What is the number one thing necessary for infant mammals to survive when they are newborns?
Among protection from predators, nourishment is the number one priority. In those first few months and possibly more, an infants survival depends on the milk they ingest from their mother. Milk supplies a high caloric value as well as being jam-packed with nutrients, providing young mammals with almost everything they need except air.
However, nowadays what we associate milk most with is a high caloric dairy product.
What is Milk and Why Isn’t it Low Carb-Friendly?
For a while, there was a debate over which kind of milk was the “best” for you. The kinds of dairy milk involved included whole milk, skim milk, two percent milk, or possibly the worst of all — non-fat milk.
Really? Non-fat milk?
Whole milk is extremely high in nutritional value. In fact, it is abundant in vitamin A, B12, D, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin and of course, calcium. While whole milk makes a mean case for providing many health benefits, the real question we want to know is — is it low carb friendly?
The macronutrients for an eight ounce cup of whole milk are eight grams of fat, eight grams of protein and 12 grams of net carbohydrates. This high carb count unfortunately takes milk out of the running for being a low carb friendly drink. However, when it comes to low carb alternatives, we’ve got your back.
4 Low Carb Substitutes for Milk
While whole milk is packed with health benefits, it will be the first thing to kick you out of ketosis. Luckily for individuals on a low carb or ketogenic diet, there are multiple options to choose from when looking for a low carb substitute for milk. These options not only provide a lower carb count, but can help with a lactose allergy many individuals suffer from when consuming cow milk. Some of these substitutes include:
Image: Low Carb Yum
Not only is almond milk one of the best plant-based milk products available today, but it comes with a list of health benefits as well. Almond milk is derived from — you guessed it — almonds, and packs all the same benefits you’d get from this nutritious nut. Some of the benefits include:
#1: Improves Heart Health
Almond milk naturally lowers cholesterol levels while increasing the levels of good HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This is due to the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids it contains.
#2: Helps Build Strong Bones
While it may not contain as much as animal milk, almond milk still has a significant amount of vitamin D. This is mostly due to the healthy fats found in almond milk, improving bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis.
#3: Fights Free Radical Damage
The antioxidants found in almond milk (vitamin E, specifically) are strong fighters against free radical damage and oxidative stress that can be caused by chemicals found in food and other things.
This low carb and keto friendly drink is only a total of 40 calories, two grams of carbs, one gram of protein and three grams of fat per one eight ounce serving making it the perfect addition to your low carb diet.
Image: How to Make Pea Protein Milk
One of the more uncommon types of low carb milk substitutes you may see around is pea protein milk. However, from the recent buzz of it, it looks as though this low carb milk alternative is here to stay.
I know what you’re thinking, milk made from peas, but how?
One way to make pea protein milk is to harvest the peas (yellow ones in particular) and mill them into flour. The processing of the flour separates the pea protein from the fiber and starch.
Yes, it seems as though peas really are the new kids on the block when it comes to milk. Pea milk is vegan, nut free, soy free, lactose free and gluten free. Some may even argue that it’s better for the environment than almond milk. It seems to be harder to think of a reason not to drink it.
But what about the nutritional value?
Well, in comparison to dairy milk, it has the same amount of protein as whole milk (about 8 grams of protein per an eight ounce serving), but with fewer calories, less sugar and even more omega-3 fatty acids.
Image: Homemade Flax Milk
Besides pea protein milk, flax milk is another plant-based milk that’s a great low carb milk substitute. Curious as to how you get flax oil to milk? The process is simple enough. It’s simply cold-pressed flax oil mixed with filtered water.
It’s a perfect option for individuals not only on a low carb diet, but also for those who are lactose intolerant. It’s also great for individuals allergic to soy. Thinking you might be lactose intolerant?
Some of the symptoms include gas, bloating in the abdomen, nausea, cramping, diarrhea, headaches or acne. If you consume dairy and find yourself with a number of these symptoms, you may want to be avoiding dairy and sticking to flax milk or another alternative for the time being.
Another great benefit of flax milk is it’s abundance of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A, B12, D and calcium. Besides it’s lack of protein, it provides much of the same nutrients as dairy milk! For an eight ounce serving (about one cup), flax milk provides a total of 50 calories including about two grams of fat, seven grams of carbs and zero grams of protein.
Image: Homemade Hemp Milk
If you haven’t tried hemp milk yet, get ready for a game changer. You can even make it yourself, all you need is a blender. Combine water and shelled hemp seeds and blend on high to your desired consistency and — boom — there you have it. Whether you’re vegan or just simply looking for a milk to fit those low carb macro goals, hemp milk has got you covered.
Along with being cholesterol and lactose free, one eight ounce glass of hemp milk comes packed with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, all ten essential amino acids, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid, iron, zinc and the vitamins A, E, B12 and D.
If you think those micronutrients are good, just wait until you check out the macros. An eight ounce serving (about one cup) of hemp milk contains 70 total calories, with five grams of fat, two grams of carbs and three grams of protein.
Along with being low carb and keto friendly, these low carb milk alternatives are perfect for those trying to lose weight or just have a nasty allergy to dairy products. With these milk substitutes you can make your creamy smoothies without the worry of whether or not you’ll be kicked out of ketosis. Grab your favorite out of these four today and give them a try, it could be a new staple in your diet you never knew existed.