Milk is such an integral part of our Indian community that it has found a place not only in our kitchens but also as an offering to various gods! When milk forms such an important part of our daily diet, one cannot help but ponder the question whether we can have normal dairy milk in keto diet or not? I had that question myself when I first started Keto but with some research, I could understand how milk reacts with our body and what kind of milk can I have on Keto Diet.
Ketogenic diet also called as keto diet is a high fat, restricted carbohydrate, and moderate protein diet. When our body doesn’t get carbs for energy, it starts using fat. When it does, it forms ketones during the metabolic process of fat. This kind of diet helps to balance energy and maintain body weight without counting the calorie intake(although that is a debatable topic). The advantage of a keto diet is it helps us achieve hunger control and prevents metabolic abnormality related diseases such as diabetes and other heart problems. Weight and health management are the key driving force for many health conscious people to opt for keto diet. When one goes on a keto diet, all high carb foods are forbidden. But is Dairy Milk also a high carb food?
Nutrition information of regular dairy milk.
Milk is a combination of protein, fat, carbohydrates and other macro and micronutrients. The lactose is sugar component and considered as the main carb content of regular dairy milk. The nutritional composition of whole milk (240 ml) is as follows:
How are Carbs in Milk metabolized by our Body?
Lactose is the carbohydrate that is present in milk. It is digested and absorbed in small intestine. Lactase is one of the essential enzymes required to digest the dairy milk. Lactase metabolizes lactose and produces glucose and galactose. Both are essentially simple sugar, which is easily absorbable in the bloodstream. The conversion of lactose to glucose and its ready absorbability increase blood glucose level, which is not recommended in keto diet. In addition, some individuals have lactose intolerance due to insufficient lactase enzyme. The production of lactase enzyme gets reduced with increasing age. Therefore, often elderly people have digestion difficulty with dairy milk. Some individuals also have an allergy to lactose and casein and develop intolerance to raw milk, sourced from dairy.
Casein is a protein present in dairy milk, which often causes intolerance and creates an allergic condition. However, it is very difficult to diagnose the problem. Whey protein is also a dairy milk content. In rare cases, some individuals may also have an allergic tendency to whey protein.
Can Dairy Milk be used in a Keto Diet?
As you can see from the carb content, Milk is not really a Keto friendly food. However, you can eat close to 10-30 grams of carbs and still be on Ketosis. In that case, you may take a cup of milk but make sure you don’t take too many carbs from other sources on that day. In my own experience, days when I have Milk I have a tough time maintaining my daily carb intake of fewer than 20 grams. And the reason is many green and leafy vegetables that you have on Keto Diet also have some carbs that all add up.
Other Concerns of Dairy Milk
Dairy intolerance is another reason why Milk should not be part of the Keto Diet. There are a considerable number of symptoms included in dairy intolerance, such as bloating, gas, joint pain, acne, and sinus problem. In addition, raw dairy milk does not adequately support in body weight management and may cause digestive issues, inflammation, and autoimmune conditions or increase in blood sugar level.
Which is preferred Milk in Keto Diet?
My go-to alternatives to dairy milk are almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk. But I try to stick to Cashew Milk as it has low carbs as well as sugars which make it ideal for Keto Diet.
The nutritional content of 240 ml of Almond milk, Cashew Milk, and Coconut Milk is as below.
ALMOND MILK CASHEW MILK COCONUT MILK
As you can see Cashew milk has the lowest amount of carbs and sugar between the three. I also like cashew milk because it is much creamier and I like that in my coffee. However, I feel all three of them are a suitable alternative to normal dairy milk in keto diet. Just make sure that you buy an unsweetened version.
You can also use these milk alternatives for other recipes which require Milk. I often use them in making bullet proof coffee, protein shakes and on some days low carb smoothies using handful of berries, protein powder and almond milk.
When you should not use Almond or Cashew Milk
Both Almond and Cashews are essentially nuts and therefore if you have any kind of allergic reactions towards nuts you must not use these two kinds of milk. In that case, you have the option of going with coconut milk( coconut is generally not classified as a nut and allergic reactions to coconut are very rare). Coconut milk apart from being low in carbs and calories is rich in fiber which is great for bowel movements and makes it a great alternative to dairy milk in keto diet.
Hope you gained some more understanding on recommended milk in keto diet. Let us know if you have your own point of view on which milk is best suited for Keto Diet.