Can I Drink a Latte on Keto? (yes, here’s how!)

I love a good coffee drink. But I also struggle to keep those extra pounds off. So I’ve wondered, can I drink a latte on keto?

Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Yes, you can drink a latte on keto. Just avoid any sweetener other than stevia, & use unsweetened almond or coconut milk. A latte is traditionally made with espresso, which has no carbs and steamed 2% milk which has 13 grams of carbs in an 8 oz serving. Adding sweeteners can significantly add to the total net carbs. 

Even coffee lovers struggle with the keto diet because of the surety regarding how the two are connected. Are you’re one of the baby boomers like me, you’ve probably asked the question, “can I drink a latte on keto?”

The good news is that you can. Nothing is stopping you from enjoying your morning latte so long as it’s the right type.

So let’s get going!

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What kind of milk in a latte is best for Keto?

There are many different types of milk you can use in a latte. Some are much more keto-friendly than others.

Whole milk and 2% milk are both pretty high in carbs.

After all, most people on keto are trying to limit their carb intake to 50 grams per day. So you don’t want to blow 1/4 of that just on your morning coffee!

So for that reason, non-dairy milk work best. I’m talking unsweetened almond or coconut. Those are both low in carbs (1 gram per 8 oz serving). But more importantly, you can find both of those in LOTS of places.

Cashew milk and hemp milk are also great for keto latte. For the unsweetened versions, they are also only 1 gram of carbs for 8 oz. But they can also be harder to find both at coffee shops and at the grocery store.

Steer clear of oat milk and other grain-based non-dairy milk. They tend to be much higher in carbs.

Here is how almond and coconut milk stack up against other types of milk or creamers in terms of carbs for an 8 oz serving:

TYPE OF MILK NET CARBS TOTAL FAT TOTAL CALORIES
ALMOND (sweetened) 8 g 2.5 g 60
ALMOND (unsweetened) 1 g 2.5 g 30
COCONUT (sweetened) 6 g 4.5 g 70
COCONUT (unsweet) 1 g 4 g 40
WHOLE MILK 11.7 g 8 g 149
2% MILK 13 g 4.9 g 137
HEAVY CREAM 6 g 86 g 800

I mentioned hemp milk above. Hemp milk is usually made from hemp seeds that are known for their many medicinal benefits.

Hemp is also associated with Marijuana since the share the same strain of plant. But, the milk doesn’t have any properties that could have the same effects of Marijuana. The milk is usually creamy and tastes like nuts, and it can be used in a variety of ways other than in coffee.

Hemp milk is also higher in calcium, protein than cow’s milk and has omega 3 and 6 fatty acids too. I would actually say it’s my favorite milk for a latter. But most coffee shops don’t carry it, unfortunately.

Can I use almond or coconut milk in a keto latte?

Yes, you can use almond milk or coconut milk in a keto latte.

That being said, it is best to buy or ask for unsweetened to ensure you’re not getting any added sugar. Both almond and coconut milk come in sweetened and unsweetened varieties.

Since the sweetened versions don’t say sweetened on the front of the label, look for “unsweetened” to be certain.

As you saw in the table in the section above, unsweetened almond and coconut milk both contain only 1 gram of carbs in an 8oz serving.

Compare that to the whopping 13 grams of carbs in the 2% milk Starbucks uses for a standard latte, and you can see how much better these alternatives are for anyone doing keto.

To make a keto latte, you’ll simply need espresso coffee and unsweetened almond or coconut milk.

Many people are also liking “bulletproof” coffee lately which just has the addition of healthy fats such as MCT oil or grass-fed butter to the coffee.

Neither MCT oil, nor butter, has any carbs whatsoever.

If you’re into the Bulletproof craze, check out these handy Bulletproof Brain Octane Travel Packs on Amazon (click to see it on Amazon).

Individual packets you can just add to your coffee whenever, wherever. Not only a great way to get your MCT oil, but also contains 4x the ketone energy of plain coconut oil!

Can I drink espresso on Keto?

Yes is the short answer.

Espresso, of course, is a highly concentrated black coffee, typically from Italian beans. It has super-hot water pressed through the ground espresso beans under pressure.

But at the end of the day, it’s still just black coffee.

And like all black coffee, it contains less than 1 gram of carbs when consumed plain.

The keto diet dictates that we load on healthy fats and proteins and keep the carbs to a bare minimum. Plain coffee is naturally going to work with even the strictest keto diet.

