One of the biggest draws of the keto diet (besides all the #ketotransformation stories) is how much butter, cheese, and heavy cream you can eat (you know, compared to other types of diets). But all of that begs the question: Is milk keto?
Uh, no. Due to its major amounts of lactose (a.k.a. sugar, a.k.a., carbs), milk is not keto-friendly (one cup of whole milk has 11 grams of carbs). And that means all dairy milks—skim, one percent, two percent, you get the gist—are not keto-approved.
Luckily, there are tons of non-dairy milk options out there (cashew, almond, coconut—the list goes on), but finding one with the fewest carbs (and most fat) can be tough. One general tip to keep in mind? Always choose unsweetened milk—sugar will only add carbs.
Here, you’ll find the best milk to drink on the keto diet, milks to drink in moderation, and milks to steer clear of. Because let’s be honest, you have more important things to worry about on the keto diet: like what you’re going to to have for dessert.
The best milks for the keto diet:
Hemp and coconut milks
“Hemp milk is a great plant-based option,” says Nora Minno, R.D., a New York-based registered dietitian and personal trainer. The drink, made from hemp seeds, has zero net carbs per serving, plus “most of hemp milk’s fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat,” she says.
If you’re not into hemp milk, Minno says unsweetened coconut milk is another good option. It has one net carb, but one or two servings won’t take you out of ketosis, she says.
Unsweetened hemp milk, per serving: 60 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 110 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein
Unsweetened coconut milk, per serving: 45 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 70 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein
Keto-friendly milks to drink in moderation:
Almond, cashew, and soy milks
“With any food or beverage, you’ll want to look at how it factors into your total daily intake of calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein and consume accordingly,” says Minno. So, keto-friendly alternatives like most nut milks (almond, cashew, soy), can absolutely make an appearance in your keto diet lineup.
One thing to note: None of those milks will be as high in fat content as coconut milk, despite their lower carbs.
Unsweetened almond milk, per 1-cup serving: 30 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.
Unsweetened cashew milk, per 1-cup serving: 36 calories, 3.5 g fat, 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 84 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Unsweetened soy milk, per serving: 33 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 37 mg sodium, 0.5 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Milks to avoid if you’re on the keto diet:
Rice, oat, and regular dairy milks
Rice milk, oat milk, and of course, regular dairy milk, are high in carbs and sugar (and low in fat), so they’re best avoided on the keto diet, says Minno.
While one cup of milk won’t immediately knock you out of ketosis, your net carbs will start adding up and you’ll eventually find your options pretty limited throughout the day, says Minno.
Unsweetened rice milk, per serving: 47 calories, 1 g fat, 10 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 39 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Unsweetened oat milk, per 1-cup serving: 120 calories, 5 g fat, 16 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 100 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
Whole milk, per 1-cup serving: 151 calories, 8 g fat, 11 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 125 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 8 g protein.