Some Dairy Products Can Raise Insulin Levels
Of the three macronutrients protein, carbs, and fat carbs have been shown to raise blood sugar levels the most, by far.22 And when blood sugar goes up, it triggers your pancreas to release insulin.
Since lactose breaks down to glucose during digestion, consuming high-lactose dairy products can raise both blood sugar and insulin levels.
So if your goals include keeping insulin levels low, its likely best to steer clear of milk, flavored yogurt, and other types of high-lactose dairy.
However, even some keto-friendly dairy foods, such as cheese, also raise insulin levels somewhat. In this case, its not the carbs but the protein or more specifically, amino acids that cause insulin to rise.
Why does this happen? During digestion, protein is broken down into individual amino acids, which are absorbed into your bloodstream. This prompts your pancreas to release insulin, which helps the amino acids get into your muscles.
In fact, this happens with all protein foods, although to a greater extent with some than others. For instance, hard cheese raises insulin more than eggs but less than fish and beef. Yet all four of these protein foods raise insulin far less than carb-containing foods.23
Additionally, the whey protein in dairy is absorbed more rapidly than the casein.24 Therefore, consuming whey-containing dairy products may raise blood insulin levels more quickly than fermented dairy products that no longer contain whey.25
Not All Carbs Are Created Equal
Carbs come in different forms.
Simple carbs consist of easy to digest sugars. Refined and processed carbs, such as white sugar and white flour, are simple carbs.
People who are starting on a low-carb diet need to think about reducing their intake of refined and processed carbs. Avoiding these carbs will be beneficial for reaching an ideal weight and for health in general.
However, not all simple carbs are created equal. Fruits include fructose, which is a simple carb, but eating fruit is recommended in a low-carb diet, as it is loaded with nutrients and is a whole-food source of carbs.
Complex carbs take longer to digest than simple carbs, as they need to be broken down into a simpler form. Complex carbs are found in more nutrient-rich foods, such as beans, whole-grains, and fiber-rich fruits, such as bananas.
Complex carbs also have the added benefit of making a person feel full faster, which might prevent them from overeating. Complex carbs also make people feel full for longer, which might help them avoid snacking between meals.
Cheese To Watch Out For
The exception to these cheeses are specialty cheeses, which often use ingredients such as wine, fruit, or chocolatethis will ultimately change the carb count.
Also, look out for Gjetost Cheese its a Norwegian cheese thats best described as a caramel tasting, butter-y fudge like cheese. Needless to say, this stuff contains 12.1 grams of carbs per ounce!
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Can You Do Keto Without Dairy
Absolutely, Pride says. You can totally be dairy-free and do keto. You just need to know which swaps are smart swapslike unsweetened almond milk for regular ole dairy milk and plant-based yogurts for usual dairy yogurt. That being said, however, “you still want to be sure youre looking for unsweetened or no sugar added options to make sure the products fit your needs,” Pride explains.
Equally as important? Making up for any lost nutrients that you might’ve previously been getting by your yogurt, dairy, and cheese consumptions. For calcium, Pride says to consider sardines, tofu, kale, and fortified almond milk and for potassium, avocados, spinach, salmon, and edamame. And let’s not forget about keto’s big player: fats. To keep up with those sans-dairy products, go for nuts, avocados, seeds, and plant-based oils.
Now, not to be repetitive or anything, but just to make sure it’s clear: You don’t need to ditch dairy entirely if you want to do keto. In fact, there are plenty of dairy options that will fit in with your 50-grams-of-carbs-a-day lifestyle, Jalali says.
“All foods are basically allowed on the ketogenic diet, it is a matter of the portion,” she says, adding that that means you might have more wiggle room with certain dairy products, like butter and heavy cream, but not so much with others, like milk or ice cream.
The First Steps To Going Low
Know which foods have carbs, then build your plate. Grains, like bread and rice, are a top source of carbs, along with starchy veggies and legumes like potatoes, corn and beans. Fruits and milk are also big sources. Protein and fats do not contain carbs. Nonstarchy veggies like leafy greens, broccoli and bell peppers have some carbohydrates, but typically aren’t big sources for most people.
Keep whole grains, dairy , fruit and veggies in your diet. “Whole grains, fruit and vegetables provide fiber, which can keep you satiated and may help lower cholesterol,” says Gorin.
Instead, Gorin recommends reducing the types of carbs that aren’t healthy, such as added sugar and refined carbs. Think cookies, soda, and sugary cereals. Instead of sweetening your oatmeal with maple syrup, use fruit. A dollop of almond or peanut butter on a sweet potato with dinner can replace brown sugar.
