Almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based milk alternatives in the United States due to its low calorie content and nutty flavor (1).
It’s made by grinding almonds, soaking them in water, and then filtering out the solids. What’s left is a milky white beverage that’s naturally rich in several important nutrients, including vitamin E and magnesium (1, 2).
Furthermore, store-bought almond milk is often enriched with calcium and vitamin D to support healthy bones.
As a result, this plant-based milk can be a nutritious and satisfying option for those who can’t or don’t want to drink cow’s milk, as well as people who prefer the taste and lower calorie content. However, it’s much lower in protein than dairy or soy milk products.
Still, you may wonder whether it’s a good choice for those following a ketogenic, or keto, diet.
The keto diet requires strict adherence to a high fat, very low carb diet to maximize results. Given that milk and milk alternatives often contain carbs, it can be difficult to find a milk-like beverage that’s keto-friendly (3).
This article clarifies whether almond milk can be enjoyed as part of a healthy keto diet.
Almond milk comes in two general varieties — unsweetened and sweetened.
While its nutritional content varies by brand and flavor, unsweetened varieties are lower in calories, carbs, and sugar than those that are sweetened. One cup (240 mL) of each provides approximately (4, 5):
Whether almond milk can fit into a keto diet depends on the type and what else you’re eating and drinking during the day.
Unsweetened almond milk contains just 1.4 grams of carbs per 1 cup (240 mL), as well as 37% of the DV for calcium and 46% of the DV for vitamin E, making it a good option for a healthy keto diet (4).
On the other hand, sweetened almond milk is much harder to fit into a keto diet, as it contains 16 grams of carbs and 15 grams of sugar (5).
Including sweetened varieties will greatly limit your ability to include other nutritious sources of carbs, such as low carb fruits and vegetables, throughout the day.
Unsweetened almond milk contains just 1.4 grams of carbs and is rich in important nutrients when fortified, making it a nutritious, keto-friendly option. In contrast, sweetened almond milk is too high in carbs and sugar to fit into a healthy keto diet.
Unsweetened almond milk is a great, keto-friendly option, as it’s low in carbs. However, not all milk and milk alternatives are quite as low in this nutrient.
For example, cow’s milk is not as keto-friendly due to its relatively high carb content.
One cup (240 mL) provides approximately 13 grams of carbs, which can take up a good chunk of your carb allowance for the day (7).
- Hemp milk: 0 grams
- Ripple (pea milk): 0 grams
- Coconut milk beverage (from a carton): 1 gram
- Soy milk: 4 grams
Just keep in mind that these numbers are for unsweetened varieties, and those that are sweetened will be higher in carbs and harder to fit into this low carb way of eating.
Moreover, you may want to read the label to check whether they’re fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Also, remember these milk alternatives may not offer much protein or fat.
In addition to almond milk, unsweetened varieties of hemp, pea, coconut, and soy milk are low in carbs and fit into a healthy keto diet.
Given that carbs are restricted on a keto diet, it can be difficult to find milk and milk alternatives that fit into a healthy ketogenic eating plan.
Luckily, unsweetened almond milk is a delicious low carb option that can add a creamy texture and nutty flavor to your coffee and protein shakes. It can also be used in cooking and baking.
Just be sure to buy unsweetened varieties, as those that are sweetened can be high in carbs and sugar. As such, they can reduce the number of carbs you would otherwise be able to get from nutrient-rich foods like low carb fruits and vegetables.
If you’re not a fan of almond milk, unsweetened hemp, pea, coconut, and soy milks are all low carb alternatives that can also be easily incorporated into a keto diet. Compare the labels for important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D.