Remember the times before we were always concerned about whether or not we were in ketosis? Remember eating a conventional breakfast of toast, pancakes, juice, and milk? It’s just crazy how we were all poisoning ourselves with carbohydrates without even thinking about it. That was the American way of life. Gotta love good ‘ole Grandma, fattening you up because you were “skin and bones” while she generously doused your waffles with sugary maple syrup.
Milk has always been a staple of our lives. Who would have known that cow titty juice would have such an industry behind it? The marketing for the benefits of milk has been nothing short of incredible.
The consumption of milk was a ritual for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide until those certain folks found out about the ketogenic diet. It turns out that with every cup of milk, you are ingesting 12 whole grams of sugar! In one cup! I would drink a quart of milk like it was nothing, little did I know that it had near 50 grams of sugar!
The rise of concern over milk’s sugar content has given rise to the popularity of milk alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, walnut milk, oat milk, cashew milk, and so on. But let us be clear: none of these are milk. More appropriate names would be almond water, soy water, and walnut water.
When I started keto I totally jumped aboard that train. I loved almond milk. Blue Diamond almond milk had like 8g of carbs in an entire half gallon. I would drink at least that per day. Loved it. It wasn’t later until I started the zero carb carnivore diet that I would stop drinking it. I decided to forgo consuming plant products altogether. The almond milk I was drinking had high oxalate content, which has been shown to cause kidney stones and even cancer. Screw that!
Milk has some great qualities if we ignore the sugar content. It is a terrific source of Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Cobalamin. The fat content is also sitting at 8 grams per cup. Solid!
Milk is much more controversial in the keto community than it is in the carnivore community. Keto people are always concerned whether or not that the milk will knock them out of ketosis, and they always have trouble kicking it because they’ve been drinking it their entire life. Not to mention that when they just start keto they’re still addicted to ice cream and dairy coffee creamers. It’s hard to get away from!
In the carnivore community, milk is often accepted! For example, one of the biggest forums for carnivory is the subreddit /r/ZeroCarb. The title of the subreddit is a bit of a misnomer, because their definition of “zero carb” is a bit interesting:
Different tribes of carnivores like to claim that milk technically fits under the definition of “zero carb” because milk is an animal product. Apparently, you can have carbohydrates, but as long as you remain free of plant-based food, you would be good. It’s a bit of a grey area, but lots of users recommend adding milk back into your diet after cutting out carbs for a while.
An interesting take for sure, as a few glasses of milk will quickly kick you out of ketosis. Perhaps for some on the carnivore diet, ketosis isn’t the goal? Many people feel that if dairy doesn’t affect you in a negative way, it becomes a great way to ingest some fat.
I can tell you personally that I have had a complicated relationship with milk. Earlier in my life, I was actually unable to drink it without getting the worst stomach aches ever. But it was so good it never stopped me. Particularly chocolate milk. I would slam an entire half gallon of chocolate milk and just deal with the tummy cramps it gave me. Let’s be honest: chocolate milk tastes like it is the nectar of the gods.
The same thing happened to me with ice cream. That doggone lactose intolerance. Somehow later in my teen years, I got more and more tolerant to lactose and now I can handle milk just fine. I will only drink whole milk from time to time. It is a delicacy for me, I hate being kicked out of ketosis. I feel like it is counterproductive to drink all the sugar in milk while it also has a high-fat content.
Allow me to propose an alternative: Fairlife!
Right now I am risking losing my readership for endorsing a MILK PRODUCT made by COCA-COLA. Yes, I know. I should be ashamed of myself. However, I stand by my decision.
Fairlife milk has a patented, fancy-pants filtration process that filters natural milk to increase protein and calcium and decrease lactose and sugar. As a result, Fairlife milk has only 6 grams of sugar per cup rather than 12. A 50% reduction in sugar, a 50% increase in protein, and 30% increase in calcium! Holy bananas! You can drink twice the amount of Fairlife milk and stay in ketosis! It also tastes awesome and digests terrifically due to being lactose-free. Clearly, this is the healthiest Coca-Cola product of all-time. I feel zero guilt drinking it while living the carnivore life.
My diet now I would describe as animal product consumption. I count milk and eggs as animal products, obviously. A nice cold glass of whole milk keeps me within my dietary goals, but it is VERY difficult to have just one glass.
To those who might be interested in reintroducing dairy into your diet after cutting out carbs, let me offer a suggestion. Give goat milk a try. It is the bomb dot gov. Creamy and delicious, and it is also way easier to digest for most people. It is the true milk alternative, unlike almond water!
Carnivores on the web are also concerned about something else related to milk: whether or not it is pasteurized. That’s right, we have a lot of folks who are seeking out the controversial RAW milk. In the world of carnivory, super-heating your milk and destroying the nutritional content of milk is a SIN. We’ve all heard the horror stories of your buddy’s uncle who drank raw milk, got an infection, and ended up a vegetable. Scary!
But I’ll try anything once. Or at least try to try. In my state, raw milk is prohibited for human consumption. However, you can buy raw milk directly from farms if you wish to try it. I will give finding a farm a shot and report back!
So in addition to being concerned with whether or not is pasteurized, apparently we need to be considered whether or not it was homogenized, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, whole, lactose-free, and filtered. Why on Earth does drinking milk have to so complicated?
In conclusion, the answer to the thesis presented is this:
If you are eating a ketogenic diet and your main goal is ketosis, you should refrain from drinking milk.
If you are eating a carnivore, zero-carb diet, you should refrain from drinking milk.
If you are eating a carnivore, animal product diet, you should CONSIDER drinking milk to see its effect on you.
Also, remember that Fairlife milk is the bee’s knees. (No, I am not getting paid by Coca-Cola) 🙂
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Here are some past blog posts that highlight the benefits of the carnivore lifestyle!