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What is the Best Milk on Keto?

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

Milk on keto is a somewhat controversial topic. To answer the question, is milk keto-friendly? we first have to define what milk we’re talking about.

In addition to whole milk from cows, goats, and buffalo, and their close cousins heavy cream and half and half, there are numerous beverages made from plant foods that call themselves “milk.”

Dairy products like milk are extremely popular when consumed on their own and as ingredients in many foods. In 2019 the U.S. per-capita consumption of dairy products was 653 pounds per year. This works out to 1.7 pounds per person every day [1]. So for most people, knowing if and which dairy is keto-friendly is an important step in formulating a keto diet. 

In this article, we’ll explore which types of milk are keto-friendly, and which types should be avoided.  

Table of Contents

Milk on Keto

When considering if milk is keto-friendly, let’s start with the premise that keto is a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet. 

Most people on a ketogenic diet consume between 0 and 30 grams of carbs per day. 

This means that a well-formulated keto diet is centered around low-carb, high-fat foods

Some milk meets these requirements, while other types of milk don’t. So which is the best mlik on keto? Let’s find out. 

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Is Whole Milk Keto?

The short answer is no, whole milk is not keto-friendly. Though whole milk is high in fat, it is also fairly high in sugar with 12 grams per 1 cup. 

This means that for most people on keto a single cup of milk will account for around half of your daily carb intake. 

Carbs in Whole Milk 

1 Cup Whole Milk 
Fat7.9 grams
Carbs12 grams
Protein7.7 grams

Is Heavy Cream Keto?

Yes, for those of you who tolerate dairy, heavy cream is fantastic on keto. Heavy cream is loaded with fat and low in carbs. Yet it still has a subtly sweet taste, which becomes even more apparent the longer you’re on keto. 

The ability to freely consume heavy cream is one of the great gifts of keto, and a delicious guilt-free way to boost your keto macro percentages

One of the most delicious ways to consume heavy cream on keto is to make it part of Dr. Kiltz’s keto ice cream

Scroll to the end for Dr. Kiltz’s heavy cream keto ice cream recipe! 

Carbs in Heavy Cream

1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Fat44 grams
Carbs3.5 grams
Protein3.4 grams

Is Almond Milk Keto?

Yes, unsweetened ‘almond milk’ is technically a keto-friendly milk. In fact almond milk is mostly water.

Though it is important to note that there are many types of almond milk. Even some ‘unsweetened’ varieties contain fillers and binders that add to the carb count. And if you get into the sweetened and flavored varieties, the carb count spikes even higher. 

Here’s an example of the ingredients from the popular Silk brand Almond milk: (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Ascorbic Acid (to protect freshness), Natural Flavor.

Sunflower lecithin is a vegetable oil, and vegetable oils are one of the unhealthiest foods on earth.

Carbs in Almond Milk

1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
Fat2.6 grams
Carbs1.1 grams
Protein1.1 grams

Carbs in sweetened and flavored almond milk 

  • Sweetened almond milk: 93 calories, 16g carbohydrate
  • Vanilla almond milk: 80 calories, 14g carbohydrate
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk: 30 calories, 1g carbohydrate
  • Unsweetened chocolate almond milk: 51 calories, 3g carbohydrate

Coconut Milk on Keto?

Is coconut milk keto? Yes, but it’s complicated. 

There are two types of coconut milk: ‘Coconut milk beverage’ that you use like whole milk, and canned full-fat coconut milk that most people use to cook with. 

Full fat coconut milk can make a great keto snack when lavished over a small amount of low-carb keto fruit like berries. 

As far as non-dairy milk alternatives on keto are concerned, unsweetened coconut milk beverage is top of the list. It’s made from a low-toxin tropical fruit that’s high in fat, low in carbs, and low in protein. This last point matters since it’s possible to consume an overabundance of protein on keto. 

However, like other milk alternatives, coconut milk beverage usually contains sunflower lecithin, a highly-processed vegetable oil fat high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids [2]. 

Carbs in Coconut Milk (Beverage and Canned Full-Fat) 

1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage
Fat4.5 grams
Carbs1 gram
Protein0 grams

 

1 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
Fat48 grams
Carbs6.4 grams
Protein4.6 grams

Oat Milk on Keto? 

