Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


What Are the Best Keto Milk Options?

What Are the Best Keto Milk Options?

In the ever-evolving landscape of nutrition and wellness, the surge of plant-based milks has captured the spotlight, claimed as the superior alternatives to traditional dairy. Yet, beneath the surface of this rapidly growing trend lies a complex truth; not all that glitters is gold.


While these plant-based options are frequently acclaimed for their keto-friendly attributes, caution must be exercised. The allure of these milks often masks underlying issues, ranging from nutritional deficiencies to the potential for inflammatory responses. This revelation invites us to jump on a quest for the best keto milk options, navigating through the many choices to discover those truly beneficial to our health.


In doing so, we uncover the essence of nutrition that aligns with the ketogenic ethos, guiding us toward choices that harmonize with our body’s needs while steering clear of the pitfalls cleverly obscured by prevailing marketing narratives.


What Is the Ketogenic Diet?



Ketogenic diets spotlight a high fat, moderate protein, and minimal carbohydrate intake approach. This diet shifts the body’s energy reliance from carbohydrates to fats, leading to the metabolic state known as ketosis. In ketosis, the body becomes proficient at burning fat for fuel, producing ketones from fat in the liver to supply energy.


Originally developed to manage epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has grown in popularity for its potential weight loss benefits, improved blood sugar control, and enhanced mental clarity. By substantially reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, this diet prompts a profound metabolic adaptation, opening the way for numerous health benefits.


What Is the Carnivore Diet?


Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid


The all-meat diet, often known as the carnivore diet or simply carnivorous eating, involves consuming exclusively animal-based foods while eliminating all plant-based items and grains. This diet stands apart from ketogenic and other reduced-carbohydrate diets by adopting an absolute or near-zero carbohydrate consumption strategy, centering almost exclusively on the intake of animal proteins and fats.


Diverse forms of the carnivore diet exist, each characterized by specific allowances and exclusions of certain food types. Gaining an understanding of these different variations enables individuals to make more informed choices, determining the most sustainable method and the best fit for achieving their personal health and wellness objectives.


Keto vs. Carnivore Diet


keto vs carnivore diet


The ketogenic (keto) and carnivore diets are distinct nutritional strategies with overlapping benefits and key differences. The keto diet focuses on high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate intake to shift the body into ketosis, a metabolic state where fat is the primary source of energy. It allows for a variety of foods, including non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and dairy, aiming for a balance that maintains ketosis.


By contrast, the carnivore diet, a subset within the broader keto framework, takes the macronutrient distribution to its utmost by eliminating carbohydrates altogether, advocating for a diet consisting solely of animal products. This approach not only thrusts the body into ketosis due to its high fat and adequate protein content but also reduces exposure to potential allergens, toxins, and irritants found in plant-based foods.


For individuals dealing with chronic illnesses, autoimmune conditions, and other health issues, the carnivore diet offers superior healing benefits over the conventional keto diet. By eliminating all plant-derived foods, the carnivore diet minimizes anti-nutrients and inflammatory compounds, which can exacerbate certain health issues. This singular focus on animal-based nutrition provides a more targeted method for healing and supporting the body in the management of chronic conditions, leveraging the therapeutic potential of ketosis with an added layer of dietary simplification and purification.


Keto Milk Options


keto milk options


In the world of keto eating, selecting the right type of milk is crucial. Keto-friendly milks are those low in carbs yet rich in fats, making unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, macadamia nut milk, flaxseed milk, and heavy cream popular choices.


On the contrary, milk types such as cow’s milk (whole, skim, or 2%), sweetened nut milks, oat milk, and rice milk are not considered keto-friendly due to their higher carbohydrate content. For instance, a single cup of whole cow’s milk contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from lactose, a sugar that can quickly exceed the daily carb limit on a strict keto diet.


