Is Soy Milk Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Rahul Malpe, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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The keto diet has become increasingly popular in recent years, and as a result, more and more people are looking for keto-friendly food options. Soy milk is often touted as a healthy alternative to dairy, but is it keto-friendly? 

This article tells you everything you need to know about this drink and if it fits your keto regimen. We'll discuss the most important aspects surrounding it. What exactly is it? What is its nutritional composition? Does it fit into the keto diet? Which types can be consumed? Are there any alternative keto-compliant choices?

Let's get started.


What is soy milk?

It is a liquid made from soybeans that have been ground and soaked in water. It's commonly used as a dairy-free alternative to cow's milk. 

This beverage is high in protein and low in fat, making it a popular choice for those looking to build muscle or lose weight.

It has been around for centuries and originated in China. It's made by soaking soybeans in water and grinding them into a paste. The paste is then strained to remove the solid particles, resulting in a liquid that's high in protein and low in fat.

Due to their pea-like characteristics, soybeans are considered legumes. Legumes are plants that produce their fruit in pods, and soybeans are the seeds of the soybean plant. Due to the fact that the liquid is obtained from soybeans, it is considered a legume-derived product.


Soy milk nutrition facts

One cup of this beverage contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 244 g (1 cup) 

  • Calories: 93 kcal
  • Fat: 5.2 g
  • Net carbs: 2 g
  • Total carbs: 3.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 8.7 g




It is pretty low in carbs, as you can see. You get only 3.1 g of carbs from 1 cup of this drink. 

The nutritional information described above is for unsweetened plain types only. For flavored and sweetened varieties, the nutritional content will differ. 

The beverage is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A. However, it's important to note that many brands of this beverage are often fortified with these nutrients. 

This means that the levels of these nutrients are not naturally occurring in it but have been added to it. In fact, the majority of the soy drinks sold in supermarkets and health food stores are fortified.  By fortifying it with these essential nutrients, manufacturers are able to provide a product that is nutritionally comparable to dairy.


Can you drink this on a keto diet?

Yes, you absolutely can. However, the carb content can vary depending on the brand you buy. 

We recommend opting for unsweetened or plain types since these contain minimal carbs, as you can see above. Make sure to check the label so that you're not getting too many carbs from this enticing beverage.

Another point to keep in mind is that, while the soy is a good source of protein, too much protein can be converted into glucose in the body, which could kick you out of ketosis. It's important to remember that the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. This means that you should be getting most of your calories from fat, moderately from protein, and minimally from carbs. 

When following a keto diet, it's important to be mindful of your intake of carbs and proteins. This is because too many carbs can kick you out of ketosis, and too much protein can prevent you from efficiently burning fat for energy. 

Ideally, you should be getting around 5-10% of your calories from carbs and about 20% from protein. Fat should make up the rest of your diet. This ratio may vary slightly depending on your individual needs, but it's a good starting point. By carefully monitoring your carb and protein intake, you can ensure that you stay in ketosis and maximize the benefits of the keto diet.


How much of this can you drink on the keto diet?

You may consume up to 2 cups each day if your daily net carb allowance is 50 g. The carb content in 2 cups is just about 6.2 g, which is a safe portion on keto.

For people with very low daily carb limits like 20 g, it's probably best to stick to 1 cup a day.

It is important to keep in mind that this value is only for the unsweetened and plain types. When it comes to sweetened types, you must be aware of the potential drawbacks of consuming them on a keto diet. One key concern is that they are relatively high in carbs. 

While the unsweetened type only contains around 2 g of net carbs per cup, the same amount of sweetened version can have up to 12 g of carbs. This can quickly put you over your daily carb limit and kick you out of ketosis.

The sugar content will vary depending on the brand, most sweetened types are loaded with sugar. This can contribute to cravings and weight gain.

It's also important to get the most out of your drink by pairing it with other food or snacks that are filling and healthy, such as low-carb cereals, low-carb granola, eggs, etc.


What kind of soy milk can you have on keto?

