The desire to switch to healthier eating habits is a constant in our modern society. With the consistent rise in obesity and food sensitivities, it’s no wonder why people are looking to diet changes to institute weight loss and better health.
The traditional Western diet typically maintains carbohydrates as the primary food group for daily caloric intake. The reliance on this macronutrient ensures our bodies rely on sugar as their main source of energy.
When carbohydrates are restricted, the body turns to burn fat instead. Engaging this metabolic functional shift is the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet.
Low-carb diets can be challenging as it requires the right balance of macronutrients; fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Those who follow a carbohydrate-restricted diet often seek out low-carb foods to incorporate into their lifestyles seamlessly.
While dairy products are common in a ketogenic diet, there are those who go low-carb while still maintaining a vegan or dairy-free lifestyle through milk alternatives, such as almond milk.
Counting carbs, such as the carbs in almond milk, doesn’t have to be a struggle while on a low-carb diet plan. Below, we’ll review what makes the ketogenic diet different and explore how you can incorporate foods like almond milk into a keto-friendly meal plan.
What is Keto?
The Ketogenic diet, or Keto, is a diet plan that’s been gaining popularity over recent years. This low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet is helping many overcome weight loss struggles, as well as helping people make healthier food choices.
The aim of the Keto diet is to maintain states of ketosis, this is achieved by limiting the number of carbs consumed daily. This diet plan focuses on the shifting of the metabolism from utilizing sugar, or glucose, as its main energy source to using ketones. Ketones are produced by the liver from stored fat in the body. Keto reduces daily carb intake depending on individual goals, though the range is between 20-50 grams.
If you’re following a low-carb diet like keto, it’s important to be aware of foods high in carbohydrates. Food groups high in carbohydrates include:
- Grains: Most grains are high in carbs, this includes popular grain choices such as oats, rice, and wheat.
- Sugars: Processed sugars such as sodas and candies wreak havoc on our metabolism and are typically high in carbs.
- Fruits: Fruits are an important food group in any healthy diet, but some fruits contain higher amounts of carbs and can be difficult to consume on a low-carb diet plan. Sugar and carbohydrates work hand-in-hand in the body, fruits high in sugars, like bananas and mangoes are also high in carbs.
- Vegetables: Not all vegetables are created equal, and while veggies are a main component of a keto lifestyle, some are high in carbohydrates. Starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn are better left out of a low-carb diet.
- Legumes: Foods belonging to the legume family, such as beans, peas, and lentils are higher in carbohydrates, even though they can be excellent sources of protein.
- Dairy: Dairy products are high in fat and are supportive of a keto diet plan. However, added sugars to milk products such as yogurt and ice cream increase their carbohydrates, making them counterproductive to your health goals.
Following a ketogenic diet includes consuming foods that are high in healthy fats. Some foods that are naturally low in carbs include:
- Fruits: Berries are the best low-carb fruits and are supportive of a keto diet and lifestyle. While most fruits contain lots of sugars, berries such as blueberries and strawberries are low in carbohydrates.
- Vegetables: When aiming to increase ketone production, non-starchy vegetables are ideal as they’re low in carbs and high in fiber. These veggies include dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts like walnuts and almonds are high in healthy fats and proteins, but low in carbohydrates, making them a key player in a keto diet. Seeds like chia and flax are also great fat sources.
- Meats: Like nuts and seeds, poultry and other meat sources such as beef and game meats, are high in protein and fat while being low in carbs. Eggs are also an excellent source of fat and protein.
- Seafood: Fish and other seafood sources, like land-grazing animals, are high in protein and healthy fat while maintaining low levels of carbohydrates.
- Dairy: Dairy products such as butter and cheese are great sources of fat, these forms of dairy typically don’t contain sugars which makes them low-carb. Creams and other milk-based items are also great high-fat, low-carb choices–just be sure to watch out for any hidden sugars in these foods.
It’s important to note that not all carbohydrates function the same within the body, and carbs are still a vital macronutrient for maintaining good health.
The complex carbs found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables are generally healthier than simple carbs like processed sugars and refined grains.
It’s vital when maintaining a low-carb diet to find the right balance of macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs) that works best for your body and goals.
The Carb Count of Almonds
Counting carbohydrates when following a low-carb diet such as keto can be a struggle when ensuring the right balance of macronutrients.
With the need to remain low-carb, those who follow this diet plan are always in search of low-carb foods that they can easily incorporate into their meal plans.
While most low-carb diets typically tend to rely heavily on dairy products for their high-fat content, there are still those who choose to follow a dairy-free or vegan lifestyle, even when consuming a low-carb diet.
A popular, lower-carb alternative to dairy milk includes nut and seed milk, such as almond milk.
Almond milk is a suitable milk alternative for a keto diet as the carbs in almond milk are significantly lower, while still being high in healthy fats and proteins.
A cup of unsweetened almond milk only contains 1.5 grams of net carbs, which makes it significantly less than cow’s milk which can range from 11 to 13 grams.
Some almond milk brands contain added sugars, so be sure to thoroughly read all ingredients before purchasing to keep your carbohydrate counts in check. Select unsweetened brands and milk alternatives containing minimal additives.
Your Keto-Friendly Milk Alternative
While a keto diet is not suitable for everyone, research does suggest that maintaining a low-carb diet can offer numerous health benefits. These can include weight loss, reduced inflammation in the body, and improved blood sugar functions.
It’s crucial to make sure that your low-carb diet plan is well-balanced and includes a variety of nutrient-dense food groups. If you’re unsure if keto is right for you, consult your primary healthcare practitioner for more information.
Almond milk is most definitely a keto-friendly milk alternative and in most cases is a lower-carb option compared to dairy milk.
Alternative milk can be lower in carbs and higher in fat while still being a great source of a range of vitamins and minerals. It’s important to choose unsweetened almond milk when controlling your carb intake.
Maintaining a keto lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated, and while most low-carb diets heavily rely on the consumption of animal products to maintain higher levels of fats, keto can be successful alongside a vegan or vegetarian diet preference.
By carefully reading all product labels and managing macronutrient proportions, almond milk is a great milk alternative that’s supportive of a keto diet.
Luciana, a proud Brazilian, blends her passion for jiu-jitsu with a deep-rooted connection to spirituality and well-being. Her dedication to the martial art reflects not just a physical discipline, but a holistic approach to life, seeking balance in mind, body, and spirit. Whether on the mats or in meditation, Luciana embodies the essence of harmony and inner strength.