Many dairy products like cheese, cream, and yogurt are generally encouraged as part of the keto diet due to their high fat and protein content as well as their low carb count.

Unfortunately, not everybody is able to include dairy as part of their diet

approximately 65% of the adult population is believed to have some form of lactose intolerance, whether they’re aware of it or not.

Intolerance is common due to the fact that, apart from breastmilk during infancy, our ancestors rarely encountered lactose—a type of sugar—in their natural diet.

If our bodies struggle to produce lactase, the enzyme required to break the sugar down, our gut bacteria does the job instead.

This results in a series of unwanted side effects like:

  • bloating
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • and flatulence

Surprisingly,

Many people with a form of lactose intolerance aren’t even aware that dairy might be the issue. So if you find yourself experiencing these symptoms frequently, it might be worth cutting dairy out of your diet for 30 days before slowly introducing it back in and monitoring the results.

Luckily, there are still plenty of fantastic dairy-free foods you can include as part of your keto diet as great substitutes.

Let’s take a look at ten of the best to get you started!

#1 Eggs

Eggs are the perfect food for pretty much any diet, including keto. With a good protein content and less than a gram of carbs per egg, they’re an ideal way to start the day or enjoy as a snack, and they come with lots of additional benefits.

Not only do eggs help keep your blood sugar stable [1] and increase your feeling of being full, but they’re also one of the few high cholesterol foods that won’t raise your blood cholesterol.

#2 Avocado

Despite a medium-sized avocado containing 18 grams of carbs, 14 of these are fiber, meaning the net carb count is actually only 4 grams.

Avocados are great on keto, with a high healthy fat content and they’re packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that fight free radicals, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

#3 Meat

As they’re carb-free, meat and poultry are the cornerstones of the keto diet. They’re high in protein and it’s easy as well as cheaper to get hold of the fatty cuts of meat that are better for maintaining ketosis and lowering cholesterol.

With meats, you’ve got a huge variety to choose from and organic, grass-fed animals produce meat that’s rich in B vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

#4 Vegetables

While you’ll want to avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, low-carb veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are highly nutritious and have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. [2]

Green vegetables like spinach tend to be rich in iron and their antioxidants can protect against cell damage.

#5 Seafood

Fish are nearly carb-free while still rich in minerals like potassium, making them ideal for keto. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can benefit insulin regulation, and are a good source of protein.

Shellfish can also be a suitable addition to your diet, but some do have a higher carb content, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

#6 Nuts

Nuts are high in fat and fiber and generally low in carbs, making them a fantastic snack on the keto diet. Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is excellent for your brain, skin and eye health, along with a variety of antioxidants and healthy fats.

They can even help you feel full for longer, making them suitable for those trying to manage their weight.

While some nuts, like walnuts and Brazil nuts, are low in net-carbs, others, like pistachios and cashews, are relatively high, so it’s worth doing your research first to avoid overeating.

#7 Cocoa

Carb-free raw cocoa or dark chocolate are a delicious dairy-free treat you can enjoy on the keto diet. Taste aside, cocoa has been shown to help reduce weight and contains compounds called flavanols, which contribute to lower blood pressure, a healthier brain, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. [3]

You’ll need to avoid chocolate that contains sugar though, so remember to check the packet first!

Check out our article: Top 10 Sugars Preventing You From Reaching Ketosis

#8 Olives

With olives, half of their carbohydrates come from fiber, resulting in a low net carb count of around 1 gram per ounce serving.

Olives are rich in antioxidants that are believed to help protect your heart, keep your bones healthy, and protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Olives are versatile too, so you can eat them as a light snack, or add them to your favorite Mediterranean-style recipes.

#9 Oils

While you may have to avoid cooking with butter to maintain a dairy-free diet, there are still a number of great alternatives to try.

As a source of pure fat, olive oil is perfect for cooking and using as a base for healthy dressings. It’s high in monounsaturated fats which are good for the heart, and extra-virgin olive oil also contains antioxidants that boost this effect.

You can also try avocado and coconut oil, which boast similar properties and can be used to experiment with a range of flavors.

#10 Almond Milk

While you’ll want to pay attention to your quantities due to its relatively high carb count, almond milk is an amazing substitute for dairy milk. It comes with all of the benefits of almonds and tastes delicious so that you can use it as a substitute in most recipes.

Bear in mind; you’ll want to make sure you’re sticking to unsweetened almond and nothing with added flavor. If almond milk isn’t your thing, coconut milk is another excellent alternative.

Summary

In short, there are plenty of dairy-free foods that fit with the keto diet and while also improving your overall well-being, so there’s no reason to let lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy get in the way of achieving and maintaining ketosis.

Related Reads:

25 Keto Foods Containing Less Than 10 Carbs!

The Complete Guide To Consuming Dairy On Keto

 

References:
[1] Ratliff J, Leite JO, de Ogburn R, Puglisi MJ, VanHeest J, Fernandez ML. Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutr Res. 2010 Feb;30(2):96-103. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002.

[2] Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Yang G, Li H, Gao J, Cai H, Gao YT, Zheng W. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009340. Epub 2011 May 18.

[3] Desideri G, Kwik-Uribe C, Grassi D, Necozione S, Ghiadoni L, Mastroiacovo D, Raffaele A, Ferri L, Bocale R, Lechiara MC, Marini C, Ferri C. Hypertension. Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study. 2012 Sep;60(3):794-801. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193060. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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