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Keto milk – What are the best low carb drink alternatives?

Is dairy milk keto?

Short answer, no. The dairy milk you buy from supermarkets is usually quite high in naturally occurring sugars. This type of sugar can be particularly difficult to digest for some people. Making it bad for a keto diet, even though the carb count per 100ml is not extortionate. However, don’t fret, there are keto ‘milk’ alternatives. More about those later!

In the UK, milk usually comes in three main varieties:

Whole milk

whole milk

Milk with a minimum fat content of 3.5g per 100g.

  • Energy: 66kcal
  • Fat: 3.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.7g
  • Protein: 3.5g
  • Salt: 0.11g

Semi-skimmed milk

Milk with a fat content between 1.5 and 1.8g per 100g.

Nutrition per 100g:

  • Energy: 50kcal
  • Fat: 1.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.8g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Salt: 0.11g

Skimmed milk

skimmed milk

Milk with a fat content of less than 0.3g per 100g.

  • Energy: 37kcal
  • Fat: <0.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 5.0g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Salt: 0.11g

Other varieties

There are also other varieties of milk like lactose free and Jersey milk. Both are not good for keto as they still contain to many carbs:

Lactose free milk – a drink made from dairy milk that has been filtered to remove lactose. lactase is then added. It contains the same sugar content as normal milk.

Jersey milk – milk with cream mixed through to give it a nice thick creamy taste. However, it still contains about the same amount of carbs as whole milk.

You can also get milk from other animals such as goats. They still contains high levels of natural sugars. So are no good for keto.

Best keto milk replacements

Now that you know what you can’t have, here are a list of milk replacements that you can have! Some go great with everything, whilst others might not be a good tea supplement. See my recommendations below for what each alternative is good for.

Side note: Technically you can’t call any of these milk, as they aren’t derived from animals. So in the UK they are normally just called a drink. However, everyone still casually refers to it as ‘milk’.

Almond ‘milk’ drink

Overview – a blend of almonds and water. Contains a bunch of vitamins like D and B12. It has a slight pale yellow colour and is quite watery. Comes in fresh and UHT varieties. Watch out for sweetened versions as they contain added sugar. Always only pick up the unsweetened cartons.

Alpro Fresh Roasted Almond Unsweetened Drink Alternative 1 Litre

Taste – Slight nutty flavour, but not overpowering.

Good with – tea, coffee, keto porridge and basically a general replacement for milk in cooking and baking.

Nutrition per 100ml – Energy 13kcal, Fat: 1.1g, Carbs: 0g, Fibre: 0.4g, Protein: 0.4g, Salt: 0.13g

Recommended product:

Alpro Almond Drink Unsweetened 1 litre – available in both fresh and UHT cartons. RRP is usually around £1.80 to £2.00, but it’s always on offer somewhere at £1 or less. I stock up when it’s that price and never buy it at ‘full’ price.

Coconut ‘milk’ drink

Alpro Coconut Unsweetened 1L

Overview – all parts of a coconut (milk, cream, water) are blended and mixed with water. Contains added vitamins and calcium. Available in both UHT and fresh varieties. As with almond, only pick up the unsweetened version.

Taste – Subtle coconut flavour, quite refreshing.

Good with – baking and cooking. Not so great in tea and coffee (but that’s my opinion).

Nutrition per 100ml – Energy 14kcal, Fat: 1.2g, Carbs: 0g, Fibre: 0.1g, Protein: 0.1g, Salt: 0.07g

Recommended product:

Alpro Coconut Unsweetened 1 litre – available in both fresh and UHT cartons. RRP is usually around £1.80 to £2.00, but it’s always on offer somewhere at £1 or less.

Hemp ‘milk’ drink

Overview – blend of hemp seeds and water, with added vitamins. It’s starting to appear in more UK supermarkets but is usually quite expensive.

Taste – Quite bland with a subtle sweetness.

Good with – tea, coffee and baking. Can be used as milk replacement in most recipes.

Nutrition per 100ml – Energy 26kcal, Fat: 2.7g, Carbs: 0.1g, Fibre: 0g, Protein: 0.2g, Salt: trace

Recommended product:

Good Hemp Creamy Seed Drink 1 Litre – available in UHT cartons. It’s usually around £2 per litre, so watch out for offers. You can expect the price to come down as it becomes more popular. This brand also does a barista version, but it contains added sugar, so avoid!

Cream

Cream in your coffee isn’t that odd, but what about a splash in your tea? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It has very little carbs and has a good fat content. See my list of the best low carb keto creams here.

Milk replacements to avoid on keto

If you’ve been into a coffee shop recently you’ may have noticed that they have a range of milk alternatives. However, most of them are no good for keto as they either contain naturally occurring sugars or have added sugar.

Oat ‘milk’ drink

The favourite hipster milk alternative at the moment. Made from oats, low in fat and with added calcium and vitamins. It’s not great for a keto diet as it contains around 5.6g of carbs for the unsweetened version, and around 6.6g for the regular sweetened one. Avoid!

Soy ‘milk’ drink

Soy, one of the most versatile ingredients. The drink has been around for a while and is the most popular milk substitute. In part to the fact that it contains roughly the same amount of protein as cow’s milk and is low in fat.

On paper, it looks great for keto. The unsweetened version has 0g of carbs per 100ml. However, soy is highly processed and contains a plant hormone called phytoestrogen, which could mess with your hormones (article here for more information). Last (but by no means least), not everyone processes soy well. It contains phytates and lectins, that can cause inflammation and leaky gut syndrome (article). Most people I know have reported similar intolerances…

Rice ‘milk’ drink

Made from a grain, enough said! It’s very high in carbs at around 10g per 100ml. A no go for keto, so avoid it.

Other nut based drinks

Some brands have started to sell drinks made from hazelnuts and cashews, just to name a few. However, if you look at the carb count, they are usually upwards of 4-5g of carbs per 100ml, which is a bit high. Best to avoid them when you can, and settle for almond instead.

Conclusion

In summary, dairy milk is a no go for keto. Almond drink is the most popular and sold in most UK supermarkets. Just make sure you get the unsweetened version! If you’re allergic to (or don’t like) almonds, then take a look at coconut or hemp alternatives. Popular substitutes like oat, soya and rice are not keto friendly, so should be avoided where possible.

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