5 Reasons Why Buttermilk Is Bad For Keto Diet

Is Buttermilk Keto
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In the past, buttermilk was something that both chefs and the average Joe would incorporate into their cooking quite frequently. Buttermilk, a fermented dairy drink, helps baked goods stay tender. It’s a popular choice in baking because it can be easily made with ingredients, like milk and vinegar, that people frequently have on hand.

Despite its versatility and ease of making, the popularity of buttermilk has been dying down. This is due to its higher sugar content and lack of nutritional value, especially when purchasing processed buttermilk from the store.

For those following a keto diet, there has been some confusion surrounding buttermilk. That’s because it claims to be mostly dairy and there is some buttermilk that’s just made with butter. Therefore, it would appear to be keto-friendly.

Here are five reasons why buttermilk is not keto-friendly.

#1 Buttermilk is Made with Cows’ Milk

There are some dairy products that are acceptable on a keto diet. Products like ghee, heavy whipping cream, cheese, and butter are encouraged for your lifestyle because they don’t have any milk fats in them and they are low in carbs and sugars.

Buttermilk, however, is made with cows’ milk which is a no-go on the keto diet. That’s because cows’ milk is too high in carbs. Consuming too much of it on a frequent basis will kick you out of ketosis.

Getting some dairy in your diet, however, is important because it does contain calcium which is important for bone health.

Luckily, there are substitutes. Instead of buttermilk, you can use cream or fortified almond milk, both of which still contain calcium and won’t kick you out of ketosis.

#2 Buttermilk Has a High Sugar Content

One cup of buttermilk alone has 12 grams of sugar in it. If you’re following a keto diet, you want to reduce your sugar intake. That means saying goodbye to fruits, milk, desserts, and more.

Label reading becomes very important, especially when surveying the added sugar in a product. Substitutes like monk fruit and sugar alcohols are encouraged instead.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a way to make traditional buttermilk without sugar. The stuff on the store shelves typically contain added and natural sugars.

Therefore, it’s not advised to consume this on the keto diet. You don’t want to spike your blood sugar.

Refined sugar, like what is found in buttermilk, can also turn into carbohydrates. The average person following a keto diet needs to keep their carbs and sugar intake below 50 grams a day.

#3 Buttermilk is High in Carbs

In order to stay in ketosis, you’ll want to stay between 20 and 50 grams of carbs per day, although this number is different for everyone.

The main thing, however, is that you want to stay away from high-carb foods. Most people know that this means staying away from bread, fast food, pasta, and cookies.

What kicks people out of ketosis sometimes is those hidden carbs. Many people see that you can have dairy on keto, and they automatically think that means milk. Drinking too much milk and cooking with buttermilk can kick you out of ketosis.

Buttermilk has 12 grams of carbs in one cup. That means that if you cook with it just once, you’ve already used half the carbs you’re allowed for the day.

#4 Buttermilk Can Cause Inflammation

Buttermilk can be made in a few different ways. Traditionally, it was made with the liquid that you have leftover after you churn butter.

Now, it’s commonly made by adding bacteria culture to low-fat milk and heating it.

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product and therefore can have anti-inflammatory effects. Dairy products themselves can also cause arthritis pain to flare up due to the protein they contain.

Sometimes, buttermilk can cause inflammation and pain because of the hormones and chemicals it contains. That’s because store-bought buttermilk is typically made through an industrial process.

Skip the buttermilk if you’re trying to follow a cleaner keto-lifestyle.

#5 Buttermilk Contains No Fiber

Buttermilk contains 0 grams of dietary fiber which is bad news for those on a keto diet, especially considering how many carbs a cup of buttermilk has.

Fiber is crucial on a keto diet because it helps you have regular bowel movements, and it aids in keeping your digestive tract healthy.

Those who follow a keto lifestyle, are constantly looking for ways to add more fiber to their diet without adding carbs.

That’s why buttermilk should be out of your diet. It doesn’t offer any benefits to the keto diet.


Overall, buttermilk that you purchase from the store or make with cows’ milk is not recommended for those on the keto diet.

Instead, you can put your own spin on buttermilk and recreate the traditional recipe with something that is keto-friendly and much better for you.

It won’t taste exactly the same as the traditional stuff but if you want to up your fat intake without adding onto your carb amount, make keto-friendly buttermilk with heavy whipping cream and vinegar.

You could also substitute with almond milk or ghee. There are plenty of keto-friendly alternatives that are low-carb, low sugar-, and high in healthy fats. You just have to get creative with your baking.

Buttermilk on Keto FAQs

Is buttermilk keto-friendly?

Buttermilk is not keto-friendly because it is high in carbs and sugar. A cup of buttermilk contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, all of which come from sugar.

What is buttermilk made of?

Buttermilk is made from the liquid that is left after churning butter. A bacteria culture is then introduced to ferment the buttermilk. Buttermilk gets the sugar and protein content from the milk and thus it’s high in carbs and sugar. On the other hand, butter only gets the fat from the milk and thus it’s high in fat but low in carbs and protein.

What is the nutrition profile of buttermilk?

A cup of buttermilk (245 g) contains 99 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates (all 12 grams coming from sugar), 8 grams of protein, and 2.2 grams of fat.

What are the best alternatives to buttermilk for keto?

The best alternatives to buttermilk for keto are grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, and organic heavy whipping cream.

Is buttermilk lactose-free?

Buttermilk is not lactose-free since it contains the sugar and proteins of the milk. On the other hand, butter is almost lactose-free because it only contains the fat from the milk. Individuals who are lactose-intolerant are generally sensitive to buttermilk, but not to butter.

Is buttermilk gluten-free?

Buttermilk does not contain wheat, rye, and barley so it is gluten-free.


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