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Is Cow’s Milk Keto-Friendly? What to Know

Diet Plans, Blog

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This is a reply to a question I received from a friend. I’m sure you have heard about the benefits of drinking cows milk on ketosis, but will cows milk make you ketotic? I don’t think so, despite having heard it many times.

I don’t plan on drinking it myself. But I’d like to delve into the topic a little deeper. You see I produce a lot of cows milk, of course I don’t drink it on a daily basis. I drink it maybe 3 times a week. But I only drink organic (non fat) milk. Nothing else.

There are a lot of questions when it comes to eating plans with a lot of rules—keto, for example. Is milk keto? is a great question for beginners. You have to pay attention with your choice, because if you want to success with your keto, you need to consume the best milk for keto.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Most people on the high-fat, very low-carb plan consume 70 to 80 percent of their calories from fat and only 20 to 30 grams of net carbs per day, though those numbers can vary depending on the person and the version of keto they’re following. (Ketotarian, for example, is a little more lenient with carbs.) Counting “net carbs” rather than “total carbs” gives you more flexibility with carbs.

Counting “net carbs” rather than “total carbs” gives you more flexibility when it comes to carbs. This figure is calculated by subtracting total carbs from fiber grams and sugar alcohols.

Have you gotten all of that? Great. Let’s talk to a professional to see if you can be all cows milk and another milk on the ketogenic diet.

Can I Have Cows Milk on Keto?

According to Amy Kubal, RDN, a registered dietitian in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, “dairy milk is not going to be keto-compliant.” It’s natural to believe that, especially if you opt for the full-fat version.

Milk, on the other hand, contains lactose, a milk sugar that contains arbohydrates. It also lacks fiber, which helps to balance out the carbs. So, for whole milk, you’re looking at 12 grams of net carbs per cup.

With three grams of net carbs in a quarter cup, it’s easy to spend too much of your carb budget for too little benefit. Remember that if you’re only allowed 30 grams of carbs per day, a quarter cup of milk accounts for 10% of your daily allowance.

Then What About Non-dairy Milk?

Almond and coconut milk are the best options, according to Kubal. The first step is to choose one that has no added sugar, so look for “unsweetened” labels. One cup of unsweetened almond milk has 1.4 grams of net carbs. Given that it’s mostly water, it doesn’t have much else in the way of nutrition.

There are only 1.4 grams of protein and 2.7 grams of fat in this meal. Unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in a carton) has 1 gram of net carbs per cup, no protein, and 4.5 grams of fat, depending on the brand.

Just don’t make the rookie error of using canned coconut milk as a coffee stir-in. A quarter cup of full-fat canned coconut milk has 2 grams of net carbs, 12 grams of fat, and less than a gram of protein. Do the math: a cup of this contains 8 grams of net carbs.

That’s NBD for the amount of beef red curry or butter chicken you’d eat. But, as with regular milk, drinking it on a regular basis adds up, and the sheer amount of fat it contains could cause digestive distress, Kubal adds.


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