Oats are a high-carb grain, so it’s no surprise that oat milk is not keto-friendly. 

1 cup of the popular Oatley brand oat milk has 16 grams of carbs. 

Oats also contain a plant toxin called phytic acid. This antinutrient can impair the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium while blocking digestive enzymes [3]. 

Carbs in Oatmilk

1 Cup Oatley Oat Milk
Fat1 gram
Carbs16 grams
Protein1

Avoid These Types of Milk on Keto

Here’s a rundown of milk to avoid on keto. 

  • Cow’s milk. Even whole cow’s milk is high in the dairy sugar lactose. Fresh, evaporated, homogenized, and raw cow’s milk are all high in carbs. Whole and raw milk contain 12 grams of carbs per cup [4]
  • Goat’s milk. Though its an A2 dairy milk that’s more tolerable than A1 dairy for many people, it’s still too high in carbs to be keto-friendly. One cup contains 11 grams of carbs [5]
  • Oat milk.  Made from oats, which are a high-carb grain. Oats also contain a potentially harmful plant toxin called phytic acid. Oatmilk has around 17 grams of carb per cup [5]  
  • Rice milk. Rice is another high-carb grain. Rice milk is one of the sweetest milks, with one cup containing 21 grams of carbs [6
  • Condensed milk is loaded with added sugars. One cup (240 mL) contains a ridiculous 165 grams of net carbs, mostly in the form of refined cane sugar [7
  • Soy milk. Though unsweetened soy milk contains only 3 grams of carbs per cut, its also high in plant toxins called phytohormones that can negatively affect reproduction and endocrine function [7]

List of Keto-Friendly Milk

These types of milk are generally keto-friendly. However, the carb content in milk can vary greatly between brands. Even if the kind of milk you buy is on this list, it’s worth checking the carb content on the label. 

Some keto-friendly milks include:

  • Heavy cream. Though not officially a milk, it’s the best alternative in terms of fat content and is extremely delicious in coffee and match lattes.  Heavy cream on keto contains only 1 gram of net carbs per ounce [8
  • Half-and-half is another keto-friendly alternative to cow’s milk. It contributes only 1 gram of carbs per ounce–though an 8 ounce cup means 8 grams of carbs, so half-and-half is best in small doses
  • Coconut milk is the best option for people avoiding dairy on keto. But it’s important to select low-carb brands. Unsweetened varieties can contain between 1-5 grams per 1 cup [9]
  • Almond milk is another keto-friendly alternative in its unsweetened variety. 1 cup of almond milk provides only 1 gram of carbs [10]
  • Macadamia nut milk is a keto-friendly nut milk with 5 grams of fat to only 1 gram of carbs per cup [11]. 
  • Flax milk is another lesser-known alternative milk that makes the keto-friendly cut. It’s also higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other alt milks and contains 1 gram of carbs per cup [12

Dr. Kiltz’s Keto Ice Cream Recipe with Heavy Cream 

Unlike most of the alternative milks listed above, Dr. Kiltz’s keto ice cream recipe has 5 simple, pronounceable ingredients. 

It’s free of additives like emulsifiers and gums and takes only 20-45 minutes to make. 

The little bit of sugar in there isn’t a big deal, contributing only 4.5 to 9 grams per ⅓ pint. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Pint of High-quality heavy cream (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1-2 TBSP of granulated pure cane sugar (13 grams of sugar per tablespoon) 
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (can use vanilla bean scraped as well)
  • 1 egg (organic preferred)
  • 1 tsp sea/Himalayan salt (optional but highly recommended) 

Follow the directions of your specific ice cream maker. 

Following along with Dr. Kiltz below: 

The bottom line

Though cow’s milk isn’t keto-friendly, there are numerous keto-friendly milk alternatives. 

The fattiest, most delicious, and only additive-free option is heavy whipping cream. 

Numerous other plant-based alternatives may meet keto macro standards, but they’re all highly processed industrial foods. Most contain plant toxins, emulsifiers, and processed vegetable fats. 

Stick with heavy cream and you’ll more than fulfill your keto-friendly milk desires. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that there are other ways to get your dairy fix on keto. Keto cheeses, keto yogurt, and butter are great whole food options.