Is Buttermilk Keto Friendly?

My entire family and I are big fans of buttermilk. Every summer, we make and enjoy chilled buttermilk. It seems like this classic refreshing drink keeps the heat away.

Ever since my younger brother started doing the keto diet, he stopped drinking buttermilk. I was confused at first as butter, ghee, and cheese are allowed on keto. Then why not buttermilk?

Although cow milk is not preferable for the keto diet, I couldn’t find the reason for cutting down buttermilk from the keto diet. I know many of you are also looking forward to understanding this.

Is buttermilk keto friendly? Well, I lost my patience and asked my younger brother about the reason behind it. After that, I also researched a lot and concluded.

I know it will be heartbreaking for buttermilk lovers on a keto diet. But you have good news too. Read till the last to know about that.

is buttermilk keto friendly

Buttermilk And Keto

Buttermilk is famous among bakers. This easy-to-make drink has a huge fan base.

When choosing food for a ketogenic diet, checking the ingredients is a must. The keto diet requires food that contains a high quantity of fat and protein. Generally, foods with high protein and healthy fat keep your tummy fuller for a long time.

It is tricky to find out whether buttermilk is keto friendly or not. We are examining here:

Ingredients Of Buttermilk

First of all, none should be confused about cow milk. Is buttermilk made of cow milk? I guess maximum people know that cow milk is not keto friendly.

The answer is ‘no’. Buttermilk is made with leftover milk. By leftover, I mean the milk that is left after collecting butter.

I know what you are thinking right now. We do not have cow milk, prohibited in a keto diet. So, is buttermilk keto friendly?

ingredients of buttermilk

I will answer this question later. First, let’s know the difference between the two types of buttermilk.

There is a difference between homemade buttermilk and the one bought from the store. Have you tried both? If yes, then you may know the difference.

Buttermilk that you make at home is comparatively thinner than the store one. It has a more vinegary taste. We can call it sour milk as vinegar or anything acidic to make buttermilk at home.

However, store-bought buttermilk is comparatively thicker in texture. It is called cultured similar to yogurt.

We were coming back to the question about the acceptability of buttermilk in the keto diet. Both homemade and cultured buttermilk is supposed to be not keto friendly. I believe you will indeed find the answer by reading to the last.

Nutritional Values Of Buttermilk

I got a question recently from a cousin of mine. She is a newbie to a keto diet. It is compulsory to calculate the nutritional values of any food to know whether it is acceptable for keto dieters or not.

nutritional values of buttermilk

The summary of her question is whether we can have whipped cream during a keto diet. Then why not buttermilk?  

Well, the answer is simple. There is no milk fat in whipped cream, and it is low in carbs. So, both heavy and light whipped cream is keto friendly.

But is buttermilk keto friendly? The nutritional values prove it all. So let’s check:

Rich In Net Carbs

The first rule for a food to be keto friendly is that it has to be low in carbs. Carbs distract keto dieters from maintaining regularity.

Buttermilk, whether it is homemade or store-purchased, contains high carbs. Per cup serving (8 oz) contains 12 grams of carbs.

Low In Fat

How much fat is in butter? Well, we all know butter is high in fat. It is also called milk fat.

Here confusion begins. Why does buttermilk have low fat? Does buttermilk have butter?

The name ‘buttermilk’ is somehow misleading. I fear you will be shocked if you eat buttermilk, assuming it has butter.

Buttermilk does not contain any butter. It is made with milk that is free from butter. You can call it fat-free milk.

Food for keto has to be high in fat to keep the body energetic. You can consume both saturated and unsaturated fat during keto. Sadly buttermilk sounds fatty but is not.

The quantity of fat in buttermilk will also surprise you. One hundred grams of buttermilk contains only 0.9 grams of fat.

High In Sugar

Sugar is a carbohydrate and contains a lot of calories. We all should count the calories we intake every day. This helps to be in the desired weight.

Keto is not about cutting down all the sugars from your daily meal. However, it is better to do so. But eating sugar in a minimal amount will not harm you that much.

