What Milk is Best for Type 2 Diabetes?

Published on 
June 18, 2024
February 13, 2024
Virta Health
Virta Health
Virta Health

All milk isn’t made equal. When you’re concerned about your metabolic health, you don’t just have to worry about whether to take a splash of 2%, 1%, or skim in your coffee, but about the carb and sugar content of a whole universe of non-dairy creamers, like oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and so on.

So what is the best milk for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes? What milk alternative has the least sugar? What should you be substituting in your recipes, or drinking with cookies, or adding to your cup of joe. If you’re looking to reverse your diabetes or improve your metabolic health, here are the Virta-approved milk alternatives you should be reaching for.

Can People With Diabetes Drink Cow’s Milk?

If you want to improve your metabolic health, you shouldn’t drink cow milk. If you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight through a low-carb diet, Virta recommends eliminating full fat, 2%, 1% and skim milk from your diet. Why? Because these types of cow cow milk all contain lactose, which is a carbohydrate.

Instead, if you want to stick with dairy, consider putting these in your coffee:

  • Half and half
  • Heavy cream

These heavier milk products do not contain the same amount of lactose as other types of cow milk, significantly reducing carbs and providing you with healthy fats that have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. Which is why all sorts of other kinds of dairy like hard cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and so on can be an excellent dietary addition for people with diabetes! (See our Guide to Eating Dairy with Type 2 Diabetes for more information.)

Best Milk Alternatives for Diabetes

If you’re looking for a dairy-free milk alternative, Virta recommends the following options:

  • Flavored creamer made with a Virta-approved sugar substitute.
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • Flax milk (unsweetened)
  • Hemp milk (unsweetened)
  • Cashew milk (unsweetened)
  • Pea protein milk (unsweetened)

Notice the word: unsweetened. Make sure that the milk alternative you choose doesn’t have added sugars. Most coffee shops, for example, will have these alternate milks in sweetened form, so it’s essential to check.

Worst Milk Alternatives for Diabetes

The worst milk alternatives for diabetes are oat milk and soy milk. Why? They’re full of carbs. Oat milk has, on average, 20 grams of carbs per cup, while soy milk has 3 or 4 grams of carbs per cup. If you are counting carbs to regain control of your metabolic health or reverse diabetes, avoid these milk alternatives.

The Takeaway

If you love your milk and are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and want to live a healthier lifestyle, Virta Health may be able to help. By making healthy lifestyle changes in a medical setting with supportive resources like 1:1 virtual coaching, you can regain control of your health and feel like yourself again. See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.”

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any advice relating to your health. View full disclaimer

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