One of the more common questions that get asked by people starting on the ketogenic or low carbohydrate diets is if they can have half and half or heavy whipped cream in their coffee.
The Short Answer: Half and Half Is Not Keto-Friendly
Unfortunately, half and half is not keto-friendly. That is because dairy products, such as milk, contain lactose, which is a sugar, and counts towards your total daily allowance of carbohydrates.
Heavy Whipped Cream is Keto-friendly
Usually, heavy whipping cream is keto-friendly; however, you should read the nutrition facts carefully, as there may still be a small number of carbs present.
The Restrictions of the Keto Diet
Before further exploring why heavy whipping cream and half-and-half might not be friendly on the ketogenic diet, it is important to learn more about these specific restrictions of this diet. The keto diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat way of eating. You will limit your carbohydrate intake when you follow a ketogenic or low carb diet. The idea is that by consuming your calories from fat and protein, you stay away from carbohydrates. Therefore, your body has to burn fat for its energy source instead, which is ketosis.
When your body breaks down fats, it converts them into fatty acids and then ketones. Then, your body burns them for energy, including your brain. Because your body is burning fat, you should lose weight.
On the keto diet, there are plenty of things you can still eat. This includes eggs, meat, vegetables, and seafood. You can also drink water, tea, and coffee as long as they are not sweetened.
There are different carbohydrate restrictions on the keto diet. In general, you should try to limit yourself to 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day or less. This is an incredibly low number, which is why you want to stay away from dairy products that have a lot of carbohydrates in them. Remember that dairy products contain lactose, which is a type of sugar or carbohydrate.
Why Isn’t Half and Half Keto-Friendly?
Half and half is a dairy product. Therefore, it contains milk. Virtually all dairy products contain a high amount of carbohydrates because they contain a milk sugar called lactose. Even though lactose is different from table sugar, which is sucrose, lactose is still a carbohydrate. If you consume half and half, you could be consuming enough carbohydrates to knock you out of ketosis. Therefore, you should stay away from half and half.
You may be thinking about using heavy whipping cream instead. Heavy whipping cream is usually keto-friendly; however, it could still contain some lactose, which is why you should read the nutrition facts carefully. If you consume a lot of heavy whipping cream that is high in carbs, you may still fall out of ketosis.
Isn’t Heavy Whipping Cream Still a Dairy Product?
If you go to the grocery store, it is true that you will probably find heavy whipping cream located in the dairy section. It is probably going to be next to the milk, cheese, and half-and-half. On the other hand, heavy whipping cream usually does not contain a high number of carbohydrates. Some types of heavy whipping cream do not contain any carbohydrates at all.
That is because the cream is made from the fat portion of dairy products. Therefore, heavy whipping cream is going to be very high in fat. On the other hand, it is not very high in carbohydrates because a lot of these carbohydrates are removed when the cream is made. Depending on the number of carbohydrates are present in the heavy whipping cream, you may or may not be able to use it. Be sure to read the nutrition facts carefully when you are following the keto diet. You should also be sure to take a look at the serving size. Add up the number of servings you are going to use before you decide to add heavy whipping cream to whatever it is you are eating or drinking.
What Happens If I Use Half and Half on the Keto Diet?
If you decide to use half and half on the keto diet, there is a chance that you could end up knocking your body out of ketosis. Remember that your body is going to prefer to use carbohydrates if they are available to you. If you consume half-and-half, you give your body carbohydrates. Therefore, your body is going to burn carbohydrates instead of fat. That means your body is no longer in a state of ketosis.
You can check and see if your body is still in ketosis relatively easily. The first thing you should do is see what your breath smells like. When you are in ketosis, your breath should have a fruity smell to it. That is because your body is producing ketones, which smell like fruit. You can also get some ketone test strips to test your urine. If you are in ketosis, ketones should be showing up in your urine. These test strips usually change color when they are positive.
Most importantly, if your body is no longer in ketosis, you may not lose weight as quickly as you would like. That is because your body is no longer burning fat. If you want to keep your body in a state of ketosis and meet your weight loss goals, you should try to stay away from half and half on the keto diet.
What Can I Use as a Replacement for Half and Half?
If you are looking for a replacement for half and half on the keto diet, the first thing you should do is take a look at heavy whipping cream. A lot of people already substitute heavy whipping cream and half-and-half back and forth even if they are not following the keto diet. Therefore, take a look at your heavy whipping cream. Make sure it doesn’t have any carbohydrates in it. If your whipping cream does not have any carbohydrates, then you should be able to use it as a replacement for half and half.
In addition, you could also use butter as a replacement. Butter is a popular addition to numerous drinks and foods on the keto diet. Keep in mind that butter is still very high in calories. Therefore, if you consume a lot of calories from butter, you may still have a hard time meeting your weight loss goals. Approximately one tablespoon of butter still contains about 100 calories. Therefore, you should only consume butter in moderation.
You may also want to use something called clarified butter. This is called Ghee. Whereas typical butter is about 80 percent fat, Ghee is 100 percent fat. Therefore, it should go without saying that this is still something you should consume in moderation. Your body can consume fats for energy, as demonstrated by ketosis. Furthermore, ghee does contain a number of healthy fats that are good for you along with several vitamins. Of course, ghee does not contain any sugar, making it friendly for the keto diet. Keep in mind that ghee is even higher in calories than butter. Therefore, consume ghee sparingly since it can significantly add to excess calories that you consume.
There are a few other milk-like products you can shoot as well. For example, some people like to use coconut milk if they are trying to substitute another dairy product. It is a source of healthy fat; however, it is not perfect, as it still contains a fractional number of carbohydrates. Be sure to read the nutrition facts closely. Furthermore, you may also want to use almond milk as well. Almond milk does have a good taste to it; however, it has even more carbohydrates than coconut milk. Therefore, you should also use almond milk sparingly, as you may knock yourself out of ketosis. Think about putting a few of these alternatives to use if you are looking for a way to replace half and half when you are following the keto diet.