Moreover, it would be best to remember that every food has different types of sugars. Some sugars are healthy and necessary for the body. On the other hand, some are incredibly harmful.

One cup of buttermilk has 11.7 grams of sugar. Though this is natural sugar, the quantity is still high. Adding more refined sugar can increase blood sugar levels.

Zero Dietary Fiber

It is vital to consume foods that contain dietary fiber on a keto diet. Experts suggest intaking at least 25 grams-29 grams of fiber daily.

Recently I was reading in research that fiber can be the reason for reducing early deaths. I have found a few keto diet charts on the internet that include food with less fiber. But I’m afraid that’s not right.

Here I have another bad news for keto dieters who are buttermilk fans. Buttermilk contains absolutely zero dietary fiber.

The High Amount Of Protein

After giving all the bad news to buttermilk lovers, I have a piece of good news too. Buttermilk is a fantastic source of protein.

Who doesn’t know the health benefits of protein? It helps to build strong muscles and bones. Protein is also necessary for healthy hair and skin.

A ketogenic diet always requires foods that are rich sources of protein. 20-25% of protein is a necessity on a keto diet.

Let’s come to the calculation part. One cup of buttermilk contains 8 grams of protein.

Excellent Source Of Calcium

Mostly, Calcium is famous for the benefit of building solid muscles like protein. But only a few people know that Calcium can also be helpful for weight loss.

Buttermilk contains a lot of Calcium, which can be beneficial for health. One hundred grams of buttermilk has 116 mg of Calcium.

Can You Have Buttermilk On Keto?

So, can you have buttermilk while doing a keto diet? Unfortunately, the answer is ‘No’. From the above nutritional discussion, buttermilk is high in carbs, extremely low in fat, and has zero dietary fiber. Buttermilk is a good source of protein though it is not acceptable in keto and can kick you out of ketosis.

Health Benefits Of Buttermilk

Despite all the nutritional facts, buttermilk has many health benefits too. Those are:

Lowers Cholesterol Level

A recent study report says that daily intake of buttermilk lowers the body’s cholesterol level. But it has to be in a small amount.

Cardiovascular patients can also get benefits from drinking buttermilk every day. It is advantageous in maintaining cardiovascular health.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Many scientists have researched and found that if you drink buttermilk every day, it will help you to lower blood pressure. Also, buttermilk contains high potassium.

One hundred grams of buttermilk has 151 mg of potassium. This considerable quantity of potassium in buttermilk helps to reduce blood pressure. But make sure you do not drink buttermilk excessively.

Helps In Digestion

Suppose you have eaten a lot at a party or an invitation to a closed house. Do not worry. Just drink a glass of buttermilk, and you will feel all good.

Buttermilk has healthy bacteria in it that is helpful for your digestive system. Do you have a lactose intolerance problem? Hold on; buttermilk will not suffer you.

Natural Body Coolant

Buttermilk is an excellent option for cooling down your body during excessive heat days. It also works to improve metabolism. Drinking buttermilk after coming home leaves a cooling sensation in the stomach.

Yes, surprisingly, it is true. Some people prefer curd and not buttermilk. But doctors never suggest ill people have curd as it makes the body hot.

Hydrates The Body

It is common in summer or in winter to suffer from dehydration issues. In this yummy and refreshing drink, buttermilk works to hydrate your body.

Buttermilk has high electrolytes such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc. This popularly known summer drink has around 90 percent water in it.

Good For Oral Health

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product. Many reports say that it is helpful for those people who have oral inflammation issues.

Cancer patients need to take regular chemotherapy. Due to chemo, they may suffer from severe oral problems. Buttermilk can be a natural remedy for that.

Beneficial For Skin And Hair

Buttermilk can be called a holistic drink to make you beautiful from inside and out. It is rich in lactic acid. We know lactic acid is effective in curing skin issues.

Buttermilk brings a change in your hair texture. Vital nutrients in buttermilk help for the nourishment of hair. Also, it works great for cleansing your skin and makes your skin softer than ever.

