You’ve started keto, and you are focused on keeping your carbs low and whoa, all of a sudden, you’re getting way too many carbs from your cream. What’s up with that? In this post, I’ll break down which cream is best you use on keto and also explain why milk is not keto-friendly.



Unfortunately, milk is not keto-friendly


Most dairy products, especially milk and even cream, are not ideal on keto as it contains high amounts of lactose (carbs in dairy). Milk also has an high insulin response and causes inflammation. 

When we are following a keto diet, we want to add fats to our day and consume as little as possible carbs. The Standard Keto macros consist of 75% of your daily fat calorie intake being from fat and only 20g (5%) of your calories for carbohydrates.

Now, take a look at the nutritional facts labels comparing milk and cream below. The serving size in this example is 2oz or about 60ml. The amount of milk or cream could be just a dash to colour the coffee, but most people drink their coffee “milky” (a lot of milk). As you can see from the labels below, the carbs in 60ml of milk is 2.7 grams. That’s if you have one cup of coffee. Let’s say you have three cups of coffee for the day. Three cups will give you a total of 8.1 grams for the day. Of your 20 grams of carbs, 8.1 grams is in liquid form. Compare the carbs of the milk to cream for example. Three cups of coffee with 60ml of cream is only 3.3 grams of carbs.

Whole Milk | Lean Fit Keto
Douglasdale Cream | Lean Fit Keto
Heavy Cream Woolworths | Lean Fit Keto
Whipping Cream Woolworths | Lean Fit Keto
Pouring Cream Woolworths | Lean Fit Keto

So, which cream is best to use on Keto?


There are a couple of brands of creams we have available in our local stores and here in Johannesburg, we have our local diary suppliers such as Doughlasdale, and Gauteng Dairy. Clover and Parmalat are two others that quickly come to mind too. The three types of cream from Woolies, as in the picture above, are the best to use for my illustration.


First, let’s look at the differences in fat content of each type.


Heavy Cream


Heavy cream is also referred to as heavy whipping cream or like this one here from Woolies is called Double Thick Cream.  

Heavy cream has upward of 40 per cent milk fat, and it is the richest cream readily available. It also has a 0% Insulin index with only 1 gram of carbs per 100 ml, which is zero if you’re adding a tablespoon to your coffee.

What is the Insulin Score? Insulin Score gives a percentage score for how strongly a food may stimulate insulin secretion, as secreting too much insulin is the hallmark of many unhealthy foods, like those containing added sugar and flour. This score matters most to people who are most affected by hyperinsulinemia, like diabetics. It helps planning meals that stimulate a low-normal rise in insulin all the while being truly nourishing.

Whipping Cream


Whipping cream usually contains upwards of approximately 30 -35 per cent milk fat. This one from Woolies is Whipping cream with 38,5 grams of milk fat. The one from Doughlasdale contains 34 grams of fat and falls in the same class as whipping cream.

Pouring Cream


Pouring cream contains the least amount of fat. In this case, it is the one from Woolworths coming in at 18,5 grams per 100ml.

Let’s look at the carb content of the three different types of cream.


Heavy cream, because it contains more fat, will have fewer to zero carbs.

Whipping cream instantly jumps to 3,3 grams of carbs per 100ml (as the fat content drops). The whipping cream from Woolies has 3,3 grams and Doughlasdale’s cream is 3,1 grams per 100ml. 

Pouring cream has the most amount of carbs, which is a whopping 5 grams of carbs per 100ml.

Take a look at the table I’ve created comparing the fat, protein and carbs in each of the ones here.

Which Cream To Use On Keto

In Closing



As you can see, milk contains much less fat and more carbs, which doesn’t make it ideal for your keto diet. Is cream the best alternative to milk? It depends.

Instead of using milk in your coffee, there are other alternatives to consider, such as almond milk or cream. Many people opt for having a Bulletproof Coffee and you can read more about my take on drinking BPC here.

If you choose to drink cream instead of milk in your coffee, also keep in mind that heavy cream contains the highest amount of fat, which is all good, but it can quickly start adding up your total daily calorie intake. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, say 3-4 cups a day with 20-30 grams of heavy cream in every cup, your calories can easily add up to 300 calories for the day. That is a lot of fat calories in liquid form. Calories you could have enjoyed eating instead of drinking.

I personally use Douglasdale’s cream in my coffee. I’m quite happy with the fat content and it is a bit less expensive than Woolies’ whipping cream.

If you would like to delve into the topic a little deeper, check out this video from Thomas De Lauer on the best and worst forms of dairy.


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