Keto Milk: The Best And The Worst

According to a study from Japan, one of the side effects of drinking milk include weight loss.

This weight loss is one of the goals of those who are on a keto. However, those who are following a keto lifestyle should avoid milk.

This beverage contains high amounts of sugar in the form of lactose.

Still, milk is a nutritious drink, and sometimes, it is essential to drink it. But, for ketogenic dieters, what milk alternatives can be consumed?

In this article, you will learn how many carbs milk has, what is the best milk for keto, and what keto milk products should be avoided.

Keto Milk Diet Substitutes

How Many Carbs Does Milk Have?

Milk is one of the nutritious foods many people drink to sustain and improve their quality of life.

There are different sources of milk such as breast milk, those that come from animals, and those that come from plants.

Whether it is whole milk or not, milk contains carbohydrates. Usually, regular milk contains around 12 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving.

The factors that may change the number of net carbs rely on the heaviness of the milk. Flavors may also increase the net carbs of the milk.

For example, flavored milk (chocolate) may give around 26 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving.

This is because added sugar is usually incorporated into that product.

When you are on a keto, you are likely to eat foods that are low in carbohydrates such as seeded bread. Sometimes, you even drink milk with it during breakfast.

But, not all milk is keto-friendly.

Even those that contain low carbohydrates can kick you out of ketosis, especially when they contain large amounts of sugars.

Types of Carbs in Milk

When we answer the question: is milk keto-friendly, we have to consider the types of carbohydrates included in every milk type.

The carb content of unflavored milk comes from lactose. This lactose is milk sugar. On the other hand, the carb content of flavored milk comes from sucrose and this is another type of sugar.

Sucrose, also known as table sugar, is known to be unhealthy as it has been used in processed foods such as junk foods.

Aside from increasing the calorie content of the foods, your low-carb eating might also be affected.

When the carbohydrate content of these foods is consumed, they will be converted into glucose. This glucose fuels your cells and supports your energy needs.

If you are on a keto, your carb intake should only be less than 50 grams of net carbohydrates per day.

Understand that as well that even fat-free milk may contain fat. That is why it is important to always check the food labels of the food you buy.

Skim milk or fat-free milk usually contains around 0.2 grams of net carbs per 1 cup. Although this is not harmful, those who are on a strict keto diet may want to avoid these.

Too many of these can also increase cholesterol levels and the risk of developing heart disease.

If possible, always go for dairy-free milk products that contain a little or no saturated fat. Always remember that, although carbs may not change, fat levels will always vary.

Best Milk Alternatives for Keto Dieters

Not all low-carb milk substitutes are suitable for those who are on a ketogenic diet. Thus, you should learn to differentiate the suitable ones from those that are not.

In this section, the keto milk alternatives will be discussed.

1) Macadamia nut milk

Macadamia nut milk

Macadamia milk is one of the best keto milk you can consider.

Although this one is more pricey than other low-carb milk alternatives, having it will assure you that you are getting a low-carb drink. Macadamia milk offers zero grams of net carbs per cup. 

In a randomized controlled trial from Pennsylvania, aside from helping you lose weight, macadamia nut milk can also support cardiovascular health.

In this study, it was reported that this milk can reduce bad cholesterol. Eventually, this can reduce the risk of heart disease.

2) Almond milk

Almond Cocoa Milkshake

Many people wonder, is almond milk keto?

The answer would be yes. Another keto milk alternative you can consider include almond milk.

It is low-carb, dairy-free milk that is rich in vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.

Almond milk offers 1.2 grams of net carbs per cup.

However, if you wish to buy almond milk, make sure that the product you are buying is truly dairy-free, and contains no fillers such as rice.

Dairy products are rich in carbs and these can easily kick you out of ketosis.

3) Flax milk

Flax milk

This is also one of the best milk for keto as it provides around less than 1.3 grams of net carbs per cup.

According to a study in Canada, this milk is sourced from flax seeds and these seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Flax seeds are also anti-cancer.

They are rich in antioxidants that can prevent cell damage.

Consistent with a study from Portugal, this was reported to be effective in preventing breast cancer in both men and women.

