For years, every morning, my mom used to bring me a tall glass of whole cow’s milk!
I drank it in the hopes of having stronger bones and muscles, following the recommendations of doctors. Sometimes, I got rid of it in the kitchen sink to avoid the unpleasant indigestion symptoms.
With that being said, enough about me, let’s jump to cow’s milk alternatives for those who follow a non-dairy diet or a keto diet.
In this article, you will learn about the different varieties of milk substitutes without compromising the rich, creamy flavor milk brings to your favorite food recipes.
Is Milk Keto-Friendly?
Before answering this question, you should understand the purpose of the keto diet.
Its goal is to put you into ketosis, which can only be accomplished by eating a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet. Sadly (if you adore carbs), this means drastically reducing your carb consumption.
While cheese is recommended on the ketogenic diet because it is relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fat, milk has more carbohydrates and less fat, as 1 cup of whole milk has about 12 grams of carbohydrates.
And you have to limit your carb consumption to fewer than 50 grams per day while following a keto diet.
Keto Friendly Milk Substitutes: Dairy and Non-Dairy
Generally speaking, the best alternatives will be either a high-fat dairy product or an unsweetened plant-based milk made from nuts, seeds, peas, or soy. In both cases, the option should have the same consistency as milk with a small fraction of the net carbs.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Try using heavy cream in your coffee if you’re following a keto diet. Not only will it taste richer and creamier, but it is also lower in carbs than regular dairy milk. One tablespoon of heavy whipping cream contains only 0.5 g of carbs.
Unsweetened Nut Milk
You can make nut milk from virtually any nut: almonds, walnuts, macadamias, and hazelnuts. These keto milk alternatives can be easily found online, on the shelves, or you can make them at home.
Keep reading to learn how to easily make nut milk at home!
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Almond milk is widely used among keto dieters and dairy-free dieters for its low carb count (1.99 g of carbs per cup) and numerous health benefits. It is high in vitamin E, calcium, and potassium. Another advantage of almond milk is its capacity to raise serotonin levels, which induces a state of relaxation in your mind and muscles.
Unsweetened Macadamia Milk
Macadamia milk has a high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with a low carb content (1 gram of carbs/cup). It is also rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese. This milk is slightly expensive.
Unsweetened Hazelnut Milk
This milk is loaded with essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and E, and dietary fiber. It also contains a good amount of calcium and phosphorus. People love it for its delicious taste and low carb content (1 g of carbs per cup).
Unsweetened Walnut Milk
Even though walnuts have long been heralded for their delicious taste and health-promoting qualities, only recently has walnut milk received the attention it deserves. Walnut milk is rich in fat, protein, and antioxidants with very low carb content (2 grams/cup). Moreover, it is a great source of essential fatty acids and a good source of fiber.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Pure coconut milk is the highest-fat vegan-friendly milk replacement. It has anti-inflammatory properties, strengthens the immune system, and aids in weight loss because of the healthy fats it contains. You can enjoy all of these health benefits with only 3.38 grams of carbs/cup.
Unsweetened Seed Milk
The two most accessible keto milk alternatives for people with nut and dairy allergies are flax milk and hemp milk.
Unsweetened Flax Milk
Flaxseed milk is a heart-healthy substitute because it has no cholesterol or sugar. It is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It contains vitamins A, B12, and D. It only has 2 grams of carbs/cup.
Unsweetened Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is a well-liked plant-based substitute for cow’s milk. It is made from whole hemp seeds and is a great source of minerals, fats, and high-quality plant protein. Hemp milk may improve skin health and reduce the risk of heart disease. It only has 1.3 gm of carbs per cup.
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Soy milk is a popular substitute for cow’s milk that is made from soybeans. It is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The forms of vitamin B in soy milk are crucial for assisting your body in maintaining your nerve cells and DNA. They can also help your body avoid certain forms of anemia. Last but not least, soy milk only contains 1.6 grams of carbs/cup which is perfect for your keto diet.
Even though soy milk has been widely used as an alternative to milk, beware that some studies reveal that soy increases the effects of estrogen, while others show it actually lowers them.
Unsweetened Pea Protein Milk
Pea milk is super low in calories and has a rich, creamy flavor. Above all, it tastes nothing like peas! It offers a good source of protein. It is full of nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and potassium. It is also high in vitamins A and D.
Low Carb Milk Alternatives in a Nutshell
Here is a summary of the milk alternatives you can drink on keto.
Pea protein milk comes in first place with 0 carbs per cup, followed by macadamia milk and hazelnut milk, both of which have 1 gram of carbs per cup.
A cup of hemp milk has 1.3 g of carbs per cup, placing it third.
Soy milk wins the fourth place with 1.6 g of carbs per cup. However, be aware of its side effects on some of your hormones.
Almond milk and flaxseed milk come in fifth place, both of which have around 2 g of carbs!
The last rank goes to coconut milk at 3.38 g of carbs per cup.
Non-Keto Friendly Milk Alternatives
There are dairy free milk alternatives out there that contain high levels of carbs. Here are three popular non keto friendly milk substitutes.
Unsweetened Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is produced by blending cashews with water and is an excellent source of protein, minerals, and beneficial fats. It’s not the best option for people following a strict ketogenic diet, as it contains sugar and carbohydrates. There is some controversy about cashew milk. Some people claim that it only contains around 5 g of carbs, while others assert that it has more than 8 g of carbs.
My recommendation is to limit your consumption of cashew milk if you are on a ketogenic diet.
This milk tastes so creamy that people can’t tell the difference between oat milk and cow’s milk. However, one cup of this milk contains more than 15 g of carbs, making it high-carb milk. In fact, it has more carbs than cow’s milk.
Unsweetened Rice Milk
Rice milk is made from ground rice and water. Of all milk products, it has the lowest risk of triggering allergens. This makes it an excellent option for people with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk, soy, or nuts.
The most carbs per cup are found in rice milk, which offers about:
- 120 calories
- 22 gm of carbs
- 2 gm of fat
- Less than 1 gm of protein
Homemade Nut Milk
What if I told you that homemade nut milk is at least twice as tasty and equally affordable as store-bought? It’s much easier than you think.
To make keto milk, simply follow these four simple steps:
- Soak a 1/2 cup of nuts in one cup of water overnight to increase the bioavailability of certain vitamins and to break down hard-to-digest compounds.
- Rinse the nuts.
- Add 4 cups of filtered water and mix them in the blender for a couple of minutes.
- Strain the nuts through a fine-mesh nut milk bag to give the milk more consistency.
There are plenty of milk alternatives Mother nature has for you. Nonetheless, few of them contain higher carbs than cow’s milk, such as oat milk and rice milk. You just have to educate yourself about their benefits and side effects. After all, what is more enjoyable in life than experimenting with healthy, delicious foods in your lovely kitchen!