It is okay to have dairy while on a keto diet. However, if you have any allergies or sensitivity to lactose or any of the components in dairy products, then it might be a good idea to skip it or restrict your intake.
Because of the many rules and restrictions that come about with being on a keto diet, you might be wondering if taking dairy is okay or not, considering that most dairy products have a higher content of saturated fat. Whipped cream or sour cream, full fat, rich cheeses, and thick yogurts make a good part of your ketogenic diet.
Moreover, not all dairy products are the same, not just in fat content, but also in terms of nutrients that they contain. Because you are on keto, your preference does not entirely count as the more the fat content a product has, the better it is for you. Also, not all dairy products are friendly to keto dieters, and it would be better to avoid eating dairy that contains a lot of sugar or even added sugars. For those who have trouble digesting the milk sugars, all is not lost as you can still take small amounts of butter, cheese, and other forms of dairy that are low in lactose.
WHAT DAIRY PRODUCTS ARE ALLOWED ON KETO?
Milk: All forms of milk are keto-friendly except dry and evaporated milk. What makes them unhealthy keto foods is their high lactose content. Lactose is a type of sugar that is found in milk and affects the levels of blood glucose as regular sugars. Milk generally has about 5 percent lactose while dry milk and evaporated milk have 50 percent and 10 percent lactose.
Cheese.; This is an ideal choice for a keto dieter as most cheeses have low carb content. The types of cheeses that have more fat and at the same time have moderate amounts of protein, calcium, and vitamins B and A include feta cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and gouda cheese, and Swiss cheese to mention but a few. Also, hard cheeses have low carb content as compared to soft cheeses.
Cream: All creams have a dense concentration of good healthy fats. You can opt for whipped or partially fermented or sour cream. The whipped cream has high fats and close to zero carbs. A cupful serving of this whipped cream has less than 4g in carb content and more than 43g of fat. This makes it a better option as compared to whole milk. Also, it tastes even better with your cup of coffee. The sour cream on the other hand has less lactose as compared to the unfermented cream.
Yogurt: Generally, this dairy product has low fat as compared to other forms of dairy. The full-fat yogurt aside from its dense fat content is also rich in proteins and has a relatively low amount of lactose. Additionally, some types of yogurt have probiotics which are good for gut health and help indigestion. This is an added benefit. Greek yogurt for example has as low as 5 grams of carb content for a seven-ounce serving.
Butter: This is a must-have in your keto diet plan. Butter is a healthy fat and has does not contain any lactose. It has about 11g of fat per tablespoon serving. Also, it is carb-free hence making it a good fat source when on keto. Aside from that, it has a multipurpose role in the kitchen, whereby you can use it in your cooking, baking, and spreading on your bread.
WHAT CHEESES ARE KETO-FRIENDLY?
Cheese is allowed on this low-carb, high-fat diet. However, there are some cheeses that are encouraged and others that are totally discouraged.
Goat cheeses: This is an excellent pick as it has no carbs and contains moderate quantities of protein. Also, it has low amounts of lactose as compared to cow’s milk, hence making it easy to digest.
Blue cheeses: This is perfect for a keto dieter as it is rich in flavor and at the same time has low carbs hence a good option to top your dishes or for snacking.
Cream cheeses: This should be a keto dieter’s favorite as 1ounce has 8grams of fat, 84 calories, 2grams of proteins, and 1 gram of carbohydrates. This, therefore, means that when you are in need of more fat, it can be a great addition to your snack or even meal.
Parmesan cheeses: This cheese does not have more fat as compared to the others, however, it is good when it comes to making salads. For example, Caesar salads without croutons are a good delicacy amongst keto dieters, and parmesan cheese is a great addition. The croutons, which are one of the ingredients used in preparing the salad, have a lot of carbs, and because it lacks this type of salad, it is even better.
Cheese crisps: These are perfect for keto-dieters who crave chips and crackers. Additionally, you can throw in guacamole for that high-fat snack.
However, as earlier stated, not all cheeses are good. Therefore, the following are cheeses that are to be avoided if you are participating in a keto journey. The spray or canned cheese, mild cheddar cheese, and American cheese are just a few examples.
The canned cheese has a good deal for a keto diet when it comes to macronutrients. For example, it has 81 calories, 2 grams of carbs which is low, 5 grams of protein which is moderate, and 6 grams of fat which is sufficient. Its deal breaker is that it has fillers and oils which have no nutritional benefits. The same goes for American cheese.
In as much as you are looking at whether the types of food that you consume are meeting your macronutrient goals as a keto dieter, also pay great attention to its quality. If you must still eat these types of cheese, at least go for the less processed ones.