For these reasons, you can use this milk as the base of your favorite smoothies and keto recipes!

One of the best brands for this milk is Good Karma Unsweetened Flaxmilk.

4) Heavy whipping cream or double cream

Heavy whipping cream

We also have heavy whipping cream or double cream as one of the keto milk substitutes.

This heavy cream is made from the fat separated from fresh cow’s milk. 

Generally, heavy cream is one of the dairy products many ketogenic dieters consider, as long as they do not have sensitivity to this product.

Although heavy cream is high in fat and calories, one cup only gives around 1 gram of net carbohydrates, making this milk keto-friendly.

Many dieters use heavy cream as a coffee creamer and as an ingredient for keto recipes and desserts.

5) Cashew milk

Cashew milk

This milk is less likely to be used as one of the keto-friendly milk substitutes, maybe because it is kind of salty.

It has a high-fat content and is a very low-carb milk option. One cup of this milk contains around 2 grams of net carbohydrates.

This milk can support healthy weight management.

In a study published in the Food & Nutrition Research, this milk can facilitate weight loss during energy restriction.

Some of those who use it add this to improve the flavors of their favorite keto recipes. Some of these keto recipes are porridge and curry.

6) Pea milk

Pea milk

Milk may also come from plant sources.

This milk is made from extracted pea protein that is sourced from water, sunflower oil, micronutrients, thickeners, and phosphates.

Generally, this milk is most suitable for those who are looking for dairy-free milk alternatives.

One cup of this vegan-friendly milk gives around 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of net carbohydrates, making this milk keto-friendly.

Aside from helping you lose weight, pea protein milk is also helpful for those who want to build muscles.

Many people also take this as a heavy cream alternative.

Just like heavy cream, it can be used as a coffee creamer and protein booster for your favorite keto recipes.

7) Soy milk

Soy milk

Soy milk is a good, but not that perfect, keto milk alternative. It is relatively low in fats and net carbohydrates.

One cup of unsweetened soy milk can give around 3 grams of net carbs.

With this moderate carbohydrate amount, you should limit your intake of this milk.

Additionally, soy milk can cause gut imbalance and can affect reproduction.

However, worry not, because, at low dosages, these body functions will not be affected.

8) Coconut milk

Coconut milk

Many people may wonder, is coconut milk keto? The answer would is it depends on the purity of the product.

Coconut milk is one of the popular keto milk substitutes.

However, for those who are on a strict ketogenic lifestyle, take note that some brands of coconut milk can provide around 5 grams of net carbs per cup.

Just like soy milk, you should drink coconut milk moderately.

Also, if possible, avoid the sweetened coconut milk versions such as canned coconut milk as they contain higher amounts of carbs.

Take note that full-fat coconut milk is also available in the market. This full-fat coconut milk offers more than 6 grams of net carbs per pack.

Thus, you should, as always, check the label first.

For some recipes, you might want to add coconut milk to your soups, curries, stews, dressings, and desserts.

You might also want to make an unsweetened coconut milk beverage using this type! 

If you wish to buy a coconut milk beverage, this can give you more than 6 grams of net carbs because of the added sugar content.

If you can, always go for a fat-free and unsweetened one.

9) Lactose-free milk

Lactose free milk

For those who are on a keto and are lactose-intolerant, the best substitute-milk option is a lactose-free one. 

However, per cup of this milk gives around 13 grams of net carbohydrates so you should also limit the intake of this milk type.

10) Half-and-half

half and half

Other best milk for keto options includes half-and-half milk.

This is a combination of cow’s milk and heavy cream.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, this milk type contains around 1 gram of net carbs per 30 ml serving.

Many people use it as one of the low-carb milk alternatives to coconut milk for cooking.

11) Hemp milk

Hemp milk

Hemp milk is also keto-friendly.

It provides around 1.3 grams of net carbs per 240 ml or one cup.

For both keto and vegan dieters, this is one of the best keto-friendly options that can replace milk.

You might find a strange taste in this milk because it is kind of bitter and grassy. To manage this, you can add some keto-friendly sweeteners.

