Keto is a diet plan which includes the nutrient profile of high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein which promotes weight loss and provides other health benefits such as maintained blood sugar levels, good heart health. Like all diet plans, this diet also requires you to shuffle the eating meals, include and exclude items that are according to the keto diet. A lot of people have this myth in mind that following a keto diet means that they have to starve and eat such foods that are against their will but this is just a wrong perception.
In reality, you just need to manage your intake and also eat foods that are natural and organic rather than ready-made or processed ones. Dairy is one of such food products that people get excited about when being on a diet plan as they are not only appropriate for keto but also delicious and tasty food items
What is a Dairy Product?
Dairy products are the ones formulated or made from the milk of mammals, in both liquid and solid form. The most common milk type that we mostly used in dairy are cow’s milk but, in some cultures, and part of world goat and sheep milk is also very usable. The core dairy product is milk and from it, then we formulate other products like cheese, yogurt, and cream. The dairy product especially is a very rich source of essential macronutrients I.e., carbs, protein, and fat;
Dairy products contain mostly healthy fats that are saturated ones, these nutrient fats are 70 % saturated, 24 % monosaturated, 2 % polyunsaturated, and dairy products only contain about 2 % naturally occurring trans-fat.
Lactose is the main sugar found in milk, which is also the only carb in dairy products. This sugar gets dissolved in the digestion process by the lactase enzyme in the human body and breaks down into galactose and glucose sugar molecules after which the sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
Casein and whey are the two main milk proteins, the casein is 80 % part of the milk and the rest is whey protein.
Can you Eat Dairy Products on a Keto Diet?
Yes, you can consume dairy products on a keto diet, as they are rich in fat and protein content but they also contain sugars. So, you have to care about dairy consumption, the best dairy products are cheeses, full-fat yogurt, cream, ghee. Which have high-fat content rather than sugars.
You should avoid processed milk, sweetened yogurts, refined cheese. As they contain not only natural sugars but also artificial ones which make them very unsuitable for the keto diet.
Carb Content of Several Dairy Products:
Following are the carb contents of dairy products:
- Milk: 12 grams per 8oz
- Cheese: 1 gram per 1oz
- Yogurt: 6 grams per 6oz
- Kefir: 6 grams per 6oz
- Butter: 0 grams per 1 tbsp.
- Sour cream: 2 grams per 2 tbsp.
- Whole cream: 0 grams per 1 tbsp.
- Half and half: 0.6 grams per 1 tbsp.
Milk, kefir, and yogurt are mostly not recommended as they can mess up the carb limit of the keto diet
Best Dairy Products for a Keto Diet:
The ideal situation for the best dairy products for the keto diet is that they should be organic and 100 % grass-fed as those food items do not contain added sugars or any other artificial ingredients that can cause negative impacts on the ketosis process. The best keto-friendly dairy products are:
This dairy product is the full-fat part of milk without any crabs or sugars which makes it perfect for keto. You can use it in various dishes instead of hydrogenated or processed oil.
Everyone loves a slice of butter to eat for breakfast or to cook steaks and veggies with it, as it is a nutritional and also keto-friendly dairy product. You can use it in a balanced proportion for the diet plan without worrying about carbs or sugars.
The best cheeses are the ones that are natural and raw rather than processed ones as they contain additional artificial nutrients. Goat and sheep cheeses are a great option for the keto diet.
A whole cream is a great option as a dairy product for keto but it has to be organic.
Half and a half
It is also a very favorable dairy choice for keto as it contains a very minor amount of carbs.
The plain kefir should be organic and 100 % grass-fed as it is very nutritional and beneficial.
As plain yogurt contains sugar in it which makes it un-preferable for keto, you can eat full-fat Greek yogurt instead of that but you still have to be very restricted with it as it contains carbs in it that’s why it is mostly not recommended. The dietitian often restricts even Greek yogurt so if you want to eat it just use a very small portion and also occasionally not regularly.
Worst Dairy Products for a Keto Diet:
The worst dairy products are mostly processed and artificial products such as:
Commercial or processed milk contains antibiotics, animal byproducts, and additional sugars which are a big no for the keto diet.