But apart from helping you stay in ketosis, espresso is also naturally high in antioxidants according to recent studies.

In fact, espresso contains more antioxidants than green or black tea. And an added plus is the boost your metabolism will get from the caffeine.

Espresso is very thick and contains a creamy layer on top. But it is just coffee, and it contains more caffeine than drip coffee as the brewing process makes the end product more concentrated.

Just avoid adding sugar or cream to your espresso for the greatest keto benefit.

If you’re looking for other keto-friendly ways to start your day, I have a recent article that dives into the world of yogurt and keto.

So if you’ve ever wondered if yogurt was keto-friendly, make sure and check that out. What really surprised me was how much higher in carbs some brands were compared to others.

Just click that link to see my complete breakdown of all of it.

Are chai tea lattes keto-friendly?

In most cases, no.

Now, chai tea bags are fine. Espresso shots are fine. Even steamed or foamed almond or coconut milk or heavy cream is fine.

The issue is that Starbucks and many other coffee shops buy a premixed chai latte mix. And those premade mixes are sweetened with sugar, 99% of the time.

So how do you get a chai tea latte that is keto-friendly?

Ask for 2 bags of chai tea bags steeped in 8 oz. of hot water. Then ask for 1 or 2 espresso shots and your choice of steamed milk that is keto-friendly like almond, coconut, or heavy cream.

It is best to use unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk to get the creamy feel in the latte. Steamed heavy cream diluted with water works well too. Unsweetened, as the name implies, means no sugar added, so that’s a must for your keto plan.

These are the best options for any coffee drink while on the Keto diet. You can also add some spices to a plain latte like cinnamon and ginger to help simulate a chai tea.

The good thing about chai lattes is that it also comes with health benefits that are a boost to your ketosis diet. In fact, Healthline noted chai may “lower blood pressure”, and have a positive impact on cholesterol.

Just like espresso, chai not only contains caffeine, but also nutrients, and antioxidants.

Spices like ginger help in your digestive system by making digestion easy and even burning of excessive fats that are not Keto friendly.

What can I drink at Starbucks on Keto?

Starbucks makes some great coffee drinks.

However, MANY of their drinks are loaded with sugar. Even their whipped cream has a ton of sugar. Think you’ll just do 1 pump of flavored syrup?

Think again.

Each pump will get you between 5-7 grams of carbs. If you are only doing 50 grams of carbs a day, you can’t allocate 10% to one coffee drink.

That being said, they do offer sugar-free syrups, but since they are made with sucralose (Splenda), I can’t advocate for them due to the overwhelmingly concerning studies [1] about how they can negatively impact your gut health and some studies link leukemia [2] to sucralose.

But I do admit they won’t kick you out of ketosis.

You’ll also want to avoid drinks that are made with a premade mix, such as their chai latte. Those mixes contain sugar already, so there’s no way to leave it out.

The wide variety of their products, including coffee, caters to people who have different preferences. That includes those who are concerned about their weight. If you have started the keto diet or are considering doing so, then Starbucks can still be your place to get coffee.

Some of the keto-approved coffee options at Starbucks include:

• Keto chai tea latte: this is an excellent option if you prefer tea over coffee. It contains sugar-free cinnamon syrup, brewed tea bags, and sugar-free substitutes. This combination gives it a rich taste that is unlike any other. This tea will leave you wanting more, and the best part is that you don’t have to worry about your weight.

• Espresso

• Freshly brewed coffee – Black coffee, like espresso, contains fewer than 1 gram of carbs for a 12 oz serving. Just use caution in adding creamer or sweeteners. If you do need those, opt for stevia to sweeten (many Starbucks offer packets of these with the other sugars) and heavy cream, almond, or coconut milk (preferably unsweetened).

• Skinny mocha – though this contains a small number of carbs, you can order it with order options to lower the carb count. You can replace the milk with a mix of heavy cream and water to make it more Keto-friendly. Their skinny mocha syrup does contain sucralose, so just be aware of that.

• Low carb caramel macchiato – A macchiato is steamed milk with espresso shots, vanilla syrup, and a caramel drizzle on top. To get this more keto-friendly, ask for it to be made with almond or coconut milk, or heavy cream thinned with water. Then ask for the sugar-free vanilla (just be aware it’s artificially sweetened). The caramel drizzle is 2 grams of carbs, so decide if it’s worth it to you.

