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Is Buttermilk Keto Friendly?

Is Buttermilk Keto Friendly?

Being on a keto diet can be a challenge due to the less space to include carbohydrates. It is best to go for foods with higher protein and healthy fat content as they will help you keep fuller for a long period of time. While butter, ghee and cheese are considered keto-friendly, buttermilk or chaas is not. This can sound confusing because after all, buttermilk is derived from the same source as ghee or cheese. But in reality, there's a difference. Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product. Most modern buttermilk is cultured, meaning that beneficial bacteria have been added to it. It’s different from traditional buttermilk, which is rarely found in Western countries today. Buttermilk is made by introducing bacteria in low-fat cow's milk and this mixture is then heated. To understand why buttermilk isn't the best option for keto, it is important to understand its nutritional profile. One serving of buttermilk is a good source of several nutrients, including protein, calcium, and riboflavin, 254 grams of buttermilk (standard serving of a cup) contains 12 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein and 2.2 grams of fat. It might be surprising but buttermilk has lower fat content than milk itself. This is the first reason that doesn't make it suitable for a keto diet. 

Why Is Buttermilk Not Suitable On A Keto Diet

Individuals on keto-diet need to limit their carbohydrate intake between 20-50 grams a day. However, buttermilk has a whopping 12 grams of added sugar in it, which can lead to failure of ketosis. Due to its processed form, sugar gets readily absorbed in our bloodstream and leads to abrupt insulin spike. Insulin is responsible for maintaining blood glucose levels and disruption in its levels can lead to serious problems. 


Unfortunately, buttermilk cannot be made without added sugar since it is an important ingredient in maintaining the taste and texture of chaas. The so-called buttermilk available in the market is even worse. Commercial brands add preservatives, high quantities of sugar, artificial colors and flavours. They are much more harmful than the traditional buttermilk churned and made at home. If you are on a keto diet and still wish to enjoy the taste of buttermilk, you can opt for fortified almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk and plain yogurt. These options will not only satiate your taste buds but also keep your calories in check. 

Healthy Alternatives 

Now, you might be wondering how is almond milk and coconut milk any better than buttermilk? Well, here's your answer. Almond milk is extremely low on carbs, with just 1 gram of carbohydrate in 240 mL of milk. Fortified almond milk is enriched with micronutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Almond milk itself is a great source of vitamin E, which acts as a free radical scavenger in our body. This protects your body from internal damage and boosts the overall metabolism. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and prevents bone fractures. Our daily diets do not contain any significant amount of vitamin D and can lead to fatigue, irritability and osteoporosis. Hence, inculcating fortified almond milk in your diet can strengthen your body for better.

Coconut Milk

Unsweetened coconut milk too can be a great addition to your keto diet. Naturally high in fat, a cup of coconut milk contains 48 grams of fat and only 6 grams of natural carbohydrates. This will help you to stay well within your daily carb limits and give you an instant boost of energy.

Buttermilk and Fiber

Since keto diet is mainly focussed on fat consumption, it is crucial to include fiber in your diet. But buttermilk does not contain any significant quantity of fiber and won't help your diet in any way. Inculcating fiber on keto diets is essential as it helps in smooth bowel movements and keeps your intestines healthy. Absence of fiber can lead to constipation, acne and d in severe cases, even piles. Buttermilk will not provide any fiber in your diet and hence, best to be avoided. In addition, buttermilk  also contains lactose. Hence, it is not suitable for lactose-intolerant people and can cause bloating, stomach aches and pimples. It is also said to aggravate joint pain and is not recommended for people with arthritis or spondylosis. If you suffer from any of these conditions but want to fulfill your body's calcium demands, go for fortified and lactose-free milk options.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know all about buttermilk, you might want to avoid it in your keto-diet. But every once in a while, our taste buds take the better of us and this makes us crave our favourite foods. If you too find yourself craving buttermilk, here's a simple solution. Go and have it but in moderation. You can add one or two spoons of buttermilk to your favourite dishes to get a unique taste. Or you can get a small cup and measure the amount you wish to drink. Consuming buttermilk in moderation will help you stay on track while satisfying your taste buds. Oftentimes, one loses hope on ketosis due to the difficulty in following the diet. But if you start slow and listen to your body, you can definitely ace your keto plan. You might have heard of the common proverb- 'You can either drown in water or drink it'. The same goes with buttermilk too. While it is something you should avoid on keto, you can treat yourself to some buttermilk on your chest days and maintain a balance. Good luck!

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