One mistake is forgetting to add good fats into your meals. “A lot of people think that low carb means eating steaks all day long, but an often overlooked component is getting plenty of healthy fats,” says Bjork. “Healthy fat keeps you full and will take the place of some of the carbs you used to be eating,” she says. This is the main reason why people get hungry-and fall off the wagon into a face full of granola bars and snack mixes. Examples of healthy fats include avocado, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.
Related:No-Sugar-Added Meal Plan
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So Can You Eat Too Much Cheese On Keto
Unfortunately, yes. Too much cheese can be an issue.
Although we absolutely love cheese on the keto, we need to understand that cheese and all other dairy foods have a very high-fat content.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that eating too much cheese can slow down weight gain because of the amount of fat were taking in! Furthermore, some people may have lactose intolerance and suffer from gastrointestinal problems that may build up water and give a sensation of increased weight when dairy food such as milk.
It is, therefore, best for those who do have lactose intolerance to opt for dairy-free food.
So what can you do to make sure you eat cheese in moderation?
Well, read on to find out the best cream cheese brands for you and which cheese contains hidden nutrition downfalls!
Relying On Packaged Food
Products that talk about “net carbs” or “impact carbs” need close scrutiny. Be wary of low-carb ice cream, meal replacement bars, and other “treats” labeled low-carb or sugar-free. Foods that claim to have no sugar often contain ingredients such as maltitol, which is a sugar alcohol with a glycemic index ranging from 35 to 52 that affects blood sugar.
It’s also important to note that unless you have Celiac disease, gluten-free foods won’t necessarily be a better option. In fact, packaged foods designed to be gluten-free can have more carbs and calories.
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How Many Carbs In Cheese
Does cheese have carbs? Yes, and the quantity varies by the type of low carb cheese you select. Find the best cheese for keto below:
Too Much Dairy May Cause Weight
Cheese, cream, and whole-milk yogurt are very tasty. Unfortunately, the flip side of being so delicious is that they can be very easy to over consume.
Yes, these foods are generally a good fit for a low-carb or keto lifestyle. But eating too much of them may potentially cause a weight-loss stall whether from too many calories, too many carbs, or a combination of both.
Some low-carb clinicians advise their patients to consume these foods in moderation. For example, in his No sugar, no starch diet Dr. Eric Westman recommends limiting cream of all types to less than 2 tablespoons per day and cheese of all types to less than 4 ounces per day. These are still pretty generous amounts.
For some people, further limiting dairy, or even cutting it out altogether, may be helpful if weight loss slows down or stalls.
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Dairy May Worsen Acne And Other Skin Issues
Can dairy cause or worsen acne? In some people, it might. Dairy has been shown to raise levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 , a hormone that increases sebum production and has been found to play a large role in acne.31
Observational studies in children, teens, and young adults suggest that all types of dairy, including cheese and yogurt, may be problematic for those who struggle with acne.32
Low Carb Beverage Replacements
Simple is usually key when it comes to beverages on keto. Water will be a go-to drink when you need to quench your thirst. Try to keep diet soda consumption to a minimum as it is commonly linked with increased cravings.
If youd like to read our complete guide to keto drinks & beverages , . For a quick overview of the most popular keto-friendly drink ideas, read below.
Soda and Fruit Juice -> Water, Smoothies, Tea
Try to replace all soda and juice consumption with something that has no sugar or only trace amounts of sugar. Switch out fruit juices for low-carb smoothies and tea. Tea comes in a variety of flavors that can help you get through the day if you get tired of water. There are a variety of different smoothies you can make for a meal replacement or as a quick snack as well.
Youre welcome to try one of our own smoothie recipes, too:
Water should be your go-to replacement for soda, and I dont recommend drinking diet soda as it can bring back cravings for sweets. Stick to drinking at least 3 liters of water a day, but try to aim for a full gallon.
Coffee and Sugar -> Coffee & Stevia
Instead of adding sugar to your coffee, you can put a few drops of stevia in there to sweeten it up. Stevia is a great sweetener and wont increase your blood sugar levels so its a perfect way to sweeten your morning coffee. If you find stevia to have a bitter aftertaste, erythritol and monk fruit extract are two other keto-friendly sweeteners worth trying.
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Can I Eat Cheese On Low Carb Diet
- Bleu cheeses. 2 TBSP. .4.
- Cheddar. 1 oz. .4.
- Mozzarella, whole milk. 1 oz. .6.
- Cream cheese, whipped. 2 TBSP. .8.
- Parmesan, chunk. 1 oz. .9.
- Swiss. 1 oz. 1.0.
- Feta. 1 oz. 1.2.
Similarly, how much cheese can I eat on keto? Cheese. There are hundreds of types of cheese. Fortunately, all of them are very low in carbs and high in fat, which makes them a great fit for a ketogenic diet. One ounce of cheddar cheese provides 1 gram of carbs, 7 grams of protein and 20% of the RDI for calcium .