• Hot or iced black tea – You can order any of the tea bags available in Starbucks for either hot or iced tea. Just make sure to skip the option of adding lemonade and ask for your iced tea to be made without sweeteners. You can always add some stevia powder if they have it available.

• Low carb London fog – Get 2 bags of Earl Gray tea brewed for you. Then add a little heavy cream (or almond or coconut milk), and stevia powder and/or sugar-free vanilla syrup (which contains artificial sweeteners).

There are many more options to choose from, but remember, there are various sugar-free and low-carb sweeteners to choose from, and you can always order your specifications since you are on keto.

All these drinks are keto compliant at Starbucks.

How to order a keto latte at Starbucks

As we’ve covered above, the biggest culprit in a latte is the milk.

Starbucks uses 2% milk by default, so you’ll want to make sure you modify that. Almond, coconut, or heavy cream are your best options for a creamer that is keto-friendly.

Here is the best way to order a latte at Starbucks that won’t compromise your keto or your health:

  • Order a latte or Flat White
  • Ask for almond milk, coconut milk, or heavy cream for the steamed milk
  • Avoid syrups or sugars unless stevia is an option (may be in packets at the self-serve counter)

Of course, you can also order an Americano, espresso shot, or a cafe au lait (Cafe Misto) and get steamed almond, coconut milk, or heavy cream added.

The best milk for a Starbucks drink to stay in ketosis?

Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream is your best bet for a keto-friendly Starbucks drink.

It’s high in calories and fats, but lowest in net carbs compared to half and half, milk, or lower-fat milks. Generally speaking, when they remove fats in milk products, they are increasing the sugars naturally present in dairy products. And the default milk for espresso drinks at Starbucks is 2% milk.

That would give you upwards of 13 grams of carbs for a venti-sized latte or mocha drink. Compare that to 7 grams if you used heavy cream or 10 grams for half and half.

If you’re not sure about the ingredients that have been used in the type of coffee you want, make sure you state that you’re on a diet or are interested in starting the diet so that you’re not compromised.

Can black coffee kick you out of ketosis?

No is the short answer.

As long as it does not contain sweeteners such as granulated sugar and dairy products, the carb content in black coffee is low.

By drinking it black, you get to benefit fully on the nutrients and antioxidants coffee has.

Black coffee also contains the least amount of calories, which will not boost your blood sugar. Lastly, the caffeine in black coffee helps your metabolism while on Keto.

Most keto dieters believe that taking black coffee in the morning increases the production of ketones in the body. They believe this speeds up the process of burning excessive fats and cabs.

But remember, caffeine is a stimulant, and too much uptake is not healthy. So while a cup or 2 can be a great way to wake up, more does not necessarily produce better results.

When making your coffee, you can also add MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oils. These are commonly added by people who love BulletProof Coffee.

MCT oils are fats that are found in different oils such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Butter

They can help to boost metabolism and help in weight loss.

While on the keto diet, you can also make your coffee using keto-approved creamers such as almond milk or coconut milk. If you prefer it sweet, stevia is an all-natural sweetener made from plants that won’t affect your ketosis.

Since it’s twice as sweet as sugar, you also don’t need a lot of it.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about drinking lattes while on the keto diet?

It can be scary wanting to still eat and drink some of your favorite things while on a keto diet.

Luckily, there are a ton of coffee drinks that work great for not kicking you out of ketosis. A latte, done the right way, can be one of those.

As someone who has struggled with carbs and keeping extra pounds off, I know how challenging it can be. And I know a diet that requires giving up some of the things you love, such as coffee is not one I can stick to very long.

In this article, we broke down different kinds of milk used in lattes and which works best on keto.

Then we explored syrups and alternate ways of sweetening a latte. Ultimately, we answered the question of “can I drink a latte on keto?” with a resounding yes!

What kind of milk do you prefer in your latte? I like coconut milk.

Love keto but also love Mexican food?

Being a native Texan who struggles with weight, I get it! Luckily, in a recent article, I break down everything you need to know about eating at a Mexican restaurant and staying on the keto diet!

I knew to avoid stuff like tortillas, but I was really surprised at how keto-friendly other dishes are that taste amazing!

Just click the link to read it on my site.


REFERENCES

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18800291

[2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10773525.2015.1106075?journalCode=yjoh20

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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