Processed cheese contains unhealthy fats, added sugars, and animal products which are very bad for the keto diet.
The sweetened yogurt mostly contains refined sugars which makes it non-keto friendly.
The ice cream is a famous fusion of dairy products but it is also not a good item for keto as it contains high-carb content and also added sugars.
Dairy-free Keto for Lactose Intolerance Dieters:
Some people have this deficiency which is known as lactose intolerance, in which when they eat dairy products, their digestive system gets very problematic as they lack the digestive enzyme lactase for the breakdown of the milk sugar. Some people also have dairy allergies related to the protein casein which is also very disturbing for the health. They experience diarrhea, bloating, which can be very unpleasant but there are many dairy-free alternatives that they can use instead of dairy to include in the keto diet:
Coconut milk and other related products like coconut cream or oil is a great dairy-free food product. You can use the milk in smoothies or the oil in keto energy balls.
Nuts and seed Milk
Both these foods are a great alternative for dairy as they provide proteins and also other healthy fats. Nut-based milk such as almond milk is very usable instead of milk due to its creamy and delicious taste. Nut butter is also a great option as a dairy alternative.
Ghee is the clarified butter from which contains only the fat and excludes the sugars and protein, which makes it suitable for people with lactose intolerance and dairy allergy.
Benefits of Consuming Dairy Products on a Keto Diet
Consuming dairy on a keto diet is very beneficial for the human body;
Essential vitamin and mineral source:
Dairy products are a great source to provide essential vitamins and minerals to the human body, usually on a keto diet, micronutrient deficiency is very common but with consuming calories you can cover that gap very easily.
As we all know that dairy products are a major source of calcium for the bones to make them stronger and firmer. Cheese and yogurt contain key nutrients such as vitamin B12, B6, vitamin K2, vitamin A, zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium. So, dairy is a crucial part of the keto diet which encourages its addition in it.
Dairy is high in protein:
A moderate protein diet is a sign of good health as it promotes muscle development and cell growth without the addition of extra fats to the body. Dairy products contain quite a good amount of protein it which helps to boost the metabolic process and fat loss with muscle gain during the keto diet.
Hard and soft cheeses and also Greek yogurt are great sources of protein that you can easily include in the keto diet.
Protein is a macronutrient that is very fulfilling, that keeps the stomach filled for a longer time than carbs which makes it an excellent appetite suppressant for the keto diet. It will reduce your hunger issues which will result in a smoother and more relaxed keto diet.
Dairy consumption is a sign of good health:
Many studies have found that dairy contains healthy fats which are good for human health, it provides them good cholesterol and blood sugar levels. So, many doctors and dietitians recommend including dairy products in the daily eating pattern and also for diet plans such as keto.
Some Drawbacks of Consuming Diary on a Keto Diet
Every food category has its pros and cons, the dairy products also have some drawbacks which are:
Dairy is a food that we can easily overdo as it is tasty first of all and secondly, we just assume that a large portion will not cause any harm. But it is very important to maintain the serving portions and also to be careful what are you consuming as some dairy products contain more sugar-like sweetened yogurt or processed milk and others contain fewer sugars like cheese.
Diarrhea or bloating:
Some people are sensitive to lactose which is the main sugar of dairy products as they lack the lactase enzyme for digestion. So, when they consume milk or any other product, they end up with digestive problems like diarrhea or bloating. So, people with lactose intolerance should not consume dairy or they should at least choose those choices that will not be harmful to their health.
Dairy products also contain sugar content which can provide the carb source to the body and it can disturb the ketosis process. So, you have to be careful that you are eating low-sugar products for the keto diet and always read the labels on food products to ensure carb quantity.
Dairy products are a very common food type and a staple for our daily routine, which are also keto-friendly which enhances their importance even more. You can easily include this food category in the keto diet as it has a very balanced nutrient quantity when you consume it in the proper portion without overdoing it as it still contains sugars and carbs which need to be balanced.
You can enjoy your favorite dairy products such as cheese, milk, cream, or Greek yogurt even on the keto diet which motivates you to follow the diet more responsibly as you get to eat the foods according to your cravings and taste.