Half-and-half is one of the most commonly used items in the kitchen, you can use it in your cooking or even in the tea or coffee you have in the early hours of the morning.
It is extremely versatile. So, you can use it in your coffee to make it taste that little bit better, or you can use it to thicken gravy, pan sauce, or pasta sauce.
It can even be used to substitute milk when you are baking. Sounds useful. Right?
But, can you consume half-and-half when you are on the keto diet? On the keto diet, you have to take care when it comes to consuming carbohydrates.
The question is, does half-and-half contain anything that might jeopardize this lifestyle choice? If you are curious to find out, make sure to read on!
What Exactly Is Half & Half?
For those of you that are mildly confused about what half-and-half is, it is essentially a combination of cream and whole milk.
By combining these two ingredients you get a rich liquid that has the perfect consistency. Half-and-half can be made using reduced-fat or low-fat milk if you want the same product with a lower calorie count.
You can easily make half-and-half at home if you so desire. All you need is to add equal parts of whole milk and cream together and mix it up.
But if you would instead purchase this delicious liquid, most companies will have a premixed half-and-half carton for you to enjoy.
What Does Half & Half Nutrition Look Like?
We all know that the keto diet has very specific nutritional requirements. But does half-and-half fit into a category that means that those in the keto community can consume it?
So, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of half-and-half below:
- Calories: Half-and-half contains about 131 calories per serving
- Fiber: Half-and-half contains zero grams of fiber per serving
- Fat: Half-and-half contains eleven and a half grams of fat per serving.
- Protein: Half-and-half contains three grams of protein per serving.
- Net Carbs: Half-and-half contains just under four and a half grams of net carbs per serving.
- Total Carbs: Half-and-half contains just under four and a half grams of net carbs per serving.
Is It A Healthy Lifestyle?
As we have discussed, half-and-half is made of whole milk and heavy cream. In a serving of about one hundred grams, there will probably be just under four and a half grams of carbs.
So, in order to understand whether half-and-half is actually healthy, we will need to break down both ingredients and take a closer look at them. Let us start by taking a closer look at whole milk:
Whole milk is a dairy product, obviously, and usually contains about 3.2% fat, this fat is mostly made up of saturated fat.
Many people will see this and think that whole milk is inherently unhealthy. However, when you look at the research and studies on this topic, we can see that the data is unclear.
There are some studies that have found that consuming too much saturated fat can increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as heart disease.
But, there are other studies that have found no clear evidence that saturated fats, specifically daily fat are linked to either of these conditions. On top of that, there is also no evidence that dairy fats can cause obesity.
Other studies have determined that if you drink milk after any strenuous physical activities can help your body to repair and can even help you to build and strengthen muscles.
If we look at full fair cows’ milk, we can see that there are a ton of beneficial minerals and vitamins like potassium, vitamin K2, calcium, phosphorus, and protein.
All of these minerals and vitamins are great for maintaining bone health and it is even known to help prevent conditions like osteoporosis in women.
It is no secret that heavy cream is high in fat. But, what exactly is heavy cream? Well, it is a high-fat product we get from cow’s milk. It is non-homogenized milk.
Homogenization is the process by which milk is its smooth texture and rich white color. If milk has not been homogenized it will usually contain a layer of cream that rises to the top of the glass.
That thick layer that floats to the top of the glass is what we know as heavy cream. Milk and heavy cream are separated this is so that the milk can be processed, and any dangerous bacteria can be killed.
During this process, there are always additives added to the milk to make sure that the milk is safe to drink.
Heavy cream is actually very low in carbohydrates which makes it a keto-friendly food. This is why heavy cream is frequently used within this community.
It is rich in fat and has a variety of healthy vitamins which can really help improve the quality of your life. There are a ton of great keto-friendly meals you can make using heavy cream.
For example, creamy bacon carbonara with zucchini noodles is an absolutely delightful meal and perfectly tasty. But if you have a taste for seafood you can try zoodles with creamy garlic butter Tuscan shrimp.
It is to die for! The only negative with heavy cream is that it contains lactose which is not a good thing for those of us that are lactose intolerant.
However, the content of lactose in heavy cream is actually quite low, at only thirty to fifty percent.
If You Are On The Keto Diet Can You Do Half And Half?
So, if you are following the keto diet, can you enjoy half-and-half?
As we already know, half-and-half is made up of equal parts heavy cream and milk. You most likely know that milk is not keto-friendly.
But milk is every present in our diets. Even if we are trying to cut it out. The question now is why is milk not keto-friendly but heavy cream is?
The main reason milk is not considered keto-friendly is because it contains a sugar called lactose which can impact the ketosis you are trying to maintain while on the keto diet.
Lactose is a sugar that does not raise the blood glucose as much as regular glucose.
However, when you consume milk you are raising your blood glucose just enough to undo that ketosis state you have worked so hard to achieve.
That being said you would have to take quite large doses of milk to make this happen.
But how much is your blood sugar raised when you drink milk?
Well, if you look at the glycemic index of lactose you can get a relative scale from one to zero that can help us to determine the effect of food on blood sugar when compared to pure glucose which is given a score of a hundred.
So, if we work out the glycemic index of lactose we can see that lactose has an index of sixty-nine plus-minus ten while milk has an index of thirty-nine plus-minus three.
So what makes heavy cream keto-friendly and milk not? Well, the answer is simple, heavy cream just contains less lactose than whole milk and this means that it will not spike the blood sugar where milk can and does do this.
However, if you consume too much it can spike your blood sugar. So, you must only consume a limited amount to stay in ketosis.
That still leaves the question, can you actually enjoy half-and-half while on the keto diet? If you are looking at this question strictly, then you cannot.
Because it contains whole milk which is not something that the people in its community imbibe.
On top of that, if you are purchasing your half-and-half from the store you will be consuming a ton of additives and sugar that are added to the products you see on the shelf.
But, if you do not follow a strict keto diet you can still enjoy a small splash of half-and-half with your morning coffee, and not affect your ketosis.
The main thing you will need to be aware of is the quantity of half-and-half you are consuming. As we have said, just a small amount will not do much to upset your ketosis but too much certainly will.
So, make sure to manage your portions properly and you will be fine.
If coffee is a struggle to make it more bearable in the morning, then half-and-half is a great way to make it taste better.
Sadly, milk is not keto-friendly due to the lactose it contains, as this sugar can spike your blood sugar level and affect your ketosis if consumed in high quantities.
Half-and-half is made worse when you purchase it in-store as brands add artificial flavors and preservatives which are also not keto-friendly.
You can see why half-and-half is not keto-friendly but if you really love it and you need some to make your coffee taste that much better you can do that. Just make sure not to overindulge.