Have you heard about the keto diet? Maybe you thought about trying it, but you’re not sure you can make such drastic changes in your diet in order to lose weight. Well, let me tell you this diet is no walk in the park. It has many restrictions when it comes to some of the most basic food groups and if you’re used to eating salads and smoothies with lots of fruits and veggies, you might be in for a rough ride with this major lifestyle change.
But what about almond milk? Many of us these days already have some dietary restrictions due to medical conditions such as lactose intolerance or maybe just a sensitivity to dairy products and almond milk, along with other milk alternatives, has been our saving grace. Ironically enough, regular dairy milk has large amounts of lactose which is a type of sugar and falls into one of the restricted food categories for this diet. So, does that mean you can drink almond milk with this diet?
In this article, let’s go over how the keto diet works if almond milk is low-carb, and whether almond milk is compatible with the keto diet.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is the practice of consuming a high-fat, low-carbohydrate (carb), and sufficient protein diet. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes all contain high amounts of carbs which are turned into glucose and used as the primary source of energy for the body to run off. The keto diet is designed to deprive the body of carbs as an energy source, thereby driving the metabolic process to use fat as an energy source instead.
The liver uses stored fat to produce this alternate energy source called ketone bodies. This process of burning fat for energy instead of glucose puts the body in a state known as ketosis. Though this diet is considered a medical diet as it was created to treat extreme cases of childhood epilepsy, it has gained popularity in the fitness community as a weight loss diet. It does have many health benefits, particularly for those who suffer from certain chronic illnesses, but it doesn’t come without its own risks and nasty side effects.
It’s also worth noting that this is quite a tricky diet to follow and reaching ketosis is not exactly an easy task. In order for your body to go into ketosis, you must ensure that you consume less than 50 grams of carbs a day. Even eating too much protein can prevent you from reaching ketosis. On top of that, even if you meet all the criteria and follow the diet protocol perfectly, it still takes a few days for ketosis to kick in and it is difficult to maintain.
Here are a few of the different types of keto diets:
- Standard ketogenic diet – this is the most common form of keto involving high-fat, low-carb, and adequate protein intake.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet – this version is similar to the standard keto diet, with the difference being that you would incorporate two high-carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet – This version is more flexible and allows for wiggle room with carbs in consideration of your workout schedule.
- High-protein ketogenic diet – This version is also similar to the standard form but increases the amount of protein and decreases the amount of fat and carbs.
Is Almond Milk Low-Carb?
So, what about almond milk? Does it have carbs in it? Well, it’s made from almonds which are already considered low-carb and can be included in the list of acceptable foods for the keto diet. They are mostly made up of fats, a small amount of protein, and an even smaller amount of carbs, but when almonds are used to make almond milk, the amount of carbs found in the milk is significantly less.
Keep in mind that not all kinds of almond milk are the same. Sweetened almond milk is going to have a different amount of carbs than unsweetened almond milk. Sweetened almond milk is obviously going to have more carbs than unsweetened milk due to the increased sugar. Also, note that every brand is different, and the nutritional value is going to differ across the board so be sure to read the labels so you know what you’re getting.
Or you can simply make your own at home. Not only will you be saving money, but you can also control the quality of the almond milk you create without added preservatives and other unfavorable ingredients. It’s a pretty simple process that doesn’t require expensive equipment, but it can be time-consuming as you would need to make it frequently considering that the shelf life is not very long without the added preservatives.
Is it Keto?
So, Is almond milk keto? Yes! Because it is extremely low-carb, almond milk is considered keto-friendly and can be consumed as an alternative to dairy milk. Just be sure you are either making it yourself or you are purchasing unsweetened almond milk as sweetened almond milk might have too many carbs and sugars in it. While this is not a blanket statement and you can still have sweetened almond milk on a keto diet, it will affect the amount you can have in a day.
In summary, the keto diet is designed to convert your metabolic process from using carbs for energy to using fats for energy instead. This is done by depriving the body of carbs and intaking high amounts of fats for the liver to produce ketone bodies which are then used as an alternate fuel source.
Almond milk is, in most cases, considered low-carb and keto-friendly, but beware of sweetened almond milk as it may be too high in carbs and sugars. If you can, try making it at home. This will not only help you save money but will also allow you to control the quality of the product and ensure that there are not any unnecessary additives such as preservatives or other unfavorable ingredients.