Is Oat Milk Keto-Friendly? Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Oat milk has become a popular choice for individuals with lactose intolerance. But is oat milk keto-friendly?

No, oat milk isn’t keto-approved. It’s made from grains and naturally high in carbs, making it an unsuitable dairy-free milk alternative for a keto diet. 

Let’s find out why you shouldn't drink oat milk and which milk alternatives are safe on a ketogenic diet.  

Oat milk

What is oat milk?

Oat milk is a plant-based cow’s milk alternative made from oats. 

After oats are soaked and blended, the mixture is strained through a fine mesh to remove the pulp, leaving a milk-like liquid with a very creamy texture and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. 

Because of its creamy texture and pleasant taste, oat milk has become a popular substitute for regular milk. Different types of oat milk are widely available, including vitamin D-fortified oat milk, sweetened and unsweetened oat milk, and even chocolate oat milk.   

Oat milk nutritional facts 

According to data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup (240 ml) of oat milk contains the following:

  • 120 calories

  • 5 g total fat

  • 16 g carbs

  • 2 g of fiber

  • 3 g protein

Young woman looking at a glass of milk

Can I have oat milk on keto?

Oat milk isn't keto-approved. 

Oats are a type of grain and are naturally high in carbs. When processed into milk, the carb content becomes even more concentrated, which explains why one cup of oat milk can contain as much as 16 grams of carbs. 

While oats are a rich source of dietary fiber, most of the fiber content is removed during oat milk processing, leaving a high-carb milk substitute that’s low in fiber. 

Because of the low dietary fiber content, one cup of oat milk contains around 14 grams of net carbs. 

To trigger and maintain ketosis, it’s crucial to limit net carb intake to no more than 20 to 50 grams per day. Oat milk can quickly exceed your daily net carb count and push you out of ketosis. 

 Almond milk

Keto-friendly dairy-free milk alternatives

There is much confusion when it comes to dairy products and keto, and it’s often believed that whole cow’s milk is keto-friendly due to its high-fat content. 

All types of cow’s milk are high in lactose, a milk sugar that can quickly kick you out of ketosis. It’s best to avoid regular milk if you are on a low-carb diet. 

“Dairy-free milk alternatives are an excellent option for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies and for those who are doing keto,” explains Dr. Berg. “However, not all milk substitutes are the same, and their carb content can differ significantly.”  

Here are some low-carb, dairy-free milk alternatives.

Unsweetened almond milk

Unsweetened almond milk has 1.4 grams of net carbs per cup, making it an ideal dairy-free keto milk alternative that works great in smoothies, desserts, and coffee.

It’s important to read labels to avoid sweetened almond milk packed with added sugars. 

Unsweetened coconut milk

Coconut milk is keto-friendly and another excellent low-carb dairy-free milk substitute. 

While coconut milk is high in fat, it contains slightly more carbs than other keto-approved dairy-free milk. Half a cup of canned coconut milk contains around 3 grams of net carbs, and it’s important to include coconut milk in your daily net carb count to maintain ketosis.

Flaxseed milk

Unsweetened flax milk 

Flax milk has a mild nutty flavor and is made by soaking, blending, and straining flaxseeds. It’s low in carbs, a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, and contains plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. 

One cup of unsweetened flaxseed milk contains one net carb—perfect for keto. 

Unsweetened cashew milk 

Unsweetened cashew milk without added sugars or flavorings contains around 1 to 2 grams of carbs per cup. 

Cashew milk has a creamy texture, making it a great dairy-free and keto-approved addition to hot or iced coffees, soups, stews, dressings, and sauces. 

Unsweetened macadamia nut milk 

Like many other kinds of nut milk, macadamia nut milk is keto-friendly and contains around 1 gram of net carbs per cup. 

It has a creamy taste, often described as buttery and smooth, with a hint of sweetness. 

Macadamia nuts are exceptionally healthy, and their milk is a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamins E, B2, B12, and calcium. 

Woman choosing milk

Which dairy-free alternatives to avoid on keto

Not all dairy-free milk alternatives are keto-friendly, and it’s important to check labels to avoid high-carb milk that can interfere with ketosis. 

Here are some dairy-free milks that you should avoid on keto.

Rice milk

Rice milk has more carbs than most other non-dairy milk alternatives. 

Depending on the exact brand, rice milk can contain up to 20 net carbs per cup, and it’s best to avoid rice milk and rice milk products while on keto. 

Oat milk

Oat milk is high in carbs and not keto-approved.

It’s relatively low in fat and contains around 16 carbs per cup, making it unsuitable for a high-fat, low-carb diet. 

Soy milk

While unsweetened soy milk is relatively low in carbs, it isn’t a healthy option for a nutritious low-carb diet like Healthy Keto®

Soy milk is typically made from GMO crops linked to adverse health effects, including fertility issues, hormone imbalances, and poor liver function.  

A review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found, "The results of most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters.

Man drinking milk

Key takeaways

Is oat milk keto-friendly? No, oat milk is high in carbs and can quickly push you out of ketosis.

Coconut milk, flaxseed milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and macadamia nut milk are nutritious low-carb, dairy-free milk alternatives that won’t interfere with fat burning or disrupt ketone production.  

It’s important to check labels and opt for unsweetened keto-milk to keep your carb intake low and maintain ketosis.  


1. What kind of milk is best on keto?

Low-carb, high-fat milk alternatives such as almond milk, cashew milk, macadamia nut milk, coconut milk, and flaxseed milk are keto-friendly options that won’t kick you out of ketosis.


2. Is almond milk okay for ketosis?

Almond milk contains less than 2 net carbs per cup, making it an excellent keto-friendly milk alternative.  

3. Is oat milk or almond milk better for you?

Oat milk is high in carbs and can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can impact your metabolic health and lead to weight gain. 

In contrast, almond milk is a good source of health-promoting fats and has a very low carb content, meaning it won’t impact blood sugar and insulin levels. 

4. Are there carbs in oat milk?

Oat milk is made from a grain and is naturally high in carbs. Oat milk contains around 16 carbs per cup, making it unsuitable for a low-carb diet. 

5. Is oat milk keto-friendly? 

No, oat milk isn’t keto-friendly. It’s made from oat grains which are high in carbs, making it an unsuitable dairy-free milk alternative for a low-carb diet. 

6. Is oat milk high in carbs?

Yes, oat milk is high in carbs. One cup of oat milk contains 16 grams of carbs and two grams of fiber, leaving a net carb count of 14 grams per cup. 

7. What dairy is allowed on keto?

Dairy products, including butter, whole cream, ghee, half and half, and aged cheeses, are low in carbs and rich sources of healthy fats, making them perfect keto-friendly ingredients. 

Ideally, choose 100% grass-fed and organic products to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones that are often used in conventional cattle farming. 

8. Which milk is the lowest in carbs?

Compared to most other milk alternatives, unsweetened macadamia nut milk is typically considered to be among the lowest-carb milks. 

While it does contain one gram of net carbs per cup, macadamia nut milk contains more fats than most other milk substitutes, which makes it a perfect keto-friendly option.  

9. Is almond milk or oat milk better for a low-carb diet?

It isn’t recommended to consume oat milk on a low-carb diet. Oat milk has a high carb content and can kick you out of ketosis. 

Almond milk, on the other hand, is a low-carb milk substitute that won't impact your blood sugar or insulin levels, making it an excellent dairy-free milk substitute if you are following a low-carb diet.  

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