Likewise, what can I eat on a low carb diet?
Low-carb foods include:
- lean meats, such as sirloin, chicken breast, or pork.
- nuts and seeds, including nut butter.
- oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and rapeseed oil.
- some fruit, such as apples, blueberries, and strawberries.
Can you eat dairy on low carb diet?
Do not eat fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, or dairy products other than cheese, cream or butter. If you feel you must eat bread or some other grain product, only high-fiber, low–carb products with 3 grams of net carbs or less per serving are allowed, and you can eat only one serving a day.
So Which Dairy Foods Dont Work On A Keto Diet
A quick look at the nutrition facts can help you determine which dairy products might be a do and a don’t. For instance, higher-carb dairy products like ice cream and flavored milk will have a higher sugar content compared to something like a cheese or plain milk, explains Hillary Pride, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT, registered dietitian and certified personal trainer in Portland, Maine.
“It really comes down to looking out for added sugar,” Pride says. “Some sweetened yogurts can pack close to 40 grams of carbs per serving, so they may have to be enjoyed in smaller portions or swapped for a lower-carb alternative.”
So, to make navigating the dairy aisle easier, remember these dairy are generally no-nos in large amounts on keto:
- Ice cream
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So Can You Have Dairy On The Keto Diet
Yes, with caveats. It’s a little complicated like, you know, everything in life these days.
Some dairy products are actually great sources of protein, fat, potassium, and calcium, and make a lot of sense for keto. But the keto diet’s actually a bit more restrictive when it comes to other dairy foodsand that’s due mostly to one thing: Dairy equals sugar, which equals carbs. Let’s break down some pros and cons of eating dairy on keto.
Pros of eating dairy on the keto diet:
- The fat content is solid. Regardless of whether you’re doing keto or not, dairy contains fat, which takes longer to digest and helps us stay full for longer, Beckerman explains.
- It can help you snack less. Because most dairy products are able to adequately supply the body with valuable protein, fat, and calories, you may be less likely to go scavenging for food in between meals, Beckerman says.
- You’ll get calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Dairy supplies all three of these nutrients, which are needed not only for maintaining healthy bones, but also are integral to balancing mood and regulating hormones, Beckman explains.
Cons of eating dairy on the keto diet:
Potentially Negative Impacts Of Cheese
While cheese is great for the Keto diet due to its high fatand low-calorie content, there are some reasons why you may want to keep an eyeout when it comes to portioning.
Saturated fat iswhat makes up for 50% of the fats in most cheeses. It is this fat that canpotentially be dangerous for heart health. If you are concerned about hearthealth, it may be better to consume softer cheeses, such as goat and feta,which have both less calories and fat.
Cheese is also known for its high levels of sodium. Access sodium in a diet canincrease blood pressure and can also affect heart health. If this is somethingthat concerns you, some cheeses with low-sodium content are: Swiss, Gruyere,goat, and Ricotta.
Finally, cheese tends to be a very high-calorie food. Sometypes can reach up to 120 calories for only one ounce! So just use caution whensnacking on certain types, such as, Manchego, Gruyere, and Parmesan. A commonsuggested portion for cheese is about the size of four die.
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How To Know If Youre Sensitive Or Intolerant To Cheese
Lactose, a sugar found in milk, is the most common cause of dairy sensitivities. Lactose intolerance occurs because lactose is difficult to break down and digest for people who lack the lactase enzyme.
Some people lose the ability to produce lactase after infancy, while others continue to create it their whole lives. While there are degrees of lactose intolerance, it all comes back to lactase production.
Lactase production is mostly genetic. Lactose intolerance affects 90% of people of East Asian descent, and also commonly affects people with West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian ancestry. But only about 5% of people of Northern European descent are lactose intolerant.
If you have lactose intolerance, youre likely to experience:
- Facial flushing
List Of Low Carb Foods For Atkins 20 Phase 1
Our Acceptable Low Carb Foods List is an easy guide to Atkins 20, Phase 1. During this phase, you will kick start induction by reducing your daily net carb intake to an average of 20g a day. Of these, 12-15 grams should be in the form of foundation vegetables. Enjoy any of the foods from the below list of acceptable low carb foundation vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, and most cheeses. Dont see your favorite foods on the list? They are likely included in the next phases!**
Use this list of acceptable low carb foods as your guide to serving sizes and net carbs per serving. Aim to eat at least three meals and two snacks every day. Never starve yourself or go more than 3-4 hours during the day without eating. And plan ahead so you arent tempted to eat foods not found on the following acceptable list! Visit our recipe page for hundreds of meal ideas using Phase 1 ingredients.