Similarly, sweetened nut milks, despite being derived from keto-compatible nuts, are often laden with added sugars, significantly boosting their carb count. Oat and rice milks, inherently high in carbohydrates, also fall short of keto standards. These milk alternatives disrupt ketosis, the metabolic state central to the keto diet’s success, making them unsuitable choices for those adhering to this strict low-carb, high-fat regimen.


The Problem With Keto-Friendly Plant-Based Milk Alternatives


carnivore diet plant anti nutrients


While keto-friendly plant-based milk alternatives offer low-carb, high-fat options suitable for the ketogenic diet, they’re not without their drawbacks. These milks, derived from nuts, seeds, or grains, can harbor anti-nutrients, contaminants, and unwanted additives that can compromise health.


Anti-nutrients are compounds that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. For instance, almond milk can contain phytates, which bind to minerals such as zinc, iron, and calcium, reducing their bioavailability. Similarly, soy milk, another plant-based alternative, is rich in phytoestrogens and oxalates, potentially disrupting hormonal balance and contributing to kidney stone formation, respectively.


Glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, poses another concern. Oats used in oat milk, for example, are often sprayed with glyphosate, which may linger in the final product. Continuous exposure to glyphosate has been linked to a variety of health issues, including an increased risk of certain cancers.


Aflatoxins, toxic metabolites produced by certain molds, can contaminate nuts and seeds, making their way into milks made from these sources. For example, almond and cashew milks are at risk of aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are known carcinogens and can cause liver damage over time.


Furthermore, many commercial plant-based milks contain fillers and additives, such as carrageenan, gums, and synthetic vitamins, which can cause digestive distress and other adverse health effects. Carrageenan, found in some almond and coconut milk brands, has been associated with gastrointestinal inflammation and discomfort.


While plant-based milks offer a keto-friendly alternative to dairy, they’re not free from health concerns. The presence of anti-nutrients, glyphosate, aflatoxins, and synthetic additives can make them less than ideal for those seeking to optimize their health on a ketogenic diet.


Why Animal Milk Is Superior and Why Heavy Cream Is the Best Keto Option

Animal milks, including cow and goat milk, stand out nutritionally due to their comprehensive profiles of essential amino acids, high-quality protein content, and absence of plant-derived anti-nutrients and toxins. Unlike plant-based alternatives, these animal-derived milks naturally offer a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for human health. This aspect is important for muscle repair, immune function, and overall bodily maintenance, making animal milks a superior protein source.


Additionally, animal milks are rich in bioavailable nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, directly contributing to bone health, immune system support, and energy metabolism. The nutritional synergy found in cow and goat milk facilitates optimal absorption and utilization of these vital nutrients, without the interference of anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins commonly found in plant-based milks, which can bind minerals and reduce their absorption.


Animal milks also lack the contaminants such as glyphosate and aflatoxins that can be present in plant-based milk options, offering a cleaner nutritional choice. The absence of these plant-based toxins ensures that the nutritional value of animal milk is preserved, providing a wholesome, nutrient-dense option for individuals seeking optimal health benefits from their dietary choices.


If the carb content in animal milks is still of concern, opting for heavy cream is the next best option.


Choosing the Best Quality for Animal Milk


carnivore diet milk


Choosing the best quality animal milk involves understanding the nuances between different types, such as raw, pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, organic, A2, and grass-finished milk. Each type offers distinct nutritional profiles and benefits, impacting one’s health differently.


Raw milk, directly from the animal without undergoing pasteurization, is considered ideal by many for its nutritional integrity. It retains its natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, which can be diminished through the pasteurization process. These enzymes facilitate digestion and absorption of nutrients, while the intact vitamins and minerals support overall health. However, access to raw milk is limited in some regions due to regulatory concerns over pathogens.


Pasteurization, while reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses, can also degrade some of the nutritional content of milk. The heat treatment affects the structure of proteins and can lower the levels of certain heat-sensitive vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins. Organic milk, produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or hormones, offers a cleaner alternative, though it still undergoes pasteurization.


