A stumbling block for many coffee lovers who enjoy a white coffee in particular is what happens when we want to lose some timber from our bodies? This is especially true for white coffee lovers embarking on a keto diet and are restricted on dairy products like milk.
The ketogeneic or keto diet is a relatively new dieting system that has taken off in recent years with a market share predicted to reach $15.64bn by 2027 . Having moved firmly into the mainstream, the keto diet has many similarities to its older relative, the Atkins diet hailing from the early 80s. Central to both diet approaches is that by restricting intake of carbohydrates, the breakdown of which provides glucose, our primary energy source, the body switches to breaking down fat instead. The liver breaks the fat into fatty acids and molecules called ketone bodies which can be used for energy instead of glucose, a process known as ketosis. Excess fat is of course stored in all those unsightly places we don’t want it so the thinking goes that when we force the body to use up that excess fat for energy, we will benefit from overall fat and weight loss.
Where the two diets diverge is that whilst the Atkins moves through stages, allowing you to slowly add carbohydrates back into your diet, gradually withdrawing from a ketotic state, the keto diet maintains the restriction of carbohydrates throughout. Additionally, the Atkins allows for a slightly higher proportion of calories from protein at 30% whilst the keto diet only allows for around 20% of calories from protein. This means that the keto diet is a little more restrictive, with many fruits, vegetables and grains permitted in later stages of the Atkins diet but not keto.
If you, like many others are considering starting the keto diet, one of the first steps is to consider what might need to change in your most regular dietary intakes. For many of us, this includes milk in a white coffee with an estimated 1.4 billion of us starting our day this way  but is it compatible with a keto diet? Read on to discover why it is, but only if prepared in a certain way.
First, to get it out of the way, straight up black coffee whether it’s black filter coffee, espresso, americano or even (heaven forbid) instant black coffee, is ok. Coffee itself has a negligible carb count meaning you can drink it to your heart’s desire on a keto diet with no restrictions. However, there is of course a huge range of coffee based drinks that use dairy products from coffeehouse heavyweights like lattes and cappuccinos to your simple black coffee with a splash of milk. This is where things become a little more complicated when on the keto diet but fear not, the good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice your milky coffee addiction for the benefits of following keto.
Broken down, cow’s milk is composed of lactose which itself can be broken down into its constituent molecules, galactose and yes, glucose. As the whole point of the keto diet is to restrict glucose available to your body, dairy milk is out with a carb count of 12 grams in just one cup, almost half of some dieter’s daily carb allowance. However, there are some ways that you might try to get around this…
1) SMALLER PORTION SIZE OF DAIRY MILK
As mentioned, a single cup of whole milk can carry a hefty carb count so you’ll certainly want to restrict your intake whilst on the keto diet. However, if you are prepared to limit the amount of milk and carefully measure how much you are going to drink, you don’t have to eliminate it entirely to stay within your daily carb allowance. This may mean that you can no longer splurge on a super sized pumpkin spice latte when fall comes around but you could consider drinks like a macchiato, an espresso with just a dash of steamed milk. If you decide to take this approach, why not see it as an opportunity to expand your coffee horizons?
2) HIGH FAT CONTENT DAIRY PRODUCTS
This one might seem a little counterintuitive but products with a higher far proportion are in turn more likely to have a lower carbohydrate proportion. Take for example heavy cream, the fat heavy portion in cow’s milk often separated in the butter making process. Just one serving (around 1Oz/30mL) has 1g of carbs. Next time you’re passing by your favourite coffeehouse and fancy a treat, consider a con panna, demi-creme or Russian favourite, the RAF coffee. The sky is (almost) the limit!
Perhaps one for the more adventurous, I can confirm that butter in coffee is a thing in the keto community. Working on the same principle as above, that higher fat content dairy products are more keto friendly, blending together freshly brewed coffee and a little unsalted butter results in a creamy coffee drink that not only helps satiate hunger but can fit into your new lifestyle. If you have one, a milk frother can work in place of a blender.
4) KETO SPECIFIC REPLACER
As the keto diet has increasingly made its way into the mainstream, there are more and more products available which have been designed specifically for a keto diet. Low carb keto creamers have been especially popular and can easily be added to your coffee to provide you with a drink that’s just as tasty as the higher carb version.
5) NUT AND PLANT BASED MILKS
The keto diet isn’t the only major diet trend doing the rounds. Plant based diets have become particularly wide spread and as such, there has been an explosion of dairy milk alternatives that are easy to find in your local store, something that doesn’t look set to change any time soon. Remember though that not all plant based milks are suitable for a keto diet. You are best off sticking to soy, almond, coconut and even pea milk rather than rice or oat milk which have higher carb counts. Just remember to opt for the unsweetened versions.
6) GET USED TO BLACK COFFEE
Admittedly this might not be for everyone but this is another option to consider. Today many of us have access to a vast range of different coffee beans, each of which have been roasted and blended in a myriad of ways. If you really want to appreciate the subtleties in the different flavors between beans and roasts which might otherwise be masked by the addition of milk, opt for a black coffee which will also benefit your keto diet.
7) CONSIDER DIFFERENT FORMS OF KETO DIET
As discussed, the standard keto diet advocates a low carb and high protein/fat intake for the duration of the diet. Some people prefer to follow a cyclical keto diet where you cycle through days where you permit much higher intakes of carbohydrate, say 5 keto days and 2 carb days. Others practice a targeted keto diet permitting more carbs around workout times. If this sounds like something you would like to try, you might find that you can have that PSL after all…
So, to round up, if you are following the keto diet but love milk in your coffee, don’t despair as the two aren’t necessarily incompatible. All it requires is willingness to make slight modifications and who knows, maybe you’ll prefer it this way!