To learn more about the best keto-friendly sweeteners, you can click here.

Worst Keto Diet Milk You Should Avoid

Now that we know the possible milk substitutes for those who are on a keto lifestyle, it is also important to learn about those non-keto milk substitutes.

1) Cow’s milk

Cow milk

Choosing keto milk substitutes is not easy and if you are a newbie on this ketogenic diet, milk derived from a cow is something you should completely avoid.

In Asian countries like the Philippines, this whole milk is considered traditional milk. 

However, it is worth mentioning that this whole milk contains too much lactose and evaporated milk that provides around 12 grams of carbs.

2) Oat milk

Oat milk


Generally, oat milk is sourced from oats.

As we all know, oats are rich in carbohydrates.

With just this statement, we can already say that this milk is not keto-friendly and should never be considered a milk alternative for those who are on a low-carb diet.

One cup of oat milk provides around 17 grams of carbs and this is even higher compared to traditional milk, dairy milk, or heavy cream!

Some brands of this whole milk even come with 19 grams of sugar. This is much worse than evaporated milk.

Although evaporated milk comes with 10 grams of carbs, it only offers less than 3 grams of sugar.

3) Rice milk

Rice milk

Like oats, this milk is also rich in carbs. This whole milk offers around 21 grams of carbs per cup.

Also, this whole milk contains high amounts of calories, and if you use it as your regular milk, you might be at risk of arsenic poisoning!

Before going for this milk, you might want to choose dairy milk or heavy cream instead.

4) Sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened condensed milk contains sweeteners that can increase the carbohydrate contents of the product.

Usually, these sweeteners are cane syrup and cane sugar.

As we all know, condensed milk is used in many desserts but if you are on a keto, you should avoid this completely.

One cup of this milk gives around 165 grams of carbohydrates and this count would already exceed your 3-day keto meal plan!

When you wish to buy condensed milk, always make sure the label states that it is unsweetened!

5) Goat’s milk

Goat’s milk contains natural sugars and this is the main reason why it is not considered keto-friendly.

One cup of goat milk gives around 11 grams of carbs.

Even in smaller amounts, this milk can kick you out of ketosis.

How to Choose the Milk Substitutes

Even though you may already know the milk to avoid and consume while practicing a ketogenic diet, you might still want to consider the following tips on how to choose the right milk for your diet type.

  • Always go for milk with no added sugars and fillers
  • As much as you can, choose the unsweetened milk options
  • Avoid flavored milk, if possible

Above all, always check the nutrition label of the products you buy.

Make sure that the product is of high quality and that you have no sensitivities to the ingredients listed.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to drink milk is a healthy option not just for those who are following a ketogenic diet but for all individuals.

Although milk is very nutritious, the milk source can also cause some health risks.

Some of the healthy, keto-friendly milk options are macadamia, almond, flax, cashew, pea, soy, coconut, hemp, and heavy cream.

Sometimes, dairy milk is also considered keto-friendly as long as it is taken in moderation.

On the other hand, some of the regular milk you should avoid while on keto include cow’s, oat, rice, sweetened condensed, and goat’s milk.

Some people take evaporated milk as keto-friendly because it contains low sugar levels but if you are on a strict ketogenic diet, evaporated milk should also be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is more keto-friendly between heavy cream and whipping cream?

If you are on a keto and you wonder what milk keto option to choose, you may consider heavy cream or whipping cream. Between these two, heavy cream is more keto-friendly. Per cup of this milk offers around 3 grams of carbs while per cup of whipping one offers around 7 grams of carbs.

What milk keto products contain zero carbs?

There are many milk products on the market and for those who are on a ketogenic diet, knowing those that contain zero carbs is essential. Some of these milk that contains no carbs are unsweetened almond, coconut, macadamia, flax, soy, cashew, and pea milk.

What milk is best for weight loss?

Since milk is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, many people rely on milk as their food source to obtain weight loss. However, not all milk varieties can help you lose weight. One of the great milk for weight loss is skimmed milk. Unfortunately, for those who follow a keto meal plan, skimmed milk is not advised as this contains around 12 grams of carbs per cup.