoothies and desserts. You’ll be glad to know that this plant-based milk provides just 1 gram of carbs per cup, along with 5 grams of fat.
Is Whole Milk Keto-Friendly?
Whole milk should definitely be avoided on a keto diet. Although it provides a decent amount of fat and protein, one cup contains over 11 grams of net carbs.
Is Almond Milk Keto?
Due to its low carb content, unsweetened almond milk is a good option for a ketogenic diet. One cup contains less than a gram of carbohydrates. However, you’ll want to avoid sweetened almond milk while doing keto, since the extra sugar means it’s much higher in carbs
Is Oat Milk Keto?
While oat milk is a delicious alternative to dairy milk, you may want to reconsider it for keto. According to the USDA, 1 cup of unsweetened oat milk contains 5 grams of net carbs. To maintain your state of ketosis, you’ll want to enjoy oat milk in moderation.
Is Coconut Milk Keto?
Like many other plant-based milks, coconut milk is fine to have on a keto diet. Based on nutrition information from the USDA, you’ll find less than 1 gram of carbs in each fluid ounce (30.5 grams) of coconut milk.
Is Skim Milk Keto?
Skim milk provides 12 grams of net carbs per cup, according to the USDA. For most people on a ketogenic diet, the goal is to consume less than 50 grams of carbs per day. When a cup of skim milk is 25% of your daily carb limit, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Is Lactose-Free Milk Keto?
Even when lactose isn’t in the picture, milk still isn’t keto-friendly. The USDA notes that one cup of lactose-free milk contains 12 grams of net carbs and minimal amounts of fat. With its low fat content and high carb content, lactose-free milk is the opposite of what you’re looking for on a keto diet.
Is Heavy Cream Keto?
Since it’s high in fat and low in carbs, heavy cream is a great addition to your keto diet. According to nutrition information from the USDA, 1 fluid ounce (29.8 grams) of heavy cream provides less than a gram of carbohydrates. Feel free to use heavy cream in sauces, desserts and your morning cup of joe.
What Milk is Allowed for Keto?
Plant-based milks are generally allowed on a keto diet, as long as they’re unsweetened. You’ve got plenty to choose from including almond, soy, coconut, macadamia nut, cashew and pea milk. Keto-approved dairy-based milks include half-and-half or heavy cream.
Why is Cream Keto But Not Milk?
Cream is keto-friendly because it’s higher in fat and lower in carbs when compared to milk. Milk contains higher amounts of lactose, which is a type of sugar. Along with glucose and fructose, lactose is considered a simple carbohydrate, making it unsuitable for a ketogenic diet. When milk is turned into cream, the lactose content is significantly reduced, essentially making cream a low-carb dairy product. In addition to being low in carbs, cream is a good source of high-quality fat, which can help to maintain the body’s state of ketosis.
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Homemade Keto Milk Recipe
- 75 ml thickened cream
- 175 ml water
- pinch of salt
- Pour the cream and water into a jar and add a pinch of salt.
- Shake well or use a milk frother to combine the ingredients.
- Serve and enjoy as a low-carb substitute for regular milk