Ultra-pasteurized milk is heated to a higher temperature than traditionally pasteurized milk. This process extends shelf life but further diminishes nutritional and taste quality. Conversely, A2 milk, from cows that produce only the A2 type of beta-casein protein, may be easier to digest for some individuals sensitive to conventional milk, which contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins.


Grass-finished milk comes from cows that have been fed a natural diet of grass, rather than grain, throughout their lives. This practice can enhance the nutritional profile of the milk, increasing levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), both of which are beneficial for heart health and may help reduce inflammation.


When choosing the best quality animal milk, consider the source and processing method. Raw and organic milks offer superior nutritional qualities, while A2 and grass-finished milks provide unique benefits related to digestibility and fatty acid composition. Prioritizing minimally processed options can maximize the health benefits received from animal milk.


Always Choose Full-Fat Milk

Opting for full-fat milk over reduced-fat or skim milk is a choice that aligns more closely with optimal nutrition and overall health. Full-fat milk retains the natural profile of dairy fat, which plays an important role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are essential for various bodily functions, including immune system support, bone health, and antioxidant protection. The fats in whole milk also contribute to satiety, the feeling of fullness, which can help in maintaining a healthy weight by reducing the tendency to overeat.


Moreover, recent studies support that the saturated fats found in dairy does not have the negative impact on heart health once believed and might even offer protective qualities. The fatty acids in full-fat dairy, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), have been associated with reduced risks of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.


Conversely, reduced-fat and skim milks have a higher concentration of lactose and milk proteins per serving due to the removal of fats, potentially making them less suitable for those with sensitivities or intolerances. Additionally, the process of removing fat often leads to the addition of synthetic vitamins to replace those lost with the fat removal, which may not be as bioavailable as those naturally occurring in full-fat milk.


Choosing full-fat milk ensures consumption of dairy in its most natural and nutrient-rich form, supporting overall health without the need for artificial fortification or the potential for increased lactose per serving.


Closing Thoughts On Best Keto Milk Options

In exploring the best keto milk options, it’s evident that full-fat, raw animal milk stands out as the superior choice for those adhering to a keto lifestyle. Heavy cream is the next best option if the carb content in milk is of concern. This preference is rooted in its complete nutritional profile, offering essential amino acids, high-quality protein, and the absence of plant-derived anti-nutrients and toxins. Full-fat animal milks, including cow and goat milk, naturally contain bioavailable nutrients important for overall health, without the complications associated with plant-based alternatives.


In contrast, keto-friendly plant-based milks, while low in carbs and fitting within the keto framework, come with their own set of challenges. They can harbor anti-nutrients, such as phytates, and contaminants such as glyphosate and aflatoxins, which could undermine health benefits. Moreover, the common addition of synthetic fillers and additives in commercial plant-based milks raises concerns over digestive distress and long-term health impacts.


The ideal choice, full-fat raw milk, offers the unparalleled advantage of consuming milk in its most natural state, preserving its enzymatic integrity and full spectrum of nutrients. This makes it not only keto-compatible but also nutritionally superior. However, due to regulations and availability, not everyone can access raw milk, making it important to select the least processed, highest quality animal milk available, and to approach plant-based alternatives with caution, prioritizing organic and minimally processed options.


Work With Our Trusted Carnivore Diet Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

The Nutrition with Judy practice is honored to be a trusted carnivore diet practitioner support serving clients from around the globe. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve root-cause healing in order to lead the best quality of life possible that’s nearly symptom-free. Our team is dedicated to debunking mistruths in order to support optimal wellness. We welcome you to explore our free resources and are always available to support you through personalized protocols. Our Symptom Burden Assessment (SBA) is the perfect starting point for discovering your root cause and is required to work with our team— you can learn more in-depth about this powerful tool here.

Start your root-cause healing journey today and contact us any time with any questions or concerns.


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. While we are board-certified in holistic nutrition and are nutritional therapy practitioners, we are not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always consult with your trusted practitioner first.

Nutrition with Judy

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