Boost Immune System

Who doesn’t know the benefits of a robust immune system? It plays a vital role in getting rid of many diseases.

Buttermilk contains essential nutrients that are necessary for the body. From various perspectives, it can be called an immune booster.

Substitute Of Buttermilk For Keto

Probably you have understood buttermilk is not keto friendly if you have gone through the review so far. But what about buttermilk lovers? Is there any substitute for buttermilk during keto?

Getting a replacement of buttermilk is a tough job as it may differ in taste. But I guess you have heard ‘Something is better than nothing’. Here comes the good news I have promised you.

The first option can be heavy whipping cream with vinegar. I discussed a few ago that heavy cream is keto friendly. You can add lemon juice, too, if vinegar is not available in your kitchen.

The second option I have is unsweetened coconut milk with vinegar or lemon. Cream of tartar can also be used with coconut milk, but it must be unsweetened. Do not use coconut water here, as that will not be acceptable on keto.

Have you ever tried cashew milk? I like the taste of cashew milk. Another option is unsweetened cashew milk with vinegar or any acid.

If you like almond milk more, you can also use that. The taste will not be much different. Moreover, both almond and cashew milk are low in carbohydrates.

The key ingredient of our last option is none other than yogurt. Yogurt, especially Greek, is rich in protein. It can be plain yogurt or greek yogurt as well.

You need to add water with your preferred yogurt and whisk continuously until it gets the buttermilk consistency. Sour cream can also be an alternative to yogurt.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Does buttermilk contain lactose?

Well, we can not consider buttermilk lactose-free. Even if it is not made of milk, it contains protein and sugar from milk. So, it contains lactose.

2. Is buttermilk gluten-free? 

Gluten is one kind of protein. It is found in grains such as wheat, barley, etc. Buttermilk is gluten-free.

3. Does buttermilk help in weight loss? 

Dieticians suggest that if you feel hungry often, buttermilk is a solution for you. It will keep you fuller and hydrated for a more extended period.

According to the nutritional values, buttermilk contains higher carbs and is low in fat, and is not acceptable in the keto diet weight loss programs.

4. Does buttermilk prevent chronic diseases? 

Buttermilk contains vitamin E, beta carotene, and other rich antioxidants. Thus it helps to prevent chronic diseases.

5. How many calories are there in buttermilk?

One hundred grams of buttermilk has 40 calories in it.

6. What kind of milk is keto friendly?

Any plant-based milk can be more perfect than cow’s milk. By plant-based, I mean macadamia nut milk, flax milk, soy milk, pea milk, and almond milk.

7. Is there any quick keto friendly buttermilk recipe?

The traditional buttermilk recipe is not at all permissible for keto. But we indeed have an alternative option for this delicious drink. Here is a quick and easy recipe for you:

You will need whole-fat curd/greek yogurt, mint leaves, cumin powder, black salt, and water. Blend it all and enjoy your keto friendly buttermilk.

8. Can buttermilk cause inflammation?

A fermentation process makes buttermilk. It does not have any anti-inflammatory properties.

Store-bought buttermilk has few chemicals in it. So, buttermilk can cause inflammation.

Final Thoughts 

Buttermilk is a popular drink in India. In India and many other countries, people enjoy this delicious drink. Another name for buttermilk is ‘Chaas’.

My neighbors make varieties of recipes with buttermilk, like buttermilk pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc. Once I made buttermilk brownies on Christmas and gained appreciation from all the guests.

A ketogenic diet might seem too hard to continue if cravings always remain unfulfilled. Traditional buttermilk lovers will surely crave it during keto.

So, is buttermilk keto friendly? Buttermilk may not be the apparent option on keto. But a little will not harm you that much.

After all, we should not forget the usefulness of this drink. Keep tracking your daily calorie intake, and do not exceed the limit.

Hey there. I am a registered doctor and founder of this site. The main goal of this site is to help individuals with good food habits, diet, and nutrition. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, exploring different food recipes and diets.

Leave a Comment