Ketogenic Diet and Dairy Products


It depends… Let’s start with keto-friendly dairy PROTEINS.

Milk and soft cheeses are too high in lactose (milk sugar) for inclusion in a ketogenic diet. However, some people choose to include hard cheeses. Keep in mind that intake of high PROTEIN dairy increases
blood levels of insulin AND cancer-promoting IGF-1. Given that, you might consider using cheese more like a “condiment” (e.g., 8 grams of Parmesan grated onto a salad).

Note that goat’s milk also contains IGF-1 so the same recommendation of “condiment” sized portions would hold true for goat cheeses. Also, if you gravitate towards goat cheese because you believe they are
raised more humanely, a quick Internet search will set you straight.

Download Top Ketogenic Diet eBook. Click here to download it.

Now let’s consider dairy FATS:

High FAT dairy (e.g., butter or heavy whipping cream) has very little protein. You can reduce it further by clarifying your butter.

However, there is controversy surrounding another constituent found in dairy fats: “estrogen metabolites”. No studies involve dairy fat intakes as high as those typically associated with ketogenic diets. That further complicates this picture.

What it boils down to is this: all high-fat dairy, whether from industrial producers or happy cows on organic pastures, contains high levels of sex hormones. Hormone receptors in humans appear to bind to these. This can’t be a good thing in hormone-sensitive cancers! (These hormones are not related to the Bovine Growth Hormone controversy.) High-fat goat products contain significantly lower levels of hormones but finding high-fat goat products is challenging in the U.S.!

Many people express frustration at the amount of dairy included in most ketogenic recipes and meals.
Thankfully, dairy-free recipes are becoming more popular. Some Paleo sites also offer interesting dairy-free recipes.

Download Top Ketogenic Diet eBook. Click here to download it.

Dairy allergy vs. lactose intolerance:

There’s a difference between a dairy allergy and dairy intolerance.

  1. Dairy allergy involves sensitivity to a dairy protein (usually casein) that in turn provokes an immune system response.
  2. Lactose intolerance results from insufficient production of the enzyme needed to break down the linkage between the monosaccharides (glucose and galactose) that make up one molecule of lactose (“milk sugar”). If lactose can’t be broken down, it ferments in the gut, leading to bloating and diarrhea.

People with lactose intolerance often believe they can’t have ANY dairy products. However, high-fat dairy contains very little lactose! Even hard cheese, contains only small amounts of lactose so most lactose-intolerant people can tolerate condiment-sized amounts.

You might want to include higher carb choices- mainly kefir and yogurt- in your diet plan. Very limited amounts of these can be made more keto-friendly if you strain them first to remove the liquid whey.

Follow these steps:

  • Read the label. Choose only full-fat (whole milk) products with NO non-fat milk solids, sugars, starches, gums, or gelatins.
  • Place a strainer in a pot, line it with paper towels or cheesecloth, then empty the contents of the container into the strainer.
  • Set a plate on top and place a heavy can on it to weigh it down.
  • Leave overnight, discard the liquid, and refrigerate the solids.
  • Enjoy 2 tablespoons of the strained solids with a meal. Add a tablespoon of cream or some oil to boost the fat content.

Download Top Ketogenic Diet eBook. Click here to download it.

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