If you are on a ketogenic diet, you may be looking for a milk replacement option in your morning coffee or keto-friendly cereal.
Just one cup of 2% cow’s milk contains 12 grams of carbohydrates. If you aim to stay under 30 grams of carbs per day, you likely don’t want to spend half of those carbs on just 8 ounces of liquid.
Many people on keto turn to almond milk to replace cow’s milk in their diet. But is almond milk keto?
Discover if almond milk is a suitable milk-replacement option for the keto diet and what to look for when choosing an almond milk brand to support your ketogenic lifestyle.
Is almond milk keto-friendly?
Almond milk is a great option for those following a keto diet, especially the unsweetened variety. Not only is it low in carbs, with just 3.5 grams per cup, but it's also rich in vital nutrients when fortified. This makes it an excellent and nutritious choice for anyone looking to maintain a healthy ketogenic lifestyle.
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a plant-based beverage made from almonds and water. As of 2019, almond milk is the highest-grossing plant-based milk in the world, with a global market value of $5.5 billion.
Although you can make almond milk at home, most people purchase the beverage at the supermarket.
To create almond milk, manufacturers blend almonds with filtered water, then strain out the pulp to obtain a smooth consistency.
Store-bought almond milk typically contains preservatives and thickeners that help it remain shelf-stable. Some brands also offer sweetened or flavored varieties.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of store-bought almond milk contains about:
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Depending on the brand and additives used in your almond milk, it may also contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, among other nutrients.
Almond milk is an excellent replacement for milk if you are vegetarian or vegan; however, if you have a tree nut allergy, you will want to avoid almond milk.
Is Almond Milk Keto?
Yes, almond milk is keto. It has approximately 3.5 grams of carbohydrates per cup, which makes it a good option for the ketogenic diet.
The most important fact to consider when deciding if almond milk is a suitable dairy-free replacement for you on keto is the beverage’s carbohydrate count.
Keto is a diet that focuses heavily on reducing your net carb intake. Strict keto allows for around 20 grams of carbs per day, while less restrictive keto may allow for approximately 50 grams of carbs or less.
Either way, knowing the net carb count of your almond milk will help you decide if you can consider it “keto-friendly” for your version of the diet.
Is Store-Bought Almond Milk Keto?
Unsweetened store-bought almond milk contains between 1 and 3.5 grams of net carbs per cup. For most keto dieters, 1 to 2 grams of carbs for a cup of liquid is a reasonable number.
This low carb count means you can use unsweetened almond milk in recipes that call for milk as a stand-alone beverage or act as a creamer for tea or coffee.
Sweetened store-bought almond milk is almost definitely not keto-friendly.
According to the USDA, one cup of sweetened chocolate almond milk contains 22.5 grams of carbohydrates and only 1 grams of fiber.
These numbers give you a net carb count of just over 21 grams for one cup.
Is Homemade Almond Milk Keto?
Although the exact carb count of homemade almond milk is hard to pin down, it is likely around 1 to 3 grams of carbs per cup.
When you make almond milk at home, you can control any extra additives you put in to maintain a low net carb count.
For example, some almond milk recipes suggest using honey or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
If you are practicing keto, these sweeteners would add excess carbs.
To avoid this, you could sweeten your homemade almond milk with stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit.
These sweeteners are keto-friendly and won’t up the carb count on your almond milk. You can also use a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder or keto-friendly chocolate syrup to make chocolate almond milk that doesn’t kick you out of ketosis.
In addition to the carb count, you will also want to consider the nutrient value of almond milk over other types of animal and plant-based milk.
Almond milk contains a wide array of nutrients, but it does lack the protein found in cow’s milk.
Additionally, if you make almond milk, you may not get the same number of nutrients, such as calcium, since those are typically added to store-bought brands during manufacture.
Ultimately, unsweetened almond milk is a good choice for people on a ketogenic diet.
You’ll need to make sure you buy a store brand that matches your nutritional needs or make your own and obtain calcium and protein from other foods in your diet.
Keto-Friendly Almond Milk Brands
You have many options when choosing almond milk to replace dairy milk on your keto diet.
Here are two of our favorites:
Elmhurst Unsweetened Almond Milk
Both of these brands have simple and clean ingredients—almonds and water!
You can easily make almond milk at home by soaking almonds in water overnight, then blending them with water, salt, and a touch of sweetener and vanilla extract.
Drain the mixture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, and you have fresh, raw almond milk.
If you’d rather not mess with soaking and grinding whole almonds, you can turn to an almond milk base like JOI.
An almond milk base lets you make homemade almond milk in under 30 seconds with minimal clean-up necessary.
With an almond milk base, you can also avoid soaking your almonds or needing to strain them after blending with water.
When you use an almond milk base, you also benefit from knowing the exact carb counting in your homemade milk.
For example, JOI almond milk base gives you 1 net carb per serving, making it an excellent choice for keto.
Alternative Keto-Friendly Milk Options
For some, almond milk works as the perfect cow’s milk substitute while on keto. However, people with an allergy to almonds or who don’t like the slight almond taste of almond milk may need to turn to an alternative milk option to use when doing keto.
Potential alternatives include the following and their corresponding carb count for one cup:
Type of Milk
You Can Have Almond Milk While on Keto
If you are new to keto and looking for a cow milk substitute, consider experimenting with different types of almond milk to find the right option for you.
Some store-bought brands may taste strange at first, but if you find a branch that you like, you can use almond milk as a daily staple on the keto diet.
If store-bought doesn’t work, try making your almond milk at home using raw almonds or an almond milk base.
As long as you stay away from sweetened almond milk options, you should be able to stick to keto with no issues.