For those on a keto diet, the unsweetened version of this liquid is the best choice.

The unsweetened type is low-carb and low-fat, so it's a great option for those who want to keep their carb intake at a minimum. As you can see above, one cup of the unsweetened version has only 2 g of net carbohydrates. 

It's best to steer clear of sweetened or flavored varieties since 1 cup contains 12 g of carbohydrates. It is also important to determine what portion of your daily carb allowance you want to allocate for dairy alternatives.

The beverage is made from soybeans, which are naturally low in carbs and high in protein. It also contains no lactose, making it a great choice for those following a dairy-free keto diet

In addition, this drink is a good source of healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals. 



What can you have this drink with?

There are a number of foods and drinks you can have with this yummy drink. It can be used in baking recipes, low-carb cereals, or pudding recipes in place of dairy.

Some of the foods and drinks that you can have with this beverage include:

  • Keto ginger pudding
  • Low-carb cereal
  • Chai tea
  • Smoothies
  • Coffee
  • Protein shake

This liquid goes well with any of the above options. Besides adding lots of taste, it also enriches the drinks with nutrients without having to worry about its carb content (as long as you opt for the unsweetened type).


Keto-friendly soy milk alternatives

If you're looking for a keto-approved alternative to soy, there are a few options available. Just be aware that some of these milk alternatives may not be a good source of protein and if not fortified will also not help you meet your calcium goals. 

  • Almond. Probably the most popular option on keto is almond milk. You can get it at most grocery stores, it's cheap, and it contains just 1 g of carbs per cup. 
  • Macadamia nut. In terms of carbs, macadamia nut has the lowest carbohydrate content. Each cup has 0 g of carbohydrate. 
  • Flaxseed. Flaxseeds on the other hand are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help against inflammation. This type contains only 1 g of carbs per cup. 
  • Cashew. Meanwhile, a cup of cashew milk has a net carbohydrate content of only 2 g.
  • Coconut. Coconut milk beverages have 5 g of carbs per cup, but as long as you use it sparingly, you shouldn't have a problem. 
  • Pea. Finally, legumes like peas contain a high amount of protein, thus 1 cup of pea milk contains 8 g of protein and 2 g of net carbs.


FAQ about soy milk on a keto diet

Do you have more questions? You can find the answer to each of the questions below.

For people who cannot digest the lactose in cow’s milk (lactose intolerance), soy provides a good alternative. However, some people do find soy difficult to digest and can experience bloating or gas. If you experience negative symptoms, you should stop drinking it and talk to your doctor.

No, the type of this drink used by Starbucks comes from White Wave, which is a sweetened version and therefore does not qualify as keto-friendly. One cup of White Wave contains 12 g of carbs, making it unsuitable for those on keto.

Bad soy milk can be identified by smell and texture. As with regular milk, it begins to smell sour when it becomes too old — as soon as it starts to do so, it's best to get rid of it.

If it's smooth and somewhat off-white, it's good. Before you start cooking with it, put some in a clear glass to check. Whenever you see lumps, it is most likely bad. 

No, it does not fit into the ketogenic diet due to its higher amount of carbohydrates. Although it is a legume-derived drink, the problem is that it also contains lots of carbs from sugar. The carb content in it is higher than the unsweetened versions and also from other types of milk, such as almond or coconut. This means that it is not good for keto.

While store-bought vanilla flavor has been sweetened with sugar, you can make your own low-carb version instead by adding vanilla to unsweetened soy.

Yes. A keto meal powder is a powdered supplement designed to boost energy while facilitating fat burning and weight loss on a ketogenic diet. Made from fats like coconut oil and MCT oil combined with protein-rich ingredients like collagen peptides, this powder can help support overall health and wellbeing. 

Since this beverage doesn’t contain any added sugar, you can have your keto meal powder with it as long as you don’t combine it with any flavored varieties as they tend to have a higher carb content. 

Yes, it is keto-compatible because it contains low net carbohydrates at about 1 g per cup. The difference is that the organic type is made from organic, non-GMO soy beans.