If you are on a strict ketogenic diet, you must limit the portions of the ricotta and cottage cheese because of their extremely high macronutrient content. The ricotta cheese has close to 9 grams of carbs alone. This is on the extreme end of the spectrum. However, it is good when you consider its fat content which is 14 grams. The cottage cheese on the other hand goes against every macro rule of the keto diet plan. It is rich in proteins, has a relatively high amount of carbohydrates, and is low in fat content.
Lastly, just because cheese is highly recommended on a keto diet does not mean that you can binge on it, as it has carbs however low and calories. Furthermore, it has “bad fat” which is bad for the heart as compared to unsaturated fats.
CAN WE TAKE DAIRY MILK WHEN ON A KETOGENIC DIET?
Dairy milk is not ketogenic compliant. One might think that it is because of the full-fat aspect. Dairy milk has lots of lactose and this means it has carbohydrates. Moreover, it has zero fibers to offset those carbs. Remember that the net carb intake for someone on keto is 30grams per day. A quarter cup of whole milk has 3 grams of carbs, and this translates to ten percent of your daily budget. Seeing as you are likely to eat other carb-containing foods as the day goes, you will therefore end up over the recommended 30g of carbs daily.
DOES DAIRY TAKE YOU OUT OF KETOSIS?
The lifestyle of a keto-dieter requires a lot of discipline and hard work on their part. Since the main aim of being on this diet is to train your body to use fat for its fuel source instead of carbohydrates, one has to limit their carb intake to below 30g per day. Therefore, one has to evaluate the number of carbs in their dairies so as to stay in ketosis. For example, some dairy farms such as whole milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt have up to 32g of carbs and this can easily kick keto dieters out of ketosis. A 5.3 ounce serving of plain yogurt contains 12g of carbs. The flavored ones such as vanilla have as high as 24g of carbs for a six-ounce serving. That’s double the carb count of plain yogurt!
DOES DAIRY CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN ON KETO?
Dairy products are one of the best fits for a low-carb type of lifestyle. On the flip side, consuming too much of them can lead to stalling of weight loss. The culprits are mostly cream, various types of cheese, and yogurt from whole milk because they are tasty. This stalling in weight loss, which is the ultimate goal for ketosis, may be due to too many carbs or calories from over-eating. Therefore, one has to ensure that they eat in moderation and not exceed their set daily macronutrient count. One can limit their daily cream intake to just below 2tablespoonsfuls. This goes for all types of cream and adds up to 116g daily. To some, further restricting consumption of dairy or completely doing away with it may help them if their weight loss progress has reduced or has completely stopped.
WHAT ARE THE KETO ALTERNATIVES TO DAIRY MILK?
These non-dairy kinds of milk need to be low in carb content. The good thing is, there are a lot of varieties to choose from. However, keto-friendly kinds of milk need to have zero added sugars. Also, the carb content is different from one brand to another, based on the ingredients and formulations which are not the same, so be sure to check their nutritional value. The following are the plant-based milk alternatives for a keto dieter.
Almond milk: This is the most preferred milk by keto dieters. This might be attributed to the fact that it is cheap, easily available in grocery stores, and contains low carbs compared to other non-dairy kinds of milk. Per a cupful serving, it has only 1g of carbs.
Coconut milk: This is a good option too but check the available brands for macronutrient information. Some brands contain up to 5g of carbohydrates per cupful.
Macadamia nut milk: This has the lowest amount of carb count in comparison to other non-dairy milk and is also the most expensive. It actually has zero net carbohydrates.
Soy milk: The soy milk without added sugars has 3grams net of carbs but its protein count is a bit high at 7g.
Half-and-half: This is a combination of heavy cream and whole cow’s milk. This is a substitute for cow’s milk and good for those who want to crave cow’s milk but might have problems with the high lactose content. It has 1g of net carb per 30ml. The same carb count is in heavy cream alone. These two are however not plant-based and are found in solid forms.
There are other non-dairy forms of milk such as pea milk, cashew milk, and flax milk from flax seeds. Pea milk however has a considerably high amount of proteins.
Dairy products that are keto-approved are a must-have in your diet plan. There are in fact a lot of options for dairy products containing low carbs for those on the keto diet. However, you must keep the following in consideration when enjoying the various forms of dairy. First, there are dairy products that have high carb content and those that are dense in protein and fats. The latter is essential for ketosis.
Second, you need to know if you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy as you may have joint pains, diarrhea and even bloating as side effects of improper digestion. Lastly, when it comes to milk, opt for raw milk instead of pasteurized milk as it contains probiotics that aid in dairy digestion. Because you have switched to this type of diet and is still figuring out which forms of dairy work for you in this diet plan, you will eventually find what forms and the quantities are a perfect fit for this low-carb lifestyle. Therefore, stick to the above tips and you will not have to worry that your obsession with dairy will come in the way of your keto journey.