Got Milk? Keto and Dairy Products

We already briefly went over the general rule of thumb on what kind of nutrient ratio to stick to while being on Keto (Don’t remember? Read here). However, it may be a little challenging, especially as a beginner, to immediately decide if a specific product is optimal for this particular lifestyle. The lines tend to get especially blurry when it comes to dairy products: It’s fat… It’s protein… It’s carbohydrate! Which is exactly why today we will be talking about dairy products and whether they are allowed while sticking to Keto. 

  1. Milk 

From the dawn of times we were led to believe that milk is good for you, but this may not always be the case - especially when it comes to the Ketogenic diet. Believe it or not, regular milk actually contains quite a lot of sugar and, as a result - carbs (around 12 grams per cup). And while a modest splash is okay to add to your morning coffee, consider opting for a “safer” choice, such as unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk - they all contain about 1 gram of carbs per cup and are a great source of calcium and vitamin D.

So, unless you are ready to commit to lightening your coffee (and your day) with some sort of nut milk or switching to plain black coffee altogether - leave large amounts of it exclusively for bathing… you know, if you’re into that sort of a thing.

  1. Heavy cream

Also known as “whipping cream”, heavy cream is a perfect keto product - low in carbs and high in fat, which makes it great for both putting in your coffee and using while cooking. 

  1. Half and half

This is where things get tricky: as you could have guessed from the name, half and half is essentially cream mixed with regular milk, which makes it not ideal for people trying to achieve a state of ketosis: depending on the kind, half and half may contain from 8 to 18 grams of carbs per cup. Yikes. 

  1. Butter 

Figuratively speaking, butter is your “bread and butter” when it comes to Keto: it’s very low in carbs and very high in fat (0 and 12 grams per tablespoon, respectively), making it perfect for incorporating into your lifestyle. Just be careful not to overdo it - butter is notoriously high in calories, which should definitely be kept in mind if you’ve decided to do Keto with the goal of losing weight.

  1. Cheese

Honestly: who doesn’t like cheese? It’s delicious, works great as a snack, adds rich flavor to dishes, and even just sounds great when you say it out loud. Just listen: cheeeese. 

Well, now add another fantastic quality to it: it’s excellent for Keto! The best kinds to stick to would be hard cheeses like Parmesan and Gruyere, but you don’t have to limit yourself: Swiss, brie, goats cheese and blue cheese are all great, Keto-friendly options. Cream cheese gets the greenest of lights, since it contains a very low amount of carbs, while providing a hefty portion of fats; however, American, ricotta and certain sorts of cheddar are the ones to be very careful with. 

Also, remember that “everything in moderation” aspect I mentioned while talking about butter? Yeah, it also applies to cheese.

  1. Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and sour-cream 

I decided to group these three products together as their carb content is less than ideal and, while it is acceptable to consume them on the Ketogenic diet, there are better options available. Again, you don’t have to say no to these foods forever - just be mindful about their consumption and try to go for high or, even better, full fat options, if possible.

In short: you can and should eat dairy on Keto. However, as with everything in life, there are certain things to keep in mind, just to make sure that you’re on the right track. The best advice I can give you is to read the labels, in fact, I’d strongly encourage you to do so no matter what diet or lifestyle change you’re trying to stick to and even if you’re not planning on doing anything of the sort. They say “we are what we eat”, so it just seems like a good idea to keep an eye on what we’re putting in to our bodies. 

Good luck!